Tnian – The first F/A-18D Hornets from Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 121, Marine Aircraft Group 12, landed on the island of Tinian’s West Field May 23 during Exercise Geiger Fury 2012.
The F/A-18Ds were the first to have ever landed on the island of Tinian.
Since the M-31 Arresting gear set-up was the first to have ever been assembled on coral terrain, there was some speculation toward its effectiveness.
“All of our Marines came out and brought their ‘A’-game and nothing less,” said Staff Sgt. Travis W. Goodwin MAG-12, Marine Wing Support Squadron 171 expeditionary airfield technician runway supervisor. “I was a little worried since this arrestment has never been done before, but I have absolute faith in my Marines and after the first jet landed we all knew the mission was a success.”
The training occurred in order to establish the effectiveness of the coral set up of the arresting gear. Four Hornets took three arrestments each in less than one hour and 15 minutes.
“Our goal was 10 arrestments in under an hour,” said Goodwin. ”We were able to do 12 in less than an hour. I don’t believe that has ever been done before. It was an amazing feat and the Marines out here pulled it off.”
Given that an arrestment on coral terrain had never been attempted before, safety was the main concern throughout the training.
“Myself and a lot of the other Marines were really nervous,” said Lance Cpl. Eric J. LaVigne MAG-12, MWSS-171 expeditionary airfield technician crewman. “When it all went right we stopped holding our breath.”
The training continues on Tinian for Exercise Geiger Fury 2012. The Marines with MAG-12 MWSS-171 are pushing themselves in daily training evolutions in order to better themselves and ensure MAG-12 is ready to accomplish any mission when called to respond to future real-world contingencies.