MARINE CORPS AIR STATION BEAUFORT, S.C. --
Families and friends gathered to welcome home the Marines of Marine All-Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 533 and Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 31 with hugs and kisses, as they returned to Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort from a six-month deployment to Japan, March 10.
"Marines partnered with the Japanese Self-Defense Forces and also made a few trips to Korea and Thailand to demonstrate interoperability between our military and theirs," said Capt. Nils Alpers, a pilot for Marine All-Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 533.
The Marines saw a different culture while they were on the other side of the world.
"It was nice to get out and see something different," said Staff Sgt. Brandon Ireton, administration staff noncommissioned officer for VMFA(AW)-533. "Especially for the newer Marines who haven’t had a chance to get out."
As he looked at his wife and smiled, Staff Sgt. Ireton said," It was hard being away from my family, but I knew I had the Marines to my left and right to help support me, like family."
Corporal Andrew Timms, a flight equipment technician, left on the deployment, and returned with a surprise that would change his life, a new born son.
"It’s awesome. That’s my little guy," said Timms.
The Hawks are now back in Beaufort with their families, and will continue to assist in keeping the Air Station a succesful Marine Corps operating base.
The UDP is designed to balance strategic capabilities in the Pacific theater to train with allies, respond to crises and promote security and cooperation across the region.