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Sea Knights prepping for final takeoff from Okinawa

Marines with Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 262 keep a fast-paced flightline at Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, Okinawa, Aug. 16, 2013.

MARINE CORPS AIR STATION FUTENMA, Okinawa — The Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 262 “Flying Tigers” are in their final days flying the CH-46 Sea Knights. Later this year, the squadron will transition to the MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft and decommission the Sea Knights, according to Marine Corps officials.

The Marine Corps has been flying Sea Knights, or “Phrogs,” since 1961 for troop transportation, search and rescue, casualty evacuation and myriad refueling and resupply missions.

The Flying Tigers represent the last Okinawa-based squadron to fly Sea Knights. The squadron is preparing its new Osprey fleet, which arrived earlier this month, to take over medium-lift operations from the aging "Phrogs."

Once the transition is complete, the Flying Tigers will become Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 262.

Marine Corps officials continue to tout the speed, heavier lift capacity, long distance flight abilities and impressive safety record of the Osprey.

news@stripes.com

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