News: VMFA(AW)-242, MAG-12’s elite squadron in readiness
Story by Cpl. Jennifer Pirante
IWAKUNI, Japan - Marine All-Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 242 carried out a short-surge mission here July 11 to show the Marine Aircraft Group 12 command element the squadron is ready to carry out operations at the fastest expeditious pace possible.
With every Marine on-hand and ready for duty, VMFA(AW)-242 was able to prove its ability to maintain peak-level performance, communication and operability.
“We are validating the ability to get aircraft flying to the max sortie rate we can produce,” said Maj. Glenn Savage, VMFA(AW)-242 operations officer. “It not only validates our ability to get those aircraft up and flying, it also evaluates the ability and continuity of parts and maintenance support.”
MAG-12 provided command-level support to the squadron as they completed their mission.
“It shows how quickly we can go from one pace to a quicker pace, which requires more aircraft, more aircrew, more ordnance, more fuel in a shorter period of time,” said Col. C.J. Mahoney, MAG-12 commanding officer. “Very skilled and competent Marines bring their technical skills and put it together at a fast pace.”
Maintenance continues to be a vital component of Marine Corps aviation, and when it comes to keeping jets in the air, every Marine must be on their game during a surge.
“It’s very planning and maintenance intensive,” said Savage. “It’s intense for the Marines out on the flightline who are fixing the aircraft and getting them prepared. “The biggest challenge is to maintain squadron operations while everybody is flying, launching and recovering aircraft.”
When a squadron performs a surge, every sortie, ordnance and piece of gear is valuable to mission success.
“We need to arm every bird taking off on this flight schedule,” said Cpl. Keaton Grisham, ordnance technician with VMFA(AW)-242. “That means a lot of arming, a lot of running around. It’s a busy day for us.”
The VMFA(AW)-242 maintenance crew remained confident and overcame challenges by working together.
“Everybody knows their job and everybody knows where they need to be,” said Grisham. “It’s really important on days like this when we have so many jets going out. We need everybody in the right place.”
“We usually have the work divided up,” he said. “We’ll have one person running our lines, troubleshooting, a body with him and a radio so they can maintain communication with me.”
VMFA(AW)-242 was able to meet every task by maintaining a constant flow of effective communication with one another.
“Communication is key because we have a lot of moving parts,” said Grisham. “We need to make sure any word of changes that need to get done is being passed to our junior Marines so we can get it done as quickly as possible.”
VMFA(AW)-242 is slated to carry out their next mission at Kadena Air Base, Okinawa in August where it will continue to train for peak-level operability and mission readiness.