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    Marine aviation squadron sets record for hours flown

    1st Battalion, 2nd Marines embassy reinforcement training

    Photo By Sgt. Aaron Henson | CAMP BEUHRING, Kuwait (April 12, 2019) A U.S. Marine MV-22 Osprey with the 22nd Marine...... read more read more



    Story by Cpl. Tawanya Norwood 

    22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit

    ARABIAN SEA (May 10, 2019) April 30, 2019 was a historic day for the Marines of VMM-264 (REIN), as they set records for hours flown in a month with the MV-22B Ospreys clocked in at 637.4 hours and the overall squadron total of 1266.2 hours.
    The Marines of Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 264 (Reinforced), part of the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit, flew to and from the Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD-3) to Iraq, Oman, Bahrain, Qatar, UAE, and Kuwait throughout the month of April. A bulk of which was to transport personnel, mail and cargo, but also in support of various exercises.
    “We flew 1266.2 hours in the month of April across the whole squadron,” said Lt. Col. Eric Keith, commanding officer of VMM 264 (REIN). “I don’t know if any ACE has ever flown that many hours before, but I’ve never heard of it if they have. They made me proud.”
    Their record surpasses that set by VMM-165 during the month of January in Kuwait by more than 100 hours.
    “This was among the highest operation tempos I have ever participated in,” said Sgt. Isaac Hutchins, a MV-22 crew chief with the unit. “We were flying through chow hall hours and regularly spending eight hours a day in the plane with work to do before and after.”
    Of the total hours flown, the squadron’s CH-53E Super stallions flew 154 hours with a three plane detachment and the AV-8B Harriers flew 266.2 hours with a six plane detachment. The remaining hours were flown from the San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship USS Arlington (LPD-24), which is situated in the Mediterranean.
    “When you see that our squadron flew 1266.2 hours in the month of April, we as maintainers see that it took well over 9,000 hours of documented maintenance to support,” said Sgt. Alison Reinhardt, an airframes collateral duty inspector, VMM-264 (Reinforced).
    Safety was first and foremost on everyone’s minds and the maintainers worked diligently to support the mission and ensure the welfare of the crew. Every time we conduct maintenance on the aircraft, we think about the people flying the aircraft, said Staff Sgt. Taylor Stevens, an MV-22B avionics technician with the unit.
    “For every one hour of flight time there was an average of eight hours of maintenance performed on the MV-22s and 13 hours on the CH-53E’s,” said Master Sgt. Guy Row, the squadron’s maintenance control chief. “The maintenance man hours per flight hour of 8.1 for the Ospreys was in itself a historically low number for the airframe.”
    Maintenance was only half the issue, as procuring the actual parts to work on the aircraft proved the biggest challenge and the difference maker between this record and the previous one.
    “The previous record holders were stationed in Kuwait, we were not,” said Stevens, adding that they had the advantage of being fully supported with a Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron and logistical support on hand.
    “Our parts had to come from different locations and there were times when it took days, if not over a week, to get some of the aircraft back into the air,” Row said.
    Despite the challenges and immense amount of hours flown, the squadron superseded the record without any mishaps.
    “We were not only able to break the record, but we were able to do it safely,” said Reinhardt. “I strongly believe the Marine Corps does the most with the least amount, and safety has never been pushed to the side.”
    Breaking the record is a feat Marines are no doubt proud of, but more important to them is what they gained as a squadron from the teamwork, dedication and sacrifice that it took to accomplish such as task.
    “Watching our Marines that are as young as 19 years old grow from being individual workers on singular jobs to working together to accomplish multi-shift maintenance tasks, all to meet a legendary squadron goal, is something that really motivated our leadership,” Reinhardt concluded. “It’s a testament to our squadron.”



    Date Taken: 05.10.2019
    Date Posted: 05.14.2019 06:41
    Story ID: 322324
    Location: GULF OF OMAN

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