Marines Raid Queens Park
A United States Marine Corps detachment made a raid on Cunningham Park last Thursday morning, swiftly establishing a beachhead and securing the area. The military activity was part of a live helicopter raid demonstration, one of five staged by Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 365 (HMM-365) in Queens, Staten Island, Manhattan, The Bronx and Long Island as part of Fleet Week 2007. Fleet Week is New York's celebration of the sea services, providing residents and visitors with a chance to meet sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen and witness the capabilities of the modern Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard.
The demonstration, which was free to the public, consisted of two AH-1W Cobra helicopters performing an area sweep of the landing zone, followed by six Marine teams performing a fast-roping insertion and extraction demonstration from three CH-46E Sea Knight helicopters.
"Fast- roping," officially known as the Fast Rope Insertion/Extraction System (FRIES), is a technique used by Marines to deploy from a helicopter in places where the helicopter itself is unable to touch the ground, in which they slide down a rope, using only their hands and feet. After the fast-roping demonstration, the helicopters landed and were available for public display, with some civilians getting the feel of the choppers by sitting in the pilots' seats.
The weapons typically used by a Marine Corps rifle platoon were also on display. Youngsters could have their faces painted in military camouflage as well, and many at the demonstration did just that.
In addition, a restored UH-34D Seahorse helicopter provided by Marine Helicopter Squadron 361 Veterans Association, Inc., was also on display. The UH-34D Seahorse is the same type of aircraft used for combat rescue in Vietnam and during the Cuban Missile Crisis before it was replaced by the CH-46E.