Marines with 1st Battalion, 8th Marines Regiment unload from MV-22B Osprey in Helmand province, Afghanistan, Jan. 17. This was the last mission flown during Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 162’s six month deployment in Helmand province, Afghanistan. (Photo by Cpl. Justin Boling)
CAMP BASTION, Afghanistan (January 17, 2012) — A Marine Corps MV-22B Osprey squadron flew its final combat mission, to complete its deployment to Afghanistan.
Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 162 has been deployed at Camp Bastion, Afghanistan, for more than six months. The Marines will soon return to Marine Corps Air Station New River, N.C.
The squadron’s final mission in Afghanistan was to transport Marines with 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment to a small patrol base in Helmand province, who will relieve Marines of 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment.
“These Marines are extremely proficient, and helpful to us ‘ground pounders,’” said Staff Sgt. Ricky Lara, a platoon sergeant with 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment. “My guys have a lot to worry about once we get on the ground but in the air we know we are in the good hands of our fellow Marines.”
Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 162 flies the MV-22B Osprey. The Osprey has the ability to takeoff vertically like a helicopter, and then tilt its rotors forward granting speed and maneuverability comparable to a traditional airplane.
The Marine Corps relies on the versatile Osprey for various missions in Afghanistan including troop and cargo transport, battlefield illumination, aerial resupply and assault insert of combat troops. Marine Corps Ospreys are deployed as part of 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward), the aviation combat element for the southwestern regional command of the NATO International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan.
Marines of Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 162 are preparing to return to friends and family in the United States, and MV-22B Osprey support in southwestern Afghanistan will now come from Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 365, also deployed from Marine Corps Air Station New River, N.C.
“The one word to describe the feeling we have is satisfied,” said Capt. Creighton Murrieta, an MV-22B Osprey pilot with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 162. “We have moved so many people and so much equipment, and we are just excited to go home and spend time with our friends and loved ones.”