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Marine Attack Squadron-513 [VMA-513]

Marine Attack Squadron 513 is one of four AV-8B Harrier squadrons assigned to Marine Aircraft Group-13, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing. Its mission is to provide close air support, conduct armed reconnaissance and provide limited air defense for Marine expeditionary forces.

First commissioned as VMF-513 Feb. 15, 1944, at Marine Corps Auxiliary Airfield Oak Grove, N.C., the squadron flew F6F Hellcats until moving to Mohave, Calif., in September 1944. Flying F-4U Corsairs, VMF-513 provided close air support of the 3rd Marine Division during the invasion of Okinawa. During the years between World War II and the Korean War, VMF-513 operated from MCAS El Toro, Calif. Transitioning to the F4U-5N, the squadron was redesignated VMF(N), a night fighter squadron.

In August 1950, the squadron was deployed to Japan under operational control of the 5th U.S. Air Force, and received its first jet aircraft, the F3D Skynight, in the summer of 1952. It was with this aircraft the squadron made history by achieving the first night radar kill of an enemy aircraft.

Following the Korean War and a three year tour in Japan, the squadron returned to MCAS El Toro, and on July 26, 1958, received the F4D Skyray. The squadron was redesignated VMFA-513 after transitioning to the F-4B Phantom II. In November 1964, the squadron deployed to Atsugi, Japan. In June 1965, the "Flying Nightmares" were ordered to Da Nang to conduct operations against enemy communist forces.

The squadron was redesignated VMA-513 while in cadre awaiting arrival of the AV-8A Harrier. The Harriers were received in April 1971, and the squadron began participating in a number of tests to evaluate the aircraft's potential applications within the Marine Corps. The squadron completed a number of shipboard and foreign deployments between 1972 and 1976, when the squadron returned to the United States and was was assigned to Marine Crew Combat Readiness Training Group-10 at MCAS Yuma. In 1987, VMA-513 was joined by the remainder of MAG-13, which was in the process of transitioning to the AV-8B Harrier.

In 1990-91 the Nightmares participated in Operation Desert Shield/Storm, successfully conducting combat operations from the austere, demanding environment of Southwest Asia in support of the 15th MEU. They returned home with all of its assets without loss of life or major injury.

While at MCAS Yuma, VMA-513 has continued to exercise and develop fixed wing V/STOL concepts through numerous operational deployments, military exercises and flight demonstrations, as well as continuing to send six-plane detachments to the Western Pacific.

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