Well, it looks as if the Marine Corps sent over the first contingent of MV-22s to Afghanistan last week, and as we suspected, the Corps decided to fly VMM-263’s birds off the Bataan, through Pakistan and into Camp Bastion in Helmand.
In a release from Task Force Leatherneck in Helmand, the service said all ten of the squadron’s aircraft made the trip and that aviatiors, crew and maintainers from VMM 261 were en route.
Marine Corps Times picked up on this before us…(that’s OK, I’m happy to give my alma mater a shoutout)
“I am very excited to have these new birds here,” said Lt. Col. William Depue, executive officer for Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 263 (Reinforced), adding that the aircraft’s increased speed and range will “cut the size of the area of operations in half.”
The Ospreys, which formed the bulk of VMM-263 (Rein) with the 22nd MEU will join Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 261 as part of MEB-Afghanistan’s aviation combat element, Marine Aircraft Group 40.
“Although we are not the Marines who will operate these birds here, we were happy to be a part of getting them into theater,” said Depue.
The Ospreys will be used for medium-lift assault support, transporting troops and cargo throughout the MEB’s area of operations, and will augment the other fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft that have worked tirelessly since the MEB’s arrival in Afghanistan in May, flying more than 19,000 hours.
well, now the Corps is on the hook for the performance boost they’ve been bragging about. We’ll keep a close eye on the deployment and maybe even join them next year to see how they’re performing. But until then, keep scanning our coverage and don’t hesitate to provide us with feeds of your own on how this deployment goes.