CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan --
Marines of Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 352, Detachment A, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward), are preparing for their last take-off – this time to their home station Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif.
VMGR-352 Marines spent the past six months at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, supporting operations within Regional Command (Southwest) utilizing their KC-130J Super Hercules aircraft.
“The Marines and sailors of VMGR-352, Det A, have performed nothing short of outstanding,” said Maj. Brent A. Johnson, the VMGR-352, Det A, officer in charge. “From maintenance to aircrew to the support shops, Marines combined ingenuity and a willingness to serve with a motivation that pushed though until [the end]. The thousands of mishap free flight hours, combat sorties, high readiness and reliable support speaks for itself. I am very proud of them and their accomplishments.”
These accomplishments included fixed wing air-to-air refueling, which allowed the F/A-18s and other coalition aircraft to stay in the air longer for surveillance or close air support. VMGR-352 provided aerial delivery and troop transport throughout the area of operations and daily assault support to locations as far as Bagram.
The detachment also aided in facilitating helicopter inserts with battlefield illumination. However, its most notable contribution was the “Harvest Hawk” a modified KC-130J, which provided close air support, lengthy real-time surveillance, and employed Griffin and Hellfire munitions.
With all of this, the VMGR-352 crews completed 7,852 sorties and reached 7,897 flight hours. They also tracked 25,190 assault support requests, 65,815 additional passengers and 23,629,371 pounds of cargo.
The Harvest Hawk completed 93 sorties, flew more than 565 hours and completed 191 joint tactical airstrike requests.
To ensure the mission continues, Marines of VMGR-252, Detachment B, arrived from MCAS Cherry Point, N.C., to take over the squadron's area of responsibility.
“This detachment seeks, more than anything else, to continue the legacy that has been established by those that have gone before us,” said Maj. Scott M. Koltick, the VMGR-252, Det B, officer in charge. “Our training and integration at numerous weapons and tactics courses and several Enhanced Mojave Viper exercises have allowed us to come together here to form a seamless unit.”
VMGR-252’s goals for the next six months include upholding the high standards established by previous detachments by executing their mission safely and professionally, explained Koltick.
Det. B has already began working on upholding this goal as VMGR-352 prepares for their last take-off from Kandahar Airfield this month.