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Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan


Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan

MCAS Iwakuni is a mission-ready air station, capable of providing continuous base-operating support for tenant organizations and follow-on U.S. and allied forces during training, combat or contingency (HA/DR) operations throughout the Indo-Asia Pacific region.
Ordnance Marines help jets hit targets during Exercise Haribon Tempest 2013

By Cpl. Vanessa Jimenez | | June 12, 2013


Through extreme heat and humidity, ordnance Marines worked hard during Exercise Haribon Tempest 2013 to help mission accomplishment. HT13 took place June 10-14.

The bilateral, small-scope training included close-air support, airborne forward air control, and dissimilar combat training in order to increase the proficiency of Marine Aircraft Group 12 and The Philippine Air Force.

The ordnance Marines were with Marine All-Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 242 and Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 122.

Their job was to load jets with MK 76 practice bombs and Laser Guided Training Rounds practice ordnance, check the ordnance and arm the jets before flights.

 Being without their usual gear didn’t stop the Marines from ensuring jets made it into the air with munitions.

“We’ve had to rely on external support here when transporting our ordnance back and forth from the storage area,” said Gunnery Sgt. Octavio Gomez, VMFA-122 ordnance staff noncommissioned officer in charge. “But, as Marines, we adapt and overcome, so we accepted the resources provided and met the mission just like we were supposed to.”

Even in their unusual situation, the Marines worked tirelessly to ensure mission accomplishment.

“The difference between working in Iwakuni and here is waiting for other people to bring us the gear we usually have on a daily basis,” said Sgt. Ian Wheeler, an ordnance technician with VMFA(AW)-242. “We usually have that gear on hand all the time so we had to utilize time management more efficiently. I think Marines adapt and overcome no matter what they do because everywhere we go is going to be different. As long as the Marines are trained well, they’ll figure out how to make it work.”

Another benefit of the training included furthering the job proficiency and skills of the ordnancemen.

“This is good for the Marines because they’re learning everything about the weapon systems and it’s helping them become more proficient in their jobs,” said Wheeler. “In Iwakuni, we don’t get the opportunity to deal with ordnance all the time. I definitely think this exercise is good training for groundside guys, the ordies that haven’t been here for very long, because they’re getting the opportunity to be hands-on.”

 HT13 helped maintain a high level of interoperability, enhanced military-to-military relations, and combined combat capabilities.

“My favorite part of my job is being able to put ordnance on jets and knowing the pilots are going out there and accomplishing their mission,” said Wheeler. “It helps us all become more proficient. I like being part of that big picture.”