Ordnance Trains with high explosives during Asan Fury
ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam — Marine All- Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 533, the Hawks, trained with high explosives during Exercise Asan Fury.
Guam’s large air ranges are larger than Iwakuni’s and gives VMFA (AW )-533 ample space to drop ordnance.
The Hawks started their high explosive training July 15, 2013, and are scheduled to conclude the training July 26.
“Everything has been going well,” said Sgt. Matthew Carroll, a VMFA (AW )-533 aviation ordnance technician. “Usually, you start a little slow, gain momentum and teach your new guys who haven’t had the time to work with the high explosives yet. You teach them the routines and how to handle it. From there, everything just builds up until you get to a good pace."
The Hawks good pace means working long days and rarely getting an opportunity for a break.
“The days are long and you’re super exhausted after work, but I like it because it makes time go by a lot faster,” said Cpl. Ashley Russell, a VMFA (AW )-533 aviation ordnance technician.
Russell also said that since the high explosive training started, she is always moving and before she realizes it, it’s time for night crew to take over.
Guam is considered a tropical environment, which poses challenges for the Marines who work mostly on the flight line.
“You get to load at a different climate which is good training for the Marines,” said Carroll. “It teaches them to adapt and overcome. You have to maintain hydration. It’s an all-day go, go, go, and you really don’t get to stop for about 12 hours.”
Hot weather hasn’t been the only obstacle the Hawks have faced during Asan Fury.
“We’re not on a Marine Corps installation, so getting parts and supply has been a little more difficult,” said Carroll. “We have to try to work through our gripes and ensure that when we order a part, it is the exact part we need so that we’re not wasting our time and supplies time.”
Even with the presented challenge for VMFA (AW )-533 ordnance, the Marine Corps mentality of training for combat has really paid off.
“We always follow the same safety precautions, whether it’s an inert or high explosive,” said Carroll. “Sometimes they feel intimidated, but they learn that it’s no different from what we normally do.”
Overcoming these challenges shows the Hawks ability to overcome when put in unfamiliar situations.
“I’m definitely proud of my Marines, they are giving it their all,” said Carroll. “They’re getting all the good training and ensuring that the pilots get all the good training they need in order to accomplish their mission.”
Russell added she was impressed at how well the Marines are handling working long hours and adapting to a new environment.