Training continued as participating units conducted arrested landings and 24-hour surge operations during Exercise Forager Fury 2012.
Forager Fury is a training exercise that integrates Marine Air-Ground Task Force functions with an emphasis on tactical aviation and aviation ground support to further develop distributed, expeditionary airfield capabilities.
The participating aircraft are with Marine All-Weather Fighter Attack Squadrons 224 and 225, which are currently assigned under the unit deployment program to Marine Aircraft Group 12, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force. The Marines providing the aviation ground support are with Marine Wing Support Squadron 171, MAG-12.
“The F/A-18s came in to do a field arrestment exercise to help train our expeditionary airfield Marines on the emplacement and operation of expeditionary equipment,” said Maj. Matthew Halbert, the officer in charge of Marine forces on Tinian and airfield operations company commander with MWSS-171, MAG-12.
MWSS-171 conducted 13 arrestments in under an hour, breaking its previous record of 10 set in June during Exercise Geiger Fury 2012, also on Tinian.
“We coordinated with the aircraft on the radio, they came in, let the hook down, and took the arrestment,” said Halbert. “Then, the Marines came and got the wire and, as they taxied clear of the runway, the Marines reset the cable and prepared to take the next aircraft.”
Tinian has proven itself an ideal expeditionary training location for the Marines and sailors thus far as the training seamlessly shifted from arrested landings to 24-hour surge operations.
Surge operations are expected to last roughly 80 hours and simulate a continuous operational tempo.
“Surge operations are basically Marine Aircraft Group 12 showing in force how they can do continuous flight operations in a simulated hostile environment,” said Master Sgt. Roy L. Clayton Jr., the staff noncommissioned officer in charge of Marine forces on Tinian, MWSS-171, MAG-12. “They are training to get the maximum amount of flights, and we are training to provide the best aviation ground support possible.”
During the surge, MWSS-171 will provide support for various types of aircraft.
“We are expecting mostly F/A-18s, but we will also get some MH-60s from the Navy and some MV-22B Ospreys during surge operations,” said Clayton. “Surge operations should last for at least three to four days.”
In order to maintain a constant tempo, Marines and sailors will work in shifts to keep everybody fresh.
“We are going to do two rotational shifts at 12 hours each to give some of the Marines a break and bring fresh, well-rested Marines in,” said Clayton.
Safety is the main priority for any Marine Corps exercise, and this one is no different.
“For the upcoming surge event, our plan is to be within a two-minute standby time to be ready for any possible emergencies that the aircraft might have,” said Staff Sgt. Joaquin Moreno, an expeditionary airfield technician and runway supervisor with the squadron. “A two-minute standby is the time we are allotted during an in-flight emergency to have the arresting gear ready to take an emergency arrestment.”
Six F/A-18s, six MH-60s and two KC-130J Hercules aircraft landed on Tinian during the first day of surge training. The surge training, is the final training evolution during Forager Fury 2012.
Article by Lance Cpl. J. Gage Karwick, Marine Corps Installations Pacific