News: Hawks fly through deployment, soar home
Story by Lance Cpl. Charles Clark
KADENA AIR BASE, Japan - Marine All-Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 533 is scheduled to redeploy to Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, S.C., mid-July.
As part of the unit deployment program, the Hawks flew to the Pacific Theater to participate in various training exercises. The UDP was set up by the commandant of the Marine Corps and is focused toward deploying units to the Pacific for periods of approximately six months.
The Hawks have flown to Hawaii, Japan, Thailand and South Korea during their deployment.
“It’s been a great deployment,” said Lt. Col. George B. Rowell, VMFA(AW)-533 commanding officer. “The Marines have done a great job, and now we’re ready to go home.”
VMFA(AW)-533 flew more air-to-air training exercises during their deployment in the Pacific Theater to prepare the squadron’s pilots and weapon systems operators for the Marine Division Tactics Course.
MDTC is a graduate-level course for pilots and weapon systems operators to improve their efficiency in the air-to-air arena, and a stepping stone for the aviation students.
MDTC prepares the aviation students for the weapons and tactics instructors’ course, located at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Ariz., which will focus more on the integration of the aviation combat element into Marine Air-Ground Task Force situations and further increase the squadron’s combat readiness.
Now, the Hawks’ pilots and weapons system operators are slated to focus more on air-to-ground training to ensure they are prepared for the WTI course.
When they return to Beaufort, VMFA(AW)-533 is slated to have maintenance and commanding general’s inspections, as well as continued air-to-air and air-to-ground training.
The maintenance and commanding general’s inspections are regularly scheduled inspections which ensure the Marines in the squadron are working efficiently together.
“We’re going to hit the ground running,” said Sgt. Maj. Suzie M. Hollings, the VMFA(AW)-533 squadron sergeant major. “Two inspections and training for upcoming events will keep us busy until our next deployment in 2012.”
The maintenance inspection is first up on VMFA(AW)-533’s plate.
A team of expert inspectors sent by Maj. Gen. Jon M. Davis, the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing commanding general, will test how efficient the squadron stores and disposes of hazardous waste, repairs the aircraft and perform various other aspects the maintenance Marines are trained accomplish.
“Through the constant training the pilots and weapon systems operators do, we learn how be very efficient at our jobs,” said Lance Cpl. Anthony J. Brissett Jr., a VMFA(AW)-533 ordnance technician. “Once this inspection is done, we’re going to head right back to maintaining and preparing the aircraft for training.”
Then, Davis’ team will focus on inspecting the headquarters Marines.
For the headquarters Marines, the team of experts will inspect how the performance fitness test, the government charge card and noncommissioned officer mentor programs were conducted.
“I feel as though we are prepared for whatever the experts have in store for us,” said Rowell. “Even with these inspections going on, the training won’t stop.”
VMFA(AW)-533 continues to prove that Marines are capable of operating in any clime and place like the Marine Corps has done for hundreds of years before.