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Wednesday, March 8, 2000

Kaneohe Bay Marines
will join Clinton
on Asia trip

By Gregg K. Kakesako


Ten helicopters and 100 Marines from Kaneohe Bay will be part of the support traveling with President Clinton and his party for a week when it tours South Asia beginning March 19.

Clinton's trip to India will be the first by a U.S. president since Jimmy Carter's visit in 1978.

Clinton will not be stopping in Hawaii during his March Asian trip, however.

Five CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopters from Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 366 left Marine Corps Base Hawaii at Kaneohe Bay yesterday aboard C-5 Galaxy transport aircraft bound for Dhaka in Bangladesh.

Another five Sea Stallions from Kaneohe's Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 362 will leave March 10 for New Delhi.

The president's India visit will begin March 19 with a stopover in New Delhi before he spends a day in Bangladesh.

On March 21, Clinton's India visit will begin with trips to the Taj Mahal town of Agra, Jaipur, Hyderabal and Bombay, according to Ambassador to India Richard Celeste.

The helicopters from Kaneohe will augment Marine Helicopter Squadron 1 -- which is based at Quantico in Virginia and which only shuttles the president.

The 10 Sea Stallions will be away from the islands for two weeks and will be used mainly to fly reporters and guests accompanying the presidential party.

These could include six Cabinet members, including Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, and a congressional delegation.

Clinton also will visit military-ruled Pakistan during his weeklong Asia visit. But a Kaneohe spokeswoman said Marines from Hawaii won't be participating in that part of the trip.

At one time Clinton canceled the visit to Pakistan after a military coup that raised Gen. Pervez Musharraf to power.

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