SFN Staff Ride on MV-22B Osprey
On 11th February, 10 members of STRIKFORNATO seized the opportunity for an orientation flight aboard the venerable MV-22B Osprey. The aircraft from the Aviation Combat Element (ACE) of Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force, Crisis Response, Africa (SPMAGTF-CR-AF) were in Lisbon participating in a simulated embassy reinforcement exercise at the U.S. Embassy and took the time to demonstrate the unique capability to the staff members. Although the foul weather spoilt the view, it did give the Osprey's crew the opportunity to demonstrate the aircraft's all-weather capability during the short flight from Lisbon International airport.
SPMAGTF-CR-AF is stationed at Morón Airbase located approximately 55 kilometers southeast of Seville, Spain and is a self-mobile, self-sustaining force of approximately 850 Marines and sailors, capable of responding to a range of crises. The unit is specifically trained to support U.S. and partner interests throughout the U.S. Africa Command area of responsibility, to include embassy reinforcement, support to noncombatant evacuation operations, tactical recovery of aircraft and personnel, humanitarian assistance, and disaster relief. It is composed of a Command Element (CE), Ground Combat Element (GCE), ACE, and Logistics Combat Element (LCE).
The aircraft commander for the flight was Maj. Jonathan "Bruiser” Brandt who is the ACE's Aviation Maintenance Officer. Coincidentally, he was expertly trained by STRIKFORNATO's own LtCol. Eric ‘Flounder' Garcia and they subsequently operated together in combat operations in Iraq during the Osprey's maiden deployment.
Combined with the police escort to and from AT-1 at Lisbon airport, the flight was a memorable experience and demonstrated the unique capability of the Osprey, reaffirming the key role that STRIKFORNATO has in integrating U.S. Strike and Expeditionary capabilities into Alliance operations.