Photo Information

Marines with the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit fly to their objective in an MV-22B Osprey with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 163 (Reinforced) on Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., May 17. Marines with VMM-163 (Rein) supplied four MV-22B Ospreys, two AH-1W Cobras, two UH-1Y Hueys and one CH-53E Super Stallion to support a simulated raid. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Harley Robinson/Released)

Photo by Lance Cpl. Harley Robinson

VMM-163 (Rein) prepares for deployment with 11th MEU

27 May 2016 | Lance Cpl. Harley Robinson 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit

Marines with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 163 (Reinforced), 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, its ground combat element, Battalion Landing Team, 1st Bn., 4th Marines, during a simulated raid on Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California, May 17.

As the aviation element, VMM-163 (Rein) provided transportation for the ground Marines with MV-22B Ospreys and a CH-53E Super Stallion and provided oversight of the objective with AH-1W Cobras.

“We were there supporting Marines training with the [Expeditionary Operation Training Group] and supporting their movement and actions on the objective,” said Capt. Daniel Gearhart, an Osprey pilot with VMM-163 (Rein). “What that means for us specifically with aviation is moving Marines to where they need to go. We moved roughly 115 passengers, and four simulated [casualty evacuations].”

From 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, VMM-163 (Rein) supplied four MV-22B Ospreys, two AH-1W Cobras, two UH-1Y Hueys and one CH-53E Super Stallion to support the training. When squadrons deploy as a MEU, they consolidate under the command of a single squadron commander.

“The Osprey’s main purpose is to bring the [ground Marines] into the objective area,” said 1st Lt. Jonathan Moss, a Cobra pilot with VMM-163 (Rein). “The purpose of the attack section is to provide close air support in the area and making sure it’s safe.”

Marines with VMM-163 (Rein) utilized Ospreys and a Super Stallion to move ground Marines to their objective point. Marines in the Cobras offered an overwatch of the objective and provided communication between units on the ground and in the air. The Cobras then remained closeby to provide any fire support needed.

“Our job is to mitigate threats before the Marines go in,” said Moss. “Check the zones and make sure they are clear of any threats.”

Once the ground units accomplished their mission, the Ospreys and Super Stallion extracted the Marines.

“It’s a learning experience,” said Gearhart. “The ground Marines learn what they need from us and we learn how to better support them. With the capabilities of the different aircraft, we were able to move these Marines quickly so they could hit objective areas harder and faster than they could on the ground.”

Marine Corps News

Colonel Thomas M. Siverts
Commanding Officer

Colonel Tom Siverts is a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He enlisted in the Marine Corps in August 1989. He achieved a commission as a Second Lieutenant through the Marine Corps Enlisted Commissioning Education Program following his graduation from the University of Virginia in May 1999. Colonel Siverts has deployed in support of Operations DESERT SHIELD, DESERT STORM, IRAQI FREEDOM, and ENDURING FREEDOM. His other operational deployments include serving with Battalion Landing Team (BLT) 2/8, 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU); BLT 3/8, 22d MEU; BLT 2/8, 26th MEU, and Task Force 61/2.

Read Biography

Lieutenant Col. Steven M. Sprigg
Executive Officer

LtCol Sprigg was born in Parkersburg, WV. LtCol Sprigg enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in September 2004 and recruit training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, SC. LtCol Sprigg was selected for the Enlisted Commissioning Program and commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in March 2008. He was designated a Naval Aviator in February 2011 and reported to HMLAT-303 for training as an AH-1W pilot. LtCol Sprigg is currently serving as the Executive Officer for the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit in Camp Pendleton, California.

Read Biography

Sergeant Major Travis L. DeBarr
Sergeant Major

Sergeant Major DeBarr enlisted in the Marine Corps and reported to MCRD San Diego, CA, for recruit training in October 1994.Staff Sergeant DeBarr completed two combat tours in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom from September 2005 to April 2006 and again form March 2007 to September 2007. While serving with 3rd Battalion, 9th Marines, First Sergeant DeBarr completed one combat deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom to Helmand Province, Afghanistan, from October 2012 to May 2013. Sergeant Major DeBarr currently serves as the Sergeant Major for the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit.

Read Biography