News | Aug. 18, 2021

Iwakuni Marines train on repurposed fuselage

By Jake Joy DLA Disposition Services Public Affairs

A firefighting team in Japan recently wrung every remaining ounce of possible use out of a C2A Greyhound fuselage turned over to Defense Logistics Agency Disposition Services as scrap early this year.  

The Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting, or ARFF team, requisitioned the airplane fuselage from DLA’s property disposal site in Iwakuni in March. According to Gunnery Sgt. Ben Warshaw, the senior non-commissioned officer for the firefighting team, the Greyhound suffered from an in-air mishap and crashed in the ocean. After salvage and an investigation period, the plane was partially cut up and handed over to DLA for ultimate disposal. Warshaw said reusing the aircraft for training was his idea.

"Over the years, ARFF has received aircraft at different duty stations that are still whole but no longer air worthy,” Warshaw said. “We can run drills on those aircraft but are unable to cut them up. We would always scrap cars to cut up as they are easier to acquire and dispose of. The use of this aircraft allows Marines to get real training and problem solve the scenario. I am not aware of another duty station that has same abilities that we have here. Most stateside places work with aircraft salvage yards to get this kind of training.”

Warshaw said there are real differences in preparing for a real-world emergency on a trainer versus preparing on the real thing.

“Our aircraft trainer that we have here to conduct live fire training also has a cut-in point,” he said. “Those points have steel cutout sheets that get replaced. They work, but they cut easier than it would be to cut on a real aircraft.”

The various training events with the Greyhound began in March. Warshaw said the training events began with simple lessons like tool familiarization and gaining confidence in cutting through the structure. As more and more of the structure was cut, the final drill involves simulation of a salvage and recovery operation ending at DLA’s scrap lot. 

DLA Disposition Services Iwakuni Site Manager Tracy Kyle called it a “win-win.” The agency regularly works with its military customers to repurpose unusable equipment as realistic training equipment for first responders, shipping containers for simulated cities and villages, and targets for warfighters to practice on at sea, in the air and on land.