ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam --
Marine All-Weather Fighter Attack Squadrons 224 and 225, Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 12, and Marine Aircraft Group 12 Marines and sailors work in unison to support Exercise Island Fury aboard Andersen Air Force Base.
Island Fury began early October and is a month-long exercise.
Island Fury is a multi-service exercise, firmly grounded in the successes and lessons learned from Exercise Geiger Fury 2012, conducted by MAG-12 in the Marianna Island Range Complex this past May, that allowed Marine Corps squadrons to work together with Air Force counterparts to improve air-to-air and air-to-ground training, and also practice working with sister services to increase operational readiness and improve core expeditionary combat capabilities in this area of operation.
A well-planned and executed exercise needs capable squadrons that can complete the mission. Capable squadrons need more than just pilots and mechanics. Many unsung heroes of a squadron spend more time behind a computer than with a wrench in hand.
“Maintenance control is the life line of the squadron,” said Sgt. Victor Pagan-Diaz, VMFA (AW )-224 maintenance control noncommissioned officer-in-charge. “Everything happens through maintenance control. We dictate all the work that happens on all the aircraft and make sure the aircraft are safe to fly.”
The logistics of an exercise reinforces mission readiness. “I ensure all the components on an aircraft are in specified limits so they don’t fail,” said Cpl. Justin T. Frye, VMFA (AW )-225 aviation maintenance administration specialist. “Each part has a certain amount of hours of use in it. I make sure the components are never used past their lifespan and are maintained regularly.”
“If a component is nearing the end of its life cycle, then I get the replacement for the mechanics to install,” Frye added.
Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni does not have the training areas required to conduct core competency expeditionary airfield operations. Guam allows for necessary training to increase expeditionary readiness and simulate a deployed, austere environment.
Both squadrons use live ordnance at the range here and fly simulated scenarios to maintain proficiency in air-to-air and air-to-ground operations.
“My Marines make sure the weapon systems on the aircraft work rain or shine,” said Gunnery Sgt. William B. Payne, VMFA (AW )-225 ordnance staff noncommissioned officer-in-charge.
“Our commanding officer can tell us to put any weapon system that can go on an F/A-18 and we make sure it’s on there and it works. The end result of our efforts is the bad guy dies.”