News: Werewolves deploy to UDP
Story by Sgt. Marcy Sanchez
MARINE CORPS AIR STATION BEAUFORT, S.C. - Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 122, based out of Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, deployed in support of the Unit Deployment Program, March 5.
The Unit Deployment Program aims at increasing forward presence in the Western Pacific while improving the Marine Corps’ ability to respond to contingencies throughout the region by participating in theater security cooperation activities and partnering with regional allies.
During the deployment, VMFA-122, also known as the Werewolves, anticipate to participate in multiple exercises with Japanese forces, Republic of Korea forces and other nations in the Western Pacific.
“When we deploy, our primary goal is to be ready to deploy anywhere over the pacific and around the world within 48 hours, so we spend a lot of time moving the squadron around the pacific,” said Maj. Dail Fields, VMFA-122’s operations officer. “We are completely expeditious; we pick the squadron up and move it somewhere and start flying immediately.”
The ability to operate expeditiously is a priority for the Werewolves as they move quickly from one exercise to another during the deployment.
“Our goal is to get to Japan, get set up and fly as soon as we can so we’re exercising our ability to be expeditionary,” said Fields. “It’s not easy to move a squadron and start flying immediately, but it exercises us and demonstrates that capability to anyone who’s watching.”
Areas the Werewolves may conduct exercises span throughout the Pacific from Australia to Alaska, including the Rim of the Pacific exercise, the world’s largest international maritime warfare exercise.
According to Fields, operating in areas such as Japan provide similar weather patterns to their home state of South Carolina, but the exercises in Australia and Alaska will provide wide ranges and different weather patterns to conduct training.
Aside from training exercises and operations, the Werewolves will remain ready for any situation Americas’ 911 Force may call for.
“You walk out the door with a plan knowing that the plans going to change,” said Fields. “We need to be ready to execute contingency operations, could be combat or a mission that prevents combat, show of force or exercises that build ties with other countries.”
The deployment will provide the Werewolves an opportunity to witness what their determined labor from months of preparing will amount to.
“Maintenance has worked very hard in the last six months where they have built up a really strong foundation, and we’ll get our feet underneath us now that we’re deploying with enough jets to allow the squadron to improve and leap some bounds in the next couple of months,” said Fields. “It’s what we train to do and what we’re here for, we’re ready to go.”