News: 1st MAW CG speaks to servicemembers, conducts final tour as CG
Story by Lance Cpl. James Smith
IWAKUNI, Japan - Servicemembers aboard station received a visit from Maj. Gen. Christopher Owens, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing commanding general, June 28, 2013.
During his stop at Marine All-Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 242, he talked about how the MAW and Marine Aircraft Groups are performing.
"Because of our pace for the last couple of months, I haven't had a chance to be up here," said Owens. "Since I had today, I decided to visit all of the wing units that are here."
Owens added that his visit was part of a last tour before his change of command on July 9, 2013.
"The wing has accomplished a lot in the last year," said Owens. "Introduction of the Osprey, execution of a number of high-profile exercises and operations, and I'm very proud of how the wing has done. My contribution has been minimal, but the wing itself has done extremely well."
While reflecting on the achievements of the past, Owens began to address plans and operations for the future.
"I see a couple more years of change and growth in capability," said Owens. "We have (Marine Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron 4), the first unit deployment program deployment of a VMAQ in about six years. A little bit farther south, we will be introducing another squadron of Ospreys, restarting UDPs for (Sikorsky CH-53 transport helicopters) and (AH-1W Super Cobra attack helicopters) and then in a few more years, we will introduce the joint strike fighter to Iwakuni."
In addition, Owens’ addressed continued reinforcement of the sexual assault prevention and response movements that are ongoing in the Marine Corps.
Along with addressing the masses, Owens took time to address VMFA(AW)-242 as a unit and their progress.
"One of the things he talked about with us is that we had some issues we needed to overcome and we spent the last year building a team and getting back a positive performance curve," said Lt. Col. Bruce Gordon, VMFA(AW)-242 commanding officer. "We saw during our own maintenance inspection in the last week of May that all the work we put in for the last year got us to that high point. So now we need to maintain that level and sustain."
While addressing the unit, Owens took the time to recognize Lance Cpl. Elizabeth Fuentes, VMFA(AW)-242 communication navigation radar system technician, who won Marine of the Quarter, for the squadron, and presented her with a challenge coin.
In his closing remarks, he addressed the upcoming change of command and passionately spoke about his time spent with the wing.
"It has been a tremendous honor to serve with the forward deployed wing of the Marine Corps," said Owens. "Out here in this theater, there is so much going on and so many opportunities in the Pacific (Area of Responsibility). It's been a true pleasure to be a part of that. I'm glad that in the job I'm going to, I will be able to continue to maintain that partnership with 1st Marine Aircraft Wing."