SAKIBE AIR BASE, SASEBO, Japan (Friday Nov. 18, 2016) -- Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 262 (Reinforced) demonstrated humanitarian aid and disaster relief capabilities for Norio Tomonaga, mayor of Sasebo, and the Assemblymen of Defense for Sasebo City, Friday Nov. 18, 2016 at Sakibe Air Base in Sasebo, Japan.
The unit demonstrated the MV-22B Osprey tiltrotor aircraft’s capabilities during a humanitarian aid exercise with the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force at multiple locations, and conducted refueling procedures with JMSDF personnel at Omura Air Base, before returning to Okinawa.
“It shows the speed, strength and range of the MV-22B; in one day, we traveled from Okinawa to mainland, executed our training, refueled and returned to Okinawa,” said Capt. Austin Stobaugh, Weapons and Tactics Instructor for VMM-262 (Rein.).
The demonstration began with a simulated earthquake to the west of Kyushu, Japan. An Osprey transported humanitarian aid supplies to the Goto Islands. During the flight, the Osprey encountered a ship-in-distress scenario and provided support.
The demonstration provided the Japanese community leaders with a real-time example of the 31st MEU’s humanitarian aid and disaster relief capabilities, as well as their ability to work with the Japanese Self-Defense Force when providing tactical defense of the Asia-Pacific region.
The 31st MEU provides combatant commanders with a highly adaptive Air-Ground Task Force able to respond a wide range of military operations. After a series of earthquakes struck the Japanese Prefecture of Kumamoto, approximately 130 Marines and Sailors provided support to disaster relief operations led by the JSDF, at request of the Japanese Government.
“We enjoy getting any opportunity to work with the JSDF,” Stobaugh said. “It gives us the chance to continue to develop our interoperability and partner relations with Japan.”