News: Tinian WWII airfield becomes Exercise Geiger Fury 2012 site
Story by Lance Cpl. Joseph Karwick
IWAKUNI, Japan - Marines and sailors with Marine Aircraft Group 12 and Marine Wing Support Squadron 171 arrived May 14, 2012, at Tinian island in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands in support of Exercise Geiger Fury.
The purpose of Exercise Geiger Fury is to execute and assess combined expeditionary operations in the Pacific.
After American forces captured Tinian in July 1944 during the Battle of Tinian,the island’s airfields became the busiest of World War II.
Currently, only the island’s West Field runways remain operational as the North Field runways are now overgrown and abandoned.
As soon as the Marines came ashore, they began setting up a forward operations base.
“We are setting up a FOB in order to better control and coordinate Exercise Geiger Fury,” said Capt. Mark Schouten, MWSS-171 officer in charge. “As well as conduct repairs to the island's northern airfield built during World War Two.”
Marines worked into the late hours of the night to establish the FOB, clearing the land to set up tents and OE-254 communications gear.
The OE-254 provides air and ground communications for the entire exercise.
“The OE-254 is considered a safety net,” said Sgt. Ryan D. Kish, MWSS-171 communications noncommissioned officer in charge.
“The reason we call it a safety net is because the OE-254 antenna provides a fail-safe frequency that provides support in the event of an emergency throughout the entire area of operations.”
Exercise Geiger Fury is not just a show of force.
Another aspect of the exercise is community relations.
Servicemembers will give back to the community through outreach programs, which aim to help in the preservation of historical sites throughout the island.
As part of Exercise Geiger Fury servicemembers will repair the island’s northern airfield, conduct flight operations, provide medical and dental care and community outreach to the residents of Tinian.