Marine Aviation Support to AFRICOM Crisis Response Force Changes Hands

1 Apr 2021 | Maj. Adrian Rankine-Galloway Marine Corps Forces Europe

A new detachment of U.S. Marine Corps aircraft has arrived at Moron Air Base, Spain, to support U.S. Africa Command’s (AFRICOM) ability to respond to crises in the African continent and to protect American facilities, personnel and interests.

Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 261 (Reinforced) assumed the mission of providing aviation support to AFRICOM’s North and West Africa Response Force (NARF) from VMM-266 (Reinforced) today. Both the incoming and outgoing squadrons deployed from the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing and are home based at Marine Corps Air Station New River, N.C.

The NARF is responsible for conducting crisis and contingency operations for AFRICOM throughout North and West Africa.

"This is an incredibly important mission and we're honored to take the reins from Lt. Col. Huls and the VMM-266 team," said Lt. Col Travis Stephenson the VMM-261 (Reinforced) Commanding Officer. "We are going to work hard alongside the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team to accomplish our shared crisis response mission in North and West Africa, supporting our allies and partners in the region."

The mission will ensure that U.S. forces continue to stand ready to respond to carry out important crisis response missions in Africa.

“We’re incredibly grateful to our Spanish hosts here in Moron,” said Sgt. Maj. Joshua Wruble, VMM-261’s sergeant major. “The Marines of the ‘Raging Bulls’ squadron are all looking forward to a great deployment and to contributing to AFRICOM’s important crisis response mission.”