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Helicopters make unscheduled local stop

Some local residents got an eyeful and an earful of some of America's military hardware Saturday.

Three Marine Air Corps helicopters made an unscheduled stop shortly before noon at Thomson-McDuffie Regional Airport Saturday, after one of the aircraft experienced a minor mechanical issue.

McDuffie County Sheriff's Deputy Mike Coke said he was at Thomson Motor Center and heard them coming. He knew what they were - in his past life as a Marine, Deputy Coke had flown on the same kind of helicopter.

"It brought back a lot of memories," he said.

The helicopters - CH-53E Super Stallions - were about 100 feet in length, more than twice as large as the helicopters used in this area for emergency medical transport, for example. Several residents stopped by the airport to see the huge machines.

Deputy Coke said he enjoyed meeting the crews, got a short tour of the helicopters and snapped dozens of photos of them on the ground.

The helicopters - part of the Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 464 based out of Jacksonville, N.C. - were back en route to North Carolina from Arizona by 2 p.m. Saturday.



Web posted on Thursday, February 08, 2007













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