Photo Information

Sgt. Nicholas G. Tissandier, a crew chief with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 263, oversees the landing of an MV-22 Osprey during para-operations above Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., Aug. 18, 2015. The air crew practiced landings to reflect flight operations in areas of reduced visibility. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Paul S. Martinez/Released)

Photo by Cpl. Paul S. Martinez

Delivering Marines, fast food – the Marine Corps way

18 Aug 2015 | Cpl. Paul S. Martinez II Marine Expeditionary Force

What is the fastest way to deliver chow and water to hungry Marines in the field?

 For Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 263, it’s loading 200-pounds of chow and water in the back of an MV-22 Osprey, zooming out to the training area and dropping it by parachute right into their grassy dining room.

That’s exactly what VMM-263 did when they hosted para-operations for Marines with 2nd Radio Battalion aboard Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, Aug. 18, 2015. The squadron also dropped Marines and conducted low visibility flight operations to increase readiness.

The air crew departed Marine Corps Air Station New River, North Carolina, aboard an MV-22 Osprey with three Marine parachute riggers, one 50-pound cargo load consisting of boxes of meals, ready-to-eat, and one 150-pound cargo load carrying water containers in tow. Upon reaching their designated altitude of 300 feet, the Osprey’s rear crew chief carefully pushed the load out, watching it parachute down to Landing Zone Canary.

“The cargo was dropped at the minimum altitude of 300 feet,” said Capt. Jason A. Nance, an Osprey pilot with VMM-263. “[That altitude] makes the drop more accurate with less wind.”

With the air drop objective complete, it was time for the Marines to make their airborne entrance. With final preparations made, the three Marines executed a low level static line jump at an altitude of 1,250 feet, making their way down below to LZ Canary.

“The operation gave us the chance to spend time in the field and acquire a more realistic sense of real-life missions, wherever we may be,” said Sgt. Kurt Kusterbeck, a jump master with 2nd Radio Battalion. “Our parachute riggers jump once every 90 days to meet [current requirements].”

The standard jumps conducted by parachute riggers may leave them familiar with the skies, but this exercise proved that any Marine, to include the pilots navigating above, can experience operations in a new environment for the first time, and more importantly, be prepared for it, as was the case with the Osprey crew.

“This was an unfamiliar LZ,” Nance said. “We did an environment study to assess obstacles and best determine the right altitude for insert.”

The Osprey made a final pass over LZ Canary to allow the jump masters to depart. They then proceeded to build upon squadron proficiency by conducting several practice landings, and taking to the clouds to specifically reflect flight operations in areas of reduced visibility, such as in a storm or desert.

“It’s always a privilege to do this kind of training and contribute to our readiness, and to also keep [the jumpers] current on their proficiency,” Nance said.