ALBACETE, Spain — U.S. Marines with Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Crisis Response-Africa took part in a multi-national training exercise, enhancing their ability to work with NATO allies in a fast-paced combined environment, Dec. 6-11, 2015. The exercise is part of a month-long Tactical Leadership Program Flying Course at the Los Llanos Air Base, Spain.
“The unique capability that the Ospreys bring to TLP and flying exercises is that they bridge the gap between traditional rotary wing aircraft and what we predominately practice with, the fast jet aircraft,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Ethan Myers, detachment 1 commander of the warrior preparation center within TLP. “It introduces a new capability and brings us a little more in line with current operations.”
While supporting the flying course, the Marines practiced one of the main staples of SPMAGTF-CR-AF – tactical recovery of aircraft and personnel missions. The Marines used a MV-22B Osprey tiltrotor aircraft to get the mission done, bringing a unique capability of landing virtually in any environment a regular helicopter would, but the Osprey’s speed and maneuverability are no match for the traditional rotary platform.
Two ground teams: search and rescue, and security elements loaded up two MV-22B Ospreys and headed toward the distress beacon’s signal, carving through the mountainous terrain; the Ospreys landed in a field with the teams taking their respective tasks.
Within minutes, the simulated, downed French pilot was found in a nearby tree line, authenticated, and extracted. The whole operation on the ground lasted less than 10 minutes.
The TLP is designed to train future mission commanders from 10 NATO countries for combined air operations. The course also enables a free exchange of information on weapons, tactics and capabilities between the participating nations and provides an environment that encourages the discussion and development of multi-national tactics, as well as best ways to employ aircraft capabilities of the multi-national forces in combined air operations.
The program is important because it gets all of the participants together and has them practice operating with each other in a training environment, learn each other’s limitations and capabilities and prepare them for the future, said Myers.
SPMAGTF-CR-AF is a self-sustaining crisis-response force prepared for the protection of American personnel and facilities on the African continent, when directed by U.S. Africa Command. The presence of SPMAGTF-CR-AF in Spain has enabled a notable increase in joint training opportunities, with more than 80 bilateral joint exercises between the militaries in the past two years and numerous exercises with NATO allies.