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2nd Marine Aircraft Wing
USMC - 2MAW.png
2nd Marine Aircraft Wing Insignia
Active 10 July 1941–present
Country United States
Branch United States Marine Corps
Type Marine Aircraft Wing
Role Conduct air operations in support of the Fleet Marine Forces
Part of II Marine Expeditionary Force
Garrison/HQ Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point
Nickname(s) 2nd MAW
Engagements World War II
*Wake Island
*Battle of Guadalcanal
*Battle of Midway
*Battle of Saipan
*Battle of Tinian
*Battle of Guam
*Battle of Okinawa
Operation Desert Storm
Operation Enduring Freedom
Operation Iraqi Freedom
Commanding General MajGen. Glenn M. Walters
Ceremonial chief BGen. Gary L. Thomas
Sergeant Major SgtMaj. Christopher G. Robinson
Command Master Chief CMDCM(FMF) Nathan P. Whidden
LtGen. Francis P. Mulcahy
LtGen. George C. Axtell

The 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing (2nd MAW) 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. They provide the aviation combat element for the II Marine Expeditionary Force.


Conduct air operations in support of the Marine forces to include Offensive air support, anti air warfare, assault support, aerial reconnaissance, electronic warfare, and control of aircraft and missiles. As a collateral function, the MAW may participate as an integral component of naval aviation in the execution of such other Navy functions as the Fleet Commander may direct.

Subordinate units

Due to a re-organization within Marine aviation, 2nd MAW expanded between 2007–2010.[1] In 2008, HMH-366 and HMLA-467 were activated in September and October, respectively. In 2010, VMFA-451 was reactivated and re-designated as VMFAT-501 as the Fleet Replacement Squadron for the F-35 Lightning II.

Structure 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing



World War II

In late 1940, Congress authorized a naval air fleet of fifteen thousand aircraft. The Marine Corps was allotted a percentage of these planes to be formed into 2 air wings with 32 operational squadrons. On the advice of Navy and Marine advisors returning from observing the war in Europe these numbers were doubled very soon after. It was under this expansion program that the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing was activated in San Diego, California on 10 July 1941. Its first component was Marine Air Group Two which was based at Marine Corps Air Station Ewa, Hawaii. This gave 2nd MAW some of the oldest squadrons in Marine aviation[2]

Although the Hawaii based squadrons sustained extensive damage during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941, 2nd MAW contributed to 83 South Pacific combat operations. Marines and aircraft from 2nd MAW participated in major battles or campaigns at Wake Island, Guadalcanal, Midway, Saipan, Tinian, Guam and Okinawa. During three months of combat over the skies of Okinawa, squadrons from 2nd MAW accounted for 484½ planes shot down helping to create 21 new Marine Corps aces.[3] Following the surrender of Japan, 2nd MAW retained its headquarters on Okinawa and sent Marine Aircraft Group 31 (MAG-31) to Yokosuka and other units to Omura and Nagasaki.[4]

In April 1946, 2nd MAW relocated to its present home at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, North Carolina.

Vietnam War

During the Vietnam War, 2nd MAW supplied combat-ready units and personnel to operations in the Asian Theater.

1980s and 1990s

In the 1980s, 2nd MAW units were active participants in exercises and operations around the globe, to include those in Lebanon, Cuba, Grenada, Panama, and the Dominican Republic.

The decade of the 1990s began with Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm. The millennium closed with 2nd MAW squadrons prosecuting and supporting NATO air strikes in Kosovo and Serbia during Operation Allied Force, and flying support during Operation Northern Watch from Incirlik, Turkey.

Global War on Terror

Marines from 2nd MAW headquarters prepare morning colors for the first time at the new headquarters building in 2008.

From 2000 through 2002, EA-6B Prowler squadrons deployed in support of Operation Southern Watch, Operation Northern Watch and Unit Deployment Program rotations to Japan. AV-8B Harrier and helicopter squadrons deployed in support of the 22nd, 24th and 26th Marine Expeditionary Units. F/A-18 Hornet squadrons deployed aboard the USS Harry S. Truman with Carrier Air Wing 3; and Marine Wing Support Group 27 and Marine Air Control Group 28 deployed personnel in support of all exercises and operations in which 2nd MAW flying squadrons were participating.

In early 2001, VMFA-312 and VMAQ-3 participated in a joint combined strike against Iraq. This marked the first Marine Corps combat use of the Joint Standoff Weapon (JSOW). VMA-542 and HMM-261 flew combat missions over Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and conducted humanitarian missions in Djibouti. The Marines of VMA-542 were among the first to employ the LITENING 2 targeting pod in combat.

In 2003, 2nd MAW deployed more than 7,700 Marines and Sailors in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom, and Joint Task Force Horn of Africa. More than 200 tactical combat aircraft flew in support of these missions. They supported combat and contingency operations around the globe, with greater than 70 percent of the command and control, support group, and aircraft deployed simultaneously.

During the 2003 invasion of Iraq, 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing units flew over 7,800 combat sorties, expended over 3.9 million pounds of ordnance, carried over 10,000 troops and 6.2 million pounds of cargo, built five base camps, two expeditionary airfields (EAFs), ten forward area arming and refueling points (FARPS) and three forward operating bases (FOBs). 2nd MAW eventually headquartered at Al Asad Airbase to serve as the aviation combat element of Multi-National Forces West for the remainder of the Iraq War. In the fall of 2009, the wing headquarters turned this mission over to Marine Aircraft Group 26 and returned home.[5]

As American forces end their missions in Iraq, 2nd MAW continues to support the War on Terrorism today in Afghanistan.

Current aircraft

Fixed-wing aircraft

Rotary wing aircraft

Tilt rotor aircraft


See also


 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Marine Corps.
  • De Chant, John A. (1947). Devilbirds. New York: Harper and Brothers Publishers. 
  • Rottman, Gordon L. (2002). U.S. Marine Corps World War II Order of Battle – Ground and Air Units in the Pacific War, 1939–1945.’’. Greenwood Press. ISBN 0-313-31906-5. 
  • Sherrod, Robert (1952). History of Marine Corps Aviation in World War II. Washington, D.C.: Combat Forces Press. 
  • Simmons, Edwin H. (2003). The United States Marines: A History, Fourth Edition. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-59114-790-5. 

External links

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