From Okinawa to Palau – Marines Exercise EABO during MEFEX 21

Photo by Maj. Kenneth Kunze
Photo by Maj. Kenneth Kunze

From Okinawa to Palau – Marines Exercise EABO during MEFEX 21

by Maj. Kenneth Kunze
U.S. Marine Corps

OKINAWA, Japan -- U.S. Marines with Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 152 and Marine Wing Support Squadron 172, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, showcased expeditionary advanced basing capabilities February 7, as part of MEFEX 21, travelling from Okinawa to the Republic of Palau during a joint expeditionary refueling exercise.

 Two KC-130J Hercules aircraft flew to the Republic of Palau with refueling Marines and a P-19A Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting vehicle, refueled a U.S. Navy Poseidon P-8, and quickly returned. While this exercise displayed a critical logistics capability, it highlights the broader critical role U.S. Marine KC-130J aircraft assume in an expeditionary environment.

“This mission demonstrates VMGR-152’s ability to partner with the Navy and effectively execute Expeditionary Advanced Base Operations and distributed operations. It is extremely relevant and important that we continue to conduct this type of training out here in the Pacific,” said Capt. John “Crouton” Coutoumas, the mission commander for this flight and pilot who also serves as the aircrew training officer for VMGR-152.

Demonstrating the ability to provide support to the joint force in a distributed maritime environment, the Marines of VMGR-152 and MWSS-172 integrated with the joint force to exercise important capabilities from key maritime terrain in support of sea control and sea denial efforts.

“Any Marine Corps Hercules pilot reading the Commandants planning guidance knows that the KC-130J is a near perfect asset for conducting the vast number of mission sets outlined,” said Coutoumas, commenting on the value of these capabilities. “Mass movements of personnel, equipment and fuel to austere locations with limited resources in a relatively short time is a hallmark of the Warfighting Concepts outlined by the Commandant.”

Expeditionary training like this is important to the joint force and facilitates the learning of tactics, techniques and procedures that develop the skills needed in future operations and ultimately keeping the Indo-Pacific area of responsibility free and open.

“The Sumos of VMGR-152 are the tip of the spear and will disperse this knowledge and experience to squadrons across the Marine Corps. GO SUMOS,” added Coutoumas.

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