USS NASSAU – Keeping the 113 flight
crews members of the 22d Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special
Operation Capable) safe sometimes boils down to the clothes
on their back. Marine
Medium Helicopter Squadron 162’s (reinforced) flight
maintenance crew suited their flight crews with the east
coast’s newest aircrew service vest recently.
survival vests were first given to HMM-162 to protect
pilots, crew chiefs, and tower observers. If the vest has
any modifications the entire vest must be refitted for its
The new survival vest is lighter.
Pockets are designed with snap up pouches similar to
the infantry Marine pouches.
The old pouches zipped up. Each vest has a helicopter
breathing device, survival knife, big flash light, an
additional pouch with a small red lens flash light, a strobe
light, a phosphorous based signal flare, and a small radio
with a voice beacon. Lake Buff native Corporal Rebecca said,
“The zipper to the floatation device is better and safer
for the deflated device, un like the old one that had a
Velcro closing system. The zipper keeps the inner from being
vests were too frayed,” said Houston native Corporal
Michael Rocchi a crew chief with a UH1N Huey.
“These new ones (vest) are more comfortable.
All the equipment is right there, and easy to get
floatation device that attaches to the vest was damage and
needed repairs. Pennsylvania native Staff Sergeant Douglas
Deemer took in the vest for the repairs by having Cpl Rocchi
come in when the new floatation device came in. Having him
put on the vest SSgt Deemer moves around him looping the
long straps of the device through the vest. Then tighten
down the straps and preparing them for the final attachment
to the vest. Sewing down of the straps to the vest is the
last thing to be done before the final inspection of vest
can be done, so it can be used.
The Marine and sailors of the 22d MEU are currently
on deployed on the Nassau Amphibious Raiding Force for a
six-month deployment in the Mediterranean Sea.