A sailor assigned to the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing at the Marine Corps Air Station at Camp Pendleton was struck by the blade of a UH-1Y Venom helicopter tail rotor blade. As of Friday, he was in critical condition. The incident is under investigation, so no other details have been released.
Update: The sailor has died from his injuries. He has been identified as Lt James Mazzuchelli, a Naval Flight Surgeon.
The incident occurred at 6:10 p.m. on Wednesday at the Marine Corps Air Station at Camp Pendleton. The incident occurred while the helicopter was on the flight line, according to spokeswoman Capt. Morgan Frazer. The Uh-1Y Venom helicopter is the replacement for the UH-1N Huey.
According to the U.S. Navy, the craft represents “the most significant upgrade” in the Huey succession, and that the “heart of the upgrade is a new four-bladed, all-composite and ballistically tolerant (up to 23 mm) rotor system.”
The 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing is one of the major aviation subdivisions of the Marine Corps along the west coast. The unit is headquartered at Air Station Miramar with troops also stationed at Camp Pendleton, Air Station Yuma and Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms.
The UH-1Y Venom is also known as the “Super Huey.” The ‘light attack’ helicopter is a lethal addition to the Marine Corps fleet.
The UH-1Y has an all composite four bladed main rotor and a similar four bladed tail rotor…
The UH-1Y’s is a jack of all trades, with command and control (C2), reconnaissance, troop transport, special operations insertion, medical evacuation, close air support, escort, and logistics all being within its capabilities. For its close air support mission set it can be armed with 7.62mm GAU-17 miniguns, 7.62 M240 machine guns or .50 caliber GAU-16 machine guns. It also has two stations for 70mm rocket pods. With a whole new set of laser guided 70mm rockets coming online, the Venom will be able to have a high-volume precision engagement capability which will drastically expand the aircraft’s close air support potential.
Featured photo: UH-1Y Venom helicopters take off from the Marine Corps Air Station Camp Pendleton, California on Dec. 11, 2017.
NOAH RUDASH/U.S. MARINE CORPS