MARINE CORPS AIR STATION BEAUFORT, S.C. --
Attack Training Squadron 101 arrived at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort Sept.
24 to complete advanced aviation training requirements.
VMFAT-101 is a training
squadron for Marine Corps and Navy students who have been assigned to fly one
of the F/A-18 variants. The squadron is based out of Marine Corps Air Station
Miramar and falls under the command of Marine Aircraft Group 11.
“The reason we
left Miramar was because of the weapons and tactics instructor’s course and the
air show happening there,” said Maj. Dave King, the assistant maintenance
officer with VMFAT-101. “Those things got in the way of the training that we
needed to accomplish. Whenever a (weapons and tactics instructor’s course)comes
through, we lose all of our range time.”
brought fifteen F-18 aircraft, a mix of the B, C and D variants, to train
aboard Fightertown. VMFAT-101 plans on flying every day to train as much as possible
during their time in Beaufort.
“We will fly a lot
over the next few weeks,” said Capt. Steve Bellevue, an instructor with
Most of the pilots
visiting are in training and need to complete simulated missions to advance
“There is a lot of
training to do,” said King. “We have several students that are preparing for
training aboard a ship. A week after we return to Miramar, we are sending fourteen
students off to carrier operations, so we will be doing field carrier landing
exercises here. We also have some air to ground training with the local ranges
landing practice is when pilots rehearse landing on an aircraft carrier. They
simulate the conditions and restrictions of landing at sea. It’s important to
conduct the training on a flight line first to build their proficiency before
they try it on the carrier.
amazing to see these pilots land on the ship for the first time,” said King. “It’s
not a big target area and it is even more difficult at night.”
To better simulate
landing on ship, there is a silhouetted resemblance on the flight line of an
aircraft carrier deck complete with the wires used to stop the jet.
Usually twice a
year, VMFAT-101, leaves Miramar and continues to train on another air station.
This is the first time they have utilized MCAS Beaufort.
chosen as our temporary home because many of its squadrons are deployed or
training,” said Bellevue. “Another reason is the support we get here. We have
full support from Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 31 and there is a flight
simulator here that sets Beaufort apart from other air stations. Miramar and
Beaufort are the only two places in the Marine Corps with F-18 flight
hang their hat in one of Marine Aircraft Group 31’s deployed squadron’s
“It’s good to get
away from home,” said King. “It’s feels good to get out of our comfort zone and
be in a new place and get a change of scenery.”
is far from home, the mission remains the same: training the most tactically
efficient Hornet pilots.
“VMFAT-101 is by
far one of the most aggressive squadrons,” said King. “We train the future
aviators and maintainers of the Marine Corps and Navy. I have Marines, sailors
and contractors all working together here with me.”