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Feb 25, 2014
Subscribe to Your Water – Metropolitan’s E–Newsletter.

Metropolitan hosts Army-Navy military exercise at DVL

Photo by Larry LaCom.

Naval elite fast-boat operators teamed up with Army “Night Stalker” helicopter crews in a three-day joint military boat-lift exercise hosted by Metropolitan last month at Diamond Valley Lake reservoir, providing a treat for the Hemet area.

Each afternoon and into the evening, two 36-foot rigid inflatable boats motored to the deep-water portions of the lake, where two Chinook helicopters hovered 10 to 15 feet above the crew’s heads as rigging lines were attached to lift the boats out of the water.

Rope ladders were then dropped from the helos for Navy personnel to climb up. The exercise was then reversed with the men returning to the boats by rappelling down lines and the boats being placed back on the water.

The Navy personnel were Special Warfare Combatant-Craft Crewman from Special Boat Team 12 stationed at Naval Base Coronado. They form part of the Naval Special Warfare Command that operate and maintain small craft used to support special operations missions.

“Night Stalkers” is the name given to the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne), known as Task Force 160. An elite special operations unit, Night Stalkers fly helicopters in support of both special operations and regular forces.

Measuring 4-1/2 by 2 miles, Diamond Valley Lake is relatively uncrowded during weekdays, and provided ample distance for multiple exercises, and the fresh water significantly reduced maintenance costs to both boats and helicopters alike (salt water is particularly hard on the equipment). The lake remained open to the public throughout the exercise, which took place Jan. 20, 21, and 22.

Helicopter refueling was conveniently done at the local Hemet-Ryan Airport, providing just 20-minute breaks during the exercise. Law enforcement in the Hemet-Murrieta area was notified in advance and Hemet Police Department posted an announcement on their Facebook page, generating many positive and supportive remarks from the community.

Photo by Greg Widman.

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