I Served in the Marine Corps for almost eleven years, five of which was spent stationed in Quantico, VA as a HMX-1 Helicopter Crew Chief. During this time I acted as the crew chief while transporting VIP's such as the Vice President of the United States and the Chief of Naval Operations. I got to travel all over the world and the United States, AMA.


http://imgur.com/wBGPNkK My PSB and coin given to me on my final flight there by the Vice President.

http://imgur.com/6ZiRkPt I hate this picture due to the photographer taking it as my hand traveled to the salute

http://imgur.com/ooIklmW And here's my ugly mug.

EDIT : I would like to sincerely like to thank you all for allowing to share my story with you all. Hopefully I was able to answer all the question satisfactorily. With that I'd like to wish you all A Happy New Year.

Comments: 130 • Responses: 56  • Date: 

Res17cue35 karma

How gratifying was it flying back to MCB Quantico and looking down on Brown Field at all the miserable candidates? (India Company 3rd platoon was the best worst time ever)

Saiyantai40 karma

Whenever we saw candidates lined up by the chow hall the pilots always insisted on flying by, for that extra motivation.

Billygear1318 karma

As a crew chief for C-130Hs, what's your favorite aircraft to fly in?

Saiyantai18 karma

I would have to say the 46, since it was my first platform. I had over 700 hours in t/m/s before moving over to the VH-3D.

I want to sincerely thank you, C-130 guys were always looking out for us whenever transporting our guys from place to place here stateside.

goXenigmaXgo17 karma

Active C-130 guy here. I'm stationed in Cherry Point, so we haul you pretty often. For all your thanks to us, thank YOU guys. I've never had a squadron we're supporting have their gear, cargo, and passengers so squared away. We show up, load 2 Herks to capacity, and take off all in the space of an hour. BZ, guys!

Saiyantai7 karma

Funnily enough I was right next door to you guys after I left HMX (366), and thank you for putting up with us.

oorahaircrew2 karma

Hey I was a 46 crew chief at vmr1 we just shut down in october

Saiyantai3 karma

Phrogs for life!

corporalcuntslayer1 karma

V-22 Crew chief here, was always tired of hearing the phrog guys be so damn proud of that aircraft! But I came to respect them and the aircraft itself. Our best cdi and qa guys were all former 46 crew men.

Saiyantai1 karma

When you hear us talk proudly of that bird, its because we enjoyed it. But you should be proud as well the V-22 is constantly setting itself apart from the fold day by day. And someday down the line you'll be in those same shoes, proud to say you were a part of it.

erickjohn14 karma

shitter guy here, from what year to what year were you in HMX? we probably know the same people.

Saiyantai11 karma

I was there from 2006 to mid 2011. Anyone specific?

Hoed4 karma

Gunny Walsh?

Saiyantai5 karma

I knew a Ssgt Welsch? But that name doesn't sound familiar.

James29862 karma


Saiyantai1 karma

The name sounds actually very familiar.

ugaallday691 karma

That was me who posted that before. He's my dad. Said he recognized you in your picture.

Saiyantai1 karma


jacabo2 karma

What can you say about the Kolhagen thing?

I grew up on Quantico and still live in the area and had a Marine work part time for me during that whole mess.

Saiyantai2 karma

I actually learned of this when another former HMX'er told me about it. I still have only heard that they were charged but not convicted.

jacabo1 karma

Yeah, I guess his shenanigans didn't start until 2011 according to the charges. The day the story broke I remember both the front and back gate were swamped with news vans.

Then McWilliams, comes into work complaining about it but saying "I can't talk about" but I read an article about it to him and he said that's really all that everyone at HMX knew too. He was pissed though that the civilian mechanics could lose their jobs over it though. I don't think they did, IIRC, they were all hired by the new contractor.

Saiyantai2 karma

Thankfully all the civilian mechs got to stay on, some of them are still close friends. But I could have only imagined the reaction to when that thing broke open.

JimiSaysDie1 karma

What about Jamie Long? He was my platoon sergeant with the MEU in Oki.

Saiyantai2 karma

I don't remember that name, but I might have.

BamaBagz7 karma

Awesome job to have i would have to assume..? So, without assuming, how did you get that assignment? Did you;

a) request the duty

b) volunteer for the duty

c) randomly assigned the duty

Saiyantai11 karma

During my flight school my class was given a packet to fill out to see if we were eligible for it. My class size however consisted of three people after a while due to various things occurring throughout our training. Then some time later I was told I had orders there.

BamaBagz5 karma

Well, I guess I skipped a way in...hahha...thats awesome though. You made the cut...

On a different note, have you considered the Marine Corps Reserve while you are attending school? Extra cash and possibly a quicker route to E6/SSG...?

Saiyantai5 karma

I honestly haven't considered it. But I'll talk with the veterans office on campus when I go back next week.

BamaBagz3 karma

Just an idea. Hope you had a great Christmas and will have a awesome New Year...

Saiyantai3 karma

Thank you, to you as well.

Vennison7 karma

What did you feel as you transported VIPs? Do they talk to you in person? If yes, do they give souvenirs?

Saiyantai15 karma

We rarely interacted with the VIP's, sometimes they would come up to where we were up front and talk which felt pretty cool. On occasion they would give you souvenirs, Challenge coins are the norm.

Vennison6 karma

Can you please show us a picture of a souvenir? And if possible, from whom VIP?

Saiyantai34 karma

Here is the coin and rosary I received from when Pope Benedict came to New York in 2008. http://imgur.com/lIbrLqY

MKE11385 karma

Was there ever an eventful flight that stands out? Like maybe some bad weather while you had a VIP and had you thinking "Better not make the VP barf..." or something like that?

Saiyantai4 karma

Once we got struck by lightning right after dropping off some press, the funny thing is we didn't even find that out until after we landed and shutdown.

KINgGh0sT4 karma

How many hookers have you disposed of?

Saiyantai4 karma

I can happily say none.

DammitDan2 karma

So you kept them all?

Saiyantai3 karma

Nope, never really partook in that stuff. My vice was liking a good bottle scotch whiskey. A friend introduced me to blue label and an expensive like for it started.

No-Coast-Punk3 karma

I was offered a slot at the WHCA if I had reenlisted. I chose to get out instead.

How smart/stupid am I?

Saiyantai4 karma

It's not about being smart/stupid. The fact is you made a choice, and a tough one at that. Most people that end up leaving the Marine Corps do so knowing that all those things that made life easier were no longer going to be there. The communication agency is a pretty nice spot, but if your a family man it can become a big strain on it.

knightwrestle3 karma

Why'd you decide to hang up the boots?

Saiyantai12 karma

Due to not being selected for Staff last year, I was unable to re-enlist. But I do hope to go back once I finish my degree.

cajacaliente5 karma

Woulda thought for sure that you'd pick up even before getting in zone with that gig.

Saiyantai14 karma

I had a first class pft, cft, and shot expert. No adverse fitreps and even had a couple commendatory ones. I guess they just didn't like me. I remember showing my OMPF and MBS to my SNCO's and OIC and they sat there scratching their heads unable to figure it out how I didn't get selected.

cajacaliente3 karma

That's fucked, sorry to hear man.

Saiyantai17 karma

It's okay, things happen for a reason in my opinion. I'm actually quite happy, it was the push I needed to apply to a school I never thought I'd be able to attend.

Vennison3 karma

What countries did you visit and what did you notice when you arrived?

Saiyantai7 karma

I visited Germany, Finland, Spain, France, and Poland. One of the best things about traveling abroad is the sights.

pherring3 karma

What was a typical day like? Do you have a favorite time to be in the air? Why do airports in the rain at night look so cool?

Saiyantai4 karma

A typical day was pretty great but it differed depending on whether you were on the road or back home.

If at home you'd start our day with basic tool accountability and walking the aircraft spots and taxi area for anything that might damage the helicopters when the rotors would be spinning. While this was going whomever the Desk Sergeant was would be at the maintenance meeting getting the passdown on what was to be accomplished that day as far as maintenance and flights. After that with every workcenter helping the aircraft would be towed out and you would prep it for flight (checking fluid levels of all in-flight systems), making sure that it had the correct amount of fuel, and comm checks. Then once the time came you'd go fly. On return you'd have marines from every shop help tow the aircraft back inside the hangar and it would get daily'd (inspected for anything broken) and wiped down and cleaned by hand from top to bottom.

My favorite time to be in the air would have to be the very early morning, seeing the sunrise from the air is one of the most awesome things I have ever gotten the chance to see. http://imgur.com/ql4Qzt7

I would say because of all the pretty lights.

MarieTheyreMinerals2 karma

Is Daniel Pierce-Parra not the most damn fine American you've ever met?

Saiyantai2 karma

He is one sexy beast.

safeforw0rk2 karma

White side or green? What unit were you with before going to hmx?

Saiyantai6 karma

I spent 2 years on green side as a CH-46E crew chief before going to white side where I became a VH-3D crew chief. I came from the training squadron HMM(T)-164 in Camp Pendleton, CA. After my time at HMX I actually went back to the school house and became a CH-53E crew chief.

safeforw0rk3 karma

Hmm 166 guy here, did you go straight from training to hmx? I went through MEAT in 2009!

Saiyantai3 karma

Yup I was pulled right from 164, MEAT was pretty fun. I envy you though, Miramar was one of the places I was hoping to get stationed after Hmx.

tehnoodles2 karma

Spent a couple years at miramar in comms for mwcs-38. Good times for sure. This after 2 years in 29 at 7th Marines HQ, so anything was better.

Saiyantai3 karma

29 Palms was an experience I won't forget (I'm still getting sand out from some stuff to this day) but Miramar looked like a great place to be stationed. I only stepped foot there once back in 2013 during ITX to grab some parts and then returning back to the airfield.

samwise09122 karma

Hey! What is/are your favorite movie(s) of all time?

Saiyantai13 karma

I enjoy comedies the most, my personal favorites are Hot Fuzz, Super Troopers, and Joe Deer-teh.

Raxor535 karma

You're one the nation's finest.

Saiyantai3 karma

Thank you.

JesteroftheApocalyps1 karma

You like to to see homos naked?

Saiyantai5 karma


eatmyshortsjabronis2 karma

Airman in training here. In tech school at MCAS NR training for V-22 Crew Chief. Any experiences with the Osprey?

PS. Very great full for what the Corp does. A lot of guys I'm with complain about being on a Marine base, but I've had nothing but good experiences with every Marine I've met, even when they're messing with us for being AF.

Saiyantai2 karma

I enjoyed my time in new river, mostly because of the running trail I took around the airfield. Most of the people I knew who were 46 guys and gals ended up transitioning to the osprey after their first enlistment, but that's about the experience I got with it. And don't worry the messing around is like a brother messing with his brother, we joke around but when it comes down to it we got your back. Good luck with the training! Once you do that first flight you'll see its one of the most amazing jobs you could have.

eatmyshortsjabronis1 karma

Thanks for the advice. Enjoyed your post. Awesome career.

Saiyantai2 karma

Not a problem. Enjoy your time being a crew chief, and have fun.

Electro8bit2 karma

I am a flightline mechanic for HMH-366 down at New River. I want to be a mech/AO for HMX-1. Should I go for it?

Saiyantai1 karma

Go for it! Put in the package, you 'll lose nothing by trying. The thing is once you go on white side, even if you were an AO tell them you want to fly, and you'll get the chance to start on the path to be a crew chief for either the 60 or the 3.

DookieClouds2 karma

What years where you aboard Quantico? My favorite part about living on Quantico was seeing the helos fly over and the occasional flyovers during our football games and fishing near Larson and getting blown over by the cargo planes that took off from the air station.

Saiyantai2 karma

I was there from 2006-2011. My favorite was Harry O's in Q-town, those sandwiches were great.

DookieClouds1 karma

I've been here since 2010-2015 and Tokyo always had good sushi, Romans has the best hot wings, Bap Zip best burritos, and My Deli best subs and fries

Saiyantai1 karma

I liked the sushi and my deli was pretty good.

bothbarellz2 karma

Does the president have access to the Stargate and what size gloves do you wear ?

Saiyantai5 karma

The president in times of fighting the Goa'uld will utilize it from time to time, and the dress white gloves I wore for lifts were a size medium.

bothbarellz2 karma

I KNEW IT ! Thanks for your service, now we know how to attack the soft underbelly of the human race, VIA OVERSIZED MITTENS!

Saiyantai3 karma

Lol, you got us.

bothbarellz2 karma

Fantastic job you've done mate,ex tank crewman in the British army,once had to paint a muddy patch green because the prince of wales was visiting,not quite up there with flying the VP around,but I like to think he walked into our camp in Germany and thought" the grass may smell like solvent,but it sure does match their tanks!".

Saiyantai2 karma

Thank you, I know that feeling of having to prep an area because a VIP was coming, the scrubbing, cleaning, painting, and all that.

bothbarellz2 karma

You take it easy flyboy! And greetings to all our subjects in the colonies! Hahaha( joking please don't invade England, feel free to carpet bomb Manchester though,its a toilet).

Saiyantai2 karma

I take it you're not a fan of Manchester United? Lol. Take it easy as well.

bothbarellz1 karma

Liverpool born and bred mate,hahaha

Saiyantai2 karma


ManassasReader2 karma

Just wondering if Biden was a jerk to you guys as well? I'm friends with some now retired SS Agents and they have little of anything good to say about how they were treated by the current administration.

Saiyantai6 karma

From my interactions with him it really depended on the day. I remember times when he was very professional and had the look of get on the plane and lets go, then there were times where he was all smiles. Again it depended.

Disgruntled_marine1 karma

How's it going, former camp david marine here. Did you ever make your way up there, how were the accommodations in the hangar for you guys? It was the only place I never set foot in while stationed there.

Saiyantai1 karma

I did, including a time where 3 had a interaction with the hangar door. The hangar itself was nice, but I do miss the Frito pie that they served.

Disgruntled_marine1 karma

I've been in the hangar itself, I was mainly referring to that back room where you guys would stay when up there, and yes those frito pies were great.

Saiyantai1 karma

Oh, yeah the place was pretty nice.

ZMild1 karma

Just wondering what an average passenger is for you guys. I see those VH-3s all the time, you must be flying way more people than just the White House. Ever fly the visiting foreign dignitaries around?

Saiyantai4 karma

We also fly Visiting dignitaries, one of my friends actually flew the governator when he was still in office.

fr-josh1 karma

I saw that you flew Pope Benedict. Did the Catholic guys in your group geek out over that?

Saiyantai1 karma

The Pope flew on the other aircraft, I flew several of the Cardinals and press that were with him. But all of us were pretty excited about getting the opportunity to do something like what happened.

fr-josh1 karma

Cool! Do you remember which cardinals? They're definitely VIPs to me!

Saiyantai1 karma

Not off the top of my head. Once they arrived at JFK it was a quick transition of picking them up and taking them to Manhattan. We received handshakes, smiles, and thanks for our assistance, and those gifts as well.

fr-josh1 karma

Cool. Good of them to carry gifts for you guys. Did most VIPs do that?

Saiyantai1 karma

Most VIP's usually have coins or pins. Something small to hand out to press, military, and everyone that they meet and greet.

fr-josh1 karma

Crazy! Thanks for the answers.

Saiyantai1 karma

No worries, Have a happy new year!

ThatRocketSurgeon1 karma

Has anybody done the damn dishes yet?!?

Saiyantai1 karma

Nope I guarantee they're still sitting in the sink up at Anny.

passivelyaggressiver1 karma

PSB brother! I had one of your boys trying to piggy back through my first access barrier at Camp. Got his car right under the bumper. Only time I got to hit the red button for "real". This happened right around you leaving the unit. If you know them, I always wondered how that got handled and if insurance or anything took care of the Toyota?

Saiyantai2 karma

I do recall something about that, but I'm pretty sure that was a rental.

passivelyaggressiver1 karma

Sweet, any shred of remorse I may have had is gone. Fucker should have stopped at my intercom like the sign says in big print. Have a good one!

Saiyantai1 karma

You shouldn't feel bad in any way if someone can't follow simple directions.

Benji00881 karma

Have you ever landed at the white house and do you know if that pot hole is still in the field where they land?

I remember a history channel that talked to the people there and the Marines and one of the chief's said something like he always had to watch is step when opening and closing the doors to the helicopter. Thanks in advance

Saiyantai1 karma

While I was elected a Marine One crew chief, I had orders out to go to another unit so I did not get to do any lifts with the POTUS. But I did land on the south lawn on a training flight, fortunately I did not encounter the hole that they talked about. I was there for when they filmed that documentary, it was pretty funny when everybody was told to just do everything like normal while a bunch of guys with camera equipment walked around.

_tupac-1 karma

halo? chief? hmmmm......... sounds legit.

Saiyantai1 karma

It sounds way cooler that it actually is. We provide in flight troubleshooting, navigation help, and monitoring of all essential flight systems. Amongst other things.