News Icon

News: Marine Harrier squadron heads to Pacific

Story by Cpl. Tyler J. BolkenSmall RSS IconSubscriptions Icon

Families send off Marines for deployment to Pacific Sgt. Tyler J. Bolken

Abby Kate, 5, waves goodbye to her dad, Capt. Michael Wallace, piloting the AV-8B Harrier, on the Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point flightline, June 1. Wallace deployed with more than 30 fellow Marine Attack Squadron 542 Marines in support of operations in the Pacific with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit.

MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. – More than 130 Marines from Marine Attack Squadron 542 departed Cherry Point, June 5, en route to the Pacific to provide aviation support with the squadron’s AV-8B Harriers as part of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit.

An advance party of more than 30 Marines along with their Harriers left the air station, June 1, for the roughly 6-month deployment, maintaining the 31st MEU’s mission as the nation’s force in readiness in the Asia-Pacific region.

The Marines will make stops in Hawaii, Wake Island, Japan, the Philippines and Hong Kong, averaging 12-hour-plus work days, said Gunnery Sgt. Chris L. Riley, an Efland, N.C., native, who has gone on this deployment cycle once before.

Other countries covet the opportunity to train with the Harrier because of its unique ability to provide precise, agile close-air support, explained Riley, the squadron adjutant.

“Our guys are mad when they miss by three feet, dropping a bomb from 20,000 feet,” said Riley. “They practice so much.”

The Marines’ emphasis throughout is maintaining a fluent workflow during an on-the-fly tempo, much like they’d experience during a deployment to Afghanistan, said Riley.

“They’re practicing for immediacy in an environment they’re not used to,” he said. “In a combat situation, time is of the essence.”

The Marines will also maintain readiness for the unknown. Harriers from the 26th MEU were some of the first forces called upon to defend the Libyan people from Col. Moammar Gadhafi’s regime during Operation Odyssey Dawn in 2011.

Marines’ ability to quickly adapt paired with the Harriers’ capabilities keeps the Harrier community busy, which requires an integral commitment from the Marine family members.

“It’s challenging, no doubt,” said Casey Wallace, wife of Harrier pilot, Capt. Michael Wallace.

This is the second deployment the Wallaces, natives of LaGrange, Ky., and their two daughters, 5 and 2, have experienced together. Casey said the separation creates a greater sense of appreciation for one another, which isn’t easy for two young girls to understand.


Connected Media
ImagesFamilies send off...
Abby Kate, 5, waves goodbye to her dad, Capt. Michael...
ImagesFamilies send off...
Casey Wallace points out Dad, Capt. Michael Wallace, to...
ImagesFamilies send off...
More than 30 Marine Attack Squadron 542 Marines departed...


Web Views
252
Downloads
0

Podcast Hits
0



Public Domain Mark
This work, Marine Harrier squadron heads to Pacific, by Sgt Tyler J. Bolken, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.

Date Taken:06.05.2012

Date Posted:06.05.2012 14:55

Location:HAVELOCK, NC, USGlobe

More Like This

  • A detachment of 122 Marines from Marine Attack Squadron 542 returned to Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C., Sunday from a deployment with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, which patrols the Asia-Pacific region.

A Marine expeditionary unit is a seaborne force of about 2,000 Marines and Sailors with its own ground, air, and logistical support elements capable of projecting power quickly and conducting a broad spectrum of military operations. The VMA-542 detachment, with six AV-8B Harriers, provided a close-air support capability for the past six months with the MEU.
  • Urgency is settling in as the Corps’ oldest aviation squadron, “the first and finest since 1919,” prepares its Marines and AV-8B Harriers for an upcoming deployment to Afghanistan.
  • AV-8B Harrier pilots with Marine Attack Squadron 223 conducted simultaneous training operations while beginning readiness for upcoming Marine Expeditionary Unit deployments with the 31st and 22nd MEU’s Monday.
  • Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 252 Marines took off from Cherry Point Jan. 26-27, aboard one of the squadron’s KC-130Js to refuel F/A-18 Hornets from Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, S.C., and AV-8B Harriers from Cherry Point’s Marine Attack Squadron 223, as part of a large-force exercise in the Eastern Carolina skies.

Options

  • Army
  • Marines
  • Navy
  • Air Force
  • Coast Guard
  • National Guard

HOLIDAY GREETINGS

SELECT A HOLIDAY:

VIDEO ON DEMAND

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Youtube
  • Flickr