ANTONIO BAUTISTA AIR BASE, PHILIPPINES
ANTONIO BAUTISTA AIR BASE, Phillipines - Three MV-22B Ospreys and approximately 30 Marines with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 265 conducted low-altitude flight training here Jan. 23-24, marking the Marine Corps’ first Osprey training in the Republic of the Philippines.
The Marines flew routes approved by the Philippine government and used during previous flight training exercises. The flights also marked the first low-altitude training the squadron has conducted since arriving to Okinawa.
“The flights we conducted are important for our pilots and crews to maintain proficiency,” said Maj. Joshua T. Fraser, the operations officer for VMM-265, Marine Aircraft Group 36, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force. “The routes here provide a great venue for low-altitude training.”
Philippine Air Force members accompanied Marines on the flights, providing an opportunity to familiarize themselves with the aircraft and learn about its capabilities firsthand from the pilots and crew.
“It was exciting to fly in the Osprey and experience what it can do,” said Tech. Sgt. Edwin Agang, operations chief for 570th Composite Tactical Wing, PAF. “The Marines flew by the same rules and regulations the Philippine Air Force abides by and used similar routes to those flown by our aircraft.”
Marines also briefed PAF personnel on the capabilities of the MV-22 Osprey and gave tours of static displays of the aircraft, emphasizing its ability to support diverse missions including combat, disaster relief and noncombatant evacuation operations.
“We appreciated the Marines coming down and taking time to discuss the Osprey with us, answer our questions, and provide us tours,” said Agang. “We are glad to host them at our base and look forward to future bilateral training opportunities with the U.S. Marines.”
The low-altitude training the Marines conducted is critical for the squadron’s pilots and the crew, according to Fraser.
“Pilots may have to fly at low altitudes for a variety of reasons, from evading detection by enemy aircraft and radar to locating and evacuating casualties or delivering troops and supplies,” said Fraser. “The assigned mission and terrain will dictate altitudes for flight, so it is important Osprey pilots train at low altitudes.”
The squadron was able to meet all its goals for its first training evolution in the Republic of the Philippines, conducting both day and night low-altitude flights. The Marines look forward to returning for future training alongside Philippine Armed Forces personnel, according to Fraser.
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