SAN DIEGO --
Maj. Gen. Gregg “Sweet Pea” Sturdevant, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing assistant wing commander, flew one last time with 3rd MAW over San Diego May 14.
Sturdevant flew with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 165, an MV-22B Osprey squadron aboard Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif.
During the flight, Sturdevant, his co-pilot and crew worked together to make this final flight over southern California and back to the air station as memorable as they could.
“As the former commanding officer of Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 165, now VMM-165, it was nice having what may be the last flight I ever have in the Marine Corps with this squadron,” said Sturdevant. “When I’m sitting down in my office, I don’t really miss flying. That all changes once I’m over in the squadrons. I really start to miss it once I’m over here.”
Sturdevant commanded the squadron in 2001 when they were still flying CH-46E Sea Knight helicopters. It seemed only fitting that his final flight be with his first squadron and they were thrilled to have him.
“Being able to fly with a Marine who has had so much to do with the heritage of this squadron was a fantastic experience,” said Capt. Ryan Stevens, an Osprey pilot with VMM-165 and a Brunswick, Ga., native. “He commanded our squadron, commanded the Marine Expeditionary Unit our squadron was a part of and now he’s flying his final flight with us. A Marine with a phenomenal amount of history with this squadron was sitting next me; flying next to me, it was a really awesome experience.”
Like the squadron, Sturdevant also started his flying career with the Sea Knights, or Battle Phrogs as some know them, and then later transitioned to the Osprey. He flew both aircraft in combat environments.
The transition didn’t stop Sturdevant from doing what he loves – flying Marine Corps aircraft.
“He still has those good old Phrog habits,” said Stevens. “It’s amazing how you can come back to it and all the intricacies of flying just come flooding back to you. He flew amazingly well.”
As Sturdevant transitions to his next command, United States Pacific Command in Hawaii, he takes with him a certain sense of pride when it comes to his first squadron.
“I see this squadron doing great things,” said Sturdevant. “They’re going to have some exciting times ahead of them. Squadron life really is where the rubber meets the road on the aviation side of the house.”