AL ASAD, Iraq -- After months of training and preparation, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing (Fwd), is now once again in control of the skies over Western Iraq.
Authority was transferred from 2nd MAW (Fwd) to 3rd MAW (Fwd), Feb. 7, almost exactly one year from when the area of responsibility was left in the capable hands of their East Coast counterpart.
"Second MAW (Fwd) has set us up for continued success. Thanks to their efforts, our ability to support ground and logistics units has improved tremendously," said Col. Jonathan G. Miclot, commanding officer, 3rd MAW (Fwd). "Our focus remains on continuing the steady improvement in facilities and processes."
Many logistical changes have taken place over the past year but according to Miclot, the primary mission of the MAW has not changed significantly.
"I've noticed improvements in base security and quality of living. The security is tighter with more barriers, guard personnel and the use of technical surveillance measures," said Miclot, a U.S. Naval Academy graduate.
The 3rd MAW (Fwd) area of responsibility includes the Al Anbar Province in Western Iraq, and the staff has now received a detailed turnover of the mission.
"Our overall goal is to continue to provide the spectrum of support Marine aviation brings to the Marine Air Ground Task Force that is I MEF (Fwd). From assault support sorties transporting personnel, equipment and supplies to the outlying bases to real-time reconnaissance for units engaged in counterinsurgency operations. Our success will be measured in how well we assist the Iraqis in standing up internal security forces so they can control their own destiny."
The 3rd MAW (Fwd) includes Marine Aircraft Group 16, Marine Wing Support Group 37, Marine Air Control Group 38 Detachment, several logistics and support squadrons and a headquarters element. This combination ensures the MAW is completely self-supporting and successful in this remote desert base.