News Icon

News: Young Marine soars in career as Ospreys fly

Story by Lance Cpl. Christopher JohnsSmall RSS IconSubscriptions Icon

Young Marine soars in career as Ospreys fly Lance Cpl. Christopher Johns

Staff Sgt. Saul Moreno, crew chief with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 161 (VMM-161) “Greyhawks” and a Fort Worth, Texas, native, watches for the second aircraft maneuvering in their formation during tactical-formation training over the Pacific Ocean near San Diego, Nov. 25. Moreno and another crew chief acted as “eyes and ears” for pilots during the flight.

MARINE CORPS AIR STATION MIRAMAR, Calif. –It is no easy task to maneuver an aircraft the size of a school bus and up to three times heavier. Crew chiefs watch over the mechanical workings of the aircraft and the skies for aerial traffic while pilots take care of the flying.

Lance Cpl. Joshua Payne, crew chief with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 161 (VMM-161) “Greyhawks” and a Houston native, took part in his first tactical-formation training flight as crew chief, Nov. 26.

Crew chiefs come from all walks of life and have other jobs aside from being pilots’ “eyes and ears” in flight. The path to becoming a crew chief is a long one with training flights, tests and supervision from senior crew members.

“This is my initial [tactical formation flight]. I’ve been on similar ones before, but this one counts for the code I need to complete my courses,” said Payne. “Once I get that code, or qualification, that means I no longer need supervision with that type of flight. A lot of people might not think of it as a big deal, but it really is.”

While Payne still has dozens of qualifications left to complete, his seniors noticed his determination to complete his training before a deployment next year and have faith in his abilities.

“I think he did very well [on the flight today],” said Staff Sgt. Saul Moreno, crew chief with the “Greyhawks” and a Fort Worth, Texas, native. “He kept the pilots honest on their heading, speed and altitude, and he made good calls the entire flight. He always kept the pilots informed of where the second aircraft was, and if he lost it he communicated it to me and to the pilots so we could get visuals and adjust appropriately. He did a good job today.”

One of the reasons Payne works so hard for these qualifications is for the escape each flight allows him.

“I have two jobs right now,” said Payne. “I’m a mechanic and now a crew chief. So, when I have a stressful week working on aircraft, I can look at the flight schedule and say ‘Oh, I’m flying tomorrow,’ and it helps give me something to look forward to. [Flying] gets me away from the work place a little bit and allows me to see, and do, all kinds of cool stuff. That’s probably the best part of this whole situation for me personally.”

Connected Media
ImagesYoung Marine soars in...
Lance Cpl. Joshua Payne, crew chief in training with...
ImagesYoung Marine soars in...
Staff Sgt. Saul Moreno, crew chief with Marine Medium...
ImagesYoung Marine soars in...
Marines refuel two MV-22B Ospreys before returning to...
ImagesYoung Marine soars in...
An MV-22B Osprey with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron...
ImagesYoung Marine soars in...
Staff Sgt. Saul Moreno, crew chief with Marine Medium...

Web Views

Podcast Hits

Public Domain Mark
This work, Young Marine soars in career as Ospreys fly, by LCpl Christopher Johns, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.

Date Taken:11.25.2013

Date Posted:11.26.2013 19:12



Hometown:HOUSTON, TX, US

Hometown:SAN DIEGO, CA, US

More Like This

  • Marines with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 161 “Greyhawks” performed a rapid-ground-refuel training exercise aboard Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, Calif., Jan. 11.
Two MV-22B Osprey crews with VMM-161 flew to MCAGCC Twentynine Palms in support of Bravo Company, 3rd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, who were being evaluated for Enhanced Mojave Viper training, to practice RGR.
  • High above the clouds, two MV-22B Ospreys fly in need of fuel. Luckily, there is a KC-130J Super Hercules flying with them to provide aerial refueling so they can continue without stops.

Ospreys with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 161 and a Super Hercules with Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 352 conducted the exercise to practice aerial refueling aboard Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif., Oct. 24.

“[Being able to refuel in flight] gives us a lot of time in the air,” said Sgt. Jacob Luksha, a crew chief with VMM-161 and a Houston native. “We could be flying in Afghanistan on an eight-hour mission with about three hours of gas and without landing anywhere, we can refuel and go back to continue the mission.”
  • An MV-22B Osprey from the Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 161 “Greyhawks” circles the sky above the drop zone. As the signal is given the crew drops their first pay load.
  • As the first West Coast Osprey squadron to meet final operating capability requirements, Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 161 is now “an official squadron in the Fleet Marine Force,” said Houston native Maj. Jeffery D. Cabana, the aircraft maintenance officer for the “Greyhawks.”


  • Army
  • Marines
  • Navy
  • Air Force
  • Coast Guard
  • National Guard




  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Youtube
  • Flickr