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Sat, Jan 02, 2010

Full Service Fuel Stop: VMGR-252 Supports Training with Mid-Air Refueling

A KC-130J Hercules aircraft from Cherry Point’s Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 252 performed mid-air refueling over the waters of the Atlantic in support of a training mission, Dec. 15.

The VMGR-252 crew took off from the Cherry Point flight line in the morning expecting to refuel five AV-8B Harriers from Marine Attack Squadron 542. The five Harriers were slated to provide close air support for the Expeditionary Warfare Training Group Atlantic during a ground combat training exercise.

However, as the morning progressed the Harriers were forced to stay on the ground. The VMGR-252 crew, however, stayed in the air practicing general in-flight procedures and in time received a message over the radio informing them of two F/A-18D Hornet fighter jets in the air in need of refueling. The Hornets, from Marine All-Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 553 stationed out of Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, S.C., were in the area providing close air support for the ground combat exercise.

After successfully refueling both jets, the KC-130J returned to Cherry Point for post-flight maintenance. According to Cpl. Robert W. Emerson, a crew chief on the flight, the mission was a success.

“We had planned to do more with the Harriers but it was still a very successful flight,” Emerson said. “It just so happens that the F/A-18s can do more in this type of weather. This was a good opportunity for our new crewmembers to get some proficiency training done.”

Sgt. Brandon P. Pratt, a loadmaster for the flight, said he agrees it is important for VMGR-252 air crews to keep their mid-air refueling skills sharp.

“If we didn’t provide mid-air refueling, these aircrafts would not be able to stay in the air as long or even make it to their destinations,” Pratt said. “These types of missions are very necessary.” [ANN Salutes Lance Cpl. Santiago G. Colon Jr., Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point]

FMI: www.marines.mil

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