Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, SC --
Aviation Logistics Squadron 31, also known as Stingers, deployed from Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, June 28.
Two days prior to the deployment, Lt. Col. Willie Stansell, the commanding officer of MALS-31, held a warrior breakfast at the MCAS Beaufort chow hall for the deploying Marines who will augment Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 40 at Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan.
"We will be offering aircraft support while overseas," said Capt. Danny Hamler, the operations officer for MALS-31. "We will also be offering ordnance and maintenance support."
In preparation for deployment, the Marines completed multiple pre-deployment training courses to prepare for the unforgiving and harsh environment of Afghanistan and their mission while deployed.
Lt. Col. Bill Gray, the commanding officer for MALS-40, demonstrated enthusiasm for the detachment of deploying Stingers during the warrior breakfast.
"For three years the Stingers have held the highest standard of aircraft readiness," said Gray. "These guys are ready, they are the cream of the crop and the best of the best."
The hardest part of any deployment is the fact that families are apart, said Gunnery Sgt. Michael Ward, the mobile facility coordinator for MALS-31.
Ward, a veteran of multiple deployments, believes the downside of being away from family during deployments is combated by the unit camaraderie that comes out of the deployment.
"Deployments help bring everybody together," said Ward. "It helps the senior enlisted understand the junior Marines.
"We are going on this deployment so that we can supply MALS-40 with the support that they need and to complete our mission in Afghanistan," said Ward.