F-35 champion relinquishes command in Yuma
20 Aug 2021

MARINE CORPS AIR STATION MIRAMAR, Calif. – (August 20, 2021) Col. Benjamin K. Hutchins, the commanding officer of Marine Aircraft Group 13, relinquishes command to Col. Chad Vaughn  during a change of command ceremony at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma August 20.

Col. Hutchins took command of MAG-13 on August 23, 2019. During his tenure, Hutchins spearheaded the establishment of MAG-13’s third operational F-35B Lightning II squadron, expanding capabilities by conducting the first ever F-35B flights to support expeditionary advanced base operations on narrow, shortened runways, and overseeing readiness as Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 211 prepared for deployment with U.S. allies. Additionally, he oversaw the Marine Wing Support Squadron 371 reintegration, three AV-8B Harrier operational deployments, and the sundown of west coast AV-8B operations.

As the F-35B type, model, series lead, Col. Hutchins played a pivotal role in multiple milestones for the U.S. Marine Corps’ F-35 program. In fall 2019, Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 122 executed the largest embarkation of F-35Bs aboard a Landing Helicopter Assault/Landing Helicopter Dock in the history of Marine Corps F-35B operations. Similarly, Col. Hutchins provided guidance and oversight as Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 211 joined Carrier Strike Group 21 for operations aboard the HMS Queen Elizabeth.

Concurrently with F-35B operations, Col. Hutchins’ knowledge and focus of AV-8B operations were directly responsible for successful combat deployments conducted by Marine Attack Squadron 311 and Marine Attack Squadron 214.

Col. Hutchins will report to Department of Aviation, Headquarters Marine Corps for follow-on duty. Col. Vaughn will assume command of MAG-13 after serving as the J-35 Future Operations Division Chief at USINDOPACOM.

3rd MAW continues to “Fix, Fly, and Fight” as the Marine Corps’ largest aircraft wing and remains combat-ready, interoperable, deployable on short notice, and lethal when called into action.