Guam - Buildup Office Director Mark Calvo says the Governor's Office has been officially notified that 3 V-22 Ospreys will be deployed to Guam and the CNMI for a training exercise in the coming weeks.
The training exercise called "Forager Fury," begins this Thursday, November 29th.
Marine Corps Activity-Guam Public Affairs Officer Lt.Col. Aisha Bakkar says that the Ospreys will "self deploy from Okinawa around December 8th" and they will be on Guam for the Forager Fury surge operations Dec 10-14th.
The Ospreys coming to Guam are coming for training only and will not be stationed here. They will return to Okinawa once the exercise is complete.
Word of the Osprey's deployment to Guam was first reported last Thursday by the Japanese broadcaster NHK which reported that Washington and Tokyo had agreed to move some of the training for the tilt-rotor aircraft to Guam. The training was originally scheduled to take place in Okinawa.
The NHK report explained that the location for the Osprey exercise was changed to Guam because U.S. officials decided "to reduce the burden on people in Okinawa" and "the Japanese government will bear around three-quarters of the extra fuel cost caused by the transfer."
Despite fierce protests from Okinawan residents who fear that the Osprey is accident prone, the first 6 Ospreys arrived at the U.S. Marine Futenma Air Station in Okinwa on October 1st. In all, 12 are now stationed there.READ the NHK report HERE
And as PNC News reported in September, during the Republican Convention in Tampa Florida in the last week of August, Guam Governor Eddie Calvo was quoted by Japan's Kyodo News Service as saying he is "open to the possibility of hosting the U.S. military's Osprey aircraft ... assuming concerns about its safety are fully addressed." Kyodo quoted the Governor as saying "If the safety issues could be alleviated, of course I would think it would be positive," adding "if the Osprey becomes 'part of that equation' Guam will need to take a closer look at its safety record."
The Osprey combines the vertical take off capability of a helicopter with the higher speed cruising performance of a fixed wing aircraft. It has been the object of some controversy by critics who say it is accident prone.
However Marine Corps Activity-Guam Public Affairs Officer Lt.Col. Aisha Bakkar says the Osprey is a safe aircraft.
In a statement to PNC News, Lt. Bakkar writes:
"It's NOT accident prone."
"The MV-22 has been supporting the Marine Corps continuously since October 207, in extreme environmental conditions during 14 combined deployments to Iraq, Afghanistan ad aboard amphibious shipping. It has expanded the operational reach of Marine forces by 340NM (60%) compared to other rotary wing assets."
"The MV-22 is exceptionally survivable. Aircraft engaged in the close in, kinetic fight in Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) have taken small arms,
rocket-propelled grenade and heavy machine gun fire on several occasions and in every instance were able to safely return all aircraft, crew, and
passengers to friendly territory."
"The MV-22 is a very safe aircraft to fly in and far safer now than it ever has been. Through material solutions, bi-annual software updates and
enhanced pilot training, we have improved the safety of the MV-22 making it one of the safest aircraft in the Marine Corps. At this time, the MV-22 is well below the average mishap rate for the Marine Corps and all DoD tactical rotary wing aircraft."