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
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