The unit that first took the MV-22 to Afghanistan is back home....
VMM-261 Raging Bulls complete historic deployment
Another example of a weapon system that has been vilified by many before it even entered into Marine Corps service (strangely people seem to have no problem with US Air Force Special Ops flying this airplane) that has gone on and proven its worth in the war zone.MARINE CORPS AIR STATION NEW RIVER, Jacksonville, N.C. — Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 261, “The Raging Bulls,” returned to Marine Corps Air Station New River from Afghanistan July 16. They were stationed at Camp Bastion, Helmand Province, Afghanistan, under the command of Lt. Col. Anthony Bianca, as an assault support unit.
Due to a change of command in May, the Squadron completed their tour under the command of Lt. Col. Ivan Thomas.
The Squadron was the first MV-22 Osprey squadron to operate in Afghanistan, and the unit’s primary mission was to serve as assault support.
“The V-22 was used (in Afghanistan) to exploit its capabilities to the maximum extent,” said Maj. Timothy Miller, executive officer for VMM-261. “We were able to range the entire country. We flew to places that could only be ranged by plane, but only be landed by helicopter.”
This was the squadron’s fourth deployment. Before the recent tour in Afghanistan, the squadron supported Operation Iraqi Freedom during three separate deployments.
Miller said he believes the unit did very well, and performed all missions asked of them to the utmost of their abilities.
“This environment was more challenging (than Iraq),” said Miller. “We performed all missions that were asked us and brought back all aircraft and Marines. Certainly, this was a mission success.”
More than twenty Marines with Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 26 were attached to VMM-261 for the return trip.
It was approximately 8 p.m. when the buses carrying the Marines arrived onto the flightline.
One of the Marines who came back was Sgt. Frank Mershon IV. His family was anxiously waiting for him, wearing bright yellow shirts that read “Frank the Tank.”
“We are very excited he’s coming home,” said Terry Mershon, Frank’s mother.
“We are very proud of Frankie, and all the Marines that worked twenty-four-seven,”said Frank Mershon III, Sgt. Mershon’s father.