By Cpl. Joseph Abrego, Marine Corps Air Station IwakuniAugust 15, 2017
U.S. Marines with Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron (VMGR) 152 arrived at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Washington, Aug. 13, 2017.
VMGR-152 "Sumos" will conduct training as part of unit-level training Evergreen, which will serve as the squadron's 2017 Marine Corps Combat Readiness Evaluation.
The Sumos will conduct tri-lateral training with the U.S. Army 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment and U.S. Army 1st Special Forces Group to gain valuable insight on the most recent Operation Inherent Resolve assault-support tactics. The squadron will also conduct division formation flights with stateside-based VMGR squadrons.
"Unit-level training detachments like this allow us to train in all the various mission sets that we are expected to execute," said U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Brian Miller, director of standardization and safety with VMGR-152. "We do a lot of cargo runs and have fewer opportunities to conduct the other missions that the KC-130J and its aircrew can accomplish."
VMGR-152 stands to gain various qualifications through Evergreen and execute training missions outside their everyday operations.
"This unit-level training allows us to achieve various pilot and enlisted aircrew qualifications and training," said Miller. "On this detachment we will be able to conduct low altitude tactics, aerial delivery of both personnel and cargo, threat reaction tactics, air-to-air refueling with various helicopter assets to include special operations MH-47's and MH-60's from the army, aviation delivered ground refueling, tactical navigation and night vision goggle training. We should come away from this detachment having made one new aerial delivery instructor, basic instructor pilot, division lead pilot, night systems instructor crew master and a few others."
Through an aggressive schedule of various and diverse mission sets, the squadron also has the opportunity to build on inter-service cohesion.
"Interoperability is a big thing to gain from this unit-level training," said U.S. Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Leighton P. Gaddis, maintenance controller with VMGR-152. "It allows us to get with other services who do things a bit differently and find the common ground for what works and can translate well into real-world scenarios."
Evergreen is aimed to enhance combat readiness, maintain VMGR-152's high level of proficiency and provide experience to all those participating in the training.
"I expect nothing less of the Marines than to do what they do best," said Gaddis. "They will maintain the same level of professionalism they always do, execute orders proficiently and complete all assigned tasks."