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Photo Information

Marine All-Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 121 FA-18D Hornets are the first jets to land on Tinian May 23 during Exercise Geiger Fury 2012. The arresting gear instillation was set in coral terrain and the pilots of VMFA (AW) were the first to have ever made a coral arrestment.

Photo by Lance Cpl. J. Gage Karwick

MAG-12 Hornets swarm to be first on Tinian

22 May 2012 | Lance Cpl. J. Gage Karwick Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan

The first F/A-18D Hornets from Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 121, Marine Aircraft Group 12, landed on the island of Tinian’s West Field May 23 during Exercise Geiger Fury 2012.

The F/A-18Ds were the first to have ever landed on the island of Tinian.

Since the M-31 Arresting gear setup was the first to have ever been assembled on coral terrain, there was some speculation toward its effectiveness.

“All of our Marines came out and brought their ‘A’-game and nothing less,” said Staff Sgt. Travis W. Goodwin, an expeditionary airfield technician runway supervisor with Marine Wing Support Squadron 171, MAG-12. “I was a little worried since this arrestment has never been done before, but I have absolute faith in my Marines and after the first jet landed, we all knew the mission was a success.”

The training occurred in order to establish the effectiveness of the coral setup of the arresting gear. Four Hornets took three arrestments each in less than one hour and 15 minutes.

“Our goal was 10 arrestments in under an hour,” said Goodwin. ”We were able to do 12 in less than an hour. I don’t believe that has ever been done before. It was an amazing feat and the Marines out here pulled it off.”

Given that an arrestment on coral terrain had never been attempted before, safety was the main concern throughout the training.

“Myself and a lot of the other Marines were really nervous,” said Lance Cpl. Eric J. LaVigne, an expeditionary airfield technician crewman with MWSS-171, MAG-12. “When it all went right, we stopped holding our breath.”

The training continues on Tinian for Exercise Geiger Fury 2012.

The MAG-12 and MWSS-171 Marines are pushing through daily training evolutions in order to better themselves and to accomplish any mission when called to respond to future real-world contingencies.