Wasp Flight Deck Qualifies for MV-22s
The USS Wasp (LHD 1) Air Department completed their final MV-22 Osprey qualification March 18, certifying them to perform launch and recovery evolutions.
Air Department faced some obstacles during the qualification period; however, they were able to overcome them allowing the operation to occur with no difficulty.
"It was just business as usual," said Wasp Flight Deck Leading Chief Petty Officer Chief Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Handling) Omar Lee. "Wasp has had more experience with MV-22s than any other L-Class ship in the fleet. Though several of the aircrew is green, the evolution went great."
The Osprey, piloted by Marines from the Marine Medium Tilt Rotor squadron (VMM) 261 gave many of the new Air Department Sailors a great opportunity to gain experience in performing procedures with the aircraft.
"This is my first time [launching and recovering Osprey]," said Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Handling) 3rd Class Blessing Essien. "It was a great chance to learn a lot. Everyone, even the pilots, were getting training. And the more we know and understand, the safer and smarter we can perform our job, and the better positions we can hold with the crew."
Wasp has the distinction of delivering MV-22 Ospreys to their historical, first-ever combat deployment mission in October 2007. Many Sailors from Wasp's Air Department, who made this historic voyage, were glad to have the opportunity to train with the aircraft once again.
"We're really just knocking off rust," said Wasp Flight Deck Leading Petty Officer Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Handling) 1st Class German Cruz. "We performed this evolution on the first surge (in 2007). This is really just a refresher to some of us. I am confident that we have a good crew on the flight deck and we all trust each other."
This qualification means Wasp is now ready to accomplish one of the key goals of the upcoming surge deployment, the retrieval of an MV-22 squadron currently deployed to the Central Command Area of Responsibility.
"The months of training that the entire crew has participated in, the sacrifices they've made with long hours have paid off with a stellar performance during this final inspection," said Wasp Commanding Officer Capt. Daniel H. Fillion. "Not only is our ship combat ready, but we have all the qualifications we need to complete the mission, and to complete the mission in a varsity manner. With this final certification, we're ready to take the fight to the enemy."
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