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Marines with Marine All-Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 533 play cornhole at their unity celebration, May 17. The party brought the VMFA(AW) 533 family together over food, laughter and celebration of accomplishments.

Photo by Cpl. Sarah Cherry

Hawks celebrate accomplishments

30 May 2014 | Cpl. Sarah Cherry

Marines from Marine All-Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 533 gathered with their families at Afterburners for a unit celebration, May 17.

The event celebrated unit accomplishments while reigniting camaraderie amongst Marines in preparation for the summer months, which have a high injury and accident rate.

“Our guys are hitting it out of the park,” said Lt. Col. Kevin O’Rourke, commanding officer of VMFA(AW)-533.

“This gives them a chance to break bread together and know that we’re in this together while reiterating the importance of staying safe.”

Staying safe is an important message for the squadron, especially as summer begins. Togetherness and recognition are an equally important message.

“We just got back from providing air support at Naval Air Facility El Centro’s Weapons and Tactics Instructor course, and recently received the highest score in the air wing on the Aviation Logistics Management Assist Team evaluation inspections,” said O’Rourke. “The guys around here do a phenomenal job with programs.”

During the ALMAT, the squadron was inspected on 40 maintenance and safety programs. The squadron improved their score in a later inspection by the Chief of Naval Operations.

“Knowing what’s ahead and planning it out has become a well-practiced science to us,” said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Sikhan Chin, maintenance material control officer for VMFA(AW)-533. “The ability to plan ahead and plan safely allowed us to excel.”

Performing well on inspections like the ALMAT and CNAF requires Marines to be consistently on top of and improving safety and maintenance. Marines with VMFA(AW)-533 prepared throughout the year for the inspections.

“The way they practice their daily procedures prepared them for the inspections and made it easy for them,” said Sgt. Maj. Derrick Mays, sergeant major of VMFA(AW)-533. “We have outstanding non-commissioned officers, staff NCOs and officers that lead by example daily. We are very proud of them day in and day out.”