View Full Version : Cobra crash kills two Marines

04-05-03, 12:29 PM
April 05, 2003

Cobra crash kills two Marines

By Gordon Lubold
Times staff writer

AT AN AIRBASE NEAR IRAQ Two Marine pilots were killed when their AH-1W Super Cobra attack helicopter crashed during a combat mission in south-central Iraq, in the vicinity of Ali Aziziyal, about 30 miles southeast of Baghdad, according to the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, based at an airbase near Iraq.
The names of the two pilots have not been released pending notification of next of kin. The gunship was flying an attack mission in the area, but preliminary indications are that the crash was not a result of hostile fire, the Marines said.

The Cobra gunships have been based at an expeditionary airfield in southern Iraq, flying combat missions close to Baghdad and monitoring supply lines used by convoys resupplying troops to the north. There are three Cobra squadrons working in the theater, both from the East and West coasts, including HML/A-269, based at New River Air Station, N.C.

The Cobras have been active in the conflict with Iraq, flying low and hitting small and large targets. Like any rotorwing aircraft, they are vulnerable to attack. In the first several days of fighting, several Cobra pilots reported taking anti-aircraft artillery rounds and other fire.

The Cobras may play a significant role if the fight goes street-by-street in Baghdad.

"We are the best-suited, but at the same time we can be very vulnerable," said one pilot named Matt, from HML/A-269.

The Cobra is a twin-seat, twin-engine attack helicopter that typically provides escort capabilities for assault helicopters and the Marine forces they carry. Cobras can carry TOW missiles, laser-guided Hellfire missiles, 20 mm guns and 2.75-inch unguided rockets. They have a range of about 300 miles and can fly as fast as 170 mph.



04-05-03, 03:09 PM
You are never really worried about something until it may potentially be someone you know. My heart goes out to the families of these marines.