MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan -- Marines have become a self-sufficient entity with most of their equipment in place, waiting for the arrival for the main body of exercise Forager Fury II.
The joint exercise is designed to employ and assess combat power generation in a deployed and austere environment.
“We’ll be supporting the air operation section of exercise Forager Fury II,” said Cpl. Carmello Caputa, a semitrailer refueler operator with Marine Wing Support Squadron 171, Marine Aircraft Group 12, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force. “Fuel will help because it gives needed ground support for the F-18s that will fly back and forth from Tinian to Guam. My job is extremely crucial because I deliver fuel where ever it’s needed.”
If aircraft do not receive the correct amount of fuel, then Marines will have missed a valuable training opportunity on the air field, according to Sgt. Obrain Rodriguez, an expeditionary airfield crew leader with MWSS 171.
“West Field is going to have several F-18s landing by the beginning of next month,” said Rodriguez. “We’re going to conduct training using the M-31 arresting gear and we want to make sure the Marines understand the concept of a safe arrestment.”
The Marines of MWSS-171 Marines also established a tactical airfield fuel dispensing system to take advantage of their storage capabilities according to Staff Sgt. Colter Plumhoff, West Field’s air operations staff-noncommissioned officer-in-charge with MWSS-171.
“We store (the fuel) into the (TAFDS) which we issue out to aircraft, vehicles and anything else that needs fuel,” said Plumhoff. “It’s short term storage for the amount of fuel we’re going to need. We have a 60,000 gallon capacity on deck here and we’ll store the fuel long enough to issue it to the aircraft.”
Supervision is critical to ensuring junior Marines are properly trained during the exercise.
“For the gear, we have many different positions,” said Rodriguez. “The deck coordinator oversees the entire arrestment training and also gives signals to the engine operators. With two engines, we have a point man. He has direct communication with the pilot. The point man is going to make sure the pilot knows what to do. For example, the point man tells the pilot when to apply the brakes or release them.”
With everything in place, Marines continue to practice their training as they wait for the beginning of FA-18 flight operations in early December.