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Aviation logistics squadron keeps Marine Corps aircraft soaring high over Afghanistan

US Marine Corps News

By Staff Sgt. Roman Yurek, Marine Aircraft Group 40

For the Marines of Marine Expeditionary Brigade-Afghanistan, support is vital for success, from the Marines providing close-air support overhead, to the Marines behind the scenes ensuring the aircraft remain operational.

The Marines of Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 40, Marine Aircraft Group 40, provide the intermediate support for the aviation squadrons, giving them the tools to support MEB-Afghanistan.

"We are the sustainment arm of MEB-A," said Maj. Daniel Granado, MALS-40's executive officer.

The mission of MALS-40 is to provide the necessary logistical support to the squadrons of MAG-40 and MEB-Afghanistan.

"We provide intermediate support, maintenance, ordnance and supply for all of the squadrons in MAG-40," said Granado. "Our role is to provide readiness by ensuring all of the aircraft have the supplies they need to be ready to go."

Each squadron within MAG-40 has maintenance and supply Marines, which may seem similar to the sections of MALS-40. The difference however, is the higher level of support that MALS-40 is equipped to provide.

The squadron is broken down into numerous sections, such as hydraulics, ground support equipment, airframes, ordnance, and supply to name a few. The Marines do everything from working on generators to repairing any vehicle that needs maintenance.

In addition to the challenges inherent in managing various sections, MALS-40 also had to find a way to coordinate with Marines from multiple units to work effectively together as one cohesive team.

"This is a very diverse MALS and it has been quite the challenge, with Marines coming from everywhere," said Granado. "But as Marines, we have to deal with it."

With the arrival of the MV-22 Ospreys and the new UH-1Y helicopter, the MALS Marines deal with additional obstacles because many of them have limited experience with these aircraft.

However, these challenges have not deterred the Marines, but pushed them to overcome and successfully contribute to the overall effort in Afghanistan.

"It's hard to be away from home, but we get to do something that a lot of people don't get to do," said Lance Cpl. Eduardo Thompson, a ground support equipment mechanic.

"Seeing the work we do actually making a difference really is the most rewarding experience," says Cpl. James Manning, a hydraulic mechanic.

The work this squadron performs is felt not by the aviation squadrons alone, but by the Marines on the ground too.

"I have a buddy that is a grunt and last time I was home, we were talking and he told me how much he appreciated all of the air support," said Manning. "It feels good to know the work we do keep the birds in the air and they take care of the Marines on the ground."

The effort of these Marines reaches service members in many places in various forms, and it wouldn't be possible without the proper coordination with their fellow squadrons in MAG-40.

"There is no doubt that without MALS-40, this place would be a lot different than it is, with the logistics and eye-level expertise they provide," said Lt. Col. David Forrest, the Marine Attack Squadron 231 commanding officer.

"This work comes with a big footprint and I appreciate the challenges that we've faced over the last nine months," said Granado. "I definitely look forward to MALS-16's arrival so we can go home and take a break."

In a few months, MALS-40 will depart Afghanistan and leaving big shoes to fill. But the next group of MALS Marines to arrive will surely meet the challenges, just as MALS-40 did.

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