Aircraft mentioned in this article :
US Marine Corps, June 02, 2014 - MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, NC by Cpl S.T. Stewart - Three KC-130J Super Hercules from Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 252 left Cherry Point May 27 for a week-long deployment in support of Marine Helicopter Squadron 1 as the helicopter squadron completed its first trans-Atlantic flight in the squadron’s MV-22B Ospreys.
Four Ospreys from HMX-1 crossed the Atlantic bound for the 70th D-Day Anniversary Ceremony in Normandy, France.
VMGR-252 provides close-air support, transport of troops and cargo and aerial refueling capabilities, which were all used during the flight. The KC-130J squadron transported crew members and cargo from HMX-1 from Quantico, Va., to Normandy.
“Our role is very important for this mission,” said Lt. Col. Scott M. Koltick, commanding officer of VMGR-252. “Not only did we provide the aerial refueling for the Ospreys, but we also assisted them in traversing the long distance and helped them with long range navigation.”
The seven-hour flight is easily accomplished by the Marine Corps’ largest aircraft, but the smaller Ospreys need assistance to make the trip due to their lower fuel capacity.
“Every time an Osprey goes across the water it has a C-130 with it,” said Cpl. David C. Searcy, a crew master with VMGR-252.
One of the most difficult parts of conducting an aerial refuel is the danger that comes with flying the aircraft so close to one other, according to Searcy.
“We send out hoses from the C-130 that the Ospreys hook up to, but they still have get pretty close to get the fuel,” he said. “Communication is important during the process. The Marines in the back of the plane are constantly communicating between me and the pilots, letting us know where the Ospreys are.”
According to Searcy, communication is what makes for a successful aerial refuel mission.