June 21, 2012

5 Questions: VMA-311 Commanding Officer

Lt. Col. Peter Blake
VMA-311 Commanding Officer

1. VMA-311 “Tomcats” just returned from a six month deployment in support of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit based out of Japan.  Can you share some of the operational highlights of the squadron’s deployment?

The “Japan” Tomcats supported both the 31st MEU and MAG-12 depending on our location. While on Kadena AB, Okinawa and aboard the USS Essex we supported the MEU; while on MCAS Iwakuni, Japan we supported MAG-12. During our time with the MEU we flew numerous close air support training missions to rehearse procedures with forward air controllers from the MEU, 5th ANGLICO and USAF Combat Controllers. We also trained with the USAF F-15s aboard Kadena AB to practice tactics for integrated strike missions. While in Iwakuni, we did air-to-air training with Marine Corps F/A-18 Hornets and Japanese F-4 Phantoms and F-15J Eagles.


2. Did VMA-311 participate in any international training exercises? If so, where were they located and how did this training improve the capabilities of your squadron?

While aboard the Essex we supported the MEU and South Korean Marines during Exercise SSANG YONG, an amphibious landing near the city of Pohang, South Korea. We also flew maritime reconnaissance training missions to detect and identify ships for the US and South Korean Navies. While in Iwakuni we flew air-to-air training sorties with the Japanese Air Self-Defense Force. All of these training events helped us develop and rehearse integrated tactics with allied pilots, air traffic controllers and intelligence officers.


3. Now that the squadron is back in Yuma, what are the future operational and training plans for the Tomcats?

In September a six-plane detachment will deploy aboard the USS Peleliu in support of the 15th MEU. The remaining Marines of the Squadron will continue training for a scheduled deployment to Afghanistan in 2013.


4. As you prepare for your change of command on June 22, are there any words of wisdom you would like to pass on to your troops?

Guard and cherish your reputation and Marines and Tomcats – accomplish the mission and always maintain your character, both on and off duty.


5. What’s next after VMA-311?

I will stay at MAG-13 for another year to work on AV-8B and F-35 issues.

Lt. Col. Peter Blake is scheduled to relinquish command of Marine Attack Squadron 311 to Lt. Col. Scott Mitchell on June 22 at the squadron’s hangar.

All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


Courtesy photograph

POW recalls ‘hidden treasure’ in lessons learned

Courtesy photograph Retired Col. Lee Ellis, a prisoner of war who spent five and a half years in the “Hanoi Hilton” during the Vietnam War, spoke at the Air Force Academy’s National Character and Leadership Sy...

Drivers continue to find road bumpy after answering automobile ads

An individual or individuals claiming to be “Exchange Inc.” have been placing advertisements in auto magazines and commercial newspapers, leading Army & Air Force Exchange Service shoppers to believe they’...

The not-so-great American gun-grab

YUMA, Ariz. – In the wake of a recent tragedy, everyone from politicians to the talking heads in the media to the average Joe on the street has been talking about gun control. So far, the one measurable result of all this talk has been an explosion in the sales of firearms people fear may...


Listening to Superiors

There is something to say about a lower enlisted Marine with an opinion, and that is they should have a limited one especially when time is of the essence. For most young Marines in the Corps words like, “We don’t pay you to think,” have been said to them on more than one occasion. There...

5 Questions: Lt. Daniel Chung

1.) What services do chaplains offer to military personnel? We offer spiritual guidance and advice but also counseling. So if Marines or Sailors come in with marriage problems or stress at work they can come and speak with a chaplain. Some of us have professional degrees but most don’t so it’s not like talking to...

Chaplain’s Corner: Christmas

What is Christmas to you? For me it is my favorite time of the year! As a Christian, I do celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. The greatest gift the world has ever or will ever receive. But, not everyone believes as I do. So, what does Christmas mean to you? Too me, I love...


Be the first to comment!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>