FRIDAY FOTO (March 4, 2011) (Update)

March 4, 2011 at 5:54 pm 2 comments

Gung Ho!

(U.S. Marine Corps Photo by Cpl. Salvador R. Moreno)

Two MV-22 Osprey tiltrotor helicopters land aboard the USS Makin Island, becoming the first of their kind to do so. The landings came during Iron Fist, a bilateral training exercise to enhance amphibious capabilities and increase interoperability between the Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force and the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps.

The 844-foot long Makin Island (LHD-8) is a Wasp-class amphibious assault ship. The LHDs are the second-largest vessels in the U.S. Navy after aircraft carriers. The LHD, which stands for Landing Helicopter Dock, is designed to remain offshore near troubled areas, ready to send forces ashore quickly by helicopters, tilt rotor aircraft and large Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC) hovercraft, which skim across the surface of the water on a cushion of air.

The Makin Island is the second Navy ship with that name. The first, a World War II escort carrier, served in the Philippines, Iwo Jima and Okinawa before being decommissioned in 1947. Like World War II-era aircraft carriers, the LHDs are named for famous battles like Bataan and Iwo Jima, or earlier illustrious ships, like the Bon Homme Richard or Kearsarge. Ironically — considering the nature of the Iron Fist exercise — many of them are named for combat with the Japanese in World War II. The Makin Island gets its name from the Marines’ 2nd Raider Battalion’s first battles in the Pacific. The brief, bloody episode became the basis for a 1943 Hollywood film, Gung Ho! The Chinese phrase, which means “work together” is also the current ship’s motto.

The Ospreys are from Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadrons 166 and 161. The 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) and several other Southern California-based Marine units participated in Iron Fist.

For those unfamiliar with procedures on seagoing aircraft decks, you probably wondered about all the different colors of the jerseys worn by  folks working or waiting in this photo. Each color represents a job or specialty: Purple people handle aviation fuel, those in red handle ammunition and deal with fires and crashes (note the ones in the silver-colored flame resistant suits next to the crash wagon); blue means you’re a plane handler, tractor driver or aircraft elevator operator; folks in yellow are aircraft handling officers and plane directors, green jerseys have a number of tasks including maintenance, cargo and helicopter landing signals, but the only one visible in this photo appears to have camera equipment. so he or she is probably a photographer’s mate.

Dont’t forget to click on the photo to enlarge the image.


Entry filed under: National Security and Defense, Photos, Skills and Training, Special Operations, Weaponry and Equipment. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , .

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