MARINE CORPS AIR STATION YUMA, Ariz. --
Approximately 90 Yuma Marines and sailors are scheduled to return home July 30 and 31, 2009, after a seven-month deployment with the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit.
During the deployment, the detachment, composed of Marines primarily from Marine Attack Squadron 214 and Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 13, participated in counter-piracy operations off the coast of Africa near Somalia in the Gulf of Aden.
The VMA-214 pilots used the AV-8B Harriers for surveillance and reconnaissance, according to Capt. Michael Maddock, pilot. The aircraft’s targeting pod cameras enabled pilots to gather valuable imagery of suspected pirate vessels.
Six pilots, each flying a Harrier, are scheduled to land here on July 30, 2009, while another 80 Marines and sailors are set to return the next day.
The detachment set sail Jan. 9 from San Diego aboard the USS Boxer. During the deployment, Marines also visited Hawaii, Guam and Thailand.
The remainder of VMA-214 is currently deployed to Afghanistan. The last time VMA-214 served with a Marine expeditionary unit was in 2007 when the Black Sheep traveled to Japan to link up with the 31st MEU.