Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 502
VMFAT-503 Official Logo
3rd Marine Aircraft Wing
San Diego, California

VMFAT-502 Leaders

Lieutenant Colonel Adam D. Wellington
Commanding Officer, Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 502

Lieutenant Colonel Wellington graduated from the University of Iowa in May 2005 and was commissioned

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Lieutenant Colonel John J. Koepke
Executive Officer, Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 502

Lieutenant Colonel Koepke graduated from the University of Illinois in May 2006 and was commissioned

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Sergeant Major Jacob L. Karl
Sergeant Major, Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 502

Sergeant Major Karl enlisted in the United States Marine Corps from Aberdeen, WA in July of 1995 and

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VMFAT-502
PO BOX 452028
San Diego,
CA 92145-2028

Duty Officer:
858-307-1094

858-837-0812
 

Marine attack squadron 513 was first commissioned as VMF-513 on 15 February 1944 at Marine Corps auxiliary air field Oak Grove, North Carolina flying The Grumman F6F hellcat.  Soon after, the squadron moved to Mojave, California, transitioning to the f4u corsair and was re-designated as VMF(CVS)-513.

In June 1945, the squadron embarked aboard the USS Vella Gulf and participated in carrier operations in the pacific, including support of the 3rd Marine Division on Okinawa.  Between WWII and the Korean conflict, VMF-513 was redesignated as Marine Night Fighter Squadron VMF(N) 513 operating from MCAS El Toro, California, eventually deploying to Japan in 1950 where they received their first jet aircraft in 1952, the Douglas F-3D Skynight.  It was with this aircraft in 1952, during the Korean conflict, That VMF(N)-513 made aviation history with the first night radar kill of an enemy jet, and by the end of the conflict was credited with 10 night kills. It was also during this time that the name “Flying Nightmares” was born

Based on the squadron’s formidable record at night inflicting heavy damage to Chinese and North Korean forces in the air and on the ground in places such as the Chosin Reservoir.  Following the Korean conflict VMF(N)-513 went through another transitional period, this time to the F-4; first in 1958 to the Douglas F-4D skyray, then in 1963 to the McDonald Douglas F-4B phantom and with the new aircraft came a new re-designation to VMFA-513.

With the F-4B phantom, the Nightmares deployed again to Japan in November 1964, from there participating in combat operations against the North Vietnamese army flying from Da Nang airbase in support of the 7th Marine regiment in some of the earliest operations of the Vietnam War.  Following combat operations in Vietnam, VMFA-513 returned to the United States initially being stationed at MCAS Cherry Point, North Carolina then eventually arriving at MCAS Beaufort, South Carolina in 1971.  While in Beaufort, 513 became the first Marine Corps squadron to adopt the AV-8A Harrier and with it a new designation of VMA-513.  With the AV-8A, VMA-513 continued their support to Marine forces as part of Marine amphibious units, the precursor to today’s MEU’s. In 1976, VMA-513 moved to MCAS Yuma, Arizona which it would call home until 2013. In 1987 the Nightmares received the improved AV-8B Harrier II. Flying the AV-8B Harrier, the Nightmares of VMA-513 would support Marine and Coalition units across the central and pacific combatant command areas of responsibility from both amphibious ships as well as operations ashore; including combat operations as part of Operation Desert Storm, Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom, and the Broader War on Terror. In 2013, the Flying Nightmares’ flew their last Harrier flight landing in Okinawa Japan, a fitting end for a squadron with such a long history in Japan.

On July 12, 2013, VMA-513 was decommissioned after 69 years of Support to Marines across the globe in nearly every major Marine combat Operation since World War II.  On 26 June, 2020 the formidable flying

Nightmares were reactivated aboard MCAS Beaufort, South Carolina and redesignated as Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 502(VMFAT-502) while also transitioning to a new aircraft, the F-35B.  Like previous generations of Nightmares, the Nightmares of VMFAT-502 have once again been transferred back to the west coast.

On 10 Jan 2022, VMFAT-502 officially transferred from 2d Marine Aircraft Wing to 3d Marine Aircraft Wing, Marine Aircraft Group 11, MCAS Miramar, California where they continue their mission of Training future generations of USMC F-35 pilots.

Information Coming Soon

The mission of Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 502 is to conduct effective training and operations in the F-35B in coordination with joint and coalition partners in order to successfully attain the annual pilot training requirement.