Marine Corps

November 29, 2012

Green Knights; before F-35B, MCAS Yuma

Story by Pfc. Brendan King
Desert Warrior Staff

The Marine All Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 121, known as the Green Knights, originally activated on June 24, 1941 in the midst of World War II. Several wars and decades later, they are the proud pilots and personnel of the Corps’ first operational F-35 squadron, officially designated as such Nov. 20, 2012.

The creator of it all was Joseph Jacob “Joe” Foss who was the first leading fighter ace of the United States Marine Corps during World War II and a 1943 recipient of the Medal of Honor, recognizing his role in air combat during the Guadalcanal Campaign. In those three months of combat, Foss’s squadron had shot down 208 Japanese enemy aircraft, including 46 credited to him alone.

Although many of the Green Knights most famous pilots served during World War II, the squadrons courageous efforts carried on throughout many other American wars.

“It is quite an honor to say you’re part of the Green Knights, knowing the legacy and history behind it is a very powerful feeling, “said Capt. Michael Wyrsch, the historian for VMFA-121 and an F-35 pilots with the Green Knights. “ We want people to know what we represent and what we stand for as Marines in being a part of this historic team with the Green Knights.”

In the Korean War, the Green Knights became the first squadron to complete the entire special weapons delivery syllabus.  The Green Knights also deployed their new A-4s to Naval Air Station Cecil Field in Florida in response to the Korean Missile Crisis.

The efforts of the Green Knights during World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War will always be a part of early years aviation war fighting. But even today, the Green Knights are still further cementing their name into America’s military history.

On Sep. 28, 2012, Lt. Col. Jeffrey Scott took command of the Green Knights from Lt. Col. Michael Waterman which marked the beginning of the squadron’s transition from being an F/A-18D Hornet squadron to becoming the first operational F-35 squadron in the Marine Corps and world. This change of command officially moved the squadron from Marine Aircraft Group 11 at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif., to MAG-13 at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma.

“It is an experience of a lifetime to get into a program of this capacity,” said Wyrsch. “It will be very rewarding and very challenging at the same time to live up to the name of the Green Knights but that being said we are more then up to the challenge and look forward to continuing this great history.”

The Green Knights have been making military breakthroughs for more than 70 years and after becoming the world’s first ever operational Joint Strike Fighter squadron in a formal re-designation ceremony held on Nov. 20, there seems to be no end to the illustrious history of the Green Knights.

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



Raytheon, U.S. Army complete first AI3 guided flight test series

Raytheon and the U.S. Army successfully completed the first guided test vehicle flight series of the Accelerated Improved Intercept Initiative program at Yuma Proving Ground, Aris. The series consisted of two flight tests against different target profiles. In each case after launch, the interceptor initially guided on in-flight radio frequency datalink updates from the fire...

Ospreys support final WTI exercise

Marine Corps photograph by Lance Cpl. Zachary Scanlon A MV-22 Osprey refuels from the back of a KC-130 over the Chocolate Mountain Aerial Gunnery Ranges near Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Ariz., April 23.
Marine Corps photograph by Top of Form
by Cpl. Scott L. Tomaszycki

VMGR-252 Hercs support WTI

Marine Corps photograph by Top of Formby Cpl. Scott L. Tomaszycki A forklift loads gear and supplies onto a Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 252 KC-130J Hercules at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Ariz., March 22. VMGR-...


SecDef says furlough days reduced for civilians

The Defense Department has revised from 22 to 14 the number of days hundreds of thousands of civilian employees could be furloughed this year because of the budget sequester, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced March 29. In addition, a senior Defense Department official speaking on background told reporters the start of the furloughs will be...

In Brief – March 22, 2013

U.S. training accident kills seven Marines A Marine Corps official says the seven Marines killed in Nevada died after a 60mm mortar exploded unexpectedly during a training accident, March 18. The Marines immediately issued an indefinite moratorium on firing of all such mortars worldwide until an investigation clears as safe the type of weapon and...
Marine Corps photograph by Cpl. Ken Kalemkarian

Marine Corps’ first operational F-35B conducts initial Vertical Landing

Marine Corps photograph by Cpl. Ken Kalemkarian Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 121 F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter prepares to make a vertical landing aboard Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Ariz., March 21, 2013. This ma...


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>