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Yuma's VMA-513 back home from 11th MEU deployment

By Lance Cpl. Jakob Schulz | | April 15, 2010

Approximately 100 Marines and six AV-8B Harriers from Marine Attack Squadron 513 returned to Yuma April 12-13, 2010, after a seven-month deployment with the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit.

While on deployment, the Nightmares sailed aboard the USS Bonhomme Richard, visiting the Middle East and Horn of Africa and participated in eight exercises, where the 11th MEU worked with foreign militaries.

VMA-513 supported most of the exercises by providing close-air support and escorting helicopters, while defending the ship from any would-be attackers.

“These exercises gave the Marines and sailors of the 11th MEU opportunities to hone their warfighting skills with warriors from different countries and services,” said Col. Gregg Olson, commanding officer of the 11th MEU.

The Bonhomme Richard, which operated independently from its fellow ships in the 11th MEU, provided force projection and deployed battalion landing teams.

“Dispersing the MEU permitted Marines to be three and sometimes four places at once,” said Olson. “At one point we had two different training exercises underway in the Arabian Gulf while Marines and sailors over 1,800 miles away aboard the Bonhomme Richard trained ashore in the Horn of Africa and provided the United States Central Command a flexible force.”

Even after being on an exciting deployment the Nightmares, were happy to return home.

“The best part of the deployment was getting home,” said Capt. Jay Hanson, squadron pilot.

“I can’t believe how nice it is to be back and see everyone and everything,” said Lance Cpl. David Checrallah, squadron data technician. “You think you won’t miss this place, but two weeks out and I was ready to come back home.”

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