Tuesday, March 14, 2006

VMM-263 "Thunder Chickens" take to the skies in Ospreys

The future of Marine Corps aviation took a large step forward as the first operational MV-22 Osprey squadron was activated at Marine Corps Air Station New River, North Carolina.

“Commissioning (Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron-263) is a historic day for the ‘Thunder Chickens,’ for our Corps and for our nation,” said Maj. Gen. Thomas L. Moore, 2d Marine Aircraft Wing commanding general. “We have introduced a transformational aircraft into our nation’s forces with the ‘Thunder Chickens.’” A transformational aircraft because it capitalizes on both the best aspects of the rotary wing and the best aspects of the fixed wing turbo-propeller, Moore explained.

“The Osprey is much more survivable than the CH-46E ‘Sea Knight’ because of it’s range and it’s speed,” said Moore. “It’s a much more capable aircraft and we expect it to perform excellently in battle.” A capable aircraft that has been in the making since the early 1960’s, some feel the delay has produced the best result.

“I have to tell you, waiting for something this good has been worth while,” said Gen. Robert Magnus, assistant commandant of the Marine Corps. “This is a tremendous aircraft. While we are at war, it is a tremendously more survivable platform for the Marines who are in the fight.”

VMM-263, home to more than 150 Marines and the successor to Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron-263 which cased its colors in June 2005, will carry on the proud name, “Thunder Chickens,” and also the legacy of the former CH-46E “Sea Knight” squadron.

Honored to carry on the name, “Thunder Chickens,” the Marines of VMM-263 are thrilled by the chance to become the first operational Osprey squadron, said Sgt. Maj. Grant VanOostrom, VMM-263 sergeant major.

“They are very excited because they see it as a culmination of those who have gone before them,” said VanOostrom. “They just happen to be the chosen ones who get to bring it into its current existence; we get to reap the rewards of others.”

And VMM-263 can be expected to reap the almost countless rewards, such as being able to travel at speeds of nearly 300 mph, twice the speed of any current helicopter, have up to five times the range of travel and carry three times the payload.

“The Osprey will allow us to self-deploy these aircraft from New River, or (Air Station) Miramar, across the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, to anywhere this great nation wants to plant its flag within two to three days,” said Magnus.

Uncertain of the exact date when the Osprey will be supporting ground forces overseas, the squadron feels assured that it will be in the near future.

“We expect VMM-263 to be deployed within the coming year,” said Moore. “We can’t give an exact date, because we aren’t 100 percent sure.”

“There are two things the American people should know about this aircraft,” said Gen. Michael W. Hagee, 33rd commandant of the Marine Corps, during his visit to Marine Corps Air Station New River Feb. 24. “One, it will change the way we fight; it’s faster, larger, air refuelable and the technology is state of the art. Two, it’s the safest aircraft in our inventory. It’s been tested and proven ready to perform.”

And though tremendous efforts will have to made by the “Thunder Chickens” before the first Osprey squadron is ready to deploy, a sigh of relief can be breathed by the Marines, families and friends of the program who sacrificed so much to get to where the stand up could be possible, said Moore.

“We are bringing forth the new capability to replace what has been the backbone of Marine aviation in the CH-46,” said Moore. “With that capability, we take rotary wing assault support, now tiltrotor wing assault support, ahead into the future and assure the success of Marines in battle. We are committing the Osprey to the gunfight.”


sith apologist said...

Interesting, but the whole name of "Thunder Chickens" is quite strange, I'd almost be expecting some sort of animated extravaganza after that.
And quit with the Osprey! :)

vaughan said...

THUNDERCHICKENS HO! yes I can see it now an 26 part badly animated series from the early 80's "BEHOLD MY DRUMSTICK OF POWER!"
Still looks cool , however if its as piss poor as it is in the game Act Of War (where a small child armed with a Catapult could shoot it down)then I don't think the Colonel should be riding in it for his own safety.

Civilian Overseer said...

I dont know the value of a promotional picture which shows Marines bailing out of the back of an Osprey in mid air, did they Jump or where they pushed?

vaughan said...

No they've just spotted that small child with a catapult

Lt. Colonel Creedon said...

What the fuck is the matter with you people? Didn't you play Soldier Of Fortune II??? That was the true depiction of the Osprey- you could empty a fill 1000rd ammo belt at it but still you couldn't bring it down until you struck a precise shot on the engine pods. The Osprey is now invincible- yes it had a few teething problems but both Rummy and Sam Fisher fly about in one now.

Leisure Suit Larry said...

You can plainly see from the coloring around the birds breast that it is not a chicken but a cock, which is appropriate for a mainly homosexual organisation such as the US Marine Corps. In my new book I detail the origins of the first Gay Marine Corps (they later dropped the word gay due to lack of volunteers).

Reginald said...

Honesly the MV-22 is not practical and promises to be an operational and mechanical nightmare.
This thing should have never gotten beyond R&D.

There were better places to spend the money.

sith apologist said...

Are you saying that the Colonels portfolio isn't the right place for public funds to end up? lol

Lt. Colonel Creedon said...

As with any new hardware there'll always be a few teething proplems. But the multitude of benefits of the Osprey far outweigh the cons. The onlt way the money could have been better spent was to build more of them (but obviously they needed to be designed first).

Master Guns said...

Just like everything associated with the Colonel, it'll crash & burn.

And the pilots will get left behind.

sith apologist said...

good to see the Colonel didn't have you silenced, master guns!
Have to say I'm not overly impressed with the name 'Thunder Chickens'. It works for cats, but they can be a little more dangerous than poultry (bird 'flu aside).

Lt. Colonel Creedon said...

Will you fuckin' stop with the "good to see the Colonel didn't have you silenced, master guns!"- did you just discover Ctrl+c/Ctrl+v or something?!!!
If I wanted him silenced I'd cut him out and silence you for reading his comments! He's just hot air, ignore him.
As Vaughan suggested the Chickens' name doesn't inspire fear but that's their angle: they lull the enemy into a false sence of security- then strike while they're laughing.

Master Guns said...

You cannot, dare not ignore me Sir!. You know I know to much. I will be heard.

Lt. Colonel Creedon said...

Oh we can hear you, we're just not listening!

sith apologist said...

Speak for yourself, Colonel :)
I for one am all ears

Master Guns said...

I'm glad I've reached someone. I know although you're too afraid to say, that there's something seriously wrong with the Colonel, his methods, beliefs and character. He must be stopped. You know this!

sith apologist said...

I partially blame myself - the Theed Palace incident caused him to question the Jedi code, thus spiralling him out of control.

Former Grunt said...

What happened in Theed?

sith apologist said...

A challenge to 1-on-1 combat, jedi versus sith, where death led to instant rebirth to battle. The jedi did not triumph that day.
The Colonel was so frustrated he even tried a double-bladed lightsaber, but to no avail. I suppose my maniacal laughter as I cut him down couldn't have been easy to stand.

Anonymous said...

The offical squadron name is "Thunder Eagles". The squadron was well known by the enemy in Vietnam. However there is no word for "eagle" in Vietnamese so the enemy refered to them as "thunder chicken". The squadron members still keep this informal name in tribute to those who have gone before.

Anonymous said...

Semper Fi Marines!! I was a Member of the ol;d HMM 263 back in 73-76 Would dearly love to hear from anyone from the Unit who may remember me. Please respond to
Michael R Lemire