AL ASAD, Iraq -- For Sgt. Josh Bryant, the noncommissioned officer in charge of his division for Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 252, being connected with significant events related to the squadron’s KC-130Js is nothing new.
When Marines from the transport squadron had the opportunity to deploy their KC-130J to combat for the first time this year, they were excited to see what they could accomplish. They are a squadron of Marines, proud to be known as the first unit to successfully deploy KC-130Js in combat.
When the first KC-130J rolled out of production in 2000 and was delivered to the Fleet Marine Force, Bryant volunteered to learn the new aircraft and be one of the first mechanics for the mid-air refueler.
“I volunteered for the ‘J’ program to work on the new aircraft,” said the Port St. Lucie, Fla., native. “The engine and propellers are totally different from what we were using at the time. It was a unique challenge that I’m glad I was involved in.”
After proving the Hercules is a reliable aircraft stateside, Bryant now has the opportunity to see how it operates under Iraq’s harsh conditions.
“I am proud to be a part of this critical moment in Marine Corps aviation,” Bryant said. “We are proving these aircraft are able to operate efficiently in this austere environment.”
Bryant’s position enables him to oversee all of the engine repairs on the squadron’s fleet of KC-130Js. Having the most experience with a relatively new aircraft he spends his days here training younger Marines on the ins and outs of the transport plane’s unique engine configuration.
“I ensure the reliability of our engines so they can efficiently and safely complete whatever task they are given,” said the 1994 graduate of Fort Pierce Central High School. “I am also in charge of the training and familiarization of my junior troops with the engines and assist when something out of the ordinary fails.”
This deployment with VMGR-252 is Bryant’s first in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Getting the chance to support this war is something he’s always wanted to do.
“It is a great honor to be here,” Bryant said. “I’m glad I finally got my chance to do my part.”
Bryant added he would not be able to complete his duties without the support he receives from his wife and the rest of his family.
“My wife has been great since I came here,” he said. “Along with our dog, she can’t wait for me to return and has been supportive of me being here from the beginning.”
With a great support system Bryant concentrates on the mission at hand and demonstrate his value to the VMGR-252 team.
“He is the Marine with the most ‘J’ model experience in his shop,” said Master Sgt. Nelson Oneglia, the squadron’s maintenance chief. “He is responsible for the training of 11 Marines under him who aren’t as familiar with the new model. He has done a great job getting his Marines familiar with the aircraft and making sure the engines are prepared to carry the load and help us accomplish our mission.”
Experience on a new aircraft is a benefit to any deploying unit. Bryant brings that experience and a drive to teach younger Marines the intricacies of the aircraft so that they can prepare the plane for refueling, troop transport or cargo movement throughout the area of operations.
*For more information about this story please contact Cpl. Herron at email@example.com*