Bengals head to Western Pacific

27 Sep 2012 | Lance Cpl. John Wilkes

Marine All Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 224 deployed to Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan as part of the Unit Deployment Program, Sept. 24.

The six-month deployment is similar to their last when the squadron deployed to the Western Pacific in July, 2010.

While on deployment, the squadron participated in various exercises such as the Rim of the Pacific, Southern Frontier, Amphibious Landing, and Wolmi-Do Fury. The Bengals were able to work closely with their counterparts from Japan and Australia while gaining valuable experience in various tactical areas. This deployment is also a part of the UDP and shares a similar purpose.

The UDP is a system for assigning deployments to the Marine Corps. To reduce the number of unaccompanied tours and improve unit continuity, the Commandant of the Marine Corps established it to provide for the deployment of units to the Western Pacific for periods of approximately six months.

The Marine Corps’ objective is to adhere as closely as possible to a six-month period of deployment away from a unit’s continental United States home base.

"We are pretty excited about this deployment," said Sgt. Maj. Patrick Deherrera, VMFA(AW)-224 squadron Sgt. Maj. "We get to interact with our counterparts in the Western Pacific and refine our skills."