News: Marines conduct expeditionary aerial delivery during PHIBLEX 14
Story by Lance Cpl. Anne Henry
CLARK AIR FIELD, PAMPANGA, Republic of the Philippines - Marines with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 166, part of the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit’s aviation combat element, conducted an expeditionary aerial delivery mission Sept. 19 utilizing an MV-22B Osprey above Crow Valley, Pampanga, Republic of the Philippines, during Amphibious Landing Exercise 2014.
The mission entailed dropping three pallets of meals-ready-to-eat at various locations throughout Crow Valley using an MC1 low-altitude parachute.
“Say a truck carrying supplies to a unit or to a humanitarian relief effort breaks down,” said Cpl. Justine Meza, a parachute rigger with Combat Logistics Battalion 13, the 13th MEU’s logistics combat element. “With these parachutes we can deliver anything from water to MREs to ammunition to any unit that needs to be resupplied. Often we cannot use vehicles as a means of transportation to get supplies to a certain area. With this system, we can drop whatever they need right to them.”
The MV-22B Osprey conducted two flights starting from Clark Air Field, Pampanga, Republic of the Philippines. The mission took under 60 minutes, allowing for an efficient resupply.
“Any time we do one of these exercises, air operations are very important, especially here in the Pacific where we may be called upon to help out with humanitarian aid efforts,” said 1st Lt. Adam E. Barkelow, aviation combat element liaison air officer to 3d Marine Expeditionary Brigade. 3d MEB’s aviation combat element during PHIBLEX 14 is Marine Aircraft Group 36, which is part of 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force.
One of the main purposes of this exercise is to increase our ability to deliver equipment and supplies to remote areas where we operate, said Barkelow.
Conducting expeditionary missions, such as aerial deliveries, require attention to detail by everyone involved.
“It is very important that the chutes used during these missions are packed and rigged correctly,” said to Lance Cpl. Nathan Corrons, an airborne air delivery specialist with CLB-13.
PHIBLEX 14 is an annual, bilateral training exercise that enhances stability and security within the region while also preparing both forces for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions, according to Barkelow. The training was critical to maintain readiness to conduct these vital missions.
“Being out here and training makes it so we are prepared for any situation that may arise,” said Barkelow. “It also allows us to not only build upon our relationship with the Republic of the Philippines, but also save lives should any natural disaster strike.”
During PHIBLEX 14, U.S. Marines, from the 13th MEU, 3d MEB and III MEF, are partnering with Philippine Marines. During the exercise, Philippine and U.S. Marines will conduct a staff planning exercise, field training exercises and humanitarian and civic assistance projects. Bilateral training during PHIBLEX 14 ensures Philippine and U.S. forces are capable of integrating effectively to conduct humanitarian assistance and regional security missions.