MARINE CORPS AIR STATION MIRAMAR, Calif. -- Officers and families gathered for a sendoff for Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 232 “Red Devils” and Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (All Weather) 225 “Vikings” at the Officers’ Club aboard Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif., Sep. 6.
During the sendoff, the Red Devils unveiled their new squadron vehicle; the Fighter Truck.
The Squadron bought a fire truck from the Sacramento Fire Department and had the idea of mounting two F/A-18 tails donated to them by the Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum as wings, but due to their poor condition the squadron was unsure how to fix them.
The owner of Rancho Auto Body heard about the idea from one of the squadron’s officers, and being a hot rod maker for more than 40 years, he was more than willing to help with the project.
“I was honored to work with these Marines,” said Jimmy Gillan, owner of Rancho Auto Body, and an Encinitas, Calif., native.
Marines with VMFA-232 worked during their off time, all summer, with the body shop to finish this project.
“This was a group effort,” said Capt. Eric Rheinhart, the schedules officer with VMFA-232 and a Bettendorf, Iowa, native. “I can’t say thank you enough to all who helped with this.”
The Fighter Truck took its maiden voyage that morning before the sendoff and Marines were excited to see all their hard work drive into the parking lot.
“We’re happy to have it, use it and share it,” said Rheinhart.
Although it was a time to celebrate, it was also a time to say farewell to two squadrons and wish them luck in their future endeavors.
“I have full confidence in these squadrons that they will complete their missions and make the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing very proud,” said Col. Rick Uribe, commanding officer of Marine Aircraft Group 11.
Marines with both squadrons seem eager to live up to the standard that Uribe has set for them.
“I’m thrilled and ready to go!” said Rheinhart.
The Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum will have the Fighter Truck on display for the public to see and plans to make an appearance at the upcoming 2013 MCAS Miramar Air Show.