April 16, 2012
By Lance Cpl. Kris Daberkoe, Marine Forces Africa
AGADIR, Morocco — The silhouette of KC-130 Hercules aircrafts could be seen against the Moroccan sun as pilots and crew members took to the skies to provide U.S. and Moroccan servicemembers with logistical support during Exercise African Lion 12, April 12.
Exercise African Lion is an U.S. African Command sponsored, Marine Forces Africa-led exercise that involves various types of training such as command post, live-fire and maneuvering, peace keeping operations and aerial refueling and low-level flight training; all designed to improve interoperability and mutual understanding of each nation’s military knowledge.
“Nearly everyday of the exercise the squadron has conducted logistics runs in support of Task Force African Lion, filling a critical need of lifting supplies between Tan-Tan and Agadir,” said Maj. Brian Richardson, the officer in charge of the Marines with Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 234.
The squadron has conducted approximately 24 logistics operations since the beginning of the exercise with the majority of operations being the transportation of staff and personnel, Richardson added.
KC-130s are capable of transporting a maximum of 92 passengers during a single flight. VMGR-234 began supporting the logistical needs of AL-12 by delivering five 88 inch by 108 inch, pallets containing the gear required to establish a command and control center, said Richardson.
During logistics operations crew members guaranteed the safety of passengers aboard flights and were responsible for ensuring pallets and assets are secured to the loading rails, located along the edges of the cargo hold, said Sgt. Jose Marmolejo, a load master with VMGR-234.
“One of the things that make a VMGR such a valuable asset to the task force is we can perform aerial refueling for fixed-wing and rotorary aircraft as part of regularly scheduled training, but when changes happen we can react to that too,” said Richardson.