US Marine Corps, June 15, 2015 - MARINE CORPS AIR STATION NEW RIVER, N.C. by Lance Cpl. Fatmeh Saad - Spirits ran high aboard the Karel Doorman, a warship with the Royal Netherlands Navy, as U.S. Marines with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 261 made the first MV-22 Osprey landing aboard a Dutch ship during an interoperability test conducted near Marine Corps Air Station New River, North Carolina, June 12.
“What we normally do is support the forces ashore,” said Capt. Peter van den Berg, the commanding officer of the warship.
To better support ground forces, the amphibious unit recognizes it needs aircraft support, said van den Berg.
“That’s why the Netherlands Navy is very interested in cooperating and integrating with the U.S. Marine Corps and operating the Osprey from our decks,” said van den Berg. “The Osprey is capable of doing large airlifts at a time, instead of a smaller helicopter – an Osprey can take much more personnel back to shore.”
The landing was the first of its kind and tested the interoperability of the two military entities, as well as the Dutch’s ability to host the American aircraft aboard their ships through carrier landings.
“The majority of people live within 300 nautical miles of the ocean,” said Capt. Matthew Thompson, a Marine with VMM-261 and the pilot and operations officer for the exercise. “With that in mind, the true Marine aspect of ‘from the sea, to the shore,” is increasingly important. Being able to land on a ship, or sea base from a ship, and move people, things, to the shore is increasingly important.”
The test included five landings aboard the warship along with a refuel check to test the Osprey’s ability to receive fuel from the Dutch warship.
“[This test] supports the mission of the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing because when units from 2nd MAW move forward, they sometimes work in concert with coalition partners and that may include the Dutch one day,” said Thompson.
Thompson said building a stronger relationship and testing the units’ ability to integrate was the central focus of the carrier landings.
“The MV-22 Osprey provides commanders with unprecedented agility and operational reach,” said Thompson.
The U.S military has a long-standing history working with their Dutch counterparts, a partnership both units expressed an interest in deepening.
“Having the knowledge that we learned today can help us when we move forward, if we ever work with the Dutch, which I think is a very real possibility … especially when we saw the amount of compatibility that we have from a simple exercise like today,” said Thompson.