MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. --
The 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward) formally activated during a ceremony at the air station theater Nov. 30 in preparation for a deployment to Afghanistan in early 2013.
Brig. Gen. Gary L. Thomas, commanding general of 2nd MAW (Fwd.), and Sgt. Maj. Lisa Nilsson, sergeant major of 2nd MAW (Fwd.), uncased the unit’s colors during the ceremony, signifying the official activation.
“We have unveiled these flags a number of times in the last 12 years, and this might be the last time we send this size of a unit forward, and in that perspective, this is historic,” said Maj. Gen. Glenn M. Walters, commanding general of 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing.
Walters commanded 2nd MAW (Fwd.) the last time it went forward from March 2011 through March 2012. Now, it stands ready to take on that same role as the lead aviation combat element in Southwestern Afghanistan under the command of II Marine Expeditionary Force (Fwd.) commanding general Maj. Gen. Walter L. Miller Jr.
The Marines with 2nd MAW (Fwd.) will replace 3rd MAW (Fwd.), deployed from Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif.
Nilsson said she is anxious to deploy with the unit and that her number one goal is to bring every Marine home safely.
Thomas said the unit’s mission while deployed is to provide responsive air support to II MEF (Fwd.) and perform at a high level. 2nd MAW (Fwd.) will assist the Afghan National Security Forces as they take the security lead for their country.
“I am confident that we will be able to do that because of the great Marines we have in the wing and the tremendous support that we have from our families,” said Thomas. “We look forward to the challenge ahead and helping to forward the success of this campaign.”