Big Plane, Big Plans, Tiny Island

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Marine Photo / Lance Cpl. J. Gage Karwick

The first 747 to land on Tinian brings gear so that Marines can set up arresting gear, fuel storage, and fuel distribution for extending aviation training throughout the Mariana Island Range Complex.

TINIAN — U.S. Marines unloaded equipment from a chartered Boeing 747 at Tinian’s international airport this week at the start of a major aviation exercise in the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas.

The aircraft is the largest to touch down on the island since massive B-29 bombing raids against Japan during World War II.

The two-week exercise, dubbed Forager Fury, is designed to test the ability of Japan-based Marines to operate from austere air bases, and continues a major buildup of U.S. forces and training operations in the region.

Earlier this year, Marines refurbished a runway on the former North Field airbase where atomic bombing raids against Hiroshima and Nagasaki were launched, and practiced amphibious warfare operations with Japanese troops on Tinian and nearby Guam.