News: VMA-542 ‘Tigers’ depart for Mountain Roundup
Story by Pfc. Victor Arriaga
MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. - More than 150 Marines with Marine Attack Squadron 542 departed to Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, Sept. 27 to participate in a multinational combined-joint exercise dubbed Mountain Roundup 2013.
The exercise is part of German Air Force Tornado Fighter Weapons Instructor Course Mission Employment Phase where everyone involved works to provide proficient integrated combined joint forces. The first training day in Mountain Roundup began Oct. 2 officially kicking off the exercise.
“This is huge for us,” said Maj. Howard L. Longwell, the operations officer with the squadron. “This gives the young guys a chance to come out and participate in an exercise and see other assets that they normally don’t get to see.”
VMA-542 will provide armed reconnaissance, strike reconnaissance and close air support throughout the exercise.
“We are going to be doing a lot of things while we are out there,” said Longwell. “We are mostly there to support the Germans but we are getting training in as well.”
Longwell says that Mountain Roundup is the German Air Forces’ version of the U.S. Marine Corps’ Weapons and Tactics Instructor course offered at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Ariz.
“This exercise is very similar to our WTI because it brings assets together from different countries and military branches,” he said.
Some of the countries involved in Mountain Roundup are Canada, Germany and the Netherlands, who will all be providing pilots, aircraft, ground combat and weapons support systems. The U.S. Navy, Army and Air Force will also be participating in the multinational exercise.
“This is a great opportunity for VMA-542 to work together with other countries and forces,” said Staff Sgt. Kevin L. Williams, a maintenance controller with the squadron. “This training will benefit the squadron and Cherry Point by allowing us to provide more proficient joint forces.”
Mountain Roundup is scheduled to conclude Oct. 18.
“This is a great thing for our Marines to do,” said Longwell.