Photo Information

AL ASAD, Iraq -- Marines and sailors from Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 26 (Reinforced) stand in front of Lt. Col. Carmine J. Borrelli, squadron commander from Yonkers, N.Y.; Staff Sgt. Michael H. Murrell, aircraft structure mechanic from Coeur d'Alene, Idaho; and Sgt. Maj. Leroy Williams, squadron sergeant major from Columbia, S.C., during the unveiling of the 'Patriots' logo here March 1. The unveiling ceremony celebrated the first turnover of a Marine aviation logistics squadron since Marine aviation units began operating out of this former Iraqi air base.

Photo by SGT. JUAN VARA

MALS-26 (Rein) commander: ‘How can we make this place better?’

1 Mar 2005 | Sgt. Juan Vara

The “Patriots” of Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 26 (Reinforced) have hit the ground running, and after less than two weeks here, have assumed the responsibilities of MALS-16 in the first turnover of an aviation logistics squadron since Marine aviation units began operating out of this former Iraqi air base.“We’re starting operations ahead of schedule and we’re really happy with the way things went,” said Lt. Col. Carmine J. Borrelli, MALS-26 (Rein) commanding officer and Yonkers, N.Y., native. “The Marines of MALS-16 have done remarkable things and we’re here to make it better.”The squadron’s mission is to provide aviation logistics support, guidance and direction to the flying squadrons here on behalf of the Marine Aircraft Group 26 commander. They’re also in charge of providing intermediate level maintenance for aircraft and aeronautical equipment, performing repairs on specific engines and requesting, storing, handling, assembling, transporting and inventorying ammunition.According to Borrelli, the key to a seamless rotation was a team of experts who observed how their West Coast counterparts ran things, got a head start inventorying gear and worked out billeting issues six weeks ahead of the rest of the unit’s arrival.“We’re glad to be part of this,” said Cpl. Nicholas P. Satter, MALS-26 (Rein) airframes mechanic originally from Holley, N.Y. “I’m definitely proud to take part in this deployment and serve a purpose by assisting the Iraqis bring a democracy to their country.”Sergeant Tensley B. McLendon III, in charge of the Marines working in the supply division during the day shift, said participating in training exercises such as Desert Talon and Striking Hawk helped him and others in the squadron prepare for this deployment.“Every Marine who’s been in those exercises has experienced being away from their families, the 12-hour shifts, the environment, the heat and the cold,” said the Newark, N.J., native. “It helps a lot mentally.”Major Marion D. Jones, MALS-26 (Rein) executive officer from Jacksonville, Fla., said the Marines are eager to support the Marine air mission throughout Iraq. “They’re all about supporting the squadrons and know that our contribution, our goal, is high quality aircraft maintenance. In the back of their minds they know their job has a secondary contribution to Iraq—to let them build a democratic state and allow the country to get back on its feet.”
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