- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Marine aviators expect big changes in 2015. The MV-22B Osprey will push out the historic CH-46E transport helicopters that have held a place in the hearts of Marines for more than half a century.

The Osprey and its hybrid tilt-rotor aircraft have rendered the Sea Knights, or “Phrogs,” largely obsolete. The Corps is now moving forward with getting its operators — those with less than 13 years of commissioned service — trained on the new aircraft.

“It’s bittersweet — we have a lot of love for this wonderful platform,” Capt. Bradley Gibson, a CH-46E pilot based out Camp Pendleton, California, told The Marine Corps Times on Monday. “It’s really an exciting time to be on the ground floor, if you will, of a complete transformation in Marine aviation,” added the officer with “The Purple Foxes” of Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 364.

Pilots assigned to Capt. Gibson’s squadron will fly its Phrogs one last time to “The Boneyard” in Tucson, Arizona, where retired military aircraft go to die, the paper reported. The storage facility is officially known as 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group (AMARG), which is located on Davis-Monthan Air Force Base.

Regardless, the Marines seem to be taking the transition in stride.

“We’re about supporting infantry Marines on the ground, so the machine we do that with may change, but the mission remains the same,” Lt. Col. John Field, the squadron’s commanding officer, told the paper. “The Marines who do it are the same Marines whether they’re flying CH-46s in Vietnam, Iraq or Afghanistan or the V-22 in places to be named later.”

Another squadron in California and one in Virginia will also be transitioning to the Osprey, The Marine Corps Times reported.

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