By Cpl. Scott McAdam
3rd Marine Aircraft Wing Forward
AL ASAD, Iraq – As the second MV-22 Osprey squadron to deploy to a combat zone, Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 162, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, continues to build on the Osprey's strengths and versatility in Iraq.
The MV-22 Osprey is the Marine Corps' newest airframe and is poised to shoulder the responsibility as the Marine Corps' sole medium lift helicopter platform in the future.
"When you have an aircraft with the lift capacity that the MV-22 has, and that can move troops or cargo in a safe and timely manner to your entire area of responsibility, your stock value tends to go up exponentially," said Maj. Craig Leflore, MV-22 pilot and aircraft maintenance officer, VMM-162.
Staff Sgt. Ted Karp, MV-22 crew chief, VMM-162, attributes a large part of the Osprey's success to its extended range and speed, completing the same amount of work as traditional medium lift helicopters over a greater distance in less time.
"It combines the capabilities of a turbo prop airplane and the versatility of a conventional helicopter," said Karp, a Crawford, Colo., native. "I like the fact that it will get Marines to and from the fight faster."
Leflore, a Tyler, Texas native, has a laundry list of reasons he likes the newly fielded airframe: the ability to use high altitudes as a tactical advantage, staying above the
threat of small arms, increased reaction time and the aeronautical advantage of increased options when dealing with weather.
"It (the Osprey) expands our over-the-horizon launch capability and enables us to take the fight to our enemy's front door wherever that may be; a runway, landing zone or the middle of the desert," concluded Leflore.
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