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Marine Hornets swap NATO enhanced air policing role

Ten F/A-18C Hornet fighter aircraft from 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing’s (MAW) Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 323 arrived at Lask Air Base, Poland, June 10, 2022, to replace 2nd MAW’s VMFA 312.

VMFA 323 — The Death Rattlers — is based at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif.

U.S. Marines with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 323, Marine Aircraft Group 11, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, prepare F/A-18C Hornets to deploy to Poland from Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, California, June 6, 2022. VMFA-323 remains ready to deter aggression, and stand shoulder to shoulder with our Allies. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Levi Voss)

VMFA 312 initially deployed to Europe in support of exercise Cold Response 2022, with F/A-18 and KC-130 aircraft before repositioning to Poland in support of U.S. European Command’s request to bolster NATO’s eastern flank.

Throughout their 3-month rotational deployment, the U.S. Marines executed NATO’s Enhanced Air Policing mission in the Baltic Sea region and throughout Poland. They regularly integrated with Allied partners supplementing the coalition force’s defensive operations throughout Europe.

VMFA 323 will continue the mission of VMFA 312, which demonstrates the U.S. commitment to NATO Allies and European partners in safeguarding NATO territory from aggression.

VMFA 312 is based at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, S.C.

Since 2014, the NATO Alliance has implemented assurance measures with the goal to secure regional stability and assure Allies. Critical to this effort is Enhanced Air Policing, or eAP, which demonstrates NATO’s solidarity and collective resolve. Recently, this enduring mission has been combined with a proven ability to scale defensive missions in response to an evolving security situation.

U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Col. Justin C. Grissom, commanding officer of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 323, Marine Aircraft Group 11, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, prepares his F/A-18C Hornet to deploy to Poland from Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, California, June 6, 2022. VMFA-323 remains ready to deter aggression and if deterrence fails, stand shoulder to shoulder with our Allies against that aggression. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Levi Voss)
U.S. Marines with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 323, Marine Aircraft Group 11, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, prepare F/A-18C Hornets to deploy to Poland from Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, California, June 6, 2022. VMFA-323 remains ready to deter aggression, and stand shoulder to shoulder with our Allies. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Levi Voss)

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