You Have To See These Pics Of Marine MV-22s And CH-53s Executing A Giant Elephant Walk

The huge readiness drill saw 40 aircraft take to MCAS Miramar's south runway at one time. A huge undertaking for far from the most reliable aircraft.

MAG-16 Stands Ready
Marine Corps Air Station Miramar—Public Domain

As the Pentagon pushes to correct the readiness pit many of its aircraft communities had fallen into in recent years and show off its might to potential adversaries, so-called 'elephant walk' readiness drills have become far more common than they had been in the past. Now Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego and its resident Marine Air Group 16 of the Third Marine Air Wing has buzzed into the fray with a huge elephant walk consisting of a whopping 40 aircraft—26 MV-22 Osprey and 14 CH-53 Super Stallions—sourced from seven resident squadrons.  

The pictures from this grandiose show of force, which also coincided with the observance of the 75th anniversary of D-Day, are downright awesome. This is an incredible amount of vertical lift capability to pull onto a single runway at one time and take to the air. And neither of the airframes involved have possessed exceptional readiness in recent years, with the CH-53E community, in particular, now emerging from an especially dark period. The Osprey fleet's combined readiness still hovers around 50 percent

U.S. Marine Corps
U.S. Marine Corps
U.S. Marine Corps
U.S. Marine Corps
U.S. Marine Corps
U.S. Marine Corps
U.S. Marine Corps
U.S. Marine Corps
U.S. Marine Corps

Colonel Craig LeFlore, commanding officer of MAG-16, stated the following in an official release

"MAG-16 has executed our maximum flight event to demonstrate the combat readiness of our MAG and to tell the MAG-16 story... We want to test ourselves. If there is a crisis somewhere in the world, our job is to be ready to respond to that crisis at a moment's notice.

MAG-16 is a force in readiness. This mass launch is not just for show, the majority of these aircraft will go out and conduct tactical training after their launch. Training that makes your Marines the most ready when our nation is least ready. I can't think of a better way for the MAG to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of D-Day and the accomplishments of those who have gone before us.

...

This launch not only demonstrated the capability within the MAG, it served as tremendous motivation for the Marines and Sailors who worked so hard to make it possible. I couldn't be prouder of their accomplishments"

One can only imagine the long hours the maintainers of these highly complex and, in the case of the Super Stallions, aging aircraft put in preparing for this event. At least the hard work paid off and MAG-16 pulled off one hell of a reminder of just how much fighting power the U.S. Marine Corps can rush downrange if called upon to do so.

Contact the author: Tyler@thedrive.com