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thedrifter
04-11-07, 12:29 PM
Breaking News: Osprey squadron to deploy

Commandant Gen. James Conway is expected to announce Friday the first deployment of an MV-22 Osprey squadron, according to a Pentagon release.

Ellie

thedrifter
04-11-07, 05:24 PM
First Osprey squadron to deploy
By Trista Talton - Staff writer
Posted : Wednesday Apr 11, 2007 17:03:48 EDT

JACKSONVILLE, N.C. — Commandant Gen. James Conway is expected to announce Friday the first deployment of an MV-22 Osprey squadron, according to a Pentagon release.

Until then, officials are remaining mum on where Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 263, based at Marine Corps Air Station New River, N.C., will deploy. The squadron is expected to deploy late summer or early fall this year.

In early March, the squadron wrapped up several weeks of integration training with Camp Lejeune-based Marines. Part of the training was to get the Osprey more exposure to ground troops as the program attempts to overcome its troubled past.

VMM-263 was the first of the Corps’ now three operational Osprey squadrons. The other squadrons include VMM-162 and VMM-266, which stood up late last month.

The Osprey is phasing out the Corps’ aged fleet of CH-46 Sea Knights. The West Coast transition will likely begin around late 2009, early 2010, followed by overseas squadrons. There are three remaining Sea Knight squadrons on the East Coast, six on the West Coast and two on Okinawa, Japan.

The Corps’ growing Osprey fleet includes 43 war birds at New River and four test tilt-rotors at Patuxent River, Md., said James Darcy, Osprey program spokesman at Pax River. The Corps is set to receive another 13 Ospreys this year.

Two Ospreys crashed in 2000, killing a total of 23 Marines.

Ellie