Review Category : Military

Werewolves howl back into Fightertown

By Cpl. Justin M. Boling

Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 122 returned after nearly three weeks aboard Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Ariz.

The squadron provided close air support for ground units during Exercise Enhanced Mojave Viper.

“The exercise simulates a realistic combat environment,” said Maj. Jeremy Seigel, the squadron’s operations officer. “It was great preparation for our upcoming deployment.”

Exercise Enhanced Mojave Viper is held at and supported by Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, Calif. The exercise allows all elements of a Marine Air Ground Task Force to train in a realistic environment to be capable of completing their missions in combat.

“Our mission was mainly combat support with a little bit of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance,” said Seigel, a native of Lake Zurich, Ill.

The exercise allowed pilots to practice these skills above the same Marines they may one day support during combat.

“We function as the ground unit’s eye in the sky,” said Seigel. “Rovers placed in ground units can view the live video feed we provide to mitigate hazards.

“We also get rid of any threats that keep ground units from advancing through the exercise.”

The squadron logged more than 400 hours of flight time and completed more than 230 flights. Squadron maintainers worked around the clock to ensure aircraft readiness and complete numerous missions and objectives.

“The maintenance performed at EMV is done at a sprint like pace,” said Chief Warrant Officer Justice Haggard, the Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 122 maintenance material control officer. “There is really no better baptism than by fire for a young maintainer to experience.”

Haggard, a Huntsville, Ala., native, is responsible for managing all parts and any scheduled or unscheduled maintenance conducted on the squadron’s F/A-18 Hornets.

“This exercise is extremely ordnance critical and the ordnance Marines were at full sprint the entire time,” continued Haggard.

The aviation ordnance Marines supported more than 115,000 pounds of ordnance being loaded and dropped on targets throughout the three-week exercise.

“We supported 100 percent of our mission due to the hard work of our maintainers,” said Seigel. “Ground units have to have confidence in our ability to employ ordnance.”

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Deer hunting season sweeps across Lowcountry

Cpl. Justin M. Boling
Staff Writer
Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort’s deer season officially began Sept. 15. The Air Station offers acres of hunting for both shotgun and bow hunters.
The Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs Office aboard the air station will hold their annual hunting class upon request.
“The class basically presents the rules and regulations that hunters need to follow to protect themselves and the environment,” said Gary Herndon, the Air Station game warden. “The class takes about an hour but we cover everything to keep you out of trouble.
“It is an annual requirement to hunt on the Air Station, so if you don’t complete the course, you don’t hunt.”
Any Tri-Command active duty service member or civilian employee can hunt aboard the Air Station with a valid South Carolina hunting license.
South Carolina hunting permits can be purchased at numerous locations or online at the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources’ website For service members, the price of a big game license is $6 but to be able to hunt at local wildlife management areas it will cost $30.50.

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Working behind the scenes: Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 31 provides aircraft maintenance

By Lance Cpl. John Wilkes
Aircraft maintenance is a crucial part of completing the mission of military aviation.
Many different types of wrench turning, welding and programming go into ensuring Marine Corps aircraft move troops, supplies and ordnance to their target.
Three different levels of aircraft maintenance exist. The first and most basic level of maintenance is operational level.
“Operational level maintenance includes basic aircraft maintenance, such as replacing the simple components on an F/A-18 Hornet, and can be dealt with at the squadron level,” said Staff Sgt. Barry Roberts, avionics controller with

Lance Cpl. Latisha Gonzalez and Lance Cpl. Thomas Galloway, Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 31 aviation material screening unit Marines, inventory and inspect gear before sending it to a work center to be repaired. Each work center has a specialty and deals with all parts relating to that specialty.

Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 31.
“There is a lot that goes on here,” said Roberts. “From the processing of maintenance requests and the paperwork involved, to the repair of parts, there is a lot that goes on around here.”
When maintenance cannot be completed at the squadron level the part in question is sent to main parts control. Marines with PC determine whether the maintenance needed is intermediate level or depot level maintenance.
“All of the parts that come from squadrons get screened and checked for improper maintenance,” said Lance Cpl. Latisha Gonzalez, a Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 31, aviation material screening Marine. “The part then gets sent to the proper work center where it can be repaired.”
Intermediate level maintenance involves more complex maintenance on components while operational level maintenance mainly concerns the removal and replacement of components.
“An example of I-level maintenance may be to repair an entire switchboard whereas O-level would be to repair a switch on the switchboard,” said Roberts.
There are many different work centers that each have a specialty for: radar gear, cables, airframes, avionics, hydraulics, digital displays, communication gear, ordnance, ground support equipment, and facilities.
Intermediate level maintenance can be completed by MALS-31 aboard the Air Station. Any work the Marines cannot complete at the MALS then moves to the depot level, the highest level of maintenance.
“I enjoy this job very much,” said Gonzalez. “We get to see the parts come and go, so we know we are making progress.”

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Spreading Wings: Airframe division keeps Hornets flying at sea

By Cpl. Rubin J.Tan
USS ENTERPRISE, At Sea — A large gray mechanical tail moves from left to right, while various metal flaps raise and lower like a bird preparing for flight. An F/A-18 Hornet’s twin engines roar to life before launching out over the sea.
Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 251 airframes division ensures each of the panels and fasteners are properly prepared to soar off the flight deck of the USS Enterprise.
The USS Enterprise is currently embarked on its final journey before being decommissioned after more than 50 years of service.
“Our responsibility to maintain the aircraft can range from everything that deals with its structure, hydraulic systems, flight controls, landing gear and arresting gear,” said Cpl. James Miller, a VMFA-251 airframes quality assurance representative. “Being on the carrier brings on many new responsibilities such as the arresting hook to catch the trap while landing.
“This is good because we get to experience so much more while on an aircraft carrier,” continued Miller, a native of Rolling Meadows, Ill.
The squadron is currently supporting maritime security operations and Operation Enduring Freedom while deployed on the aircraft carrier. In the event of an electrical malfunction during a mission, pilots rely on the aircraft’s ability to operate and maneuver like a vehicle without power steering.
This function relies on airframe Marines performing proper maintenance on the aircraft’s pneumatics, technology used to transfer various gases, and panels used to control the aircraft speed and orientation.
“This job is great because I love working with my hands and getting dirty,” said Cpl. Andrew Mitkowski, VMFA-251 airframe collateral duty inspector. “Our work orders can take anywhere from a few minutes to days of constant maintenance.”
Even though the division does not work on issues such as engine repair, they must assist in the installment of engines due to panels, brackets and housings that have to be moved.
“There is no better place to learn about your job than a deployed environment,” said Mitkowski, a native of Stroudsburg, Pa.
Mission success and pilots’ lives are entrusted on the work of airframes division Marines every day, making sure there is never a feather out of place on these birds of prey out at sea.

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Squadron lands on deck for tactics course

By Lance Cpl. John Wilkes
Marine Fighter Training Squadron 401 will be aboard Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort for approximately three weeks in support of Marine Aircraft Group 31 and Marine Aviation and Weapons Tactics Squadron 1.

Marine Fighter Training Squadron 401 flies the F-5N Tiger II in training scenarios. The F-5N Tiger II is smaller and more maneuverable than the F/A-18 Hornet.

The squadron provides air-to-air combat instruction to Fleet Marine Forces and squadrons by replicating enemy aircraft tactics, said Maj. Eddie Jessen, VMFT-401 detachment officer-in-charge. It is the only adversary squadron in the Marine Corps.
“VMFT-401 comes to the Air Station a minimum of twice a year from Yuma, Ariz., in support of MAG-31, however the main focus of this detachment is to support the Marine Division Tactics Course held by MAWTS-1,” said Jessen.
MDTC is a graduate level course that provides F/A-18 Hornet aircrew and Marine air intercept controllers with ground and airborne instruction in doctrine, tactics and weapons considerations for the successful use of Marine fighter attack aircraft in combat.
Marine Fighter Training Squadron 401’s air crew will support approximately three missions per day. Two will be for the MDTC and one in support of MAG-31.
The squadron uses the F-5N Tiger II aircraft. The small, maneuverable aircraft presents a unique challenge for the bulkier F/A-18 Hornet during combat simulations.
The aircraft are painted to resemble Cold War- Era Soviet aircraft including the prominently displayed red star on the vertical staff. Eleven of the squadron’s 12 aircraft are currently aboard the air station.
“We always look forward to coming here,” said Jessen. “This is our job and we love what we do.”

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Enterprise makes safe transit, from sea to shining sea

By Cpl. Rubin J. Tan
Last month, Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 251 sailed through the Strait of Hormuz aboard aircraft carrier USS Enterprise one month after leaving its homeport of Norfolk, Va.
Iran has recently had the intention to control the amount of transits through their territorial waters and the Strait of Hormuz.

USS Enterprise steams through the Atlantic Ocean during final preparations for its Mediterranean Deployment on Dec. 7. Today the USS Enterprise is on its last deployment to support the United States’ 5th and 6th area of responsibility before becoming decommissioned after more than 50 years of service.

“By sailing through the strait aboard a United States warship, we are demonstrating that we will continue to maintain freedom of navigation and will support our allies in the gulf while deterring possible enemies who may want to close the Strait of Hormuz and impact the economies around the world,” said the Carrier Strike Group 12 Command Master Chief Michael Manning.
The strait, also known as the world oil transit chokepoint, is part of the international waterway connecting the Arabian Gulf and Arabian Sea. Any vessel, regardless of host nation, can use the international waterway.
The carrier is supporting maritime security operations in the United States’ 5th and 6th Fleet area of responsibility before becoming decommissioned

Aircraft carrier USS Enterprise steams beside the Arleigh Burke-class USS Porter during a composite training united exercise.

later this year after more than 50 years of service.
The USS Enterprise faced many potential dangers during its transit such as collisions with other ships due to high traffic, fog, surface-to-air threats, air-to-air threats and surface-to-surface threats.
Carrier Air Wing 1 aircraft aboard the Enterprise was employed to provide aerial support during the difficult conditions.
“Navy and Marine Corps aviation platforms on an aircraft carrier collectively train to protect our assets and to be proficient in combat scenarios,” said Lt. Col. Nathan Miller, VMFA-251 executive officer and native of Lapeer, Mich. “The beauty of a carrier is being able to go where our nation needs us to show foreign diplomacy or force projection.”

The USS Enterprise is deployed to the United States’ 5th fleet area of responsibility conducting maritime security operations, theatre security cooperation efforts and support missions as part of Operation Enduring Freedom.

Appropriate vigilant posts and extra navigation details were used due to the restrictive maneuvering environment and to provide standard defensive precautions.
“It was a simple freedom of navigation and operation, not a prelude of war and service members aboard the USS Enterprise should feel a sense of pride because we did our job safely and expeditiously as military members carrying out a part of the nation’s mission,” concluded Manning, a Wind-ham, Maine, native.

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Air Station Marine to be congressional liaison

By Lance Cpl. Timothy Norris
Master Sgt. Kathryn Denham, Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort operations chief, will begin walking down a road less traveled when she climbs the steps of Capitol Hill as a legislative assistant to a member of Congress later this fall.
The Congressional Fellowship Program takes officers and Staff Non-commissioned Officers (SNCOs) and integrates them into the legislative branch of U.S. government for three years.
“I’ve always wanted to [be a part of CFP] since I heard about the program back in 2009,” Denham said. “I look at politics not so much as a career, but as a need to know or an interest to know how it works.”
Typical responsibilities for the first year include drafting legislation, floor debate preparation, planning and analysis of public policy, and serving as congressional liaisons to constituents.
Denham is the only Marine to apply for the CFP from the Tri-Command this year. She said with how unique and beneficial the program is, she is surprised more SNCOs don’t apply or even know about the program.
Denham has been selected for the program this year, the real test of her knowledge and talents will occur next year in Washington, D.C.
“A Marine on [Capitol Hill] among our lawmakers can have the same positive or negative impact that a recruiter in our communities or a Marine on liberty in a foreign country can have,” said Master Gunnery Sgt. Richard Moore, Headquarters Marine Corps Office of Legislative Affairs senior enlisted advisor. “This can have a direct impact on the Department of Defense and the Marine Corps as congressional leaders shape policies that impact the armed forces.”
The selection process is very in-depth in order to choose the best possible Marines.
None of the applicants ever see each other and the requirements dive into more than a service record book.
According to Moore, Marine Corps leadership traits and principles that are required of the outstanding SNCO leaders can help in Washington, D.C.
The ability to work in a truly independent situation, strong leadership, professionalism, a welcoming personality, ability to articulate orally and in a written format, strong work ethic and drive are the traits desired of a Marine congressional liaison, Moore explained.
All of the standards are included in MARADMIN 572/11, to allow Marines ample time to prepare for the opportunity not only to have a unique experience, but to give the smallest branch of the military a voice in an arena where countless voices compete for attention.
“Without Marines on the Hill we don’t have a voice to provide the rest of the story,” Moore concluded.
Moore is scheduled to give a presentation at the air station Monday about the opportunities and requirements to apply for the program.

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Firefighters train in tight places

By Lance Cpl. Timothy Norris
Thirty firefighters from the Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort Structural Fire Department and the surrounding area became certified to perform confined space rescues after a five-day-long course on the air station in April. The South Carolina Fire Academy provided the training and simulation equipment for the firefighters as part of their annual requirement to become confined space entry and rescue certified.
“It’s very helpful,” said Darran Vaughn, Air Station Fire Department assistant fire chief. “You have to have this training to make an entry into any confined space and make a rescue.
“[The ability to go into tight spaces] is critical to our mission on base. You can be called out at any time to make a confined space rescue.”
Visibility, fire, panicking victims, claustrophobia and harmful chemicals and gases are the variables playing against a close quarters rescue.
“This training gives my firefighters a level of confidence in the job they have to perform,” Vaughn said. “By doing this training, it gives them an understanding of ventilation, rigging, entry and teamwork for a confined space rescue.”
South Carolina Fire Academy instructors taught the laws and regulations the firefighters needed to know on the first two days of training. The rest of the course consisted of practical application sessions of methods and procedures for ventilation, ropes and knots, air monitoring and rescue rigging.
One theme echoed throughout every exercise is safety, said Bill Cantrell, South Carolina Fire Academy technical rescue instructor. “We go back to the National Fire Protection Association for technical rescue [standards].
“We follow these standards as close as possible,” Cantrell continued. “As rescuers, we want to go home to our families too.”

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In their boots: Air station spouses train like Marines

By Pfc. John Wilkes
Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron and Marine Air Control Squadron 2, Detachment A, held an “In Their Boots” event April 21 aboard the Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort. The event gave Marine family members a glimpse of some of the training and duties their Marine performs daily.
“This is an opportunity for them to gain some perspective in what it takes to be a Marine,” said Lisa Montanez, Headquarters and Head­quarters Squadron family readiness officer. “It’s a tough job and our Marines have worked hard, and continue to work hard to be the ul­timate fighting force our nation has to offer.”
Family members participated in events such as: a modified obstacle course, a tour of the air traffic con­trol tower, a modified combat fitness test, aircraft rescue firefighting ac­tivity stations and Marine Corps Martial Arts Program instruction.
According to Montanez, the events were selected based on opportuni­ties available at the Air Station, how informative the event would be, en­tertainment value and most impor­tantly, safety.
The obstacle course was the event I enjoyed most, said Sherry Cato, a spouse who participated in the event.
“The CFT was much more diffi­cult than I thought it would be,” said Cato. “I was surprised by how heavy the ammo cans were.”
Montanez stated her belief on why it was im­portant for the spouses to experience the CFT, which stands for Combat Fitness Test, a required fitness test that is taken once a year.
“Now when their Ma­rine comes home and says they just got a 300 on their CFT, they will know that is a good thing and how dif­ficult it was to actually ac­complish,” said Montanez.
Being a Marine is more difficult than it sounds, said Cato.
A static display of air­craft and rescue vehicles used by the Marines on the Air Station were made available for spouses and family members to see. The participants watched demonstrations of explo­sive ordnance disposal and working dog handling.
“They also learned the meaning behind the train­ing, so that if their Marine deploys they will know the Marine Corps has trained them for situations they may face,” Montanez said.

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Marines brought together after tragedy

By Lance Cpl. R.J. Driver
Sgt. Maj. Brian Taylor, recruiting station Baltimore sergeant major, could say only one thing after seeing Gunnery Sgt. Maurice Bease, Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron, squadron gunnery sergeant.
“I swear I thought I was looking at a ghost.”
Taylor saw a Marine he thought had been dead for the last decade.
After serving together for two years with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 225 aboard

Sgt. Maj. Brian Taylor, recruting station Baltimore sergeant major, and Gunnery Sgt. Maurice Bease, Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron squadron gunnery sergeant, in attendance at a recruit graduation aboard Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, April 6. Taylor and Bease hadn't spoke in 10 years after an unfortunate rumor of Bease's death in the 9/11 attack on the Pengtagon spread.

Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif., word got back to Taylor that Bease was lost during the tragic 9/11 attack at the Pentagon, where Bease was serving.
“A few weeks after the 9/11 attack, I got a call in which it was explained to me that Bease had perished in the attack on the Pentagon,” Taylor explained. “I   passed on my condolences and deployed shortly after.”
Bease clarified the misunderstanding, stating, “After the attack, some friends and I went back in to rescue (those left in the building) and help whomever we could. I had a lot of blood on me and rumors spread that I was either severely injured, or dead.”
He continued to explain that for a short time after the attack, he would encounter Marines who thought the worst had happened to him, just as Taylor had heard. Because Taylor was deployed, he wasn’t in the know, and Bease understands how Taylor went so long without knowing he was alive.
“During one of my deployments to Iraq, a friend of mine was severely injured. By the time he got back to the states and news traveled back to Iraq, the word was that he was deceased,” Bease explained. “Two years later, I ran into him again while I was deployed and it was an emotional experience.”
Similar emotions were shown aboard the Air Station when Taylor said he watched in awe as he saw a matured Bease speaking to the educators from his hometown of Baltimore.
“I looked up to Taylor and his powerline shop while I was with VMFA-225,” Bease said. “To me, they were the grunts of the squadron. Working when no one else was, getting dirty and doing all the hard work. My job, aviation operations, wasn’t looked at in the same way.
“So to prove to myself and to them, I began cross training with powerline and earned a lot of respect for doing my job and learning to do theirs,” Bease added.
He said that’s when he began learning from Taylor, who ran a tight ship.
“One of the biggest things I think is important is to lead by example; [Sgt. Maj.] Taylor always did, and it is what I do everyday.” Bease said.
Bease explained that he is happy to see Taylor had earned the rank of sergeant major and he plans to make it there himself, piggybacking off some of the leadership traits Taylor gave him.
“It was good to see that he is doing well for himself and has come a long way since he was Sgt. Bease,” Taylor said. “When he was younger, he needed a little direction.”
Ten years and one revelation later, the mentorship and peace of mind has come full circle for Taylor. A mentoring Gunnery Sgt. Taylor is now a sergeant major seeing the success of a Marine he had thought he had lost long ago.

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