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Silver Eagles prepare for six-month Truman tour

2 Apr 2004 | Cpl. Kat Johnson Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort

After being in Fightertown for less than a month, the Silver Eagles are heading out again to the USS Harry S. Truman in preparation for their upcoming deployment to the Mediterranean Sea.

The Marines and Sailors of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 115 will be leaving Fightertown on April 7 for a 35-day deployment aboard the Truman. While at sea, the Silver Eagles will practice F/A-18 maneuvers and flight patterns which will be used when they board the Truman to travel in October.

“I think that every time we deploy it helps us to prepare for what life will be like when we actually leave for six months,” said Cpl. Richie Delatte, ordnance technician, VMFA-115. “When we get out there, it’s not the time to learn our capabilities, it’s time to show we already know them.”

Joining the Silver Eagles on the aircraft carrier will be various other squadrons, such as Carrier Air Wing 3 and Fighter Attack Squadron 32. The entire exercise is scheduled to be comprised of several types of aircraft, to include the F/A-18 Hornets, F-14 Tomcats and EA-6B Prowlers.

“Space on the carrier is limited, so when we go we make sure that every one of our aircraft are working properly,” Delatte said. “The middle of the Atlantic is no time to find out that one of them can’t perform properly.”

This will be the first time the Silver Eagles have deployed to the Mediterranean as part of the Unit Deployment Program. When they deployed in 2003, they were supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.

“I think the atmosphere will be different this time when we go,” Delatte said. “We know the country is still hostile, but at least this time we know who is controlling the government.”

While the squadron is on the aircraft carrier, they will be operating at a tempo a little faster than at home.

“We will have a day crew and night crew,” Delatte said. “But our shifts will extend to twelve hours a day, seven days a week.”
The Marines will also join the Navy squadron assigned to the carrier by fulfilling different job slots needed to support the increase of military personnel.

“We try not disrupt the ships routine, but with so many more people living on the ship at one time, the extra help from us is needed,” Delatte said.

The Marines of VMFA-115 have been deploying on several other mini-deployments during the past six months and have four more planned before they depart for the Truman.

“With all the training we do, I know we are ready,” Delatte said. “We are Marines, it’s what we do.”