MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. --
The commanding officer of Marine Attack Training Squadron 203, Lt. Col. John A. Rahe, was recognized during a ceremony in the squadron’s ready room July 16 for accumulating 3,000 flight hours in the AV-8B Harrier.
Since receiving his Naval aviator flight wings in 1995, VMAT-203’s commander has spent a cumulative total of more than 125 days in the AV-8B Harrier. That makes the commander of the only squadron responsible for training Marine Harrier pilots one of the most experienced in his field.
The executive officer of VMAT-203, Lt. Col. Craig T. Killian, said the only other active-duty Marine who he knows of with more flight hours in the Harrier than Rahe is Brig. Gen. Jon M. Davis, the incoming commanding general of the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing.
Killian said Rahe couldn’t be a better role model for the student pilots trained at VMAT-203. “Being a Marine pilot takes a lot more than just flying,” Killian said of Rahe. “He has done everything from serving in combat to instructing at this squadron. He has mastered his military occupational specialty and stuck with it a long time.”
Killian described Rahe as a personal friend with whom he had climbed the ranks.
“Our careers have followed similar lines,” Killian said. “I’ve flown with him since I started flying. It is an honor to be his executive officer.”
Rahe said receiving the accolade was a tremendous honor and one for which he could not take full credit.
“There’s a balance between our families, our work and our flight time,” Rahe told the pilots in his squadron. “My wife and daughters have been there for me the entire time.”
Rahe added that his accomplishment was relevant to the squadron’s training philosophy.
“There’s no substitute for experience, but it has to be quality,” Rahe said. “I think I set that example here.”
“We owe it to the taxpayers to provide the best training that we can. This aircraft is a relevant platform for the Marine Corps. It supports everything we’ve asked it to do, and it’s a really fun airplane to fly.”