MORON DE LA FRONTERA, Spain -- Six MV-22B Ospreys and two KC-130J’s flew from Marine Corps Air Station, New River, N.C., to Moron De La Frontera, Spain, April 27, completing the longest and largest transatlantic flight of any Osprey squadron to date. Their mission; crisis response.
Major Anthony Krockel, the executive officer assigned to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 365, said it took a lot of planning and preparation and approximately 15 hours to cross the Atlantic. “It was pretty historic. We are here now to support the task force.” The MV-22B Ospreys, along with two KC-130J aircraft from Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 252 and other command-and-control assets and support staff make up the aviation command element (ACE) for Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force, Crisis Response (SP-MAGTF CR). SP-MAGTF CR is a new, rotational contingent of approximately 500 Marines, sailors and support elements sourced from a variety of Marine Corps units to include II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C. The SP-MAGTF CR provides U. S. Africa Command the capability to respond to crises in U.S. Africa Command’s area of responsibility. The unit is capable of responding across a broad range of military operations and will provide limited defense crisis response in support of U.S. Embassies in the region, to support non-combatant evacuation operations, humanitarian assistance, disaster relief operations, search and rescue, and other missions as directed.
The MV-22B Ospreys are a key component to this mission, capable of completing a 325-nautical mile flight with 20-24 combat equipped personnel without an aerial refuel or auxiliary fuel tanks. This equates to about four times the range with the same personnel load of a Marine Corps, legacy medium lift helicopter. It can also carry twice as much; moving three times faster, than the legacy aircraft it replaced. The effectiveness and survivability of the Ospreys provide commanders with agility and operational reach, unlike other aviation platforms.