CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan --
More than 3,000 Marines and sailors of 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward), go about the work of serving as the air combat element in southwestern Afghanistan, they do so without a Marine Corps F/A-18 Hornet squadron for thousands of miles.
But that hasn’t stopped hundreds of Marines from Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, S.C., from participating in this war.
“I volunteered to deploy to Afghanistan,” said Cpl. Matthew Staley, a Marine attached to Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 40 at Camp Bastion, Afghanistan.
More than 120 Marines from the air station joined Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 40 at Camp Bastion to perform behind-the-scenes maintenance and keep aircraft flying.
Staley works on the switchboards, wires and cables that are delivered to squadrons and installed in aircraft.
“Recently we have gotten more aircraft then ever up in their air,” said Staley. “It is a great feeling knowing that I helped.”
A few miles away from Staley’s compound, a group of Beaufort Marines work to keep aircraft communicating with air controllers on the ground
Chief Warrant Officer 2 Martin Hood is the Tactical Air Operation Center maintenance officer for the Marine Air Control Squadron 2 detachment here. He and other Marines from Beaufort work with Marines from Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C. to repair radar dishes, radios and other equipment that allows the coalition to control airspace.
“I love the small-town feel in Beaufort, said Hood. “It provides me comfort knowing my family has friends and community support if they need it.”
Hood works alongside Master Sgt. Michael Washington, a native of Beaufort, S.C., who serves as the detachment’s staff non commissioned officer-in-charge.
“I grew up in Beaufort, I went to Robert Smalls Middle School and graduated from Battery Creek High School,” said Washington. “Though I am currently stationed in Cherry Point, [Beaufort] will always be my home.”