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Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus arrives at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton in a UH-1Y Yankee belonging to Marine Light Attack Helicopter Training Squadron 303, Marine Aircraft Group 39, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, I Marine Expeditionary Force, during his visit, Oct. 20. Mabus traveled in the Venom throughout the day, giving him a bird's eye view of the base. (Official U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Christopher O'Quin)(Released)

Photo by Cpl. Christopher O'Quin

SECNAV gets bird's eye view from 3rd MAW Marines

20 Oct 2009 | Cpl. Christopher O'Quin

Various squadrons from 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing transported Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus during his visit to Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Oct. 20, to tour facilities and meet Marines from Marine Aircraft Group 39 and I Marine Expeditionary Force.

During his visit, he had the opportunity to observe day-to-day activities and growing needs of MAG-39, I MEF and other sections of the base.

“I learned a lot about the various capabilities the Marines have and their weapons systems,” said Mabus.

The main thing that the visit reinforced was how professional and competent these Marines are, added Mabus.

Marine Light Attack Helicopter Training Squadron 303, Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 369 and Marine Medium Helicopter Training Squadron 164 transported Mabus and his staff during the day, giving him quick access to various sites, which gave him more time with Marines.

Mabus began his tour at the Infantry Immersion Trainer where he performed a simulated raid with Marines from 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I MEF, breaching rooms and firing training rounds inside a village complex complete with role players and simulated explosions. He also had the opportunity to fire various weapons from the Marine Corps arsenal.

Mabus saw first-hand the amphibious capabilities of the Marine Corps when he got behind the wheels of an Amphibious Assault Vehicle and a Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC).

Mabus presented three MAG-39 Marines with Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals, explained the Corps’ current plans and answered questions from the audience. He addressed questions regarding the future of Marine aviation and the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” policy.

 “The SECNAV had a lot of good information for me to put out there for my junior Marines who are still new to the Marine Corps and who are deploying in the future,” said Sgt. Alexandria P. Jimenez, a communications navigation technician with Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 39, MAG-39, I MEF. “I think every Marine should have the opportunity to meet someone like the SECNAV because they can ask questions their command may not have answers to.”

Mabus left MCB Camp Pendleton with new information and a perspective of the base that he can pass to others in The Pentagon to benefit the Corps.

“I will take back to The Pentagon and pass on what a principle force we’ve got in the United States Marine Corps,” said Mabus. “Pass on how much we need to support them and how much value they bring to the United States Armed Forces and to this country.”

                                                        -30-


3rd Marine Aircraft Wing