Photo Information

Capt. Daniel Fletcher, a Marine Attack Squadron 513 pilot, inspects an AV-8B Harrier he will pilot on the flightline at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, Sept. 29.

Photo by Pfc. Sean Dennison

Marine Harrier squadron stays diligent throughout deployment to Afghanistan

4 Oct 2011 | Pfc. Sean Dennison

The temperatures in Afghanistan are cooling, but the Marines of Marine Attack Squadron 513 are losing no steam as they continue to support NATO International Security Force Operations from Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan.

Since May the Marines have been working 24 hours a day in conditions far from comfortable. Temperatures have turned the working environment into an oven. An intense flight schedule has kept the Marines on their toes for as long as they’ve been in country.

However, for the Marines, it doesn’t keep them from accomplishing their mission of supporting NATO International Security Force Operations with their AV-8B Harrier attack jets.

“Each shop has its own specific job to make sure each and every system performs at maximum to send the safest aircraft out with that pilot to a sortie,” explained Cpl. Brandon Jones, a Marine Attack Squadron 513 airframes mechanic and Huntsville, Ala., native.

The “Flying Nightmares” of Marine Attack Squadron 513 are part of 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward) the aviation combat element in support of NATO operations in southwestern Afghanistan. The Marine Corps uses the vertical take-off and short-landing capabilities of the AV-8B Harrier attack jet to provide close-air support to Marine infantrymen and other coalition forces on the ground.

 “If there’s anything I can do to protect them, I will,” added Staff Sgt. James Seigfried, the Harrier squadron’s avionics noncommissioned officer- in- charge and a Rosamond, Calif., native. 

Throughout their four months in Afghanistan, the Harrier squadron has racked up hundreds of flight hours and dropped dozens of bombs. Yet, even with the prospect of home only a few months away, the Marines haven’t forgotten their mission.

“It feels pretty good knowing Marines’ lives are in our hands and knowing everyone is doing the best they can to support them,” said Cpl. Michael Prince, a Marine Attack Squadron 513 powerline mechanic and Battle Creek, Mich., native.

Aside from the knowledge that they’ve allowed fellow Marines to wake to another day, the Harrier squadron’s Marines said they also take away something more personal from this deployment.

“This deployment has given me a sense of self-satisfaction and a ridiculous amount of self-confidence,” said Cpl. Michael Garetz, a VMA-513 ordnance technician and Comstock, Texas, native.

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

Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point