NAVAL AIR STATION FALLON, Nev. -- Both Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 251 and Navy Strike Fighter Squadron 86 began the long journey back to Fightertown today and Saturday from a three-week training deployment at Naval Air Station Fallon, Nev.
While training in Nevada, the two squadrons, as well as the other six squadrons that make up Carrier Air Wing One, focused on working as one team. Working as one team allows the Wing to better prepare itself for life on the flight deck of the USS Enterprise.
One of the advantages of training at Fallon is the opportunity to load live ordnance and drop bombs on one of the many live ranges.
“The ranges out here are unbelievable,” said Gunnery Sgt. Kevin Glydewell, the Thunderbolt’s ordnance noncommissioned officer-in-charge. “The training here allows not only the pilots, but also the ordnance Marines to be more prepared and proficient for combat.”
While in Fallon, the ordnance shop was able to load several different types of ordnance – something the Marines don’t always have the opportunity to do while in Beaufort.
“We were able to load a lot of ordnance out here,” Glydewell said. “We loaded laser-guided missiles, 500-pound, 1,000-pound and 2,000-pound bombs, and a whole lot of 20mm rounds.”
Not only did the pilots benefit from the training here, the ordnance Marines received essential training as well.
“The training here is different from anywhere else,” said Cpl. Allen Greeley, an ordnance Marine with the Thunderbolts. “It’s better training for the pilots, but a great learning experience for our shop too.”
The training at Fallon comes at the perfect time for the ordnance shop. The shop has had ten new Marines report to the T-Bolts since returning from their six month deployment in November.
“Coming here has taught me several things,” said Lance Cpl. Adam Austin, an ordnance Marine who checked into the T-Bolts in late November 2006. “The training has made me more familiar with all the ordnance and helped me build my confidence.”
With the three-week training deployment coming to an end, the overall estimation of the deployment is success.
“I think the shop performed outstanding,” Greeley said. “Being here dealing with live ordnance makes us all have a bit of a more serious attitude, and every Marine from the top down, performed exceptional.”
“Regardless of the weapon, every time we load an aircraft we become better at our job,” Glydewell said. “The training here has made us better and has helped us build better unit cohesion.”