MARINE CORPS AIR STATION YUMA, Ariz. -- A detachment of Marines from Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 13 left for the USS Boxer (LHD-4) July 11, and Marines from Marine Attack Squadron 311 departed to Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, July 13.
The main body of VMA-311, including the command element, will be supporting the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) in Iwakuni, Japan, said Sgt. Maj. David W. West, VMA-311 sergeant major. The squadron was scheduled to leave June 12, but because of mechanical difficulties, the Marines did not leave until July 13.
VMA-311’s deployment to Iraq in 2005 reached a new record for flying the most combat flight hours by a Harrier squadron, flying three times the normal amount.
VMA-311 sent two AV-8B Harriers to Iwakuni, Japan, in support of the 31st MEU (SOC) and six with the 15th MEU (SOC).
“VMA-311 is slated to return from Japan in April,” said West. “We look forward to yet another successful tour.”
The Marines of MALS-13 left for the second wave of work-up training which is designed to prepare them for their upcoming deployment in September with the 15th MEU, said Gunnery Sgt. Chad W. Stewart, MALS-13 operations chief.
MALS-13 supports all of the squadrons of the station with involve ordnance, avionics, cryogenics and life support systems. Each time a Harrier squadron deploys, a detachment of MALS-13 is sent with it.
MALS-13 serves as the aviation maintenance department for the AV-8B Harrier jets, said Stewart. Before the Marines can go on a full deployment, they are required to go out on ship for work-up training.
The pilots will be getting their boat qualifications while aboard the USS Boxer (LHD-4), said Stewart.
“The at-sea periods are approximately three weeks long,” said Lance Cpl. Phillip A. Stevenson, MALS-13 computer technician. “We will be deploying for seven months in September in support of the 15th MEU (SOC).”
The MALS-13 detachment will be aboard the USS Boxer traveling to various locations throughout the Pacific Ocean such as Hawaii, Singapore and Australia, come their full deployment in September, said Haney.
“It will be my first deployment,” said Lance Cpl. Kevin M. Haney, MALS-13 hydraulics mechanic. “It will be an adjustment being on the ship, but I’m excited.”