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VMFA-122 returns home after participating in ITX

By Lance Cpl. Samantha K. Torres | Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort | December 4, 2015


 Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 122 returned to Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort Nov. 19 after participating in Integrated Training Exercise from Oct. 16- Nov. 19. The exercise was held aboard Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, Calif.

 The training event used all components of the Marine Air-Ground Task Force to accomplish the mission.

 “This was the last big training exercise we did before our next deployment,” said Sgt. Maj. Richard Ayala, the sergeant major of VMFA-122.

 The Marines of VMFA-122 conducted close air support exercises, armed reconnaissance, dropped live ordnance, and executed expeditionary operations training to increase proficiency and combat effectiveness.

 “The exercise started out with a very generic scenario,” said Capt. Benjamin Switzer, the operations officer for VMFA-122 and F/A-18 pilot with the Royal Canadian Air Force. “There was a known target area, and all fire, land and air, was directed towards the enemy. Each scenario advanced from there.”

 The intent of the exercise was for Marines to be prepared to support planning and flight operations from the supplementary expeditionary landing field aboard the combat center.

 “The overall goal of the exercise was to provide realistic training for each individual component, but at the same time integrate all elements together,” said Switzer. “Ground elements such as tanks, infantry, scout snipers, artillery, and air elements such as F-18s and a combat search and rescue element from the Air Force were just a few moving pieces incorporated into the exercise.”

 The pre-deployment training was conducted to increase combat proficiency and readiness, according to Maj. Matthew Halbert, the executive officer of VMFA-122.

“The squadron will be deploying as part of the Western Pacific Unit Deployment Program based out of MCAS Iwakuni, Japan in early 2016,” said Halbert.

 The upcoming deployment for VMFA-122 will support Marine Aircraft Group 12, and increase combat power and interoperability with our Asia-Pacific partners.

 “The Marines did phenomenal work, and worked long hours,” said Halbert. “The squadron increased its proficiency in flight operations and maintenance, and the Marines provided stellar support to the ITX which resulted in a successful exercise and quality training for all participating units.”