Stingers return in swarms

26 Mar 2010 | Lance Cpl. Josh Pettway

Nearly 50 smiling faces and open arms awaited Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 31’s second group to return from an approximate 11-month deployment from Afghanistan, March 16.

During their deployment, members of MALS-31, also known as the Stingers, joined Marine Expeditionary Brigades and other MALS from around the Corps as a part of MALS-40. The squadron members had the opportunity to render support in multiple countries such as Korea, Japan and Afghanistan.

The Stingers also had the ability to team with the Air Force to advance ordnance technology during the deployment.

“Everyone exceeded the expectations set for them,” said Gunnery Sgt. Mike Quist, the ordnance chief for MALS-31. “This deployment was one of the better ones I have been a part of.”

Their primary goal was to provide maintenance for aviation weapons support equipment. The deployment proved to be very beneficial and successful.

“The deployment was great,” said Cpl. Daniel Karczewski, an aviation supply specialist for MALS-31. “Nearly everyone on this deployment returned with promotions or awards under their belt. There were no difficulties when it came to the task at hand.”

For some this was their first deployment, but for everyone it was a chance to improve upon themselves while abroad.

“I had the opportunity to go through the Martial Arts Instructor course for the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program while I was out there,” Karczewski said. “There were a lot of opportunities to get ahead while we were out there.”

Each Fightertown service member only had to focus on their Military Occupational Specialty during the deployment and none served as an augment while deployed, according to Gunnery Sgt. Troy Peterson, the MALS-31 family readiness officer.

“Each of the Marines did their basic job,” Peterson said. “Whether it was aviation support or logistics, they all provided support to help accomplish the mission.”

The returning Marines and sailor were separated into three components and the last detachment is slated to return next month.

While gone service members were also able to keep in contact with their families by sending letters or making phone calls.

When it came down to accomplishing their mission, MALS-31 and the individuals it's comprised of managed to exceed their expectations while in foreign lands.