Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 252 made a cross-country flight from Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C., to Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Ariz., and back March 22, hauling Marines and gear destined for Weapons and Tactics Instructor course.
WTI is a bi-annual training evolution that integrates pilots, weapons system operators, ground combat and combat service support units from throughout the Marine Corps to enhance communication and build training relationships throughout the Marine Air-Ground Task Force. The course began March 10 and will wrap up April 28.
With two C-130J Hercules aircraft, VMGR-252 transported 20,000 pounds of gear to Yuma. One remained in Yuma to support the training, while the other brought its crew and a detachment of VMGR-252 Marines from Miramar, Calif., back to Cherry Point.
2nd Marine Aircraft Wing units often use ground transportation to move personnel and gear short distances, but that can be costly and time-consuming when the destination is more than 2,000 miles away. Aerial transportation like that provided by VMGR-252 is a key component of projecting power rapidly over long distances and provides commanders with a host of other capabilities.
Without VMGR squadrons, the Marine Corps would have to rely solely on outside sources for moving assets from A to B, refueling in the air, training jumpers, rapid ground refueling, battlefield illumination, air dropping cargo, and do long-range (medical evacuations), said 1st Lt. Carl J. Rhoades, a pilot with the squadron. ìThe Marine Corps advertises itself as a fully self-sustaining 911 force, able to do almost anything using its own assets. Without the VMGR community, it would not be possible.