The retrieval of downed aircraft is a dangerous but crucial task for the Marines of Marine Wing Support Squadron 274.
The 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing unit honed their skills during an aircraft retrieval training exercise at Marine Corps Auxiliary Landing Field Bogue, Feb. 2.
Aircraft rescue and firefighting Marines, heavy equipment operators, bulk fuels specialists, motor transportation Marines and combat engineers worked hand-in-hand to retrieve a simulated downed aircraft. They were given a scenario and were tasked with providing a security perimeter around the aircraft while securing and transporting the aircraft in a safe and effective manner.
“There are multiple purposes for recovering an aircraft,” said 1st Lt. Joshua Adams, the motor transportation platoon commander with MWSS-274. “Recovering the aircraft gives us the ability to salvage parts off of it that may contain intelligence or special equipment. Recovering the aircraft also allows us to understand what happened during the crash.”
MWSS-274’s primary mission is to provide all essential aviation ground support requirements to a designated fixed-wing component of the Aviation Combat Element and all supporting or attached elements of the Marine Air Control Group. The ability to retrieve aircraft without the aid of outside resources increases the units’ effectiveness and their expeditionary capabilities.
“This training exercise is the first time many of us have been involved in an aircraft recovery,” said Lance Cpl. Michael Hayes, a motor vehicle operator with the squadron. “Knowing different scenarios and familiarizing ourselves with different approaches is giving us a better grasp on the protocol with firsthand experience.”
According to Adams, the Marines are also familiarizing themselves with tactical aircraft recovery prior to their training deployment to Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Ariz., where the Marines will be evaluated on their ability to perform the recovery with speed and proficiency.
“We train how we would answer to these calls,” explained Hayes. “When reality hits out on deployment, we will rely on the fundamentals we learned here to accomplish the mission.”
Story by Cpl. Neysa Huertas Quinones