News: Vikings, Bengals train like they fight during Exercise Island Fury
Story by Lance Cpl. Charles Clark
ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam - More than 800 Marines and sailors from Marine All-Weather Fighter Attack Squadrons 224 and 225, Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 12 and Marine Aircraft Group 12, as well as Air Force aircrew and support personnel work in conjunction to participate in Exercise Island Fury here.
Beginning in October, Island Fury is a month-long, multi-service exercise that allows Marine Corps squadrons to work with their Air Force counterparts to improve air-to-air and air-to-ground training. This close coordination and cooperation also improves operational readiness and core expeditionary competencies as the U.S. shifts focus to the Pacific region.
Guam provides a unique training experience due to it being American soil, often having inclement weather, varying terrain for day and night exercises and close proximity to military facilities for training and support.
More than a dozen aircraft fly sorties at any given time during the exercise, depending on the weather.
“We fly a good amount of sorties each day,” said Capt. Vishal J. Amin, a VMFA(AW)-225 F/A-18D Hornet weapon systems officer and San Diego native. “We are respectful of the quiet hours on the island, so some days we fly as few as two sorties and other days as many as 20.”
“There is really no better place to train than here in Guam,” Amin added.
In the air-to-air arena, VMFA(AW)-224 and 225 fly in support of each other and as simulated enemy aircraft to improve the pilots’ and WSOs’ abilities during combat.
Both squadrons use live ordnance at the air-to-ground range here and fly simulated scenarios to maintain proficiency in air-to-ground operations.
“A big part of why and how we are able to conduct this kind of training is MAG-12 and MALS-12,” said Amin. “They keep us well stocked on supplies, for our aircraft.”
MALS-12 has been able to request and receive any part needed to keep the squadrons flying in less than 72 hours.
“We have a vast pipeline of support in this expeditionary environment,” said Master Gunnery Sgt. Nigel V. Francois, MALS-12 aviation supply chief. “We can reach all the way to Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 11 and Hawaii. We support these squadrons with anything they need from flight suits to aircraft parts. We emulate the same support as if the squadrons were at their parent commands.”
MALS-12 brought more than 2,000 items and equipment to maintain a self-sufficient support squadron.
“We are able to complete the mission and keep those birds flying no matter what situation presents itself,” said Francois.