The Italian Navy has been introduced to the MV-22 Osprey through the members of Special Purpose-Marine Air-Ground Task Force Crisis Response, or SP-MAGTF Crisis Response, at a recent visit to Taranto-Grottaglie Air Base, Italy.
The SP-MAGTF brought two Ospreys to the air base and conducted a capabilities brief and a static display of the aircraft, followed by a familiarization flight, having Italy Navy Ministry officials aboard the aircraft with Lt. Col. Christian Harshberger, Aviation Combat Element commanding officer for SP-MAGTF Crisis Response.
“Italy doesn’t currently have an aircraft that is both capable of vertical take-off and also can carry troops and cargo, so this was an excellent opportunity to demonstrate the capabilities of the MV-22,” said Capt. Nicholas Arnold, a SP-MAGTF Crisis Response MV-22 Osprey pilot and weapons and tactics instructor. “The leadership here seemed genuinely interested in the aircraft and impressed with its capabilities.”
The Marine Corps and Italian aviators share a bond in that both services attend the U.S. Naval flight schools in Pensacola, Fla., and Corpus Christi, Texas. They recognized this bond during the visit, which corresponded with the 100th anniversary of Italian Naval Aviation.
“The Corps and Italian Navy have a common bond that we were able to build upon here,” Arnold, N.Y. native, added. “I think that bond is important and only improves our relationship here in Italy.”