TINIAN, Northern Mariana Islands - Marines and sailors on Tinian and Guam have torn down their tents and packed up their gear as Exercise Forager Fury 2012 draws to a close.
With FF12 ending, it is time to measure what has been learned from the exercise.
“Overall, we achieved everything we set out to do and more,” said Col. Christopher J. Mahoney, the commanding officer of Marine Aircraft group 12, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force. “Like any good military organization, we put objectives down and put recourses against those objectives. We have motivated Marines and I could not be happier with our ability to deploy and employ our capabilities from a tactical standpoint.”
In addition to their aircraft, MAG-12 also brought Marine Wing Support Squadron 171 to set up a forward area refueling point on Tinian’s West Field.
“I am very pleased with the Marines’ performance in providing aviation ground support on Guam and Tinian,” said Lt. Col. Howard Eyth, the commanding officer of MWSS-171, MAG-12, 1st MAW, III MEF. “They demonstrated that they could take certain functions of aviation ground support and deploy them in an expeditionary environment and do so rapidly in support of generating combat power for MAG-12.”
FF12 marked many firsts for MAG-12, from assisting in the landing of a Boeing 747 on Tinian’s West Field; breaking the record for most arrested landings within one hour with 13; and integrating MV-22B Ospreys into their first exercise since arriving on Okinawa.
“This was the first integration of the MV-22 Ospreys into what is largely a fixed wing air group,” said Mahoney. “I could not be happier with the tactical integration of that incredible platform into what we did here. It is fast, it is flexible, it carries a lot, and we used that to our advantage.”
Though a tactical exercise, FF12 was not without its community relation’s projects.
“Our community relations efforts on Tinian were bigger and better; from the Navy volunteer dentists and doctors to Dr. Pam Limb, a volunteer pediatrician, and volunteer Marines,” said Mahoney. “Because of their efforts we were welcomed onto the island; because of their efforts we will be welcomed onto the island again; and because of their efforts they have brought medical and dental care to a new standard all by virtue of hard work of volunteer efforts.”
The Fury series of exercises have proven themselves vital training assets for MAG-12 thus far, with bright aspirations for the future.
The Marianas affords MAG-12 the ability to take all of their available capabilities and deploy them to an expeditionary environment, according to Eyth.
“If you look around our camps, you will see the backbone, the reason that I am able to defy gravity in my F-18,” said Mahoney. “Without these young Marines rolling in and doing the grunt work, the unsung hero work, I can not get my machine in the air. That is why our enemies fear us, not because of a guy like me, but because of the young Marines here on the ground keeping our planes alive.”
FF12 is complete, with MAG-12 and its units returning home from another successful exercise, proving yet again that the ready group is always ready.