JGSDF experience Marine Corps aircraft maintenance
MARINE CORPS AIR STATION FUTENMA, OKINAWA, Japan -- Japan Ground Self-Defense Force officers attended a display of the MV-22B Osprey tiltrotor aircraft and machinery used for maintenance on the Marine Corps’ aircraft July 18 at Marine Corps Air Station Futenma.
The JGSDF officers who attended were pilots and maintenance workers that deal with similar aircraft and responsibilities.
“They have the same concerns that I do,” said Capt. Matthew S. Forshee , a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, native and Osprey pilot with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 262, Marine Aircraft Group 36, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force. “We concern ourselves with how much load we can carry, how far we can go, how fast we can go, how high we can go, and how we can integrate this aircraft and the rest of the airspace when we conduct our operations.”
The JGSDF officers familiarized themselves with some of the Marine Corps’ tools and techniques concerning maintenance, such as the fluorescent penetrant inspection, ultrasonic nondestructive inspection, nondestructive eddy current testing and magnetic particle bench testing.
“It was a good opportunity for (the JGSDF service members) to come,” said Sgt. Trevor A. Tipper, a Monroe, Michigan, native and aircraft intermediate level structures mechanic with Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 36, MAG-36, 1st MAW, III MEF. “We have been doing this for years, and we have it down to a science and working smoothly.”
The JGSDF has similar aircraft, such as the Boeing CH-47 Chinook, according to JGSDF Capt. Atsuo Watanabe, a pilot with 15th Aviation Squadron, 15th Brigade, Western Army . Japan is also planning to purchase Ospreys from the Marine Corps soon, so it is advantageous to communicate with the Marine Corps and learn from them.
“The Marine Corps’ equipment is much bigger and newer, so their level of repair is much higher than our level of maintenance,” said Watanabe, an Utsunomiya, Tochigi Prefecture, native. “ It’s also good for us to learn these techniques from them, so we can take care of issues we have with our aircrafts on a lower level of authority.”
The JGSDF officers were able to get a firsthand experience with the Osprey by inspecting the aircraft, walking into its cabin, seeing the cockpit, sitting in the pilot’s seat, and asking the Marines who work with the aircraft some questions about their experiences with it.
“The Osprey isn’t advertised or seen very well out here,” said Forshee. “Events like this dispel myths about the Osprey and show off the capabilities of what the Osprey can do, so (Japan’s) forces can get an idea of how to employ it in the future.”
With the JGSDF officers attending events like this, it’s a good opportunity to strengthen the relationship between Japan and U.S. forces, according to Forshee. The Marine Corps benefits daily by working with the JGSDF because they are a great ally and always a pleasure to work with.
“It’s important for us to come out here because we are doing more and more operations between Japan and the U.S.,” said Watanabe. “It’s good for us to know how the other operates and to strengthen our bond.”