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VMGR-352

VMGR-352

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Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 352 (VMGR-352) 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...

 KC-130J
Lockheed Martin KC-130
The Lockheed Martin KC-130 is the basic designation for a family of the extended-range tanker version of the C-130 Hercules transport aircraft modified for aerial refuelling. The KC-130J is the latest variant operated by the United States Marine Corps, with 38 delivered out of 47 ordered...

 squadron. They are a part of Marine Aircraft Group 11
Marine Aircraft Group 11
Marine Aircraft Group 11 is a United States Marine Corps aviation unit based at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar that is currently composed of three F/A-18C squadrons, three F/A-18D squadrons, one fleet readiness squadron, one KC-130 tactical aerial refueling squadron and a maintenance and...

 (MAG-11), 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...

 (3rd MAW) and provide both fixed-wing and rotary-wing aerial refueling
Aerial refueling
Aerial refueling, also called air refueling, in-flight refueling , air-to-air refueling or tanking, is the process of transferring fuel from one aircraft to another during flight....

 capabilities to support Fleet Marine Force
Fleet Marine Force
The United States Fleet Marine Forces are combined general and special purpose forces within the United States Department of the Navy that are designed in engaging offensive amphibious or expeditionary warfare and defensive maritime employment...

 (FMF) air operations in addition to assault air transport of personnel, equipment, and supplies. The squadron, known as the "Raiders" is 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...

, California
California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

.

World War II, Korea & Vietnam


Formed as Marine Utility Squadron 352 (VMJ-352) at MCAS Cherry Point on April 1, 1943. The squadron was originally assigned the Douglas R4D Skytrain aircraft
C-47 Skytrain
The Douglas C-47 Skytrain or Dakota is a military transport aircraft that was developed from the Douglas DC-3 airliner. It was used extensively by the Allies during World War II and remained in front line operations through the 1950s with a few remaining in operation to this day.-Design and...

, which it retained until its designation as Marine Transport Squadron 352 (VMR-352) in June 1944. The squadron began receiving the Douglas R5D Skymaster
C-54 Skymaster
The Douglas C-54 Skymaster was a four-engined transport aircraft used by the United States Army Air Forces and British forces in World War II and the Korean War. Besides transport of cargo, it also carried presidents, British heads of government, and military staff...

 and soon moved to MCAS Iwa, Hawaii in February 1945 where it remained until 1949.


Based in Hawaii, the squadron conducted training and provided operational support in the Pacific Theater
Pacific Ocean theater of World War II
The Pacific Ocean theatre was one of four major naval theatres of war of World War II, which pitted the forces of Japan against those of the United States, the British Commonwealth, the Netherlands and France....

, and was assigned the Commander of Military Transport Service in support of the Berlin Airlift in 1948-1949.

After moving to Marine Corps Air Station El Toro
Marine Corps Air Station El Toro
Marine Corps Air Station El Toro was a United States Marine Corps Air Station located near Irvine, California.Before it was decommissioned in 1999, it was the home of Marine Corps aviation on the West Coast. Designated as a Master Jet Station, its four runways could handle the largest aircraft...

, California in December 1949 the squadron was called upon to support air operations associated with the Korean War. The squadron's mission was extended with its re-designation as Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 352 (VMGR-352) in March 1961 with the arrival of the KC-130 Hercules
C-130 Hercules
The Lockheed C-130 Hercules is a four-engine turboprop military transport aircraft designed and built originally by Lockheed, now Lockheed Martin. Capable of using unprepared runways for takeoffs and landings, the C-130 was originally designed as a troop, medical evacuation, and cargo transport...

. The squadron conducted its first TransPac operations in January 1962, moving 18 F8U's
F-8 Crusader
The Vought F-8 Crusader was a single-engine, supersonic, carrier-based air superiority jet aircraft built by Vought for the United States Navy and the U.S. Marine Corps, replacing the Vought F7U Cutlass...

 of VMF-451 from MCAS El Toro to MCAS Iwakuni, Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

. The “Raiders” rapid response capability and versatile aircraft were called upon during the Cuban Missile Crisis
Cuban Missile Crisis
The Cuban Missile Crisis was a confrontation among the Soviet Union, Cuba and the United States in October 1962, during the Cold War...

 in 1962 and again in the Dominican Republic
Operation Power Pack
The second United States occupation of the Dominican Republic began when the United States Marines Corps entered Santo Domingo on April 28, 1965. They were later joined by most of the United States Army's 82nd Airborne Division and its parent XVIIIth Airborne Corps...

 in 1965. In June 1965, the squadron began deploying elements in support of combat operations in the Republic of Vietnam and continued to do so until October 1972.

Gulf War and the 1990s


From August 1990 to March 1991, a seven plane detachment from the squadron flew in support of Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm. During the seven month period, 352 Forward amassed over 2500 combat flight hours and 1144 sorties.

Beginning in 1992, VMGR-352 had several deployments to Kenya
Kenya
Kenya , officially known as the Republic of Kenya, is a country in East Africa that lies on the equator, with the Indian Ocean to its south-east...

 supporting Operation Restore Hope in next-door Somalia
Somalia
Somalia , officially the Somali Republic and formerly known as the Somali Democratic Republic under Socialist rule, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. Since the outbreak of the Somali Civil War in 1991 there has been no central government control over most of the country's territory...

. The Raider's original mission was to fly food and supplies to war-torn Somalia. This later turned into a combat support mission supporting the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit
11th Marine Expeditionary Unit
The 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit is one of seven Marine Expeditionary Units currently in existence in the United States Marine Corps. The Marine Expeditionary Unit is a Marine Air Ground Task Force with a strength of about 2,200 personnel. The MEU consists of a command element, a reinforced...

 (11th MEU) and ended with the evacuation of the US Embassy.

In February 1998, the “Raiders” were tasked to be a part of the United Nation's Relief Effort, Operation Noble Response in Kenya
Kenya
Kenya , officially known as the Republic of Kenya, is a country in East Africa that lies on the equator, with the Indian Ocean to its south-east...

, Africa
Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

. Later, in June 1998, they executed a non-combatant evacuation operation
Non-combatant Evacuation Operation
A non-combatant evacuation operation or NEO is an operation conducted to evacuate civilians from another country, generally due to a deteriorating security situation.-United States:...

, Operation Safe Departure in Eritrea
Eritrea
Eritrea , officially the State of Eritrea, is a country in the Horn of Africa. Eritrea derives it's name from the Greek word Erethria, meaning 'red land'. The capital is Asmara. It is bordered by Sudan in the west, Ethiopia in the south, and Djibouti in the southeast...

, Africa.

In early January 1999, the Raiders deployed a four-plane detachment to Mombassa, Kenya to extract American citizens and foreign nationals from Eritrea and Ethiopia
Ethiopia
Ethiopia , officially known as the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. It is the second-most populous nation in Africa, with over 82 million inhabitants, and the tenth-largest by area, occupying 1,100,000 km2...

, Africa in support of the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit
13th Marine Expeditionary Unit
The 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit is one of seven Marine Expeditionary Units currently in existence in the United States Marine Corps. The Marine Expeditionary Unit is a Marine Air Ground Task Force with a strength of about 2,200 personnel. The MEU consists of a command element, a reinforced...

 (13th MEU) AND Operation Safe Departure. Though the crisis did not escalate to the point where Marines were required to conduct a NEO, the Raiders provided the 13th MEU with support during operations "Eager Mace" in Kenya and "Native Fury" in Kuwait. On 15 April 1999, VMGR-352 moved their squadron from Marine Corps Air Station El Toro
Marine Corps Air Station El Toro
Marine Corps Air Station El Toro was a United States Marine Corps Air Station located near Irvine, California.Before it was decommissioned in 1999, it was the home of Marine Corps aviation on the West Coast. Designated as a Master Jet Station, its four runways could handle the largest aircraft...

, California to MCAS Miramar as part of the Base Realignment and Closure
Base Realignment and Closure
Base Realignment and Closure is a process of the United States federal government directed at the administration and operation of the Armed Forces, used by the United States Department of Defense and Congress to close excess military installations and realign the total asset inventory to reduce...

 (BRAC) commission mandates.

On June 28, 1999, the Raiders were tasked with supporting Operation Northern Watch
Operation Northern Watch
Operation Northern Watch, the successor to Operation Provide Comfort, was a US European Command Combined Task Force charged with enforcing its own no-fly zone above the 36th parallel in Iraq...

 by providing helicopter aerial refueling (HAR) for the 66th Expeditionary Rescue Squadron (ARQS) in Incirlik Air Base
Incirlik Air Base
The Incirlik Air Base is located in İncirlik, five miles east of Adana, Turkey's fifth largest city, and from the Mediterranean Sea.The U.S...

, Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

. After the tragic earthquakes in Turkey, the Raider detachment became an integral part of the humanitarian relief effort that provided care and basic life necessities to the thousands of victims of those earthquakes. During the humanitarian relief missions to northern Turkey, VMGR-352 continued their Operation Northern Watch support, and still flew over fifty missions. In August, the Raiders were called upon to provide support to Joint Task Force Dora. Due to Hurricane Dora
Hurricane Dora
Hurricane Dora was the first tropical cyclone on record to make landfall over the extreme northeast coast of Florida. Dora was also the first storm to produce hurricane force winds to Jacksonville, Florida in the almost 80 years of record keeping. Dora killed five people and left over...

's impending assault on the Johnston Atoll
Johnston Atoll
Johnston Atoll is a atoll in the North Pacific Ocean about west of Hawaii. There are four islands located on the coral reef platform, two natural islands, Johnston Island and Sand Island, which have been expanded by coral dredging, as well as North Island and East Island , an additional two...

, a hurricane evacuation mission from Johnston Island to Hawaii
Hawaii
Hawaii is the newest of the 50 U.S. states , and is the only U.S. state made up entirely of islands. It is the northernmost island group in Polynesia, occupying most of an archipelago in the central Pacific Ocean, southwest of the continental United States, southeast of Japan, and northeast of...

 was initiated. Less than two days after notification, the Raiders had returned all military and DoD employees to Johnston Island.

During February 2000 , VMGR-352 launched a two-plane detachment to Ahmed Al Jaber Air Base
Ahmed Al Jaber Air Base
Ahmed Al Jaber Air Base is a Kuwait Air Force installation with part designated for operations by the U.S. Air Force and its allies.Sitting 75 miles south of the Iraqi border, the base has supported active duty Air Force, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve A-10 and F-16 fighter units, along...

 in Kuwait
Kuwait
The State of Kuwait is a sovereign Arab state situated in the north-east of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the south at Khafji, and Iraq to the north at Basra. It lies on the north-western shore of the Persian Gulf. The name Kuwait is derived from the...

 to support Operation Southern Watch
Operation Southern Watch
Operation Southern Watch was an operation conducted by Joint Task Force Southwest Asia with the mission of monitoring and controlling airspace south of the 32nd Parallel in Iraq, following the 1991 Gulf War until the 2003 invasion of Iraq.-Summary:Operation Southern Watch began on 27 August 1992...

. While in-theater, they provided fixed-wing aerial refueling
Aerial refueling
Aerial refueling, also called air refueling, in-flight refueling , air-to-air refueling or tanking, is the process of transferring fuel from one aircraft to another during flight....

 (FWAR) support to VMFA-121 in defense of the Southern Iraq No-Fly Zone
Iraqi no-fly zones
The Iraqi no-fly zones were a set of two separate no-fly zones , and were proclaimed by the United States, United Kingdom and France after the Gulf War of 1991 to protect the Kurdish people in northern Iraq and Shiite Muslims in the south. Iraqi aircraft were forbidden from flying inside the zones...

, as well as FWAR support for Combat Search and Rescue
Combat search and rescue
Combat search and rescue are search and rescue operations that are carried out during war that are within or near combat zones.A CSAR mission may be carried out by a task force of helicopters, ground-attack aircraft, tankers and an airborne command post...

 (CSAR) missions, should it be needed.

Global War on Terror



In November 2001, VMGR-352 deployed to Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. The “Raiders” provided fixed wing aerial refueling
Aerial refueling
Aerial refueling, also called air refueling, in-flight refueling , air-to-air refueling or tanking, is the process of transferring fuel from one aircraft to another during flight....

 and logistical support to forces fighting the War on Terrorism
War on Terrorism
The War on Terror is a term commonly applied to an international military campaign led by the United States and the United Kingdom with the support of other North Atlantic Treaty Organisation as well as non-NATO countries...

. On January 9, 2002 "Raider 04" from VMGR-352, crashed into a mountainside in Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

 killing all seven crewmembers. One of the Marines killed was Sergeant Jeannette L. Winters. She was the first female service member to die in the war on terror.

The squadron once again deployed to Bahrain
Bahrain
' , officially the Kingdom of Bahrain , is a small island state near the western shores of the Persian Gulf. It is ruled by the Al Khalifa royal family. The population in 2010 stood at 1,214,705, including 235,108 non-nationals. Formerly an emirate, Bahrain was declared a kingdom in 2002.Bahrain is...

 to participate in Operation Iraqi Freedom, providing aerial refueling and assault support
Assault Support
Assault Support is one of the six functions of United States Marine Corps aviation and comprises those actions required to airlift personnel, supplies or equipment into or within a battle area by helicopters or fixed-wing aircraft. It provides the Marine Air-Ground Task Force commander the...

 to coalition forces. During this operation, VMGR-352 was augmented by VMGR-234
VMGR-234
Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 234 is a reserve United States Marine Corps KC-130T squadron. They are a part of Marine Aircraft Group 41 , 4th Marine Aircraft Wing and provide both fixed-wing and rotary-wing aerial refueling capabilities to support Marine Forces Reserve air operations...

 and VMGR-452
VMGR-452
Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 452 is a reserve United States Marine Corps KC-130T squadron. They fall under the command of Marine Aircraft Group 49 and the 4th Marine Aircraft Wing...

 to form the largest assemblage of KC-130s in history.

VMGR-352 began its transition to the KC-130J in August 2004. The newest model of the C-130 features an all-glass cockpit, digital flight-management system, and reduced crew requirements. As of late 2007, VMGR-352 only flies the KC-130J, with all older models having left the unit.

The Raiders deployed once again in February 2006 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in cooperation with sister squadron VMGR-252
VMGR-252
Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 252 is a United States Marine Corps KC-130J squadron. They are a part of Marine Aircraft Group 14 , 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing and provide both fixed-wing and rotary-wing aerial refueling capabilities to support Fleet Marine Force air operations in...

, based at MCAS Cherry Point, 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...

.

The Raiders have been constantly deployed in support of the Global War on Terror. Marine Corps KC-130 squadrons are unique in that they do not deploy as an entire squadron, but send detachments (Dets) in support of operations. Every 6–7 months, det personnel are rotated keeping a constant presence in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

Raiders can be seen worldwide conducting operations as directed by higher headquarters - from supporting other units in movements across both the Pacific and Atlantic to supporting Marines deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Harvest HAWK



VMGR-352 will be the first squadron to employ the Harvest HAWK, the Marine Corps version of an armed C-130. With the addition of the ISR
ISR
ISR may refer to:Publications* Information Systems Research, an academic journal in the information systems discipline* International Socialist Review, a Socialist magazine published in the U.S....

 / Weapon Mission Kit, the KC-130J will be able to serve as an overwatch aircraft and can deliver ground support fire in the form of 30mm cannon fire, Hellfire missiles
AGM-114 Hellfire
The AGM-114 Hellfire is an air-to-surface missile developed primarily for anti-armor use. It has multi-mission, multi-target precision-strike capability, and can be launched from multiple air, sea, and ground platforms. The Hellfire missile is the primary 100 lb-class air-to-ground precision...

, and precision-guided bombs
Precision-guided munition
A precision-guided munition is a guided munition intended to precisely hit a specific target, and to minimize damage to things other than the target....

. This capability, designated as "Harvest HAWK" (Hercules Airborne Weapons Kit), can be used in scenarios where precision is not a requisite, such as area denial
Area denial weapons
An area denial weapon is a device used to prevent an adversary from occupying or traversing an area of land. The specific method used does not have to be totally effective in preventing passage as long as it is sufficient to severely restrict, slow down, or endanger the opponent...

.

The Harvest Hawk weapons system for USMC KC-130J aircraft began its first deployment during October 2010 in Afghanistan with VMGR-352. Its first weapons engagement was on November 4 supporting the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, in Sangin. One Hellfire missile was fired and five enemy insurgents were killed. The battle damage assessment stated there were no civilian casualties or property damage during the fire fight.

Humanitarian


In addition to its numerous combat deployments and international humanitarian aid efforts, VMGR-352 answered its own country's call for assistance in the wake of Hurricane Katrina's
Hurricane Katrina
Hurricane Katrina of the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season was a powerful Atlantic hurricane. It is the costliest natural disaster, as well as one of the five deadliest hurricanes, in the history of the United States. Among recorded Atlantic hurricanes, it was the sixth strongest overall...

 ravage of the Gulf Coast in September 2005. Flying day and night to deliver aid in the form of supplies and military personnel to the area, the Raiders were an integral part of a massive logistical effort by the Armed Forces of the United States.

After the 2010 Pakistan floods
2010 Pakistan floods
The 2010 Pakistan floods began in late July 2010, resulting from heavy monsoon rains in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh, Punjab and Balochistan regions of Pakistan and affected the Indus River basin. Approximately one-fifth of Pakistan's total land area was underwater, approximately...

, KC-130Js from USMC VMGR-352
VMGR-352
Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 352 is a United States Marine Corps KC-130J squadron. They are a part of Marine Aircraft Group 11 , 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing and provide both fixed-wing and rotary-wing aerial refueling capabilities to support Fleet Marine Force air operations in...

 squadron delivered over 200,000 pounds of cargo across Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

 in support of flood relief efforts.

Awards


The squadron has received numerous awards throughout its history and rates the following battle streamers: Navy Unit Commendation
Navy Unit Commendation
The Navy Unit Commendation of the United States Navy is an award that was established by order of the Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal on 18 December 1944...

 with Two Bronze Stars, Meritorious Unit Commendation
Meritorious Unit Commendation
The Meritorious Unit Commendation is a mid-level unit award of the United States military which is awarded to any military command which displays exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding service, heroic deeds, or valorous actions....

 with Four Bronze Stars, Joint Meritorious Unit Commendation
Joint Meritorious Unit Award
The Joint Meritorious Unit Award is a military award that was established on June 4, 1981 by Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger and was implemented by Department of Defense Directive 1348.27 dated July 22, 1982...

, American Campaign, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign, World War Two Victory, National Defense Medal
National Defense Service Medal
The National Defense Service Medal is a military service medal of the United States military originally commissioned by President Dwight D. Eisenhower...

 with Two Bronze Stars, Korean Service, Vietnam Service with Three Silver Stars and One Bronze Star, and the Southwest Asia Service with Two Bronze Stars.

Safety Record


VMGR-352 also has two presentations of the Commandant's Aviation Efficiency Trophy as the premier Squadron in the Marine Corps, and six CNO Aviation Safety Awards. In June 1999 VMGR-352 surpassed 180,000 class A mishap free flight hours.

See also




External links