After six months of deployment, approximately 190 Marines and two corpsman with Marine All-Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 533, also known as the Hawks, returned to the Air Station, Tuesday from Iwakuni, Japan.
The Hawks conducted a Western Pacific deployment to Iwakuni and provided 1st Marine Aircraft Wing with additional operational capability, including flight support and disaster relief.
"The Hawks provided 1st MAW with additional assets to conduct inter-service operation in order to exercise systems as well as provide valuable experience for all aircrew and maintainers," explained Capt. Matt Humphries, a weapons systems officer with VMFA(AW) — 533.
The Hawks worked with numerous units from the Marine Corps, the Air Force, Japanese Air Self Defense Force and the Philippine Air Force.
During the deployment, the Hawks pilots were able to successfully train with various types of F/A-18 Hornets, train in Dissimilar Air Combat Training with Mitsubishi F-2's and F-15 Eagle's from the JASDF and provided real-time imagery and reconnaissance in support of humanitarian and disaster relief operations in the Philippines as a result of Super Typhoon Ketsana.
"We were able to send individual Marines to work with the Army and Air Force in South Korea and Japan as part of annual bi-lateral exercises," Humphries said.
While the Marines were deployed, their spouses were able to participate in various activities such as movie night, bowling night and a yellow ribbon cruise to pass time with others who are experiencing the same thing, explained Jennifer Scherr, the VMFA(AW) — 533 family readiness officer.
"Although deployments can be demanding on families, the support of other spouses helps us know that we're not going through this alone," said Maura Quinn, spouse of a Fightertown Marine. "When you're having a rough time during a deployment, it's nice to know that others are going through the same thing and are there for you."
Spouses will continue to have support for each other and gatherings during future deployments, according to Sherr.
"As a whole, the deployment was extremely successful, with all of the Marines gaining valuable experience in all aspects of aviation and maintenance," Humphries said. "We hope to take all that we have learned and translate it into an even greater success in the United States."
The Hawks will continue training for their upcoming deployment, scheduled for early 2011. For more information on upcoming deployments and family support, contact Jennifer Scherr at 228-6495.