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Maj. Ryan Franzen embraces his daughter, Keianna, before he boards an F/A-18C Hornet and prepares for takeoff on Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif., March 11. Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 232 “Red Devils,” the oldest Marine fighter attack squadron, will spend six months training in the Asia-Pacific region and northern America. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. David Bickel/Released)

Photo by Sgt. David Bickel

92 years, still fighting

15 Mar 2017 | Lance Cpl. Jake McClung 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing

Over 150 Marines and 10 F/A-18 Hornets with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 232 “Red Devils” departed Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, California, March 11 to 14 and deployed to MCAS Iwakuni, Japan, to support III Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF).

VMFA-232 is the Marine Corps’ first fighter attack squadron and was formed September 1, 1925. According to Staff Sgt. Domingo Cano, avionics staff noncommissioned officer in charge with VMFA-232, the squadron still stands strong after 92 years of service.

“We’re deploying to be another air power asset for III MEF if called upon,” said Sgt. Maj. Joseph Standifird, sergeant major of VMFA-232.

The “Red Devils” will deploy for six months through the Unit Deployment Program (UDP). UDP is a system which assigns deployments to United States Marine Corps units and reduces unaccompanied tours.

During the deployment, Marines will participate in multiple training exercises until their assistance is required elsewhere.

“It’s important because we’re a force of readiness in case anything major happens -- whether it be natural disasters or if we’re needed in the Middle East,” said Cano.

This deployment will allow the Marines to get hands-on experience integrating with the F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter as well as contributing to the Marine Corps mission of replacing the F/A-18 Hornet with the F-35B Lightning II, said Capt. James Campbell, air operations officer for VMFA-232.

“We’re the oldest and most decorated fighter attack squadron in the Marine Corps,” said Standifird. “That logo you see on the back of our jet is the same logo as back in 1925 … our Marines thrive on the fact that our legacy is so rich.”


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