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VMFA-312 checks out for three week deployment

23 Jul 2004 | Cpl. Craig A. Sherman Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort

The Checkerboards of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 312 left Fightertown July 14 and 15 to participate in a three-week air-to-ground deployment aboard Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Ariz.

The annual three-week deployment is in support of the Expeditionary Warfare Training Group Pacific.

“This deployment is going to be a good opportunity to work with the Marines from 2nd Battalion 24th Marines and the forward air controllers,” said Maj. Wade Wiegel, pilot training officer, VMFA-312.

During the deployment, Checkerboard pilots will drop large amounts of non-combatant ordnance to work on their basic air to surface proficiency.

“This training is important because it allows us to work with Marines who take the war to the enemy on the ground,” Wiegel said. “During this deployment we will be training with pilots from VMFA(AW)-224 and Marines from 2/24.”

While the Marines on the ground are practicing their war fighting skills, Both squadrons will be supporting them from the air by dropping ordnance on simulated enemy positions.

“By continually practicing with other Marines and becoming familiar with how they do things, we are reducing the amount of risk to the Marines on the ground during live fire operations,” Wiegel said.

The training is good because the Marines who support the pilots during their missions receive just as much training, if not more than the pilots during these deployments, according to Wiegel.

“These small deployments are a wonderful opportunity for shops like Air Crew to get a lot of training in during actual exercises,” said Cpl. Christofer Lorenson, avionics, VMFA-312. “Marines who are new to the squadron get a small taste of a deployment  and prepares for longer deployments aboard ship.”The Checkerboards are scheduled to return to Fightertown Aug. 10.