MCAS BEAUFORT --
A detachment of Marines with Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 31, Marine Aircraft Group 31, also known as the Stingers, deployed Jan.11 to the Helmand Province in Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
Approximately 40 Marines with MALS-31 will be augmenting Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 40, Marine Aircraft Group 40, 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, to provide aviation logistics support to forward-deployed aviation squadrons. This includes intermediate level maintenance as well as supply and ordnance support.
“Without Marine Aviation Logistics Squadrons, it would be impossible for us to conduct sustained expeditionary air operations,” said Brig. Gen. Gary L. Thomas, commander of 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing (Fwd.).
MALS-40 is based out of Marine Corps Air Station New River, N.C. and is composed of Marines from different MALS throughout the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing. The squadron will grow to more than 300 Marines in Afghanistan.
“Many of the Marines have been to Afghanistan before,” said Master Sgt. Hubert Gayle, senior enlisted advisor of MALS-31 aviation supply. “We are very prepared.”
The detachment of Marines with MALS-31 will be deployed for approximately seven months and will perform the same job in Afghanistan as they do at home.
All the Marines of the detachment are deploying on a voluntarily basis, said Lt. Col. William Gray, the commanding officer of MALS-31.
“This is a very important mission,” said Gray. “Marine Corps aviation would not be possible without MALS Marines.”