MARINE CORPS AIR STATION FUTENMA, Okinawa — Marines with 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion and Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 262 executed internally transportable vehicle embarkation training with an MV-22B Osprey Oct. 23 at Marine Corps Air Station Futenma.
The training provides Marines with the ability to quickly insert and extract a M1161 ITV from an Osprey to rapidly reach objectives or deliver crucial supplies.
The battalion is with 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, and HMM-262 is with Marine Aircraft Group 36, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III MEF.
“Our job focuses on (covert) insertions and getting to our destination, sometimes by foot, to scout a route or enemy location,” said to Cpl. Dylan M. Burke, a reconnaissance man with the battalion. “The ITV not only aids us in getting to our destination faster, but it can drive over (various) terrain and through tight spaces.”
The ITV is capable of carrying a driver, two passengers and a gunner operating a crew-served weapon, such as the M240B medium machine gun, MK19 40 mm automatic grenade launcher or M2 .50-caliber Browning machine gun.
The vehicle can reach speeds of 65 mph off-road, has four-wheel drive, an adjustable suspension system and adjustable tire pressure to adapt to different ground conditions.
The capability to mount weapons, all-terrain maneuverability and ability to carry supplies and equipment farther than Marines could carry on foot, makes the ITV a valuable addition during expeditionary operations, according to Burke.
“This gives us the ability to get somewhere fast, defend ourselves, and out maneuver the enemy,” said Burke.
Other vehicles, such as the Humvee, are transported externally, suspended beneath rotor assets by cables, requiring helicopter support teams to assist in the attachment and detachment of the vehicles.
“The ITV is designed to fit inside aircraft hulls such as the Osprey,” said Cpl. Dylan L. Dedmon, a reconnaissance man with the battalion. “We can drive into or out of the hull and get carried off to our mission destination. Once it lands, we can drive out just the same.”
The reconnaissance Marines trained loading and unloading the ITV on the Osprey using hand-and-arm signals and verbal commands to safely guide the Marines and equipment.
“We’ll help load (the ITV) onto the aircraft, strap it down, and get it and the Marines to the drop-off zone as quickly as possible,” said Cpl. Eric M. Ekelund, a tiltrotor crew chief with the squadron.
Safety was paramount during the training, and keeping both the ITV and the Osprey undamaged was a priority for all of the Marines, according to Ekelund.
“There are some things to watch out for (during loading and unloading), like making sure the sides don’t touch, the wheels don’t slip and the top of the ITV, or the (weapon) it’s carrying, doesn’t strike the ceiling,” said Ekelund. “We don’t want to damage the vehicle or the aircraft.”
The combination of the Osprey’s speed, range and load-carrying ability with the ground transportation capabilities of the ITV, allow the reconnaissance Marines to get to where they need to go, according to Ekelund.
“Incorporating something like (the ITV) with the Osprey comes natural to us,” said Ekelund. “We can take this vehicle and drop it off wherever it needs to go. I can see the ITV being very useful to the operations here in the Pacific.”