News: Red Devils prove combat readiness with rapid embarkation training
Story by Lance Cpl. Raquel Barraza
MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho – More than 160 Marines with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 232 "Red Devils" participated in rapid embarkation training aboard Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, July 22 through Aug 2.
"The purpose of this training was to conduct a rapid deployment into an unknown area in which we embark the entire squadron in a short amount of time," said Gunnery Sgt. Willie Dennis, the aviation ordinance staff noncommissioned officer-in-charge with VMFA-232 and a Syracuse, N.Y., native. "If something happens today, we have to be in country ready to support the troops on the ground within 48 hours."
In addition to the rapid movement, the training included simulated air-to-air and air-to-ground combat with Marines working to support a 24 hour air operations schedule.
Over the two weeks, the Red Devils proved their combat readiness and capabilities to the fullest.
"I’ve never seen a unit this combat-capable as we are today," said Lt. Col. Byron Sullivan, commanding officer of VMFA-232 and a Havelock, N.C., native. "I know that I can move my unit from any day of the week in 48 hours and get to a combat [area of operations] and surge 24 sorties a day and maintain that surge capability for up to three days."
This detachment to Idaho concluded the training required before the squadron deploys to Japan for six months.
The training put the Marines to the test of having to support a heavy flight schedule, but also built up the Marines' confidence in their abilities.
"I think it’s making us probably the most ready [F/A-18C Hornet] squadron in the Marine Corps," said Sgt. Trevor McGee, a power line mechanic with VMFA-232 and a Thousand Oaks, Calif., native.
With every Marine working together to complete this training, the squadron felt like all their hard work paid off.
“I think it was a success in the end,” said Sullivan.
The Marines of VMFA-232 will continue to train and work to stay combat ready at a moment's notice.