The Grey Ghost
“We have done so much with so little, for so long; we now feel we can do everything with nothing.” Ref: USMC’s tight budget (Col. J.R. Bates, USMC)
While Corporate America is jetting from one mega deal to the next board meeting, The U.S. Marines have adopted the Corporate Jet into the war on terrorism. Considerably a leaner & meaner model, the Marines have taken a tornado damaged G4 and for a third the cost of the new executive version converted it into a working member of the Corps’ air power. This G4 based in Hawaii has none of the luxurious amenities of its counterparts. Marines have pallets of supplies and gear aboard and communication systems for war fighting. No luxuries, they even bring their own personal water and chow. The pace aboard is 24/7 and would wear out the toughest of Fortune Five Hundred executives. They land in far off climes and exit with helmets, flak jackets, and weapons at the ready. All this capability is at a fraction of the cost of a Corporate G4 model. The Grey Ghost bears little resemblance to the famous civil war general John Mosley.
Dateline: 29 August ’04 at 1745 hours U. S. Marine Central Command Headquarters, MacDill Air Force Base, Florida. The C-20G aka Gulf G4 takes off for Djibouti Africa via Nova Scotia Canada and Naval Base Italy (fuel stops). Cruising at 41,000 feet with an all-Marine flight crew of seven leathernecks (three in training), this aircraft transports senior Marine leadership (executives with 9mm pistols strapped to their hips) to and from the global war on terrorism. There are eight Marine officers aboard heading to coordinate Marine operations in Africa, Afghanistan and Iraq. All on mission critical assignments.
This aircraft that can do almost 90 percent the speed of sound is based at Marine Corps Air Facility (MCAF) Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii. To date in support of OEF/OIF, Grey Ghost crews have flown 476 sorties, 1449 flight hours, 2004 passengers and 159,000 pounds of cargo.
The Grey Ghost has flown missions into virtually every country in the Central Command Area of Responsibility. This is a remarkable aircraft and crew tailored for the Marines and their requirements in the pursuit of the global war on terrorism.
P. T. Brent is a Hawaii business man and former U.S. Marine infantry veteran. He has been embedded with the Marines in Iraq and other conflict areas for the past 60 days.