MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. --
More than 140 Marines with Marine Tactical Electronic Warfare Training Squadron 1 returned to Cherry Point May 19 after supporting a training exercise in Key West, Fla.
VMAQT-1’s mission is to train replacement pilots and aircrews to operate the EA-6B Prowler.
During their four weeks of training at Naval Air Station Key West, the Marines prepared for Fleet Replacement Squadron Production, according to Maj. Michael Lynch, an electronic countermeasures officer with VMAQT-1.
Normally conducted at Cherry Point, FRS production provides student pilots with the ability to train and complete qualifications to become fleet pilots. However, since the weather here was not ideal for the training, the pilots received their qualifications in Key West.
The squadron trained in Key West because of the good flying weather common to that area, according to Lynch.
“With range space and the weather, it allowed us to complete more (sorties) than we would have been able to complete because of the weather here,” said Lynch.
As a training squadron, VMAQT-1 prides itself in developing pilots. Although the squadron doesn’t deploy, they constantly train to support their mission, which in turn supports the mission of 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing.
“The training the students conducted better prepares them for fleet experiences,” said Lynch.
During the training, the Marines performed exceptionally, according to Lynch.
Lynch said, “The maintenance Marines were able to ensure that the aircraft were maintained which allowed us to make the 102 out of the 103 sorties that we set out to do.”
Sgt. Nathaniel Schrupp, an aircraft ordnance technician with the squadron said that the deployment was fun and that he and his fellow Marines got a lot done.
“We armed and configured jets to ensure that our pilots stayed ready to support the tasks asked of them,” said Schrupp.
“The importance of the Marines completing their job is extremely important to the mission of the squadron, because it allows us to assist in sending well-developed pilots into the fleet and that’s our main goal,” he said.