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Two F/A-18 Hornet pilots with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 323 hug their family members at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif., Dec. 5, after returning home from their deployment. The deployment was a six-month carrier-based combat deployment in support of Operation Inherent Resolve. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Jake M.T. McClung/Released)

Photo by Cpl. Jake McClung

“Death Rattlers” strike ISIS: VMFA-323 supports Operation Inherent Resolve

13 Dec 2017 | Cpl. Jake McClung 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing

After their six-month deployment, more than 250 Marines and 10 F/A-18 Hornets with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 323 returned home to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, California, Dec. 5.

The deployment was a carrier-based combat deployment aboard the USS Nimitz in support of Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve.

OIR’s mission is to eliminate the terrorist group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and any possible threat they have to Iraq, Syria and the international community. Since Oct. 17, 2014 OIR has conducted over 25,000 airstrikes against ISIS.

“During this deployment, ISIS had cities they controlled and we took them and got ISIS on the run,” said Cpl. Zachary Wright, an avionics technician with VMFA-323. “Our main goal on this deployment was to diminish ISIS forces in Iraq and Syria, and we hit them pretty hard.”

The Nimitz embarked over 200,000 pounds of ordnance, which VMFA-323 used to execute more than 200 airstrikes on ISIS forces in the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) area of operation.

“The Marines, both pilots and maintainers, worked nonstop to ensure the mission was a success,” said Capt. Jacob Hempen, an F/A-18 pilot with VMFA-323. “All these Marines performed above and beyond the call in a very challenging and demanding environment.”

VMFA-323 is one of two Marine fighter attack squadrons that can execute this type of deployment, and through it they have lived true to their motto “Come to fight – Come to win,” said Wright.

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