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A detachment of Marines with 1st Battalion, 11th Marines step off an MV-22B Osprey with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 161 “Greyhawks” aboard Marine Corps Air Station Camp Pendleton, Calif., Nov. 1. This was a routine flight for the squadron, but crucial to the ground unit’s mission aboard the island.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Christopher Johns

Greyhawks ensure Marines arrive home safely

7 Nov 2013 | Lance Cpl. Christopher Johns

San Clemente Island, Calif., is 75 miles away from San Diego, and only a few miles less from Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., meaning getting Marines with 1st Battalion, 11th Marines to the island by boat would take a while and a great deal of effort, but a much simpler method of travel is available – the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing. 
 
The eight-Marine detachment visited San Clemente Island, Calif., in order to recover and repair any destroyed systems to update them properly over a five day period.
 
In order to reach their objective area, the detachment asked for aid from the West Coast wing.
 
“[Seeking help from 3rd MAW] gives us the ability to do surveys in areas that are inaccessible from the ground,” said Lance Cpl. Jonathan Talbot, a surveillance sensor operator with the 11th Marines and a Lathrup Village, Mich., native. “Getting to these hard to reach spots helps us better support artillery firing batteries.”
 
After the detachment finished its mission, they called on the Greyhawks to help them get home.
 
Missions of this nature happen all the time for squadrons like Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 161, and help them prepare for combat situations.
 
“While deployed, picking up and moving passengers and cargo is vital to the forward operating base and future missions it can perform,” said Staff Sgt. Jayson Snyder, a crew chief with VMM-161 and a Phoenix native. “Practicing these techniques properly not only aids in supply and resupply, but can also be used to replace Marines in the field with other Marines for breaks.”
 
With the aircraft element to back them, the Marines on the ground can accomplish missions smoothly.
 
“Timeliness; that’s what we provide,” said Snyder. “We can get them to points and areas further away faster. [We are] a means for [ground Marines] to accomplish their missions in a timely and efficient manner.”
3rd Marine Aircraft Wing