MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. --
Sitting in the ready room at the Marine Attack Squadron 231 hangar, pilots wait patiently for their departure time. They casually talk about gifts they want to get or games they set up for wives and children. They check their watches one last time, don their gear and walk out on the Cherry Point flight line.
These aviators are a part of approximately 80 Marines and Sailors with VMA-231 who departed the air station March 7-11 to support a 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit deployment.
The squadron personnel along six AV-8B Harriers will attach to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 266 (Reinforced) to provide attack and close-air support along with armed reconnaissance for the 26th MEU.
Maj. Timothy Anderson, pilot and detachment officer in charge, said the Marines are prepared and ready to go on this deployment.
“We went to (Enhanced Mojave Viper) with the parent squadron, (VMA-231),” said Anderson, a native of Canton, Conn. “When we got back, the parent squadron went to (Operation Enduring Freedom) and we’ve been back here preparing ever since.”
Capt. William Graves, a pilot and quality assurance officer with VMA-231, said the Marines have been training hard for this deployment.
“We’re ready to go and everybody is feeling great about this deployment,” said Graves, a native of
Charlotte, N.C. “We’re just ready to get started.”
The 26th MEU, scheduled to return this summer, provides Marine Air-Ground Task Force capabilities throughout the Atlantic and U.S. Central Command area of operations.