Marines land en masse on Ie Shima
US Marine Corps News
12/2/2011 By Lance Cpl. Ronald K. Peacock, Marine Corps Bases Japan
IE SHIMA, OKINAWA, Japan — Marines with 1st Marine Aircraft Wing boarded KC-130J Hercules cargo aircraft bound for Ie Shima Nov. 28 where they will participate in this year’s iteration of Ryukyu Warrior.
The exercise is an annual Marine air command and control systems training evolution, which gives squadrons and personnel within 1st MAW and units from other services the opportunity to be involved in simulated exercises, familiarize personnel with equipment, and give new Marines an opportunity to gain experience.
Pilots with Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 152, flew six sorties, delivering personnel to the island in preparation for the exercise.
“When you are dealing with this amount of air traffic in one day, communication is key,” said Lance Cpl. Dylan W. Lundquist, a range warden with the Operational Support Detachment Ie Shima. “We have to make sure everyone is safe and air traffic is running smoothly.”
Ie Shima is a small island off the western coast of Okinawa typically used to conduct training exercises such as Harrier aircraft take-off and parachute operations, according to range personnel.
“This makes the job of range warden that much more important because it is one of the limited places in Okinawa where people can jump safely,” said Lundquist.
As a range warden, safety is the number one priority as well as maintaining a healthy environment by adhering to Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations and keeping in good standings with the community members, said Lundquist.
“We are the control on this range for units to be able to perform safely,” said Cpl. Daniel J. Mull, chief range warden with OSD Ie Shima. “We have to make sure air traffic is safe, and Marines are helping protect the environment.”
While air traffic was a major focal point for the day, another concern was getting the site set up, said Maj. Jason P. Kaufmann, operations officer with Marine Wing Support Squadron 172, Marine Wing Support Group 17, 1st MAW, III MEF.
“Today, our main body of Marines arrived,” said Kaufmann.
The Marines focus will be to keep accountability of all participants and equipment and getting the camp set up in a timely manner, said Kaufmann.
Numerous training events will be conducted during Ryukyu Warrior 12 to include a field mess evaluation, chemical biological readiness exercises and mass casualty drills conducted with Navy personnel with the U.S. Naval Hospital Okinawa.
“These exercises increase our Marines’ combat readiness,” said Capt. Aaron R. Krukow, operations officer for Marine Wing Communications Squadron 18. “We do not always train just with Marines, we train (with other services too). Ryukyu Warrior is a perfect example of that.”
The exercise will begin Dec. 5 and continue through Dec. 8.
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