‘Unwanted’ Ospreys going to Guam for first exercise
Unwanted by the Okinawans, but settling in as the core aircraft supporting U.S. Marines in Okinawa, three MV-22 Osprey aircraft are about to make their first adventure training trip off island.
Three of the 12 tilt-rotor hybrid aircraft in a squadron assigned to Futenma Marine Corps Air Station earlier this fall are going to Guam to participate in the Forager Fury exercise. The Ospreys are replacing the aging CH-46 Sea Knight heavy lift helicopters that have served the Marines here for many years. The Osprey is more versatile; in fact, officials say the Guam trip is something the CH-46 helicopters couldn’t even accomplish.
The Ospreys will be transporting U.S. Marines on the 1,500 mile trip across the Pacific to Guam within the week. The exercise ends December 18th. The Marines’ Major General serving as deputy commander of U.S. Forces Japan has been prepping the flight crews for the journey. Maj. Gen. Andrew O’Donnell is a qualified Osprey pilot.
Both U.S. officials and Japanese have certified the Osprey as safe, defending the deployment of this first squadron, with a second still to come, to Okinawa. They call the state-of-the-art aircraft the key to the joint defense treaty. Okinawans don’t agree, having staged protests against the aircraft being assigned to Okinawa.