NOVEMBER 18, 2016, OSAN AIR FORCE BASE, Korea – Marine Wing Support Squadron 171, Marine All-Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 225 and other elements of Marine Aircraft Group 12 from Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, arrived at Osan Air Force Base, Korea, Nov. 15, 2016, to conduct unit level training and participate in exercise Vigilant Ace 17-1.
Vigilant Ace is a biannual, bilateral training event that exercises U.S. and Republic of Korea Air Force interoperability through simulated wartime tasking.
Each Marine squadron has a unique position in the exercise to train for survivability in a contaminated area. MWSS-171 will provide ground support consisting of refueling the jets, and aircraft rescue and firefighting.
“Marine Wing Support Squadron 171 will be working with VMFA (AW)-225 to support their flight operations and also augment Osan Air Force Base personnel,” said U.S. Marine Corps 1st Lt. Samuel Ernst, combat engineer with MWSS-171. “They will test their skills and cross-train with their Air Force counterparts to support the flying squadron.”
Ernst also said the Marines will learn valuable skills from the Air Force because they have more focused and robust assets when it comes to creating an airfield from scratch, making them a more heavyweight fighter. Marines focus on the same skills, but in an expeditionary capacity with rapid setups and tear downs.
For the first time, MAG-12 deployed a squadron size chemical biological radiological and nuclear defense capability to an operation at one time. Marines, USAF and ROK personnel will train together under a simulated contaminated environment to improve effectiveness in their mission oriented protective posture gear and abilities to fight under uncomfortable situations.
“MAG-12 CBRN is trying to achieve two things: working on our interoperability between CBRN and the USAF emergency management, and also the overall training with VMFA(AW) -225 in a CBRN environment,” said U.S. Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Samuel Curry III, MAG-12 CBRN chief.
U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Brock Money, an F-18D pilot with VMFA(AW) -225, said Marines have proven in the past they can overcome any obstacles in their way.
“Vigilant Ace is going to be conducted during the coldest season Osan Air Force Base will have all year,” said Money. “The Marines will continue to always keep pushing and finish any mission.”
Money was not alone in thinking that his Marines are more than prepared to complete this exercise.
“Throughout our history, Marines have overcome every obstacle they’ve faced,” said U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Scott Vigus, a weapons systems officer with VMFA(AW)-225. “For the Marines of VMFA(AW)-225, Vigilant Ace will prove to be the same. Through joint operations with ROKAF and United States Air Force aircraft, the Marines will continue to thrive in any clime and place.”
By Lance Cpl. Jacob Farbo, Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan