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U.S. Marine Corps MV-22B Ospreys assigned to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 268 (Reinforced), Marine Rotational Force – Darwin 24.3, take off for the first flight of the MRF-D 24.3 rotation at Port Darwin, Darwin, NT, Australia, May 11, 2024. The Ospreys were flown from Port Darwin to Royal Australian Air Force Base Darwin, where they will be hosted for the duration of the rotation. VMM-268 (Rein.) makes up the Aviation Combat Element, out of Marine Corps Air Station Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, completing the structure of the MAGTF with the arrival of 10 MV-22B Ospreys. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by 1st Lt. Colton Martin)

Photo by 1st Lt. Colton Martin

MV-22B Ospreys touch down in the top end for MRF-D 24.3

12 May 2024 | Story by Gunnery Sgt. Kassie McDole Marine Rotational Force - Darwin

The rumble of U.S. Marine Corps MV-22B Ospreys echoed across Port Darwin and Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Base Darwin as Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 268 (Reinforced) (VMM-268 (Rein.)) arrived as the Aviation Combat Element of Marine Rotational Force – Darwin 24.3 (MRF-D) Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF), finalizing the formation of the 13th rotation of MRF-D on May 11, 2024.

For the Marines and Sailors of VMM-268 (Rein.), this arrival represents more than just another mission. It symbolizes the steadfast commitment of the U.S. Marine Corps to the security and stability of the Indo-Pacific region through MRF-D.

"The arrival of the Ospreys to Darwin brings together the full capabilities of the MAGTF and amplifies our interoperability opportunities with the Australian Defence Force," said U.S. Marine Corps Col. Brian T. Mulvihill, the commanding officer of MRF-D 24.3. "As a MAGTF, the Ospreys give us an over-the-horizon capability that, alongside our Australian Allies, enhances security in the region."

VMM-268 (Rein.) dedicated itself to maintaining the readiness and morale of the Osprey community. Through town halls, leadership engagements, and direct interactions with squadron personnel, they ensured that every Marine remained informed and confident in their abilities, equipment, and the aircraft.

"I have the utmost confidence in the reliability of the aircrafts and the capabilities of our pilots and crews," Mulvihill affirmed. "The well-being of our Marines and Sailors is always a priority, and we have spared no effort in ensuring that they are prepared for the missions ahead."

Marines and Sailors with VMM-268 (Rein.) underwent rigorous training, utilizing simulators and conducting maintenance activities to enhance aircraft material readiness and pilot skillsets.

"The Marines and Sailors of VMM-268 (Rein.) have invested months of hard work and training preparing for this deployment in support of the MRF-D MAGTF,” said U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Col. Brandon S. Pope, the commanding officer of VMM-268 (Rein.).

The MV-22B Osprey, with its unparalleled speed and versatility, serves as the backbone of MRF-D's air support capabilities. Its deployment underscores the importance of MRF-D 24.3 in facilitating rapid response and enhancing regional security efforts.

“While the Ospreys are the visible front of the ACE capabilities, the true strength lies in the resiliency of the individual Marines who tirelessly work to ensure we are ready to support the mission alongside the Australian Defence Force,” stated Pope.

As the Marines of VMM-268 (Rein.) integrate into the operational tempo of MRF-D 24.3, they do so with a sense of purpose and determination, knowing that their efforts contribute to a safer and more secure Indo-Pacific region.

“We are honored to return to Darwin for this rotation to work alongside our Allies and partners building the relationships critical to a free and secure Indo-pacific,” remarked Pope.

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