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Marine Aircraft Squadron

Administratively, the smallest Marine Corps aviation unit is the squadron, commanded by a lieutenant colonel. Squadrons have integrated maintenance functions. Squadrons are components of a Marine Air Group (MAG) which may have fixed wing or rotary wing aircraft.

Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron [VMGR]

The Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron [VMGR] provides aerial refueling service in support of Fleet Marine Force (FMF) air operations and provides assault air transport of personnel, equipment, and supplies. The VMGR has 12 KC-130 aircraft. This squadron will normally be employed in general support of FMFs as directed by the MAGTF com-mander. The unit may be employed either as an entire squadron or as two six-plane detachments. The VMGR will function either as an integral unit or as separate detachments. Two detachments within the squadron organization provide the capability to conduct dual-site operations and support simultaneous contingencies.

  • Provide tactical aerial refueling service to FMF units.
  • Provide long-range aerial refueling service for air movement of FMF squadrons when other suitable means of aerial refueling services are not readily available.
  • Provide assault air transport for air-landed and air-delivered troops, supplies, and equipment when other suitable means of assault air transport are not readily available.
  • Provide an aircraft platform for the airborne DASC.
  • Provide ground refueling service to aircraft when other suitable means of aircraft refueling are not available.
  • Provide air transport service for the evacuation of casualties and noncombatants when other means of transportation are not available.
  • Within the capability of assigned aircraft and equipment, maintain the capability to operate under day, night, and all weather flying conditions; operate to/from a logistic air head, advance base, expeditionary airfield, or tactical landing zone in the objective area or battle area; and operate with or without the assistance of airborne, surface, or ground controllers.

Marine Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron [VMAQ]

The Marine Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron [VMAQ] conducts airborne EW in support of FMF operations. Each squadron has five EA-6B aircraft. The VMAQ will normally be employed in general support of the FMF or other assigned forces. The VMAQ is organized to function independently with its own logistic and administrative support capabilities. The squadron is structured to operate as a subordinate unit of a MAG or carrier air wing. This squadron is capable of organizational (1st echelon) maintenance on all assigned Marine Corps-funded equipment and organizational (2d echelon) maintenance on infantry weapons. It is authorized to perform 1st through 4th echelon maintenance on Tactical Electronic Reconnaissance Processing and Evaluation System (TERPES) commercial-off-the-shelf or nondevelopmental items (COTS/NDI), with 5th echelon maintenance being performed by equipment manufacturers/vendors. It is capable of performing organizational maintenance on assigned aircraft and Navy-funded equipment. Intermediate-level ordnance, avionics, aircraft maintenance, and other aviation logistic support is provided by the supporting MALS.

  • Conduct airborne EA and EW support operations.
  • Conduct EA in support of training of FMF units or other forces as assigned.
  • Process and provide mission data from tape recordings obtained on EW missions for updating and maintaining an electronic order of battle.
  • Maintain the capability of operating from aircraft carriers, advance bases, and expeditionary airfields.
  • Maintain the capability to operate during darkness and under all weather conditions.
  • Maintain the capability to deploy or conduct extended-range operations that require aerial refueling.
  • Perform organizational maintenance on assigned aircraft.

Marine Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Squadron [VMU]

The Marine Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Squadron [VMU] operates and maintains a UAV system to provide unmanned aerial reconnaissance support to the MAGTF. The VMU has one Pioneer system with five UAVs. The VMU is organic to the MAW and is structured to operate as a subordinate unit of one of the MAGs. The VMU is organized into various sections that give it the capability to operate and maintain one UAV system and associated support equipment. Its MALS augment section is designed to provide intermediate-level avia-tion maintenance and supply support. The VMU can support any size MAGTF. Normal employment would be as an integral unit of an ACE in support of MAGTF operations. The squadron is capable of limited independent operations. The squadron is capable of providing sufficient motor transportation to displace the operational capability of one UAV system. Additional transportation support is required to displace all equipment of the VMU simultaneously.

  • Conduct reconnaissance, surveillance, and target acquisition (RSTA). This includes performing airborne surveillance of designated target areas, MAGTF areas of interest/influence, and other areas as directed; airborne surveillance for search and rescue (SAR) and TRAP; and reconnaissance of helicopter approach and retirement lanes in support of vertical assaults.
  • Provide real-time target information to the DASC and fire support coordination center (FSCC) to facilitate adjusting fire missions and CAS.
  • Provide information to assist adjusting indirect-fire weapons and to support and facilitate DAS and air interdiction.
  • Collect battle damage assessments (BDAs).
  • Support rear area security.
  • Provide remote receive capability and liaison to designated units.
  • Conduct individual and unit training to prepare for tactical employment and combat operations.

Marine Fighter Attack Squadron [VMFA]

The Marine Fighter Attack Squadron [VMFA] intercepts and destroys enemy aircraft under all weather conditions and attacks and destroys sur-face targets. This squadron will normally function as an integral unit. It is structured to operate as a subordinate unit of a MAG. Each squadron has 12 F/A-18A/C aircraft. The VMFA will normally be employed as an integral unit of an ACE.

  • Intercept and destroy enemy aircraft in conjunction with ground or airborne fighter control under all weather conditions.
  • Maintain the capability to attack and destroy surface targets by using all types of conventional weapons that are compatible with assigned aircraft.
  • Provide escort of friendly aircraft under all weather conditions.
  • Maintain the capability to deploy and operate from aircraft carriers and advance bases.
  • Conduct day and night CAS under adverse weather conditions.
  • Maintain the capability to deploy or conduct extended-range operations by using aerial re-fueling.
  • Maintain the capability to conduct suppression of enemy air defense (SEAD) operations.
  • Perform organizational maintenance on assigned aircraft.

Marine All-Weather Fighter Attack Squadron [VMFA(AW)]

The Marine All-Weather Fighter Attack Squadron [VMFA(AW)] attacks and destroys surface targets, day or night, under adverse weather conditions; conducts multisensor imagery reconnaissance; provides supporting arms coordination; and intercepts and destroys enemy aircraft under all weather conditions. The VMFA(AW) will normally function as an integral unit. It is structured to operate as a subordinate unit of a MAG. Each squadron has 12 F/A-18D aircraft. This squadron will normally be employed as an internal unit of an ACE.

  • Conduct day and night CAS, under all weather conditions.
  • Conduct day and night DAS, under adverse weather conditions, including armed reconnaissance, radar search and attack, air interdiction, and strikes against enemy installations, by using all types of weapons that are compatible with assigned aircraft.
  • Conduct multisensor imagery reconnaissance, including prestrike and poststrike target damage assessment and visual reconnaissance.
  • Conduct day and night supporting arms coordination, including forward air control, tactical air coordination, and artillery/naval gunfire spotting.
  • Intercept and destroy enemy aircraft in conjunction with ground and airborne fighter direction.
  • Conduct battlespace illumination and target illumination.
  • Conduct armed escort of friendly aircraft.
  • Maintain the capability to operate from aircraft carriers, advance bases, and expeditionary air-fields.
  • Maintain the capability to deploy or conduct extended-range operations by using aerial re-fueling.
  • Maintain the capability to conduct SEAD operations.
  • Perform organizational maintenance on assigned aircraft.

Marine Attack Squadron [VMA]

The Marine Attack Squadron [VMA] attacks and destroys surface targets under day and night visual meteorological conditions and provides helicopter escort. This squadron will function either as an integral unit or as a squadron (-) with a deployed aircraft detachment. This concept of organization facilitates dualsite opera-tions, provides for the support of simultaneous contingencies, and allows for the fulfillment of continuous unit deployment program requirements. Each squadron has 16 AV-8B aircraft, 10 in the squadron and 6 in the detachment. This squadron will normally be employed as an integral unit of an ACE. The squadron may be employed as a complete squadron or as a squadron (-) with a deployed six-aircraft detachment.

  • Conduct CAS.
  • Conduct armed reconnaissance, air interdiction, and strikes against enemy installations by using all types of conventional munitions that are compatible with assigned aircraft.
  • Conduct air defense operations within the capability of assigned aircraft.
  • Maintain the capability to operate during darkness and under instrument conditions.
  • Maintain the capability of deployment or extended operations by employing aerial re-fueling.
  • Maintain the capability to operate from aboard carriers, other suitable seagoing platforms, expeditionary airfields, and remote tactical landing sites.
  • Conduct armed-escort missions in support of helicopter operations.
  • Perform organizational maintenance on assigned aircraft.

Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron [HMH] (CH-53D)

The Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron [HMH] (CH-53D) provides assault helicopter transport of heavy weapons, equipment, and supplies during amphibious operations and subsequent operations ashore. This squadron will function either as an integral unit or as a squadron (-) with one or two separate detach-ments. This concept of organization facilitates dual-site operations, provides support for simultaneous contingencies, and allows for the fulfillment of continuous unit deployment program requirements. Each squadron has eight CH-53D aircraft organized in two detachments of four aircraft each. All squadrons fall under the aviation support element based in Kanehoe Bay, HI. Squadrons are sourced out as operational needs arise. This squadron, or its separate detachments, will normally be employed as an integral unit of an ACE. The squadron may be employed as a single unit or with one or two separate four-plane detachments.

  • Provide combat assault transport of heavy weapons, equipment, and supplies as a primary function.
  • Provide combat assault transport of troops (exclusive of initial assault wave infantry) as a secondary function.
  • Conduct tactical retrieval and recovery operations for downed aircraft, equipment, and personnel.
  • Conduct assault support for evacuation operations and other maritime special operations.
  • Provide support for mobile forward arming and refueling points (FARPs).
  • Augment local SAR and provide aeromedical evacuation of casualties from the field to suitable medical facilities or other aeromedical aircraft.
  • Provide airborne control and coordination for assault support operations.
  • Maintain a self-defense capability from ground-to-air and air-to-air threats.
  • Maintain the capability to operate from amphibious shipping, other floating bases, and austere shore bases, as required.
  • Maintain the capability to operate at night, in adverse weather conditions, and under instrument flight conditions at extended ranges.
  • Perform organizational maintenance on assigned aircraft in all environmental conditions.

Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron [HMH] (CH-53E)

This squadron provides assault helicopter transport of heavy weapons, equipment, and supplies during am-phibious operations and subsequent operations ashore. This squadron will normally function either as an integral unit or as a squadron (-) with one or two separate detachments. This concept of organization facilitates dual-site operations, provides for the support of simultaneous contingencies, and allows for the fulfillment of continuous unit deployment program requirements. Each squadron has 16 CH-53E aircraft. This squadron or its separate detachments will normally be employed as an integral unit of an ACE. The squadron may deploy as a complete squadron or as one or two four-plane detachments.

  • Provide combat assault transport of heavy weapons, equipment, and supplies as a primary function.
  • Provide combat assault transport of troops (exclusive of initial assault wave infantry) as a sec-ondary function.
  • Conduct tactical retrieval and recovery operation for downed aircraft, equipment, and personnel.
  • Conduct assault support for evacuation operations and other maritime special operations.
  • Provide support for FARPs.
  • Augment local SAR assets and provide aeromedical evacuation of casualties from the field to suitable medical facilities or other aeromedical aircraft.
  • Provide airborne control and coordination for assault support operations.
  • Maintain the capability to deploy and conduct extended-range operations by employing aerial refueling.
  • Maintain a self-defense capability from ground-to-air and air-to-air threats.
  • Maintain the capability to operate from amphibious shipping, other floating bases, and austere shore bases, as required.
  • Maintain the capability to operate at night, in adverse weather conditions, and under instrument flight conditions at extended ranges.
  • Perform organizational maintenance on assigned aircraft in all environmental conditions.

Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron [HMM]

The Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron [HMM] provides assault transport of combat troops in the initial assault waves and follow-on stages of amphibious operations and subsequent operations ashore. This squadron will normally be employed as an integral unit of an ACE. This squadron will normally function as an integral unit. It is structured to operate as a subordinate unit of a MAG. Each squadron has 12 CH-46E aircraft. Tactical HMMs will begin replacing the CH-46E helicopter with the MV-22 tilt-rotor aircraft. The MV-22 is a dual-piloted, multiengine, self-deployable, medium-lift, vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) tilt-rotor aircraft that provides combat assault support, CSS, and special operations support worldwide. The aircraft will operate from air-capable ships, main bases ashore, and austere forward operating locations. The MV-22 is capable of in-flight refueling, has a 2,100 nautical mile deployment range, and can carry 24 combat-equipped troops or a 10,000-pound external load. The squadron may have a mission and tasks similar to those of the current unit operating with CH-46E aircraft.

  • Provide combat assault troop transport as a primary function.
  • Provide combat assault transport of supplies and equipment as a secondary function.
  • Conduct assault support for evacuation operations and other maritime special operations.
  • Provide support for mobile FARPs.
  • Provide airborne control and coordination for assault support operations.
  • Maintain a self-defense capability from ground-to-air and air-to-air threats.
  • Maintain the capability to operate from amphibious shipping, other floating bases, and austere shore bases.
  • Maintain the capability to operate at night, in adverse weather conditions, and under instrument flight conditions at extended ranges.
  • Augment local SAR assets and provide aeromedical evacuation of causalities from the field to suitable medical facilities or other aeromedical aircraft.
  • Perform organizational maintenance on assigned aircraft in all environmental conditions.

Marine Light/Attack Helicopter Squadron [HMLA]

The Marine Light/Attack Helicopter Squadron [HMLA] provides combat utility helicopter support, attack helicopter fire support, and fire support coordination during amphibious operations and subsequent operations ashore. Each squadron has 18 AH-1W and 9 UH-1N aircraft. The HMLA will normally be employed as an integral unit of an ACE. The squadron may deploy as a complete unit, or in three detachments consisting of six AH-1 and three UH-1 aircraft per detachment. This squadron will function either as an integral unit or as a squadron (-) with separate aircraft composite detachments. This concept of organization facilitates dual-site operations, provides for the support of simultaneous contingencies, and allows for the fulfillment of continuous unit deployment program requirements.

Utility Helicopter Tasks

  • Provide an airborne command and control platform for CEs.
  • Provide armed escort for assault support operations.
  • Provide combat assault transport of troops, supplies, and equipment.
  • Provide airborne control and coordination for assault support operations.
  • Augment local SAR assets and provide aeromedical evacuation of casualties from the field to suitable medical facilities or other aeromedical aircraft.
  • Conduct combat assault and assault support for evacuation operations and other maritime special operations.
  • Control, coordinate, and provide terminal guidance for supporting arms, including CAS, artillery, mortars, and naval gunfire (NGF).
  • Provide fire support and security for forward and rear area forces.
  • Maintain a self-defense capability from surface-to-air and air-to-air threats.
  • Maintain the capability to operate from amphibious shipping, other floating bases, and austere shore bases, as required.
  • Maintain the capability to operate at night, in adverse weather conditions, and under instrument flight conditions at extended ranges.
  • Perform organizational maintenance on assigned aircraft in all environmental conditions.

Attack Helicopter Tasks

  • Provide fire support and security for forward and rear area forces.
  • Conduct point target/antiarmor operations.
  • Conduct antihelicopter operations.
  • Provide armed escort, control, and coordination for assault support operations.
  • Control, coordinate, and provide terminal ordnance for supporting arms, including CAS, artillery, mortars, and NGF.
  • Provide point and limited-area air defense from threat fixed-wing aircraft.
  • Conduct armed and visual reconnaissance.
  • Augment local SAR assets.
  • Maintain the capability to operate from amphibious shipping, other floating bases, and austere shore bases as required.
  • Maintain the capability to operate at night, in adverse weather conditions, and under instrument flight conditions at extended ranges.
  • Perform organizational maintenance on assigned aircraft in all environmental conditions.




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