Marines bring Osprey aircraft to Keesler Air Force Base for training

Aircraft that can fly like both planes and helicopters will be taking off from the Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi.
Updated: Oct. 23, 2020 at 8:06 PM CDT
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BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - You might start seeing something unusual in the South Mississippi sky over the next two weeks. Aircraft that can fly like both planes and helicopters will be taking off from Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi.

Norfolk, Virginia’s Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 774 is staying at Keesler Air Force Base with four MV-22B Ospreys.

“Not many people know what this aircraft is a really what it does,” said U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Jantzen Floate.

The Ospreys are known for their proprotors mounted on rotating shafts, which lets them fly like a helicopter or a fixed-wing turboprop aircraft.

“It gives us the speed that we need to be able to get somewhere quickly and the ability to land like a helicopter pretty much anywhere we need to go.” said Jon Spencer, Aircraft Maintenance Officer for the squadron.

And the visit has personnel at the Air Force base excited.

“It’s really cool. It’s a unique aircraft,” Floate said. “Just to have this opportunity to come out here and explore that is really awesome.”

The visit is also important for the Marines preparing for special operations.

“Keesler gives us a unique opportunity to be a little closer to the Hattiesburg and Bogalusa area Where these guys will be conducting the preponderance of their operations.” Spencer said.

While the Marines spend time here at Keesler working on the Ospreys, servicemen tell me that both the Air Force base and its guest get something out of the visit.

“We left Virginia, it was about 40 degrees at night and we come down here and it’s 80 degrees and sunshine everyday," Spencer said. "So, the Marines really enjoy that.”

The base also provides anything the visitors need for training.

Everything from printer support, to community support, to be able to get gas here on time, on target," Spencer said. "It’s been absolutely fantastic.”

Personnel at the Air Force base say they enjoy the relationship.

“Keesler very much values the joint partnership we have with our sister services," Floate said. "When they come down we are here to provide any support that we can give to them.”

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