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Marine Aircraft Group 31

Marine Aircraft Group 31

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Marine Aircraft Group 31 (MAG-31) is a United States Marine Corps
United States Marine Corps
The United States Marine Corps is a branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for providing power projection from the sea, using the mobility of the United States Navy to deliver combined-arms task forces rapidly. It is one of seven uniformed services of the United States...

 aviation group
Group (air force)
A group is a military aviation unit, a component of military organization and a military formation. Usage of the terms group and wing differ from one country to another, as well as different branches of a defence force, in some cases...

 based at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort
Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort
Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort or MCAS Beaufort is a United States Marine Corps air base located three miles northwest of the central business district of Beaufort, a city in Beaufort County, South Carolina, United States...

, South Carolina
South Carolina
South Carolina is a state in the Deep South of the United States that borders Georgia to the south, North Carolina to the north, and the Atlantic Ocean to the east. Originally part of the Province of Carolina, the Province of South Carolina was one of the 13 colonies that declared independence...

 that is currently composed of four F/A-18C squadrons, one F/A-18A+ squadron, two F/A-18D squadrons and a maintenance and logistics squadron. It falls under the command of the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing
2nd Marine Aircraft Wing
The 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing is the major east coast aviation unit of the United States Marine Corps and is based at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, North Carolina...

.

Subordinate units


F/A-18 Hornet
F/A-18 Hornet
The McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet is a supersonic, all-weather carrier-capable multirole fighter jet, designed to dogfight and attack ground targets . Designed by McDonnell Douglas and Northrop, the F/A-18 was derived from the latter's YF-17 in the 1970s for use by the United States Navy and...

 Squadrons
  • VMFA-115
    VMFA-115
    Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 115 is a United States Marine Corps F/A-18 Hornet squadron. Officially nicknamed the "Silver Eagles" and on occasion Joe's Jokers after their first commanding officer Major Joe Foss, the squadron is based at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, South Carolina and falls...

  • VMFA-122
    VMFA-122
    Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 122 is a United States Marine Corps F/A-18 Hornet squadron. The squadron, known as the "Werewolves", are based out of Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, South Carolina and fall under the command of Marine Aircraft Group 31 and the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing . Their...

  • VMFA-251
    VMFA-251
    Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 251 is a United States Marine Corps F/A-18 Hornet squadron. Also known as the "Thunderbolts", the squadron is based at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, South Carolina and falls under the command of Marine Aircraft Group 31 and the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing...

  • VMFA-312
    VMFA-312
    Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 312 is a United States Marine Corps F/A-18 Hornet squadron. Also known as the "Checkerboards", the squadron is based at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, South Carolina and falls under the command of Marine Aircraft Group 31 and the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing .-World...

  • VMFA(AW)-224
    VMFA(AW)-224
    Marine All Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 224 is a United States Marine Corps F/A-18 Hornet squadron. Also known as the "Bengals", the squadron is based at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, South Carolina and falls under the command of Marine Aircraft Group 31 and the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing...

  • VMFA(AW)-533
    VMFA(AW)-533
    Marine All Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 553 is a United States Marine Corps F/A-18 Hornet squadron. Also known as the "Hawks", the squadron is based at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, South Carolina and falls under the command of Marine Aircraft Group 31 and the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing...



F-35 Lightning II
F-35 Lightning II
The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II is a family of single-seat, single-engine, fifth generation multirole fighters under development to perform ground attack, reconnaissance, and air defense missions with stealth capability...

 Squadrons
  • VMFAT-501
    VMFA-451
    Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 501 is a newly reactivated training squadron in the United States Marine Corps that will eventually consist of 20 F-35B Lightning II aircraft and will serve as the Fleet Replacement Squadron...

     (in April 2010)


Maintenance and Logistics Squadron
  • MALS-31

History


Marine Aircraft Group 31 was commissioned at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point
Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point
Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point or MCAS Cherry Point is a United States Marine Corps airfield located in Havelock, North Carolina, USA, in the eastern part of the state...

, North Carolina
North Carolina
North Carolina is a state located in the southeastern United States. The state borders South Carolina and Georgia to the south, Tennessee to the west and Virginia to the north. North Carolina contains 100 counties. Its capital is Raleigh, and its largest city is Charlotte...

, on 1 February 1943. In September 1943, MAG-31 left the United States for Samoa
Samoa
Samoa , officially the Independent State of Samoa, formerly known as Western Samoa is a country encompassing the western part of the Samoan Islands in the South Pacific Ocean. It became independent from New Zealand in 1962. The two main islands of Samoa are Upolu and one of the biggest islands in...

 where its squadrons would stationed at numerous Samoan bases. During much of 1944 the squadron would fly neutralization missions against many of the Japanese garrisons that had been by-passed in the Marshall Islands
Marshall Islands
The Republic of the Marshall Islands , , is a Micronesian nation of atolls and islands in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, just west of the International Date Line and just north of the Equator. As of July 2011 the population was 67,182...

 such as Rabaul
Rabaul
Rabaul is a township in East New Britain province, Papua New Guinea. The town was the provincial capital and most important settlement in the province until it was destroyed in 1994 by falling ash of a volcanic eruption. During the eruption, ash was sent thousands of metres into the air and the...

.
During the Battle of Okinawa, MAG-31 came ashore on 7 April and began operating from Yontan Airfield
Yontan Airfield
Yontan Airfield is a former military airfield on Okinawa, located near the village of Sobe on the Okinawa western coast. It was closed and turned over to the Japanese government in 1972...

 on Okinawa. They were immediately able to put 80 out of 109 aircraft into the fight and maintained a combat air patrol
Combat air patrol
Combat air patrol is a type of flying mission for fighter aircraft.A combat air patrol is an aircraft patrol provided over an objective area, over the force protected, over the critical area of a combat zone, or over an air defense area, for the purpose of intercepting and destroying hostile...

 from 1750 until dark to aid in the fight against the kamikaze attacks that were devastating the American Fleet. During the battle they also provided close air support
Close air support
In military tactics, close air support is defined as air action by fixed or rotary winged aircraft against hostile targets that are close to friendly forces, and which requires detailed integration of each air mission with fire and movement of these forces.The determining factor for CAS is...

 for the Marines and Soldiers on the ground. While on Okinawa, MAG-31 was commanded by Colonel John C. Munn, who was later promoted to Lieutenant General and served as the Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps
Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps
The Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps is the second highest ranking officer in the United States Marine Corps, and serves as a deputy for the Commandant of the Marine Corps...

. The squadron stayed at Yontan Airfield until 1 July when they moved to Chimu Field further north on the island where they would stay until the end of the war. During their time on Okinawa the squadron also operated over Kyushu
Kyushu
is the third largest island of Japan and most southwesterly of its four main islands. Its alternate ancient names include , , and . The historical regional name is referred to Kyushu and its surrounding islands....

, the Chinese Coast, the East China Sea
East China Sea
The East China Sea is a marginal sea east of China. It is a part of the Pacific Ocean and covers an area of 1,249,000 kmĀ² or 750,000 square miles.-Geography:...

 area and many places in between Formosa
Taiwan
Taiwan , also known, especially in the past, as Formosa , is the largest island of the same-named island group of East Asia in the western Pacific Ocean and located off the southeastern coast of mainland China. The island forms over 99% of the current territory of the Republic of China following...

 and Kyushu.

On 12 October 1945, Marine Aircraft Group 31 departed Okinawa for Yokosuka, Japan ,becoming the first Marine land-based MAG to operate in the Japanese homeland. The MAG was transferred from the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing
2nd Marine Aircraft Wing
The 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing is the major east coast aviation unit of the United States Marine Corps and is based at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, North Carolina...

 to the 4th Marine Aircraft Wing
4th Marine Aircraft Wing
The 4th Marine Aircraft Wing is the reserve airwing of the United States Marine Corps. It is headquartered in New Orleans, Louisiana but its subordinate units are scattered throughout the United States...

 on 12 February 1946, and then to the Fleet Marine Force Pacific 13 March 1946.

The group returned to the United States 5 July 1946 as a night fighter group,. and was stationed at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar
Marine Corps Air Station Miramar
Marine Corps Air Station Miramar , formerly Naval Air Station Miramar is a United States Marine Corps installation that is home to the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, which is the aviation element of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force...

, San Diego, California until it was decommissioned 31 May 1947.

MAG-31 was reactivated 17 March 1952, at MCAS Cherry Point, North Carolina, and transferred to Marine Corps Air Station Miami, Florida, operating as a part of the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing
3rd Marine Aircraft Wing
The 3d Marine Aircraft Wing is the major west coast aviation unit of the United States Marine Corps. It is headquartered at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, California and provides the aviation combat element for I Marine Expeditionary Force...

 until it was again decommissioned in 1958.

On 1 November 1961, the group was again reactivated and stationed at its present home, Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, South Carolina
South Carolina
South Carolina is a state in the Deep South of the United States that borders Georgia to the south, North Carolina to the north, and the Atlantic Ocean to the east. Originally part of the Province of Carolina, the Province of South Carolina was one of the 13 colonies that declared independence...

, as part of the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing.

See also