Marine Aircraft Group 13 was established on March 1, 1942 in San Diego as a response to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. While participating in the Marshall Island campaign, Marine Aircraft Group 13 engaged in sustained combat operations against the Japanese on the Samoan Island of Tutuila, the Funafuti Atoll of the Ellice Islands, and the Majuro Atoll of the Marshall Islands.
Marine Aircraft Group 13 was deactivated on Nov. 30, 1945 after the conclusion of World War II, but was reactivated on March 15, 1951 at Marine Corps Air Station El Toro, California in response to the Korean War. Between 1951 and 1965 Marine Aircraft Group 13 was assigned to various locations such as Kaneohe Bay, Atsugi and Iwakuni, Japan.
In September 1966 Marine Aircraft Group 13 deployed to Chu Lai airbase in the Republic of Vietnam and conducted combat operations against the North Vietnamese while flying the F-4B Phantom. The group returned to MCAS El Toro in October 1970 and was reassigned to MCAS Yuma, Arizona on Oct. 1, 1987.
In the early 1980's squadrons of Marine Aircraft Group 13 flew the A-4 Skyhawk and the AV-8A Harrier. In 1985 the Nightmares of Marine Attack Squadron 513 became the first Marine squadron to transition to the AV-8B Harrier. Throughout the later part of the 1980's the Wake Island Avengers of Marine Attack Squadron 211, the Blacksheep of Marine Attack Squadron 214 and the Tomcats of Marine Attack Squadron 311 transitioned to the AV-8B Harrier. In early 1990 Marine Aircraft Group 13 squadrons began upgrading to the AV-8B II Night Attack Harrier which incorporated a night vision compatible cockpit, and provided a true night attack capability. In November 1990 Marine Aircraft Group 13 deployed to Southwest Asia in support of Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.
Harriers from Marine Aircraft Group 13 were the first Marine Corps tactical strike platform to arrive in theater, and subsequently operated from various expeditionary basing postures. Operating from the King Abdul Aziz Naval Air Base Marine Aircraft Group 13 Harriers were based as close as thirty-five nautical miles from the Kuwait border making them the most forward deployed tactical strike aircraft in theater. After the Gulf War Marine Aircraft Group 13 Harriers deployed with the 11th, 13th, and 15th Marine Expeditionary Units supporting combat operations in Somalia and Operation Southern Watch.
In 1999 Marine Aircraft Group 13 Harrier squadrons upgraded to the AV-8B II + which incorporated the APG-65 all-weather multimode airborne radar. Immediately following the 9/11 attacks Harriers aboard USS Peleliu (LHA-5) and the USS BonHomme Richard (LHD-6) attacked Al Qaeda targets in Afghanistan during the opening phases of Operation Enduring Freedom.
From October 2002 to September 2003, VMA-513 (-) (REIN) deployed to Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
Throughout the year VMA-513 (-) (REIN) provided close air support, armed reconnaissance, combat escort and precision strike capability for American and Coalition units with the newly introduced LightningSS II Targeting Pod. In early January 2003 Marine Aircraft Group 13 deployed to the Persian Gulf in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Operating from the USS BonHomme Richard (LHD-6) and Al Jaber Air Base in Kuwait, Harriers of Marine Aircraft Group 13 destroyed Iraqi Republican Guard positions throughout Iraq, and provided critical close air support for United States Marines Corps ground force's advance to Baghdad.
Between 2003 and 2007 all four VMA squadrons of Marine Aircraft Group 13 made multiple deployments to Al Asad Air Base to support coalition combat operations in Iraq. During this period, Marine Aircraft Group 13 squadrons also deployed to Japan to support the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, and provided Harrier detachments in support the 11th, 13th, and 15th Marine Expeditionary Units (MEU).
In 2005, Marine Aircraft Group 13 squadrons upgraded the avionics and software systems of the AV-8B, enabling all weather precision strike capability. These warfighting enhancements were demonstrated in early 2006, when VMA-513 became the first Marine Harrier squadron to employ the Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) in combat.
Aside from sustainment training and flying combat missions in 2006, MAG-13 was tasked to be the lead Type, Model, Series (TMS) platform manager to develop courses of action and solutions for the new Naval Aviation Readiness Integrated Improvement Program (NAVRIIP) for Marine Corps fixed-wing aviation.
Historically, in July 2007, VMA-513 participated in Exercise Bold Step aboard the British warship HMS Illustrious.
This opportunity to train along side our allies while operating from a British Naval vessel gave those who participated in the exercise a unique perspective of working in a combined training environment. This combined training significantly paved the way for a continued partnership in operations with our European allies. Additionally, VMA-211 was named Attack Squadron of the Year for 2007.
To round out 2007, VMA-513(-) was sent to Okinawa, Japan to provide support for the 31st MEU. They were sent to relieve VMA-214(-) who returned home after a one year deployment to the Far East. These 31st MEU deployments continue to be historic for the fact that, beginning in 2006 with VMA-311(-) and continuing through 2007, the Commanding Officers of VMA-311, VMA-214 and VMA-513 were embarked and deployed with the 31st MEU where they advised the MEU Commander on fixed-wing aviation and training operations.
Since September 2001, MAG-13 has amassed over 15,000 combat flight hours in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. In the future, MAG-13 will continue to support from land and sea.