CAMP BASTION, Afghanistan --
Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 264 transferred responsibility of providing aerial assault support to Marines and coalition troops on the ground in southwestern Afghanistan to VMM-162, at Camp Bastion, Afghanistan, July 18.
With VMM-162 in place to support combat operations, the Marines of VMM-264, commanded by Lt. Col. Brian G. McAvoy, are now slated to return home to Marine Corps Air Station New River, N.C.
“Our goal when we do a transfer of authority is to have the replacements confident that they can pick up where we left off, and maybe do better,” said Sgt. Maj. George P. Aurelio, the VMM-264 sergeant major. “I think VMM-162 is going to do extremely well. I have the trust and confidence in their leadership that they are going to do everything they can to accomplish the mission and take care of their Marines.”
During the outgoing Osprey squadron’s seven month deployment to Afghanistan, VMM-264 completed 475 combat operation missions, transported 965,700 pounds of cargo and more than 23,000 passengers around southwestern Afghanistan.
“If someone was to ask me about my Marines, I would say they are truly magnificent. Now it’s time to go home and get some well deserved rest,” said Aurelio, a native of Mangilao, Guam. “When we get back we are going to have the Marines reset, refocus and rearm and get ready to do it again. It’s a never ending cycle. We’re going to hit the ground running again because we may be out here again.”
VMM-162 is also deployed out of Marine Corps Air Station New River, N.C. This will be VMM-162s first deployment to Afghanistan as a medium tiltrotor squadron using the MV-22 Osprey.
Sgt. Maj. Christopher G. Combs, the VMM-162 sergeant major, alongside the squadron’s commanding officer, Lt. Col. Michael S. Ducar, will lead the nearly 200 Marines of the squadron during their deployment.
“The squadron is excited to be here,” said Combs, a native of Forestport, N.Y. “I think we are going to perform phenomenally. I am 110 percent positive that they will be able to go above and beyond what is expected of them.”
“We’re going to continue to provide the same uninterrupted assault support to ground troops,” said Lt. Col. Michael S. Ducar, the VMM-162 commanding officer, and a native of O’Fallen, Mo. “We’ve got an exceptional group of Marines here and we’re going to carry on the fight.”
Connect with 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward) throughout the deployment. Stay up to date with the latest 2nd MAW (Fwd.) news, photos and videos at http://www.facebook.com/2ndmawfwd.