Fourth Marine Aircraft Wing
Prior to World War II, Marine Reserve aviation consisted of a few personnel operating obsolete aircraft under severe budgetary limitations. With the threat of war in Europe, a few reservists were activated, and by Oct. 1940, 1,278 reservists had been called to active duty. This handful of dedicated men helped build the Marine aviation force which cleared the skies and supported ground operations during World War II.
The 4th Marine Base Defense Aircraft Wing was commissioned Aug. 22, 1942, at Ewa, Hawaii. The Wing's three squadrons were located at Midway, Ewa and Samoa with the headquarters at Ewa. In the fall of 1944, the 4th Marine Base Defense Aircraft Wing became the 4th Marine Aircraft Wing (4th MAW). As the war progressed across the Pacific, 4th MAW pilots refined fighter bombing and low-altitude flying techniques. The Wing combined with the proven ability of Marine infantrymen to form an effective and devastating team and paved the way for today's air/ground team concept.
The 4th MAW was deactivated shortly after the war. On Feb. 25, 1946, the Marine Air Reserve Training Command (MARTC) was established to preserve the skill of those Marines returning to civilian life. Headquarters for MARTC was located at the Naval Air Station, Glenview, Ill. Post World War II foresight paid off in 1950 when the Korean War broke out. Having grown to a force of 6,035 men who trained at 25 Marine Air Detachments from coast to coast, the Marine Air Reserve was prepared for mobilization.
Less than two weeks after mobilization day," July 23, 1950, three reserve fighter squadrons were on duty in Korea. Within the first seven weeks, the Marine Air Reserve furnished enough men to increase Marine fighter squadron strength in the Far East from two to six squadrons. Seven months later, more than 50 percent of the officers and 36 percent of the enlisted Marines in the 1st MAW were Reservists.
The lessons and experiences of Korea helped expand and improve the entire reserve aviation program. In September 1953, Marine Air Detachments were redesignated as Marine Air Reserve Training Detachments (MARTDS). Most MARTDS were located aboard Naval Air Stations across the nation.
The MARTC was reorganized in 1962 to include a Marine Aircraft Wing. This reorganization coincided with similar moves in the ground reserve, resulting in the division-wing concept for the entire Marine Corps reserve Program. The 4th MAW was brought back into being and the MARTC-4th MAW became a dual command.
As turmoil developed in the Dominican Republic and U.S. involvement in Southeast Asia increased during the mid-sixties, the necessity of having a ready force in reserve became more apparent. Emphasis was shifted to the 4th MAW and in July 1966, a reorganization was under taken to ensure that all units were prepared to execute the same missions and tasks as assigned in the regular Fleet Marine Force.
In June 1974, 4th MAW/MARTC headquarters relocated to New Orleans. In October 1979, the MARTC was disbanded to organize the 4th MAW along the same lines as its active duty counterparts.
During Operations Desert Shield/Storm, numerous units were mobilized and deployed to the Gulf Region. These units provided air support which contributed to the victory of allied forces.
The last twenty-six reserve Marines with Headquarters, 4th Marine Aircraft Wing have been activated in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Including these twenty-six reserve Marines, a total of 139 Marines have been activated from 4th MAW. Today there are 12,283 reserve Marines activated in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
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