View Full Version : Desert Talon landing in Yuma

06-15-07, 08:26 AM
Desert Talon landing in Yuma
June 14, 2007 - 11:38PM

For the eighth time in four years, Desert Talon is landing in Yuma.

The biannual training is conducted by Marine Corps Air Station Yuma for Marines preparing to deploy to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Yuma and Brawley, Calif., are the only locations in the country where this training is done, said Col. Robert Hedelund, commanding officer of Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron-1.

"This is not done anywhere else on the planet," he said.

Environmental conditions in the area are close to what Marines face in the Middle East, and the city of Yuma provides some idea of how to conduct a mission in a populated city.

About 3,000 additional Marines will be in the area training with Desert Talon Monday through June 21.

Exercises will be conducted at Joe Henry Memorial and Athletic Park. They will begin at about 3 p.m. and end at 9:30 p.m.

During these exercises, Marines will encounter simulated improvised explosive devices (IED), practice air support and casualty evacuation
and role-play situations they might encounter with civilians.

CH-46E helicopters will be seen landing at the park during training and the public may hear loud noises from blank shots and IED simula- tions.

Desert Talon is conducted twice a year, in June and December. Hedelund said they always try to get as much information about it out to the public as possible. Marine officials have met with the Yuma City Council and local law enforcement and first-response personnel.

"Once helicopters start landing in fields around town, they know it's coming," Hedelund said.

He added that doing training in a large population center is one of the most valuable parts of Desert Talon.

"Just having to deal with live people, what they do on a daily basis, is a challenge for Marines in a tactical situation. The urban terrain combined with the desert terrain and the realism of Yuma is hard to match."

Sarah Reynolds can be reached at
sreynolds@yumasun.com or 539-6847.