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Second Marine Aircraft Wing reports for dutyAssumes U.S. Marine air mission in Al Anbar province



AL ASAD, Iraq - U.S. Marines and sailors of the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing assumed the air mission in the Al Anbar province from the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing in a ceremony here Feb. 28.

Brigadier Gen. Robert "Boomer" Milstead Jr., commanding general, 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, supported by thousands of members of his Marine family, assumes the mission performed by Maj. Gen. Keith Stalder, commanding general, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, and his Marines and sailors.

"We have had an excellent battle hand off and are eager to assume the Marine air mission in the Al Anbar province," said Milstead.

The flying core of the forward deployed 2nd MAW is from Marine Corps Air Station New River's Marine Aircraft Group 26. In addition to New River squadrons, the forward deployed wing is reinforced by units and individual augments from U.S. Marine units across the nation.

The wing is rounded out by Marine Air Control Group 28 and Marine Wing Support Group 27, who play a vital role in the maintenance and control of the aircraft, ensuring the wing is prepared for air support across the spectrum of U.S. Marine air missions from combat to humanitarian assistance.

Milstead commanded Marine Aircraft Group 29 at the outset of the war to liberate the people of Iraq. "I saw then how important this mission is and I also saw how proud the Marines and sailors were to be involved in such a momentous event," he said. "As we have worked up to this point I have again seen and heard from America's Marines. They are proud to be a part of this effort to help the people of Iraq become a free people, with a voice in governing their land."

A few days before the official transfer of authority, Milstead addressed the Marines of the outgoing wing, "you are judged by how you finish something, not how you start it, and you guys are going out with class."

The warfighters of 3rd MAW have completed the longest deployment of its 62-year history. The command, whose permanent home is Miramar, Calif., arrived here in February 2004, deploying more than 13,000 service members and more than 200 aircraft over the course of the 13-month deployment.

For more information, please contact Capt. Rob James, public affairs officer, 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, at jamesrl@acemnf-wiraq.usmc.mil.

Release #050301g



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