GWANGJU AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- Semitrailer refueler operators with Marine Wing Support Squadron 171 traveled throughout Gwangju Air Base, Republic of Korea, refueling Marine, Navy, and Air Force aircraft, April 16, 2014, in support of Exercise Max Thunder 14-1.
Exercise MT14-1 is a United States Air Force, 7th Air Force, semi-annual training event consisting of composite and coalition flight training between the U.S. military and Republic of Korea Air Force. The primary focus of the exercise is integrated planning and execution of aerial interdiction and defensive counter air large force exercise operations, with a secondary focus on dissimilar air combat tactics, close air support and combat search and rescue.
In support of the exercise, MWSS-171 provided five Marines to augment Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 122. These men were chosen by their adept skills and their potential to learn and improve their military occupational specialty.
“We are here mainly for VMFA-122, however, when we were presented with opportunity to work with our sister services, we jumped at the chance,” said Sgt. Keith Young, a semitrailer refueler operator with MWSS-171. “This exercise provides us the opportunity to not only to work on F/A-18s and F-16s, but, also chances to learn and practice procedures used by the other services and the ROK Air Force.”
During the exercise, refuelers utilize R-11 aircraft refueling tank trucks, the U.S. Air Force variant of the MK31 Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacement Tractor used by the Marine Corps.
“Getting used to the new equipment was a little challenging at first,” said Cpl. Luis Lara, a semitrailer refueler operator with MWSS-171. “However, the R-11 can carry a larger amount of jet fuel and is more practical for this situation. I’m glad I received the opportunity to work with these vehicles.”
Lara said he is looking forward to working with other services’ aircraft during MT14-1, seeing it as an opportunity rarely presented aboard Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan.