MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. - Like a swarm of well-trained bees, a formation of KC-130J Hercules and MV-22B Ospreys flew across the country on a long-distance aerial refueling training exercise July 12.
Two 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing KC-130Js with Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 252 based at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point teamed up with four 3rd MAW KC-130s and several Ospreys from Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 365 based out of MCAS New River in a multi-unit exercise.
“We facilitated the training in a joint exercise with VMM-365 by providing aerial refueling support on a transcontinental movement from MCAS New River to Twentynine Palms, [Calif.]” said Lance Cpl. Michael A. Reischman II, a loadmaster with VMGR-252.
Aerial refueling allows aircraft that normally couldn’t travel long distances to travel an extended distance to enhance overall mission capabilities.
The four other KC-130Js belonged to 3rd MAW’s VMGR-352 out of MCAS Miramar, Calif., and 4th MAW’s VMGR-234 out of Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Forth Worth, TX.
Alongside each KC-130 was an Osprey flying on the nearly seven-hour flight to California. Whenever the Osprey needed more fuel, the KC-130s descended their refueling tubes to attach to the Osprey, and without a moment’s delay, the Ospreys were back in action with full tanks.
Constant communication between each aircraft is vital during these missions, and dealing with different squadrons of Marines that don’t know each other adds difficulty.
Reischman explained the significance of working with other units is that it shows how different units can come together and accomplish the mission at hand.
“I believe the exercise went very well ... the planning paid off greatly,” added Capt. Nicholas L. Arhur, a KC-130 naval aviator with VMGR-252.
After the cross-country escort, the VMGR squadrons continued to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tuscon, Ariz., to stop for the night. The following day the various squadrons returned to their parent units.
The multi-unit, multi-platform movement demonstrated how the Marine Corps adapts and overcomes any situation, said Reischman. “Using the services of one of the U.S. military’s oldest currently operating platforms, the C-130, with the enhanced capabilities of the ground-breaking MV-22 Osprey, our Marines have once again showed that they are up to any task.”