Wednesday, March 5, 2014
Captain James Berkeley Skelton of the U.S. Marine Corps, currently serving as a pilot stationed at New River in Jacksonville, N.C. made a quick trip home Friday to see his mother and sister.
But he didn’t just drive down. He came home flying the “Super Stallion” CH-53 helicopter to Charleston Executive Airport on Johns Island.
James was born in Omaha, Neb., but has lived in Mount Pleasant since he was a little boy. He attended Belle Hall Elementary School, Moultrie Middle School, Academic Magnet and Wando High School. He graduated from the Citadel in 2005 and from there he was commissioned into the Marines. He has served several deployments during his military career, including Haiti, Djibouti (Africa) and Afghanistan.
His mother Helen and sister Hannah were standing on the tarmac as he landed. The descent was deafening and shook the airport building.
Thirty-one-year-old James brought a crew of 11 with him and they all headed off for a quick lunch, as if arriving on a CH-53 was the most normal thing in the world.
The purpose of the visit was actually to log required flying hours. The helicopter is used for heavy transport and assault and can carry up to 55 soldiers. James is married to Captain Jill Skelton who did not make the trip this time because she is expecting their first child.
James will transition to civilian life in June after 10 years in the Marines.