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Werewolves return from UDP

By Sgt. Marcy Sanchez | | July 15, 2013


Marines with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 122 returned to Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, July 11.

The squadron, also known as The Werewolves, returned from a six-month deployment after supporting various units and exercises as part of the Unit Deployment Program in the Western Pacific.

During their deployment, the squadron conducted multiple detachments in supporting Exercise Lava Viper in Hawaii; providing close-air support for training exercises for 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion, 3rd Marine Division in Okinawa, Japan; conducting multi-service training with the Air Force’s F-22 Raptor and F-15 Eagle aircraft; supporting exercises with The Republic of the Philippines armed forces and conducted a large-force exercise during Operation Bushido Fury.

"The [Unit Deployment Program] is an opportunity to be a part of the force in readiness that answers the call to be the first response to a global crisis," said Gunnery Sgt. Matthew Amescua, VMFA-122’s logistics chief.

Throughout the deployment the squadron was also supplemented with a detachment of Marines from Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 31 for operational and logistical support.

"Maintainers benefit from deployments like these because it’s absolutely necessary to maintain a high standard of aircraft readiness," said Amescua, a native of San Diego. "It enforces the development of ethical working habits to make sure aircraft are properly maintained to support the mission."

Throughout the deployment, Marines developed unit cohesion, improved teamwork and their ability to perform at a high level of proficiency under stress, said Capt. Geoffrey J. Franks, the pilot training officer for VMFA-122. The squadron trained, postured and prepared to support the Marine Air Ground Task Force commander’s intent in the event the squadron would be needed to support any operation in the United States Pacific Command’s area of operations.

Aside from preparing the squadron to support any operations if called upon, The Werewolves also managed to train and certify pilots within the squadron as Fighter Attack Instructors and Night Systems Instructors via Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron 1.

"While deployed we performed a lot of training," said Franks, a native of Portland, Ore. "We accomplished every training goal we had set."

While supporting the Unit Deployment Program, VMFA-122 increased forward presence in the area improving the Marine Corps’ ability to respond to contingencies throughout the region.

"Every Marine should feel proud of the accomplishments they had," said Franks.