VMM-262 uses MCAS Iwakuni to help operational readiness

by Cpl. Gabriela Garcia-Herrera
MCAS Iwakuni

MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan -- Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 262, stationed at Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, Okinawa, began training at MCAS Iwakuni, Japan, Dec. 9, 2017.

The squadron utilized MCAS Iwakuni’s strategic geography to support exercise Forest Light.

VMM-262 provides combat troops with supplies and equipment during expeditionary, joint or combined operations, like Forest Light, so it is imperative that they stay ready at a moment’s notice.

U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Devan Reagan, tiltrotor crew chief with VMM-262, said being in Iwakuni, or the Pacific in general, allows them to easily give support where it’s needed, including those apart of Forest Light.

VMM-262 is also taking advantage of the different learning and training opportunities that MCAS Iwakuni has to offer.

“The fly restrictions aren’t as strict as they are in Okinawa,” said Reagan. “It allows us to do more training that we aren’t able to accomplish in Okinawa. Right now we’re conducting low-altitude tactical flight training. We fly a lot closer to the ground than normal to avoid enemy detection and weather.”

The weather also helped the Marines train by introducing them to a new environment.

“Different weather conditions affect aircraft in different ways, so we have to know our system in and out,” said U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Maliek Bronson, MV-22 Osprey avionics technician with VMM-262. “Up here we get to work with ice-protection systems and being in colder temperatures helps us better understand the way it works.”

Bronson said that it gives the maintainers confidence, since they’ll have a better idea of what to do in cold-weather situations. It also builds trust between the maintainers and their pilots. He said it’s important for maintainers to make sure the pilots are safe because their lives are potentially in a technician’s hands.

Diverse training and the convenient location of MCAS Iwakuni can help VMM-262 support those training in Forest Light and anyone in the future.

Reagan said they’re supporting Forest Light at the moment, but tomorrow it might be a different country that needs their help. The close proximity in the Pacific makes everyone easily accessible to each other and convenient for VMM-262 if they have to support anyone in need.

Photo Caption:

U.S. Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Blake Rowe, tiltrotor mechanic division chief with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 262, stands by to direct MV-22 Osprey pilots down the flight line at Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Iwakuni, Japan, Dec. 9, 2017. The squadron utilized MCAS Iwakuni’s strategic location to support exercise Forest Light and took advantage of the different environment Iwakuni provides by conducting cold-weather and low-altitude flight training.

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