In a historic flight above the City of Jacksonville and Marine Corps Air Station New River Friday morning, the seven New River V-22 Osprey squadrons celebrated all being home at the same time.
“It’s a very unique thing to have everybody here at the same time,” said New Riverspokeswoman 1st. Lt. Kristin Dalton. “Since (Marine Aircraft Group 26) became an only V-22 squadron, this is the first time all the squadrons have been home at the same time.
“Because of deployments and a high ops tempo, at least one squadron — if not more — is almost always deployed.”
MAG-26 is the largest all-Osprey unit in the Marine Corps, with its roots deep in the heart of Jacksonville, at New River Air Station. The MAG consists of seven Osprey squadrons: six deployable squadrons and one training squadron.
To commemorate the unique opportunity to fly together, eight MV-22B Ospreys took off from MCAS New River around 11 a.m.Friday morning and made multiple passes over Jacksonvilleand the air station for about an hour.
Seven of the eight aircraft grouped into a formation and the eighth bird flew alongside the others to document the historic flight through pictures and video. The seven formation Ospreys represented the six operational squadrons within MAG-26 as well as the group’s one training squadron.
Lt. Col. Brian Hart, the MAG-26 executive officer who was on-board one of Ospreys, called the opportunity to fly together “a fleeting moment.”
“This was a rare opportunity for all the flying squadrons within MAG-26 to fly together at the same time,” Hart said. “It was fun and exciting. It was really neat seeing all the aircraft flying together over Jacksonvilleand the air station, and it was a pretty proud moment.”
All but one of the Ospreys was piloted by its respective squadron commander. The one aircraft not piloted by its squadron commander was instead flown by MAG-26 commanding officer, Col. Christopher Seymour.
While the commanding officers were excited to celebrate being home with their fellow V-22 brethren, the celebration will be brief, as one of the squadrons is set to deploy to Afghanistan.
Distributed by MCT Information Services