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Squadron Plays Pivotal Role in Marine Aviation
Marine Aerial Refueler and Transport Squadron 252 plays integral roles
in air combat innovation and military operations throughout the world.
By Cpl. J.R. Stence / Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point

MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C., July 13, 2006 – Marine Aerial Refueler and Transport Squadron 252, the squadron that performed the first in-flight helicopter refueling more than 30 years ago, continues to play integral roles in air combat innovation and military operations throughout the world.

As Lt. Col. David A. Krebs took the reigns of Marine Aerial Refueler and Transport Squadron 252 June 30, he spoke enthusiastically about the opportunity to assume command of a squadron that is flexible enough to be deployed and stretched thin.

The squadron recently participated in the first transatlantic MV-22 Osprey flight.

Meanwhile, approximately 25 percent of the squadron is deployed to Iraq, and the maintenance department is busy transitioning Marines to the newest model of the Hercules.

Ideally, no squadron would be tasked with all of these different types of missions simultaneously, said Krebs, but “the Wing has to operate, and Marine Aerial Refueler and Transport Squadron 252 is kind of the behind-the-scenes support on just about everything that's going on in the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force.”

The squadron’s far-reaching involvement is due to its presence as the only aerial refueling and transport squadron in 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force, he explained.

Saturday, the squadron played a crucial role in the transatlantic Osprey flight, which tested the reliability of the Marine Corps' tilt-wing aircraft.

One KC-130J from Marine Aerial Refueler and Transport Squadron 252 provided one Osprey, from Test and Evaluation Squadron 22, Marine Corps Air Station New River, N.C., with in-flight refueling during a nine-hour flight from Goose Bay, Canada, to Farnborough, England.

In England, the Osprey is supporting the Royal International Air Tattoo and Farnborough Air Show.

Krebs called the sortie a milestone for Marine Corps aviation. The MV-22, an aircraft intended to replace the CH-46 and CH-53, will potentially streamline Marine Corps aviation by filling the role of a twin turboprop aircraft and a vertical take off and landing aircraft.

The transatlantic flight brings the Marine Corps closer to incorporating the Osprey into real world operations, said Krebs.

Other views of the squadron's flexibility are visible in changes in training requirements within the KC-130 community.

See Caption.
Marine Aerial Refueler and Transport Squadron 252 stays moving on multiple fronts. The squadron assisted in the first transatlantic MV-22 Osprey flight this weekend, has 25 percent of its assets deployed to Iraq and remains busy transitioning mechanics to the KC-130J, the newest model of the Hercules, here at the Air Station. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. J.R. Stence

Marine Aerial Refueler and Transport Squadron 252's sister squadron, Marine Aerial Refueler and Transport Training Squadron 253, will deactivate on Oct. 1.

This has led to a shift in training for C-130 pilots to Marine Aircraft Group 14's new KC-130J Auxiliary Training Unit and trainers at Little Rock Air Force Base.

VMGR-252 provides final qualifications through the use of cockpit simulator training and additional flight training.

Also, VMGR-252 has been busy training up its mechanics on the newest model of the KC-130, which was introduced to the fleet in 2002, and which has been constantly seen combat in Iraq.

With 12 KC-130Js, Cherry Point is the only Air Station with a VMGR community comprised entirely of the replacements for the earlier Legacy model of the KC-130.

Sgt. Josh B. Bryant, the squadron maintenance cont-roller, said the squadron's operational tempo requires most of their training to be on the job.

“It seems like every day, you’re learning something new,” Bryant said.

According to retired Master Gunnery Sgt. Nick Dicandia, the KC-130J contact field maintenance team supervisor with Lockheed Martin, VMGR-252 can expect to remain a central part of developments in military aviation.

The KC-130J was made to be compatible with the Joint Strike Fighter, which should replace the AV-8B Harrier in coming years, he said.

The Joint Strike Fighter is projected to enter service in 2011.
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Dec. 18, 2014
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