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Mesa Verde Gets First Experience with Osprey

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS090903-08
Release Date: 9/3/2009 2:36:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class (SW) Hodges Pone III, USS Mesa Verde Public Affairs

NORFOLK (NNS) -- Members of USS Mesa Verde's (LPD 19) flight deck team had their first opportunity to provide support for an MV-22 Osprey during helicopter operations Aug. 31.

The aircraft from Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 162 (VMM 162) made six landings on the flight deck which gave the pilots a chance to train on landing and gave Mesa Verde personnel the experience of bringing an Osprey aboard the ship.

"It was a learning process for everyone because there were a lot of people on our team who hadn't worked with the Osprey before," said Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Fuels) 1st Class (SW) Greg Kucharski. "We were able to come together and accomplish bringing the aircraft onboard faster."

Before the Osprey made its first landing, there were measures put in place to ensure the safety of personnel working on the flight deck. Air Department utilized special equipment to make sure this happened in addition to receiving support from the pilot.

"This evolution was a great learning experience for our Flight Deck Team," said Lt. Dee Gordon, Mesa Verde Air Boss. "Through coordination between the V-22 flight crew and the hard work of our own team onboard, we were able to accomplish this first landing of the V-22 onboard Mesa Verde safely and without incident."

"This was my first time seeing an Osprey which is a very large aircraft," said Hull Technician 3rd Class Derek Bunch of the ship's repair division and flight deck team member. "With it being a bigger aircraft, there was a strong downwash. We did all we could to make sure all of the members of the team were safe and this was an overall safe evolution."

During one of the landings, the crew of the Osprey picked up members of Combat Logistics Battalion 24. Members of VMM 162 were impressed by how the Air Department was able to get the helicopter onboard as efficiently as they did.

"The flight deck crew handled bringing the helicopter aboard well," said Sgt. Zachary Brown of VMM 162. "They were fast in getting the Osprey on deck as well as off."

"I'm especially proud of the ship's flight deck crew," said Gordon. "They are the best in the Navy."

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