Building the “Osprey Nation”

An Update on Osprey from New River (III)

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An Interview With Captain Smith

Ospreys based on the West Coast in an exercise at 29 Palms (Credit: USMC)Ospreys based on the West Coast in an exercise at 29 Palms 
Credit: USMC

10/29 /2010 – In the discussions of the Osprey at New River, a concept new to us was that of the Osprey Nation. What the pilots and maintainers were in effect saying was that critical mass was being forged in the USMC built around an emergent domain knowledge for operations and maintenance. And the resultant “Osprey Nation” was, in turn, shaping corporate understanding about the aircraft as a USMC asset.

In an interview with Captain Paul Smith, the notion was introduced and discussed.

Captain Paul Smith (Credit: SLD)Captain Paul Smith
Credit: SLD

SLD: Could you give us a sense of your background?

Captain Smith: I’m actually an Osprey student pilot. I just transitioned from being a FROG guy. I did two deployments in the FROG, flew them in various countries, combat zones from Afghanistan, Iraq, the whole nine yards. I’m new to the Osprey, but what I’m not new to is the process of maintenance.

SLD: I understand that the MAG has been split here at New River. Could you explain this?

Captain Smith: This year, 2010, the MAGs have split temporarily to make MAG-26, our MAG, strictly Ospreys. We have an all-Osprey staff, all the way from the CO on down. Everybody here is an Osprey guy and then the other MAG is everybody else.

SLD: And this is driven by having enough critical mass on Osprey to focus on Ospreys?

Captain Smith: Yes, but when we deploy as a MEU we still deploy as a normal MAGTF with the Osprey replacement of the FROG being the core, the nucleus and then all the other type model series come with us, Cobras, Hueys, Harriers and the like.

SLD: In effect, you are creating domain knowledge in one place and now that the Ospreys are also based in California, you are setting up ways to share joint experience, trying to figure out how best to maintain and operate the aircraft?

Captain Smith: As we come onto the neophyte type phase of operating this aircraft, we are shaping an “Osprey Nation”. The advantages are obvious. For example, if squadron A is hurting to get some qualifications done, squadron B and C have a trained up instructor who’s rated in that regime and I need my guy up to speed. Well, if we’re all under the same MAG, we’re all in the same street; it makes it a lot easier.
Same thing for maintenance; if these guys were O level and they needed a particular wrench because theirs is broken or something is on backorder, it’s much easier if we’re all under the same umbrella, the same street to walk 100 yards. When he goes to get a soda, he walks 100 yards. He walks 100 yards, goes and grab another maintainer. Same thing with me, if I need to get that X out this week in order to make the boat period for example. Well, my OpsO calls the OpsO right next door or sees him at chow at the same place and can ask “I really need to borrow your NSI for XYZ flight on Thursday.” And get a response like “Hey, I can’t do it Thursday but if you don’t mind flying Friday, we can make it happen.” Or, “Oh, by the way, you know what, I’m loaning you my NSI. Can you give my two crew chiefs in the back this training and that training?”

Again, we’re all under the same umbrella. We’re all under the same SOP. It makes everything flow and work that much easier. So that’s the sure intent, it’s to support V-22 nation. Shared assets, shared experiences are building our domain knowledge.

We’re all under the same umbrella. We’re all under the same SOP. It makes everything flow and work that much easier. So that’s the sure intent, it’s to support V-22 nation. Shared assets, shared experiences are building our domain knowledge.

SLD: So you generate “Osprey Nation” through critical mass of operational Ospreys so to speak.

Captain Smith: Yes, sir.

"If everyone is thinking alike, someone isn’t thinking."

—General George Patton Jr.

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