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Mon, Dec 13, 2004

II MEF Marines Try Out Osprey

V-22 Osprey To Replace Sea Knight

"It's amazing!" were the first words spoken by Lance Cpl. Junior M. Bazile, a Marine Air-Ground Task Force planner for II Marine Expeditionary Force, after he took his initial flight in the V-22 Osprey Tilt Rotor Aircraft.

Several days ago, more than two-dozen Marines from II MEF received this unique opportunity to see what kind of capabilities the Osprey has. Two sticks of Marines, from Colonel to Lance Corporal, took the half-hour long flight around the base in both helicopter and tilt rotor mode to get the full effect of the plane. The majority of those Marines were very impressed overall.

"It was very exciting," said Gunnery Sgt. Keith L. Enoch, operations chief for II MEF G-1. "The ride was very smooth and it has lots of speed."

"I wasn't expecting much, just another helicopter, but it's wild. I never knew helicopters could go that fast," said Bazile.

The Osprey rides were also aimed toward getting the Marines familiar with riding in the aircraft since it will be eventually replacing the CH-46 Sea Knight Helicopter.

"I think it's a good promotion to show that it's a great aircraft and to help with rumor control," said Navy Lt. Christina M. Matos, a Marine Expeditionary Unit action officer, II MEF G-3.

The V-22 Osprey in which the Marines flew has been redesigned to address problems experienced in the past.
"Everybody is looking forward to the switch. I think it's a smart move," continued Matos.
Pilots and crewmembers from Marine Tiltrotor Test and Evaluation Squadron-22 (VMX-22), based at Marine Corps Air Station New River, provided the aircraft to give the Marines an up close look at the Osprey.

"The purpose of being here today is the reintroduction of the V-22 to the fleet and to get the Marines comfortable with the aircraft and it's abilities," said Maj. Rob A. Freeland, assistant operations officer, VMX-22. "The Marines were excited about it's capability. They wanted to get back in and go again."
Freeland was very impressed as well with the feedback he received about the flights.

"We are walking away today with the Marines feeling comfortable, despite the rumors," said Freeland.

Freeland said VMX-22 will also provide Osprey rides for 2d Marine Division and 2nd Force Service Support Group in the upcoming months.

(ANN salutes Cpl. Lana D. Waters, U.S. Marine Corps Combat Correspondent, II Marine Expeditionary Force Public Affairs)

FMI: www.usmc.mil


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