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Wednesday February 8, 2006

VMMT-204 graduates first Osprey crew chiefs

MARINE CORPS AIR STATION NEW RIVER, N.C., USA ( Story by Lance Cpl. Samuel D. White ) - Two years ago, six men made the decision to become United States Marines. The future Marines had little in common, several were still in high school planning for spring break and their schools upcoming prom while others worked odd jobs. Most of them not knowing what an MV-22 was.

Since then, those six men have turned into warriors. They tackled the famous sand fleas of Parris Island or the treacherous hills of San Diego. Each of them earning the title ‘United States Marine,’ each earning the right to wear the eagle, globe and anchor.

On Jan. 25, through hard work and dedication, these Marines earned another significant emblem - their aircrew wings. These Marines became the first MV-22 crew chief graduating class of Marine Medium Tiltrotor Training Squadron-204.

“I never thought I’d be where I am today,” said Lance Cpl. Jacob A. Stinson, VMMT-204 crew chief and one of the six graduates. “It’s an honor to be one of the first graduates for the Osprey crew chief program.”

“Think of all the people you went to high school with, and I don’t care if they went off to Harvard or Yale or Brown or are studying to be a brain surgeon, none of them will probably ever have the responsibility that those six Marines will have,” said Col. Joel P. Kane, VMMT-204 commanding officer.

"Now, imagine someone saying to you, when you were in high school, you are going to become a crew chief and certify safe for flight the MV-22, an $80 million aircraft. The amount of money and the number of lives, for a high school or college graduate, is a huge responsibility,” added Kane.

Certified as one of the first crew chiefs to graduate from VMMT-204 might seem like a lot of pressure to handle, to the newest crew chiefs it’s just another day in their life in the Corps.

"Being the first to graduate from the squadron and to be trusted with the Osprey is a lot of responsibility,” said Stinson. “I just hope I can live up to it all.”

The graduation of these Marines is not only a significant event for the Osprey program and the graduates, but also to Marine aviation.

"This is a big deal for us as a squadron. This class is the first that we’ve put through since we as a squadron have returned to flight last October,” said Kane. “We’re pretty excited about the graduates making it through our current training program.”

A syllabus that took the Marines through a nine-month-long course, the graduates are ready to put their newly acquired skills to the test against the future of the aviation wing, said Kane.

“I know all the graduates are going to be successful,” said Kane.

Within the next few months, while three of the six Marines will stay with the ‘Raptors,’ the other half of the graduating class will transition to the future Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron-263, which will of stand up in March.

“I’m eager to get out there and join up with my new squadron,” said Lance Cpl. Yauncey A. Long, a future VMM-263 crew chief. “I just hope I don’t let the Marines, my leaders or the Corps down.”

  • News: Bell Boeing Delivers First V-22 Block B ( Dec 8, 2005 )
  • News: DoD Approves V-22 Full Rate Production ( Sep 28, 2005 )
  • News: MV-22 resume flight testing ( Feb 28, 2002 )
  • V-22 Osprey
  • Bell timeline
  • Boeing timeline