MCAS FUTENMA, OKINAWA, Japan -- 1st Marine Aircraft Wing rapidly deployed more than 25 aircraft to austere, expeditionary locations and then returned those aircraft and forces to Marine Corps Air Station Futenma from October 24 to 25, 2019.
Rapid deployment exercises like this are essential to maintaining the readiness needed to uphold commitments to U.S. allies and partner nations in the Indo-Pacific and highlight the MAW’s active posture in the region.
“This operation was for one purpose; to demonstrate III MEF's ability to rapidly deploy combat power anywhere in the Indo-Pacific within a moment's notice, sustain those forces, and rapidly redeploy them" said U.S. Marine Corps Brig. Gen. Chris McPhillips, commanding general of 1st Marine Aircraft Wing.
During this exercise, 1st MAW deployed every variant of aircraft from Marine Aircraft Group 36, including MV-22 Ospreys from Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 265, currently attached to the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, and Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 262; CH-53s Sea Stallions from Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 462; and UH-1Y Venoms and AH-1Z Vipers from Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 169.
Marine Wing Support Squadron 172 and various elements of Marine Air Control Group 18 supported the aircraft throughout the evolution.
“The MWSS provides the expeditionary capability and sustainability that is required for our aviation combat element to operate in an expeditionary and distributed environment,” said U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Col. James S. Pryor, commanding officer of Marine Wing Support Squadron 172. “We provide a wide range of capabilities that provide fuel for aircraft, power generation, water purification, flight line and/or air point security, and other functions of aviation ground support that are only found in the MWSS.”
The movement of a high volume of aircraft within a small time frame is a complex process, requiring deliberate planning and strategically postured forces. During this training evolution, Marines with 1st MAW refined their ability to plan, rehearse and execute complex operations.
The modern threat environment demands agility, lethality, and adaptability. Being able to deploy rapidly makes 1st MAW a persistent force that is difficult to target, swift and inherently resilient. As the only forward deployed Marine expeditionary force, III MEF is strategically located to quickly and effectively respond to crises using this method, and the MAW plays an integral role in that mission.
“This operation demonstrates our ability to rapidly displace expeditionary forces and our ability to mass forces,” said U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Col. Mark E. Woodard, commanding officer of Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 265. “Our V-22s bring range, speed and payload, providing the MEF commander significant flexibility in moving his ground combat element. Our H-1s provide lethal offensive air support and our CH-53s provide unmatched heavy lift to move troops and heavy cargo weapons.”
Rapid deployment operations highlight a core capability of the Marine Corps: operating anywhere at any time. III MEF is positioned to rapidly deploy at a moment’s notice in support of our allies and partners to keep a free and open Indo-Pacific.