MV-22 Brings the SECDEF to NYC (Updated)

Check out this shot of Defense Secretary Leon Panetta getting off a Marine Corps MV-22 Osprey after arriving in New York City for a visit to the 9/11 Memorial there yesterday.

In its earliest combat deployments, the V-22 had a somewhat unwarranted reputation as a VIP taxi that was kept out of harm’s way. However, it does seem to be fulfilling that role stateside.

UPDATE: The hour-long flight from DC to New York was the first of what will likely be many stateside V-22 missions transporting the Secdef and other Washington officials, according to the Marines.

No word yet on which unit ferried Panetta to NYC or why the Osprey was used.

The Ospreys were from Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 266 (VMM-266) out of Marine Corps Air Station New River, NC, according to Marine Corps spokesman Capt. Kevin Schultz.

Schultz tells DT that Panetta’s office requested the Ospreys for the flight to New York and that this was likley the new Secdef’s first-ever ride in an MV-22. However, this certainly won’t be Panetta or other VIPs’ last ferry trip in a V-22 given that tiltrotor transport “is the new norm,” Schultz added in an email:

This type of air transportation is the new norm and can be expected to be seen more and more often.  Logistically, it makes things very easy…yesterday’s trip included a Pentagon pad pick-up, an approximate one hour flight direct to the Wall Street Pad and opposite flow for the way home.

Remember, the Quantico, Va.,-based HMX-1 presidential/VIP transport squadron is slated to receive 14 Ospreys (that will be equipped with VIP transport kits) starting in 2013.

As we said earlier today, using a V-22 for this op makes some sense, it can pick the Secdef up at the Pentagon’s heliport and whisk him to downtown Manhattan at airplane speeds without the need to go through airports.  Still, you can bet that some people are bound to ask why all available V-22s aren’t being used for combat or training ops.

(Notice that there’s another MV-22 in the background, it looks like they’re at the Downtown Manhattan Heliport.)



  • Alex

    It’s because those people havn’t heard of combat rotation, and that the planes and crews are back for R and R, training, upgrades you name it. And not all of our units were sent over seas, youed think that the people asking would have thought that when you’re at war one should keep some reserve on hand in case airborn #### hits the provoberial fan. Sorry for the rant.

  • CharleyA

    For one thing, the MV-22 could be axed in certain budget-cutting scenarios. Why not show the SecDef its capabilities firsthand vs. some flavor of the H-60 that some same could replace it.

  • jamesb

    Yea Ok…..

    The Marine have never
    And WILL never give up selling this air craft….
    The Sec Def…
    The Presidential Lift Detail….

    They just aren’t gonna quit….

  • jamesb

    Marine’s have NEVER QUIT….

  • Musson

    I guess the SecDev was wondering, “What is the most expensive way I can travel from DC to NYC?”

  • tribulationtime

    I “bet that some people are bound to ask why all available V-22s aren’t being used for combat or training ops” Yawww cut 48.000 Millions but keep “yours lighting cabs”.

  • DC2 Jennings

    press op for the mv-22. and since when did flying in formation in congested airways and landing areas to drop of personnel not constitute training?

  • SJE

    Using the MV-22 for moving the SECDEF around is training, especially before they use it for moving POTUS. Besides, I’d rather our top officials be actually doing stuff instead of en-route, and the Osprey will get them there faster than anything else.

  • benjamin

    Flying the V-22 to New York probably saved money and time. If he had flown a conventional aircraft, we would have had to pay the gas for the flight and the car trip.

  • PolicyWonk

    The V-22 is faster, longer-legged, and flies higher than a chopper. Hence - for transporting VIP’s its really an effective mode of transport, and should be used for that purpose.

  • Jeff M

    If there is any problem at all, it’s that they’re not making these fast enough…

    They need to build a gunship version, put a 30mm cannon on the belly, some 500lb bombs, and it’s a fast, long-range apache, with bombs…. and whatever else.

    Seems like they should have been working on this already.

  • Kent

    Since when is it a surprise that a fleet aircraft is used to fly in support of DoD or Service leadership?

    Lord knows the ill-informed waste no opportunity to slam the V-22, but what this flight demonstrates is that the V-22 has gone mainstream. AND the added capabilities will just become more and more appreciated. A good thing.

  • nyccharterbuscompany

    It’s funny. When you leave your home and wander really far, you always think, ‘I want to go home.’ But then you come home, and of course it’s not the same. You can’t live with it, you can’t live away from it. And it seems like from then on there’s always this yearning for some place that doesn’t exist. I felt that. Still do. I’m never completely at home anywhere.