MAG-31 celebrates 65 years

7 Nov 2008 | Cpl. Jenn Eagelman

Marines and sailors with Marine Aircraft Group 31 joined Col. Gregg Brinegar, MAG-31’s commanding officer, in celebrating the Group’s 65th birthday, held at the Air Station’s VIP Line, Oct. 30.
The birthday was celebrated with a ceremony rededicating each of MAG 31’s battle colors, a flyover featuring an F/A-18 Hornet from each of the Group’s squadrons and a birthday cake.
“The CO thought that a ceremony celebrating 65 years of the MAG’s dedicated service to this country was a good birthday present to give its members,” said Gunnery Sgt. Danny Langford, the personnel support detachment first sergeant for the Group and a coordinator for the event.
“In my mind this is something we have to do as Marines, honoring those who have come before us, while also looking at the picture of what the future holds for each of these Marines here today,” Brinegar said.
Marine Aircraft Group 31 was commissioned at Cherry Point, N.C., in February 1943.
From October 1943 until Oct. 12, 1945, the Group operated throughout the Pacific area and played an integral part in the battle for Okinawa, Japan.
After Okinawa was overtaken, MAG-31 squadrons continued their part in the war, conducting operations from Yantan Airfield on the island.
On Oct. 12, 1945, the Group departed Okinawa for Yokosuka, Japan, becoming the first Marine land based Group to operate in the Japanese homeland. The Group was transferred from 2d Marine Aircraft Wing to the 4th MAW on Feb. 12, 1946 and then to the Fleet Marine Force Pacific on March 13, 1946.
The Group returned to the U.S. on July 5, 1946 and was stationed at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif., until it was decommissioned on May 31, 1947.
Marine Aircraft Group 31 was reactivated on March 17, 1952 at Cherry Point, N.C., and transferred to Marine Corps Air Station, Fla., operating as a part of 3rd MAW until it was again decommissioned in 1958.
On Nov. 1, 1961, MAG-31 was again reactivated and stationed at its present home at Fightertown as part of the 2nd MAW, where it continues to support the Marine Corps’ mission.
Throughout the Group’s 65 – year existence, it has earned 11 streamers. Brinegar attached each of the Group’s battle colors as the history behind each was read off.
“It’s important to take these opportunities to remember those who came before us,” Brinegar said. “It gives each Marine an understanding of what rededicating the colors means, what each streamer stands for and more importantly the history behind each squadron’s colors. Hopefully those in attendance (walked) away from this ceremony looking at them differently.”
The ceremony concluded as the members of the unit enjoyed cake, and then continued flight operations as the Group’s personnel have done for the previous 65 years.