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Old 04-30-2003, 05:38 AM
thedrifter thedrifter is offline
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Cool Beaufort Marines returning from Iraqi operation

April 29, 2003

Beaufort Marines returning from Iraqi operation

By Susanne M. Schafer
Associated Press


COLUMBIA, S.C. ? In the coming weeks the roar of jet engines will return to Beaufort?s Marine Corps Air Station as more than 600 Marines and their F/A-18 Hornets return home from the military operation against Iraq?s Saddam Hussein.
?By Memorial Day, we expect to have the squadrons that were deployed to the Middle East back in Fighter Town,? station spokesman Capt. Don Caetano said Tuesday.

More than 600 Marines, Navy support personnel and three dozen warplanes are expected, Caetano said.

Next week, members of the Marines? 533rd Fighter Attack Squadron, dubbed ?The Hawks,? are due to return to the base with their aircraft and support personnel. The unit deployed on Feb. 10 as the potential war against Iraq was looming.

Each squadron has about a dozen attack jets, 200 sailors and Marines attached to it, Caetano said.

The following week, the Marines? 251st Fighter Attack Squadron, which deployed on Feb. 12, is slated to come home. That unit is known as ?The Thunderbolts.?

Closer to the end of the month, Caetano said, the 115th Marine Fighter Attack Squadron is expected to return with its jets and support troops.

That squadron, known as the ?Silver Eagles,? departed in early December last year and has been aboard the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman.

Also expected to return will be the Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 31, the unit that helped perform ?high-level maintenance? for Marine aircraft in the Persian Gulf region, Caetano said.

Caetano said he could not divulge the exact dates of the varied returns for security reasons, nor could he say exactly where the units were deployed in the Persian Gulf region.

With several squadrons in training out West for a future deployment and one unit still based in Iwakuni, Japan, the Beaufort base was left without any of its seven fighter squadrons during the Iraqi operation, Caetano said.

The unit in Japan, the 122nd Fighter Attack Squadron, is expected to return some time this summer.

The squadron deployed in July 2002, and had its expected six-month time extended indefinitely, the spokesman said.

The aircraft carrier Harry S. Truman has been released from its wartime duty in the Mediterranean and is scheduled to arrive at its home port of Norfolk, Va., in May.

The carrier left Norfolk Dec. 5 and originally was to complete its sea duty in early June.

Meanwhile, at Shaw Air Force Base in Sumter, about 100 Air Force men and women are expected to return to the base on Wednesday.

Many of the individuals worked for Air Force headquarters units in the Persian Gulf region and were deployed to the area for varied lengths of time.




--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Copyright 2003 The Associated Press.



Sempers,

Roger
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IN LOVING MEMORY OF MY HUSBAND
SSgt. Roger A.
One Proud Marine
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Once A Marine............Always A Marine.............

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