Bengals, Vikings receive MAG-12, MALS-12 support for Exercise Island Fury
ANDERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Guam — Marine All-Weather Fighter Attack Squadrons 224 and 225, Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 12 and Marine Aircraft Group 12 Marines and sailors work in unison to support Exercise Island Fury here.
Island Fury began in the beginning of October and is a month long exercise.
Island Fury is a multilateral exercise firmly grounded in the successes and lessons learned from Exercise Geiger Fury 2012, which was conducted by MAG-12 in the Marianna Island Range Complex in May of 2012, that allows Marine Corps squadrons to work together and with their Air Force counterparts to improve air-to-air and air-to-ground training, and also practice working with sister services to increase operational readiness and improve core expeditionary combat capabilities in this area of operation.
A well planned and executed exercise needs capable squadrons that can complete the mission. Capable squadrons need more than just pilots and mechanics. Many unsung heroes of a squadron spend more time behind a computer than with a wrench in hand.
“Maintenance control is the life line of the squadron,” said Sgt. Victor Pagan-Diaz, VMFA(AW)-224 maintenance control noncommissioned officer-in-charge. “Everything happens through maintenance control. We dictate all the work that happens on all the aircraft and make sure the aircraft are safe to fly.”
The logistics behind an exercise lay the foundation for mission readiness.
“I ensure all the components on an aircraft are in specified limits so they don’t fail,” said Cpl. Justin T. Frye, a VMFA(AW)-225 aviation maintenance administration specialist. “Each part has a certain amount of hours of use in it. I make sure the components are never used past their lifespan and are maintained regularly.”
“If a component is nearing the end of its life cycle then I get the replacement for the mechanics to install,” Frye added.
Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni does not have the training areas required to conduct core competency expeditionary airfield operations. Guam allows for necessary training to increase expeditionary readiness and simulate a deployed, austere environment.
Both squadrons used live ordnance at the range here and fly simulated scenarios to maintain proficiency in air-to-air and air-to-ground operations.
“My Marines make sure the weapon systems on the aircraft work rain or shine,” said Gunnery Sgt. William B. Payne, VMFA(AW)-225 ordnance staff noncommissioned officer-in-charge. “Our commanding officer can tell us to put any weapon system that can go on an F/A-18 and we make sure its on there and it works. The end result of our efforts is the bad guy dies.”
More than 125,000 pounds of ordnance has been used for Island Fury. The ordnance Marines split into day and night shifts who work 13 to 14 hours each, both needing tools and equipment to continue operations.
“Back home, if we needed a tool or a part for anything, we could just go down the street to a warehouse and get it,” said Payne. “MALS-12 has been essential in getting us what we need in a timely manner for us to continue being the best in the world.”
MALS-12 has been able to request and receive any part needed to keep the squadrons flying in less than 72 hours.
“We have a vast pipeline of support in this expeditionary environment,” said Master Gunnery Sgt. Nigel V. Francois, MALS-12 aviation supply chief. “We can reach all the way to Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 11 and Hawaii. We support these squadrons with anything they need from flight suits to aircraft parts. We emulate the same support as if the squadrons were at their parent commands.”
MALS-12 brought more than 2,000 items and equipment to maintain a self-sufficient support squadron.
“We are able to complete the mission and keep those birds flying no matter what situation presents itself,” Francois said.