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thedrifter
05-22-04, 06:21 PM
Top enlisted 'devil dog' takes first flight
Submitted by: MCAS New River
Story Identification #: 2004519153232
Story by Lance Cpl. Michael Angelo



MARINE CORPS AIR STATION NEW RIVER, N.C. - (May 19, 2004) -- Sgt. Maj. John L. Estrada, the 15th Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, made an appearance on MCAS New River May 13.

The purpose of Estrada's visit was to give him an opportunity to fly on the MV-22 Osprey and visit the warriors of Marine Tiltrotor Test and Evaluation Squadron-22.

The Marines gathered outside their hangar to greet their esteemed guest as he emerged from his C-130 Hercules aircraft.

The squadron was joined by the squadron sergeant major, Sgt. Maj. Roderick S. Fuller, of Charlotte, N.C., as well as a news crew and a local reporter.

“I believe we have a very good program here," said Fuller. "His [Estrada] visit was a great opportunity for the Marines and everyone else to see that.”

After the sergeant major's 40-minute flight around the New River and Jacksonville area, he conducted an interview with local news personnel and then spoke to the squadron in their ready room.

During the brief Estrada shared his views of the aircraft with the Marines.

“This was my first experience in an Osprey. I was once very skeptical of it, but now, I’m very impressed. I felt safe the whole time,” said Estrada. "I can say this aircraft has a future in combat situations.”

The Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps also mentioned that he believed the Osprey to be a revolutionary aircraft for aviation and only his busy schedule keeps him from pursuing flight wings for the Osprey.

At the conclusion of the briefing with the squadron, Estrada joked around with the squadron personnel and shared photographic opportunities with them.

Upon leaving the ready room, Estrada promised the Marines of VMX-22 he would return to Washington to brag of the Osprey and the Marines behind its success.

http://www.usmc.mil/marinelink/image1.nsf/Lookup/2004519162533/$file/LOWONE.jpg

Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, Sgt. Maj. John L. Estrada, who hails from Washington, D.C., speaks to Marines of VMX-22 about the MV-22 Osprey on May 13. Photo by: Lance Cpl. Michael Angelo

http://www.usmc.mil/marinelink/image1.nsf/Lookup/2004519163213/$file/LOWTHREE.jpg

Sgt. Maj. John L. Estrada exits the Osprey after his flight. In addition to flying, Estrada came to visit with the Marines of Marine Tiltrotor Test and Evaluation Squadron-22. Photo by: Lance Cpl. Michael Angelo

http://www.usmc.mil/marinelink/mcn2000.nsf/main5/F9ADF8E79B1AC35185256E99006B5942?opendocument

Ellie