22d MEU (SOC)’s 162 warriors get new flight vests
story by LCpl. Gordon Rouse                                                               

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. 

The SV2V 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 user.

            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 punctured.”

“The old 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 to.”

             Rocchi’s 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.