OKINAWA, Japan --
U.S. Marines with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 363 stationed at Marine Corps Base Hawaii executed one of the longest maritime VMM self-deployment flights in 1st Marine Aircraft Wing history in preparation for Balikatan 2022. The total distance flown by the MV-22 Ospreys was over 4,730 nautical miles.
“This movement has significant strategic value in demonstrating VMM-363’s ability to self-deploy across the INDOPACOM AOR and reaffirms the capability and operational reach that the MV-22 Osprey brings to the nation’s naval expeditionary force-in-readiness,” said Lt. Col. Joe Whitefield, Commanding Officer of VMM-363.
Balikatan 2022, which the MV-22 Ospreys deployed in preparation of, is the 37th iteration of the Philippine-led annual exercise taking place across Luzon, from March 28 to April 8. Balikatan is an annual exercise designed to afford Armed Forces of the Philippines and U.S. military members the opportunity to train shoulder-to-shoulder focusing on maritime security, amphibious operations, live-fire training, urban operations, aviation operations, counterterrorism, humanitarian assistance, and disaster relief. Approximately 3,800 AFP members and 5,100 U.S. Military personnel are scheduled to participate in this year’s training.
“Long-range movements of this nature validate the operational mobility of the squadron in support of joint, naval, and Marine Corps operating concepts as outlined in Force Design 2030." Lt. Col. Joe Whitefield, Commanding Officer of VMM-363
For this iteration of Balikatan, the squadron is supporting Amphibious Operations and conducting Assault Support across the island of Luzon. Balikatan also provides an opportunity to integrate with other USMC, joint, and partner nation forces on multiple levels throughout the exercise.
“Long-range movements of this nature validate the operational mobility of the squadron in support of joint, naval, and Marine Corps operating concepts as outlined in Force Design 2030,” said Whitefield.
Expeditionary Advanced Base Operations is a form of warfare that involves the use of mobile, relevant, ready, and sustainable naval forces from temporary locations either on or near land, quickly in order to conduct sea denial, support sea control, or enable fleet sustainment. The forward posture and advanced level of readiness gained through long-range training means that 1st MAW can establish expeditionary advanced bases at the time and place of its choosing in support of a larger naval campaigns.
1st MAW trains continuously with the joint forces, partners and allies in challenging and realistic environments and scenarios. The events in preparation for Balikatan 2022, provide affirmation to the Indo-Pacific forces that 1stMAW remains proficient, ready, and forward postured as the III Marine Expeditionary Force’s air combat element.