ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam -- Despite the eye of Typhoon Vonfgong passing by Guam with winds estimated at 105 miles per hour on Oct. 6, Forager Fury III on Andersen Air Force Base was still a marked success.
An estimated 1,300 personnel participated in Forager Fury III, a Marine Corps led exercise, which emphasized unit level tactical aviation and aviation ground support to further develop a distributed, expeditionary combat capability while training within the Marianas Island range complex.
The training included close air support, forward air controller (airborne) training, air interdiction, air-to-air missions, defensive counter-air, offensive counter-air, air-to-surface and air-to-air missile shootings.
“Forager Fury III was a fantastic exercise punctuated by high quality unit level training on ranges supporting live ordnance deliveries,” said Col. Hunter H. Hobson, commanding officer of Marine Aircraft Group 12, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force. “These and other missions on these ranges greatly improve our combat readiness for the whole MAG, not just the aircrew and maintainers. We are a far more capable and ready unit following these exercises.”
Even with the weather posing an obstacle during the exercise fully canceling operations on Tinian earlier than expected, Marines did what they do best, adapt and overcome.
“Despite the harsh weather conditions, we managed to get more than a thousand hours in flight,” said Capt. Nicholas P. Minko, a pilot with MAG-12 operations.
The tactical exercise, but the participating service members also volunteered in the local community during their days off by visiting Guam’s Department of Youth Affairs’ inmates, helping repaint bus stops as part of a Habitat for Humanity project and also providing a chance for Okkodo High School’s Marine Corps Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps cadets to witness the different jobs the Marine Corps provides.
“It is important to give back to the neighboring community and to show that the armed services appreciate their support," said Petty Officer 1st Class Cosme Rosete, from Waimanalo, Hawaii, a religious program specialist with Marine Aircraft Group 12, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force.
"It is good to reflect a positive light on the armed services while we are here.”
“It was good for the Marines to have the cadets visit because they have a hand in forging the next generation of Marines, the ones that haven’t signed up yet,” according to Cmdr. Bob Vance, from Las Vegas, Nevada, a chaplain with MAG-12. “Anybody that has a chance to give back to the community, no matter what branch, is always good.”
With all the accomplishments of the service members and FF III complete, they can now return home.
“While we have been in Guam and Tinian, we have been hit by two tropical storms and a typhoon, not to mention an earthquake,” said Hobson. “Despite the challenging weather, the aircrew did a superb job managing risk and getting the most of every training opportunity.
"I am happy and very proud of the hard work and dedication shown by all of our Marines and sailors.”