Good Morning Ladies and Gents! Welcome Back! This will mark the end of the first week of November, congrats on staying with us so far! As for whats on today’s menu, we have something special. I bring to you Phan’s first article! He took the time to write something great. For today’s article it will be a continuation of one of my earlier pieces. As all of you may know, the Marine Corps prides itself on being the first to fight. We have complete expertise and dominion over the land, sea, and air. Fortunately, we’ve already covered land and sea with my earlier posts. Luckily, today we complete the trifecta with the air segment. So, without further ado, here’s What You Need to Know About The Air-Wing
Phan will take it from here!
Good morning everyone, today I wanted to cover a particular segment about the United States Marine Corps, specifically the air wing segment. Unlike its land and sea counterparts the USMC aviation was created with a different mission. Today, the marine aviation is comprised of six elements: assault support, antiair warfare, offensive air support, electronic warfare, control, and recon. Unlike other branches we employ all types of aircraft for transport, support, and special purpose roles.
But first let’s dive into the history a little bit.
The marine aviation officially began in 1912, in the famous Naval Aviation Camp in Annapolis, Maryland, thanks to Marine Lieutenant Alfred Cunningham. Through time, the number of Marine Corps pilots grew thus providing for the opportunity for complete separation from Naval air forces in 1914. Later on, the Commandant of the Marine Corps officially authorized an aviation company in 1915. Unfortunately, it did not take long for the Marine Corps aviation company to be tested. In 1917, with the official entrance into the first World War, the First Marine Air Squadron was deployed to France. After long and hard-fought battles, the aviation company had grown exponentially and had earned many awards for their superior tactics and flying which included a Medal Of Honor.
What a beginning right?!
Fortunately, this was not the end. As time progressed tactics and skills continued to advance to the point they were able to coordinate and implement specialized warfare with the ground and amphibious segments of the Corps. This was vital in World War 2. Due to the air divisions support, they were credited with shooting down over 2300 Japanese aircraft while only losing close to 25% of that. As time progressed, the aviation segment had both its ups and downs. With the Truman administration in power, the Marine Corps as a whole was seeing the ever looming possibility of elimination.
Fortunately, and unfortunately, war, specifically the Korean and Vietnam Wars, were the catalysts to bring back the aviation from the possibility of decommission. Since then, the Aviation unit has only seen a continuous upward growth in innovation and manpower. Now, lets get back to What You Need to Know About The Air-Wing. As you already know, the air wing has been around for a long time, many wouldn’t imagine Marines flying overhead and most would picture the air force or even the navy ruling the skies, which is simply not true. The marines air segment and ethos to be the first to fight have made them a formidable fighting force.
Clearly, this is what gives the Marine Corps a competitive edge over the other services as we are the masters of adapting to any environment.
Now, lets begin on, What You Need to Know About The Air-Wing.
I served from 2009 to 2013 under the job title of Aviation Maintenance Administration in two different F-18 squadrons. The first was, VMFA-314, and the second being Mals-11 Powerplants. The first, was a fighter squadron, which meant we could deploy at any time any place. Funny enough, we are famous, VMFA-314 made its Hollywood debut in the movie Independence Day starring Will Smith, who portrayed a Black Knight! The second squadron, as a non-deployable unit, we maintained F-18 engines for installation to the aircraft. All in all, We had to stay at the ready for all our squadrons needs.
An aircraft is a very comprehensive, complicated machine that requires intensive focus and maintenance to ensure combat readiness and its support capability. The air component of an operation is crucial for many different objectives such as, intel gathering, reconnaissance, destroying key targets, and creating an environment of fear for our enemies. In order to get an aircraft in the air, especially an older aircraft, it takes around the clock effort from the entire squadron to completely ensure the pilots safety from a properly maintained aricraft.
Within a squadron are many units to maintain an aircraft known as the maintenance department. Powerplants, airframes, Seats, ordinance, communication navigation, quality assurance, maintenance control, and maintenance administration.
With a common goal, these departments work in conjunction with one another to ensure the aircraft are combat ready. I was part of the Aviation Maintenance Administration department where we maintained all logs and records, aircraft information systems, and operation systems to ensure all components within the aircraft were all legitimate. Failure to ensure these components, for example fucking up an inspection interval or installing a wrong serial number can be detrimental to the aircraft. Consequently, this would put our pilots and anyone on the ground in danger if not properly done. With every squadron comes a high pressure environment, either from getting aircraft combat ready and keeping them combat ready.
Although the Marine Corps are the elite in comparison to other branches, unfortunately we happen to get the least amount of funding which in turn also helps fuel our reputation. I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “we do more with less.” Well this should be the second slogan of the United States Marine Corps. This also includes any and all aircraft or vehicles we own. Regrettably, this makes for a difficult working environment. For example, our F-18s are older jets, most likely given as a “handy-me-down” from one of the other branches which would make our job more tedious due to the age of the aircraft, the requirement of more working hours and overall maintenance of the vehicle.
Today, there are many newer fighter jets hitting the skies. For example, the F-35 are taking over to replace the fleet of F-18s. As technology has evolved, so have the Marines.
In conclusion, although What You Need to Know About The Air-Wing, focuses on the admin portion of the job, we do work with multiple segments to bring everything in as a whole. Due to its history and growth there will always be a need for roles within the air-wing.
If you are serious about this field, feel free to subscribe and email us with any questions you may have. Also, if the Air-wing isn’t for you check out our previous post on the Amphibious Assault role. If your not following us on Instagram or YouTube please show your support if you like what we do. Check out our store for the Official Black Sheep Store. If this is a job you’re interested in, understand that this is a high pressure environment where mistakes can end a life. For further information on this job, please visit the Military yearbook project, visit here.