SUBIC BAY, Philippines – U.S. Marine Corps MV-22B Osprey pilots conducted the first external lift of a Humvee from the USNS Sacagawea April 11 during exercise Freedom Banner 2013 at Subic Bay, Philippines.
U.S. Marines, sailors and civilians aboard the Sacagawea watched as the Osprey lifted the Humvee for the first time off the ship in order to demonstrate its capabilities and plan future lift operations from ship to shore.
The Osprey pilots, with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 265, Marine Aircraft Group 36, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force conducted the lift with landing support specialists with Combat Logistics Regiment 37, 3rd Marine Logistics Group, III MEF.
“I thought my guys did phenomenally considering the pressure was on as this was the first lift from the Sacagawea,” said U.S. Marine Sgt. Robert D. Gallini, a landing support specialist with the regiment. “Today, we demonstrated exactly what we set to do. The Osprey is capable of making external lifts from the ship. In the future, if something was needed on shore, this provides for a much more expedient and expeditionary delivery.”
The Osprey pilots and landing specialist worked closely together throughout the week in preparation for the lift.
It is extremely important that the communication between the air and ground is locked on when conducting lifts, according to U.S. Marine Capt. Kaho Ng, an Osprey pilot with the squadron.
“Our lift capabilities are only as good as the Marines on the ground attaching the equipment,” said Ng. “Today’s lift went well because the communication between the air and ground was locked on.”
Maritime resupply and reinforcement from ship to shore via aircraft is an expedient way to deliver supplies and equipment as well as help accomplish our mission in the Asia-Pacific region, explained Maj. Robert G. Barber, the maritime prepositioning force officer with Marine Forces Pacific.
“As Marines we are expeditionary,” said Barber. “It is important that we have capabilities like this to be able to rapidly respond to any situation that would require military assistance.”
The Sacagawea is one of two T-AKE vessels that were incorporated into the joint Marine Corps-Navy Maritime Prepositioning Force at FB13.
The integration of these vessels provides combatant commanders with the capability to selectively offload a variety of equipment and tailored sustainment packages to support the Marine Air-Ground Task Force both afloat and ashore.
During exercise, the MV-22 moved both internal and external cargo during to support the MAGTF. More 31,000 rounds of .50 cal ammunition were transported and for the first time, an external sling load of a Humvee from a T-AKE vessel.