Military Aviation

USMC East Coast Harrier squadrons gather together for a few last group shots before transitioning to the F-35B

The F-35B will replace the AV-8B Harrier for the US Marine Corps (USMC) in the coming years.

Taken on Sep. 19. 2020 and brought to my attention by Ike Rettenmair, former Marine and a reader of The Aviation Geek Club, the cool photos in this post feature Squadrons from MAG-14 “America’s MAG”, VMA-223, VMA 231, VMA-542, VMAT-203, and VMGR-252 rendezvous over the Atlantic Ocean for a few photos before the Harrier squadrons begin to transition to the new F-35B over the next few years.

The F-35B will replace the AV-8B Harrier for the US Marine Corps (USMC) in the coming years. The F-35B short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) is the world’s first supersonic STOVL stealth aircraft. It is designed to operate from austere bases and a range of air-capable ships near front-line combat zones. It can also take off and land conventionally from longer runways on major bases. The USMC’s F-35B aircraft reached initial operational capability (IOC) on Jul. 31, 2015, and as of January 2017, a squadron of F-35Bs is permanently based at MCAS Iwakuni, Japan.

Marine Aircraft Group 14 (MAG-14) is a USMC aviation unit based at Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Cherry Point, North Carolina that is currently composed of four AV-8B Harrier squadrons (VMA-223 “Bulldogs”, VMA-231 “Ace of Spades”, VMA-542 “Tigers” and VMAT-203 “Hawks”), one UAV squadron (VMU-2 “Night Owls”), one KC-130J squadron (VMGR-252 “Otis”), and an aviation logistics squadron (MALS-14 “Dragons”).

MAG-14 conducts offensive air support, anti-air warfare, electronic warfare, assault support, and air reconnaissance operations in support of the Marine Air-Ground Task Force or joint and coalition forces, and conduct fleet replacement program training in order to provide combat capable aircrews to operational squadrons.

Photo credit: Rupeni Katubadrau-Bramhall / U.S. Marine Corps

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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