MARINE CORPS AIR STATION YUMA, Ariz. --
A detachment from Yuma’s Marine Attack Squadron 311 wrapped up its part in this year’s Cobra Gold exercise Feb. 11, 2010, in Thailand.
Deployed with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, the Tomcats flew daily training missions during the world’s largest multinational exercise, which began Feb. 1, 2010.
In its 29th consecutive year, Cobra Gold’s training this year emphasized disaster relief, humanitarian assistance and peacekeeping operations, said 2nd Lt. Christopher Wood, squadron spokesman.
Still, the squadron pilots practiced offensive air support and nontraditional surveillance, reconnaissance and intelligence gathering from their Harriers, said Wood. During the exercise, the Tomcats operated from the USS Essex, as well as various airfields around northern and southern Thailand.
When not training, the Marines enjoyed some rest and relaxation with a port visit in Pattaya, Thailand, said Wood. There, they participated in many activities, including community relations projects, learning the history of Thailand, visiting the local markets and riding elephants.
“The port visit marked a great opportunity to kick back a bit after being on the go since the beginning of their deployment to the Pacific theater in early January,” said Wood.
Eight AV-8B Harriers and approximately 150 Marines from VMA-311 and Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 13 departed Yuma approximately two months ago to travel to Japan, where the Marines linked up with the 31st MEU.
The squadron is now headed to the Philippines to participate in Exercise Balikatan 2010, another large-scale exercise held March 9-19, 2010.
The remainder of VMA-311 still in Yuma is also scheduled to deploy soon, joining the 15th MEU aboard the USS Peleliu, setting sail from San Diego in May.
The squadron previously returned from separate six-month deployments to Al Asad Air Base, Iraq in October 2008 and aboard the Peleliu in November 2008.