MARINE CORPS AIR STATION BEAUFORT, S.C. --
Attack Squadron 122 departed from Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort to the
Western Pacific as part of the Unit Deployment Program March 7. The squadron
will support multinational exercises, which will increase the readiness of
the Marines and enhance interoperability to ensure we can work with our allies
Marines and sailors from VMFA-122 and Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 31
aboard MCAS Beaufort will participate in the deployment. “These types of deployments
offer a variety of training and experience for all Marines throughout the
squadron,” said Capt. Christopher Collins, the officer in charge of the
airframes division for VMFA-122. “We get to work alongside many of our allies
in a short time period, which allows everyone to become more familiar with how
everyone conducts operations.”
Deployment Program allows Marines to forward deploy from their base of origin
to support combatant commanders around the globe. VMFA-122 will be temporarily
stationed aboard MCAS Iwakuni with Marine Aircraft Group 12.
“We do the whole
spectrum of the training we are given from the training readiness guidance,”
said Collins. “That includes air-to-ground and air-to-air. We focus on close
air support because that is mainly what we do as Marines.”
maintainers enable the F/A-18 Hornets to provide close air support and provide
intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance to friendly ground units.
“I am really
interested to see how other services and countries perform,” said Lance Cpl.
John Sloan, an aviation ordnance technician with VMFA-122. “I know that things
are going to be different but I look forward to learning something new.”
The Marines will
also get the opportunity to visit several different countries during the deployment.
This is an opportunity for Marines to experience other cultures and see
sights other Americans may never get to see.
“I am really
excited to see new places and have new experiences to share when I come home,”
The interaction with
foreign countries is helpful for the Marines to experience different people,
cultures and work with other aircraft and crews, enhancing the capability to
learn and work together toward a common goal or to beat a common enemy.
“The biggest thing
we will be doing out there is participating in exercises with allied foreign
countries,” said Collins. “We are also working with other services like the U.S.
deployment length for UDP is six months but VMFA-122 may be gone longer
depending on the exercise schedule.
“In the Marine
Corps, we need to be prepared to operate anywhere, so by training in new
environments with other services we can execute realistic scenarios,” said
Collins. “It is going to be helpful to train in the Western Pacific so we can
get out of our comfort zone.”