Photo Information

Maj. Gen. Michael Rocco, commanding general of 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, speaks to Marines after an award ceremony inside Hangar 6 aboard Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, California, June 25, 2015. A team of twenty-four Marines from Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 166, VMM-268 and VMM-364 recieved awards for playing a role in returning a grounded MV-22 Osprey to operational flight status.

Photo by Cpl. Alissa Schuning

Marines awarded for returning MV-22 Osprey to flight status

29 Jun 2015 | Cpl. Alissa P. Schuning 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing

Twenty-four Marines with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron(VMM)166, VMM-268 and VMM-364 received awards for their part in successfully returning a MV-22 Osprey into flight status aboard Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, California, June 25.

The participating Marines received Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals or Certificates of Commendation from Maj. Gen. Michael Rocco, commanding general of the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing.

“These Marines were awarded because they took an MV-22B Osprey, the most in demand aircraft that we have in the Department of Defense, and returned another one into flight operations, which fills a big hole,” said Rocco.

For 278 days, the Osprey just took up space in the VMM-166 hangar until maintenance chiefs from multiple squadrons aboard the air station decided to get to work on returning it the sky.

The chiefs assembled a team of Marines from VMM-166, VMM-268 and VMM-364 who reintroduced the aircraft to the operational lineup.

Rocco said it was not the fact that the Marines brought an out-of-commission aircraft back into flight operations but, more importantly, that multiple units came together to do so.

According to Staff Sgt. Travis Borkowski, a maintenance chief with VMM-166, it is not common to rebuild an aircraft because most of them don’t get to that stage in order for a rebuild to be necessary.

It was not required for the squadrons to fix the Osprey, but Borkowski said, “It’s an aircraft. Its home is the sky and it needs to fly.”

As a result of their combined efforts, the Osprey passed the Standard Functional Flight Check, took a group of VIPs to the USS America and carried 121 Marines and more than 9000 pounds of equipment in support of Integrated Training Exercise 3-15 in Twentynine Palms, California.

“I am hugely proud of these Marines,” said Rocco. “They represent the best and brightest that we’ve got.”