By LANCE CPL. ANTONIO RUBIO
Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni
TINIAN, Northern Mariana Islands—Marine Wing Support Squadron-171 conducted an arrestment landing exercise using two M-31 Marine Corps expeditionary arresting gear systems on Dec. 5 at Tinian’s West Field during Exercise Forager Fury II.
The exercise allows units to rapidly conduct ground refueling and arrested landing operations, extending aviation training throughout the Mariana Island Range Complex.
Marine Aircraft Wing and Marine Aircraft Group exercises and training on Guam and within the MIRC demonstrate the Aviation Combat Element capabilities of the Marine Air-Ground Task Force. Aviation capabilities enable the MAGTF to project force or respond to crises throughout the Asia-Pacific region.
The Marines are with MWSS-171, MAG 12, 1st MAW, III Marine Expeditionary Force.
The squadrons that participated in the training were Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 112, “The Cowboys,” from Fort Worth, Texas, and VMFA 232, “The Red Devils,” from Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif., who are currently deployed to MCAS Iwakuni, Japan, under the unit deployment program with MAG-12.
“The mission of MWSS-171 was to establish a forward arming and repairing point at West Field so aircraft could come in, land, and fuel up,” said Lt. Col. Howard Eyth, commanding officer of MWSS-171. “The purpose of the training was to conduct arrestment landings, so pilots could bring the aircraft to a rapid halt in the event they experience an emergency.”
During this training, Marine aviation units are able to practice, train for, and execute the six functions of Marine aviation: assault support, anti-aircraft warfare, offensive air support, electronic warfare, control of aircraft and missiles, and aerial reconnaissance.
“Being the airfield operations Marines, we provide the aviation ground support aspect of the exercise,” said Chief Warrant Officer Charles Dine, expeditionary airfield fire and emergency services officer with MWSS-171. “We’re enablers for these types of exercises. [MWSS-171] provides the fuel, the arresting gear and aircraft rescue and firefighting services.”
MWSS-171 effectively accomplished nine arrestment landings within a 30-minute time frame after having successfully installed the M-31.
“The training out here is for everybody,” said Staff Sgt. Joaquin Moreno, the expeditionary airfield staff noncommissioned officer in charge with MWSS-171. “It’s for the Marines to install the arresting gear, operate it and push it to its maximum output. It is for the command to know the abilities of its units that are not organic to it. And ultimately, for the commander to be aware that he can employ any arresting gear system in any clime and place.”
The series of exercises that MAG-12 is conducting in the Mariana Islands focus on refining core skills within the squadrons and MAG. This in turn prepares them to function as an integrated air unit able to perform a wide range of missions.