Photo Information

Sgt. Timothy Macleod hugs his daughter Jennalee at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C., after returning from a six month unit deployment program, with Marine Attack Squadron 223, in support of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit in Okinawa, Japan. During the UDP, VMA-223 was tasked with conducting aircraft maintenance and flight operations. Macleod is a fixed-wing aircraft safety equipment mechanic with the squadron.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Unique B. Roberts

VMA-223 Marines return from supporting 31st MEU

9 May 2014 | Lance Cpl. Unique B. Roberts

Approximately 30 Marines with Marine Attack Squadron 223 returned to Cherry Point from Okinawa, Japan, and Korea after supporting the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, during a Unit Deployment Program April 30.

The Marines were participating in the UDP for approximately four to six months, according to Capt. Andrew Christ, the quality assurance officer with the squadron.

VMA-223’s mission is to support 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing and other Marine Corps assets with offensive air support, armed reconnaissance and air defense.

During the UDP, the Marines performed aircraft maintenance and flight operations.

The UDP provided the Marines with training on both international and operational scenarios that contributed to their long term military occupational specialty proficiency, safety, and squadron readiness.

Not only did the Marines perform exemplary, but in all of their efforts they kept the squadron’s mission as their first priority, according to Christ.

Christ said the Marines maintained remarkable aircraft readiness statistics through integration with the United States Air Force, Republic of Korea Air Force and Japan Air Self-Defense Force.
While some Marines where in Japan for six months others were there for four months or less. Lance Cpl. Christopher Lynch, an aircraft electrical systems technician with the squadron, was in Okinawa for approximately four months.

“I was an avionics technician on the AV-8B Harrier working on and repairing them after flight discrepancies,” said Lynch.

Although the Marines were supporting the squadron and the 31st MEU, they also got a chance to experience the Japanese culture.

“Living in Japan during the UDP was very interesting,” said Lynch. “Having never been there before I learned a good amount about the Japanese and their culture.”