FORT BRAGG, N.C. – Paratroopers from 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division conducted a joint air assault operation using MV-22B Osprey tilt rotor aircraft during “Panther Storm,” a 4-day Mission Readiness Exercise conducted November 3-6.This was the first known time the Division has employed the Marine Aircraft for Joint Forcible Entry operations during a training exercise.The unique aircraft offers the ground force commander increased range and air speed over traditional rotary-wing platforms, allowing for more long-range assault, support, and troop insertion options.“We are looking into vertical lift capability for JFE operations in order to get forces in the deep fight much faster,” said Col. Eugene Ferris, commander of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team. “As we look to penetrate and get forces into the deep fight, it is important to hone our skills as a joint force and utilize all assets available.”The operation involved three Ospreys, flown by the VMM-261 “Raging Bulls,” a Marine Corps Squadron based at Marine Corps Air Station-New River in Jacksonville, N.C. The aircraft air assaulted one dismounted troop from 5th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment as a part of the exercise.Marine Capt. Victor Bowen, an MV-22B pilot, spoke about the planning process and the great learning opportunity.“As a junior aircraft commander, this was invaluable training to plan and execute a joint mission with the Army.”Capt. Katrina Herrera, also an MV-22B pilot agreed, adding that it was great integrating with the ground force commander to support the scheme of maneuver.“The soldiers were a pleasure to work with and I am glad I got to learn more about how a brigade combat team operates and the unique capabilities they also bring to the fight.”As the nation’s Immediate Response Force, joint training like this it is vital for the Division to plan, integrate, and train in joint environments as often as possible.“It will take detailed planning and interoperability across all the branches of service to add the most lethal means to the fight.” Ferris said.The Osprey is an American tiltrotor military aircraft with both vertical takeoff and landing capability. With its rotors in vertical position, it can take off, land, and hover like a helicopter. Once airborne, it can convert to a turboprop airplane.The United States Marine Corps is the lead service in the Osprey’s development. The Marine Corps’ variant is an assault transport for troops and equipment that can operate from land and sea.The MV-22B can transport up to 24 passengers and can travel up to 280 knots per hour. It has a nautical mile range of 900 kilometers and its reach capability provides the ground forces an opportunity to seize key objectives in a timely manner.Article written by Capt. Alyssa Timms.For more information about the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, contact Maj. Deirdra Johnson at deirdra.d.johnson.mil@mail.mil