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1st MAW: Tip of the Spear in Marine aviation

Marine Corps News

Release Date: 1/8/2004

Story by Lance Cpl. Chris Korhonen

CAMP FOSTER - -- Always a force in readiness, 1st Marine Air Wing spent 2003 poised to strike at a moments notice with a broad spectrum of aircraft and equipment capable of adapting to any mission or task.

As the aviation element of III Marine Expeditionary Force, 1st MAW continues to focus on operational excellence, leadership development and professional military education, according to Col. Mark H. Bamberger, chief of staff, 1st MAW.

These fundamental tenants have enabled the Marines and Sailors to focus on operational readiness and to enhance the capability to work effectively with a wide range of joint and coalition partners within the Pacific region.

Some of the missions and exercises 1st MAW participated in during 2003 included Exercises Balikatan and Talon Vision in the Republic of the Philippines, Reception, Staging, Onward Movement and Integration exercise (RSOI) and Foal Eagle in Korea, Exercise Cobra Gold p03 in Thailand, and Exercise Southern Frontier in Australia.

Each exercise allowed 1st MAW to hone their skills while working with other U.S. services and foreign counterparts which demonstrates the U.S. commitment and resolve to contribute to the peace and stability within III MEFs area of responsibility.

Whenever training or participating in exercises, safety is always a paramount concern for 1st MAW, and in 2003 they continued their high standards in safety.

Sergeant Major Ralph Guerrero Jr., sergeant major, 1st MAW, attributes a large part of the success in training and safety during 2003 to the enlisted communitys performance.

I could not have asked for a better group of staff non commissioned officers. The support throughout the year has been above and beyond, Guerrero said.

The NCOs and junior enlisted ranks are the key to 1st MAWs success in 2003, as the they maintain and repair sophisticated and complex aircraft, establish and operate expeditionary airfields and operate the command and control facilities for aircraft and surface to air weapon systems. Their performance has been nothing short of superb, Bamberger said.

The active and involved leadership displayed by our Marines has been clearly evident by the reduced number of incidents and disciplinary problems. The successes of 2003 are attributable to the high standards of personal responsibility that have become the hallmark of the Marines and Sailors of 1st MAW, he said.

One of the initiatives of the commanding general of 1st MAW, focused on supporting the NCO and junior Marines, has been the development and building of a Single Marine Center, which is scheduled to open this year at MCAS Futenma.

The center improves the options for off-duty recreation and should significantly improve the quality of life for Marines and Sailors stationed aboard Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, according to Bamberger.

With a successful year over, 1st MAW looks to continue to lead by example.

I'm confident the 1st MAW is setting the pace for all to follow, Guerrero said.

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