Marines from Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Crisis Response completed a long-range transport of Marines from Moron, Spain to Dakar, Senegal, November 13, utilizing MV-22Bs and a KC-130J.
The trip totaled more than 1,500 nautical miles and consisted of more than 30 Marines from SPMAGTF-CR and Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Africa 13. The Marines with SPMAGTF-Africa 13 were inserted to Senegal to participate in a small-boat operations and marksmanship training and exercises with the Senegalese military.
The mission marked the first time MV-22B Ospreys arrived in West Africa and offered the Senegalese and American Embassy personnel an up-close look at the tilt-rotor aircraft during a static display and orientation flight.
Embassy officials and their families were able to interact with the Marines, ask the flight crew questions about the aircraft, and sit in the seats normally occupied by battle-ready Marines.
Once the static display was complete, SPMAGTF-CR conducted a demonstration flight for the Senegalese Minister of the Armed Forces, senior members of the Senegalese military, and the U.S. Ambassador to Senegal.
The pre-flight brief began with opening remarks from Lt.Col. Robert A. Freeland, aviation combat element commander, explaining that they planned to fly from Dakar to Thies, a commute that would take approximately an hour to drive, in about 7 minutes in the Osprey.
“This was very impressive,” said U.S. Ambassador to Senegal, Lewis Lukens, after the flight, “and a great experience [for the Senegalese].” This sentiment was shared by the Senegalese.
Minister of Armed Forces for Senegal, Augustine Tine, commented that the Osprey’s power and speed validated that the aircraft is “the best of the best.”
The day concluded with expressions of appreciation by both the Marines and the Senegalese.
Col. Scott Benedict, commanding officer of SPMAGTF-CR, thanked the Senegalese and the U.S. Ambassador for the opportunity to come to Senegal and demonstrate the organic aviation capabilities of the SPMAGTF, and that he looked forward to future opportunities to work with the Senegalese.
SPMAGTF-Crisis Response is a self-mobile, self-sustaining force postured in Moron, Spain. It is capable of responding to a range of crises to protect both U.S. and partner-nation security interests in the region, while also strengthening partnerships throughout the U.S. European Command and U.S. Africa Command areas of responsibility.