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MV-22 Ospreys with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 166 (Reinforced) carrying the returning service members taxi down the flight line aboard Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif., Sept. 10. VMM-166 (Rein) and other units from 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing returned from a seven-month deployment with the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit after conducting operations from the Western Pacific to the Arabian Gulf to include strikes against ISIL targets in Iraq. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Jake McClung/Released)

Photo by Lance Cpl. Jake McClung

3rd MAW units return from deployment with 13th MEU

19 Sep 2016 | Cpl. Alissa Schuning 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing

Cheers and laughter flooded the hangar as family and friends welcomed home service members from various 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing units, who returned from deployment with the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit, Sept. 9 and 10.

 Marines and Sailors with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 166 (Reinforced), Marine Attack Squadron (VMA) 214, Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron (HMH) 466, Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron (HMLA) 267 and other supporting units returned after completing a seven-month deployment conducting operations from the Western Pacific to the Arabian Gulf.

“The wing’s mission was to support operations all over the world on behalf of the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit,” said Maj. Gen. Mark Wise, commanding general of 3rd MAW. “We had operations and exercises in [multiple countries], all through the [U.S. Central Command’s area of responsibility], which included the northern Arabian Gulf.”

During the deployment, the “Fighting 13th” also conducted strikes against ISIL targets in Iraq, provided contingency support to the coalition effort against Al Qaeda in southern Yemen, and conducted maritime interdiction operations in the Gulf of Aden and the Arabian Gulf.

“This deployment is part of many ongoing deployments with three Marine expeditionary units that continuously deploy out of 3rd MAW,” said Wise. “It is incredibly important because we support real-world operations all over the globe, which includes being a theater reserve all the way over to supporting special operations or combat operations.”

According to Sgt. Bobby Newman, an avionics technician with HMLA-267, the MEU’s mission success was due to the quality of the Marines and Sailors who deployed with him.

“Being on a boat for the better part of seven months is a challenge for anyone, but these Marines stayed positive and worked hard all the way through,” said Newman. “It was an awesome experience, but it feels great to be home.”

The returning units will now take time to reunite with their loved ones and then transition into a decomposition phase where they will return to their parent commands and continue their regular training as stand-alone units.

“It’s an incredible cycle of life,” said Wise. “We had some Marines leaving today, and at the very same time, we have more Marines coming home. I’m very impressed, very proud and very happy to have them home as I know their families are.”

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