Photo Information

An F/A-18A ?Hornet? belonging to Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 112, Marine Aircraft Group 41, 4th Marine Aircraft Wing, sits on Marine Corps Air Station Miramar?s flight line as aircrews prepare the squadron?s aircraft for take-off, Feb. 2. The Texas-based squadron is the only reserve fighter attack squadron in the Marine Corps. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Christopher O'Quin) (Released)

Photo by Lance Cpl. Christopher O'Quin

'Cowboys' saddle up at Miramar

2 Feb 2009 | Lance Cpl. Christopher O'Quin

  More than 100 Marines and sailors with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 112, a reserve squadron from Texas, arrived at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in late January as part of their annual training evolution.

Since their arrival, the squadron has participated in training throughout the region.

Whether providing close air support for Expeditionary Warfare Training Group Pacific, or performing reconnaissance training during Exercise Mojave Viper, the only reserve fighter attack squadron in the Corps, continues to hone their skills.

Marine Corps Air Station Miramar is an ideal place to train, logistically and geographically, because of the close proximity to different training sites in the West Coast and the amount of equipment the Marines can use, explained Lt. Col. Richard J. Guidice, the commanding officer of VMFA-112.

“This is good training we normally wouldn’t get to do back home,” said Lance Cpl. Michael J. Medlock, an ordnance technician with the squadron. “Back in Texas, we would be running maintenance and tests instead of working with the real boom makers like the 500 lb. bombs here.”      

All elements of the Fort Worth, Texas-based squadron have kept their pilots flying nearly eight missions daily. The “Cowboys” have dropped several tons of ordnance and accumulated more than 250 flight hours in the past few weeks. 

"There’s more room to practice here in California because of the large amount of airspace at the ranges,” said Maj. Michael J. Johnson, a pilot with the Cowboys. “We can drop much more live ordnance here than we could at the more densely populated Fort Worth area.”

While they helped the active component train during exercises, the other units aboard MCAS Miramar aided the Cowboys during their stay by providing equipment and other logistical support.

“The station CO and his staff have been unbelievably flexible in terms of changing field operating hours to accommodate Mojave Viper training,” said Guidice. “This type of training increases combat readiness not of only the pilots but the maintainers and other Marines with the squadron.”

The squadron plans to leave the station with 500 extra flight hours when they depart in early March. Until then, the squadron will continue supporting the active component and building upon their role of close air support.