Team Marines honors aviation heroes
By SSgt. Timothy S. Edwards
| | February 16, 2002
6TH MARINE CORPS DISTRICT PARRIS ISLAND, S.C. --
When NASCAR made the policy for crews to wear safety helmets during pit stops at all NASCAR-sanctioned events, No. 25 Team Marines decided to be different by looking to honor the Marine Corps instead of looking for additional advertising.
This season team members are wearing actual flight helmets with decals commemorating various aviation squadrons in the Marine Corps. The helmets are authentic flight helmets formally worn by Marine aviators.
Each helmet has a different paint scheme and has a different story behind it.
According to the pit crew, the only change made to the helmets was to install their own radio equipment. "They function great and all the members of the crew are happy with them. We have had a lot of compliments on them and they were even featured during the race broadcast at Las Vegas."
"The squadrons represented will include Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 122, Marine Helicopter Training Squadron 204, Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 266, the many squadrons that make up Marine Air Group 11, and Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 214, which was Pappy Boyington's famous "Black Sheep Squadron" in World War II," according to Stacey Murdock, Team Rensi Motorsports Media Relations.
The helmets worn at each NASCAR race represent a heroic history encompassing World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam War and the more recent campaigns of Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm and Operation Enduring Freedom.
"All the Marine squadrons represented have impressive performance records," said Major Winchester, Public Affairs Officer, Marine Corps Recruiting Command. "The Marines who serve in these squadrons, like all Marines, continue to make tremendous sacrifices to answer our country's call to arms. The team members recognize this and want to show these Marines they appreciate the sacrifices they continue to make."
"All team members are proud to wear these helmets," according to the pit crew. "It is quite an honor to represent several of the squadrons and each guy has learned about the squadron they are representing. The team has received a lot of compliments on them from other teams."