Marianas Variety

Last updateSat, 29 Apr 2017 12am

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    Friday, April 28, 2017-8:11:11A.M.

     

     

     

     

     

Marines preparing for another expeditionary exercise on Tinian

A third iteration of the Marines’ fury series of exercises on Tinian following Geiger and Forager Fury is in the offing.

Marine Aircraft Group 12, Marine Wing Support Squadron 171 Commanding Officer Lt. Col. Howard Eyth confirmed to Variety, “Planning for the next Fury Exercise, possibly at the end of this year, has already begun.”

Eyth said while there is still much planning and coordination to be accomplished, they believe that the longer lead time will allow them to make it a very successful exercise.

Marine Aircraft Group 12 last year conducted Operation Geiger Fury in May and Forager Fury in December.

During Exercise Geiger Fury, the Iwakuni-based Marines successfully landed a KC-130J Hercules aircraft on Baker Runway at the North Field — the first such landing since 1947.

For both expeditionary exercises, the MAG-12 Marines were able to test their proficiency in installing arresting gear on a coral bedding, another first for the group.

They also conducted arrestments of F-18D Hornets on the runway, another milestone for them and for Tinian.

During Geiger Fury in June 2012, the Marines recorded 10 arrested landings of an F/A-18D Hornet under one hour; however, this record was broken in December during Forager Fury when they made 13 arrestments.

Variety earlier reported that the group was planning to hold another Fury exercise riding on the heels of their successful staging of the exercises on Tinian.

It was earlier reported that they were looking at holding the exercise in May 2013; however, no exercise was held.

Eyth said, “Marine Aircraft Group 12 with Marine Wing Support Squadron 171 would very much have liked to return to the CNMI in May for another iteration of the Fury series of exercises. However, for reasons ranging from high operational tempo considering all of the Group’s exercises already scheduled for the Spring (as well as the Air Force’s on Andersen AFB, Guam) to enduring logistics challenges surrounding transportation of our heavy equipment and associated availability of the High Speed Vessel, to a MAG Change of Command which took place in Iwakuni on May 31st in which Colonel Mahoney relinquished command of MAG-12 to Col Hobson, it became apparent that the undertaking of another Fury Exercise in May would have been a very difficult one to realize.”

In his Fourth of July Speech on Saipan, Eyth said their coming to Tinian is a clear example of the United States pivot to the Pacific.

He said Marine and Navy personnel went to Tinian for their valuable training which led to marked improvements in individual and unit proficiency, and resulted in increased readiness to respond in the event of crisis or contingency anywhere.

For Eyth, their squadron is now better prepared and more ready than before following their two expeditionary exercises on Tinian.

Among their string of successes on Tinian last year included their historic deployment of MV-22 Ospreys — the military’s multi-mission, tiltrotor aircraft with both a vertical takeoff and landing, and short takeoff and landing capability — to Tinian for the Forager Fury exercise.

The MV-22 Osprey has the speed and range of a turboprop, the maneuverability of a helicopter and the ability to carry 24 Marine combat troops twice as fast and five times farther than previous helicopters.

Ospreys are replacing the U.S. Marine Corps’ CH-46 Sea Knight helicopters.

Moreover, they also conducted aircraft refueling on Tinian with no spills.

Marines refueled about 27 aircraft and they issued about 87,000 gallons of fuel, refueling two aircraft at a time.

According to MAG-12 records for Geiger Fury, a total of 47 aircraft arrivals and departures were recorded on Tinian.

With the Marines making history as they conduct exercises on Tinian, Variety asked if deployment of an F-35 aircraft is in the works. Eyth said, “There currently exists no plans for introducing the F-35 in a Fury Exercise on Tinian.”

Tinian was the world’s busiest operational airbase during World War II.

Two-thirds of the island is leased by the U.S. Department of Defense.

It is currently being eyed by the U.S. military for expansion and enhancement of ranges and training areas.