Sunday, February 1, 2009

Marine Wing Headquarters Squadron 3 transfers authority to MWHS-2 in Afghanistan

Date written: Feb. 1, 2009
Story by: Sgt. Juan D. Alfonso

KANDAHAR AIR FIELD, Islamic Republic of Afghanistan – Lt. Col. Michael E. Watkins, the Marine Wing Headquarters Squadron 2 detachment commander, assumed command of Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force – Afghanistan’s air combat element from Lt. Col. Richard T. Ostermeyer, the MWHS-3 detachment commander, Feb. 1, 2009, on Kandahar Air Field, Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.

The MWHS-3 detachment assumed authority from the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit’s air combat element Nov. 10, 2008.

“All of us had never worked together as a team,” Ostermeyer said. “I have been very impressed with their ability to rapidly overcome those challenges and come together as one cohesive hard-working unit. It says a lot about the Marine Corps’ capabilities and its desire for mission accomplishment.”

Watkins concurred.

“They’ve done a wonderful job,” he said. “They got the mission established and provided maximum support for the SPMAGTF-A Marines. I’m very impressed with the attitude of the Marines and their drive to provide aviation support to the Marines outside the wire. I hope to continue the success Lieutenant Colonel Ostermeyer and his Marines have achieved.”

SPMAGTF-A’s air combat element is a composite squadron with Marines from all three active-duty Marine aircraft wings. The squadron’s fixed wing detachment is Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 252, based out of Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C. Its rotary wing detachments include Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 466, based out of MCAS Miramar, Calif., and Marine Light/Attack Helicopter Squadron 269, based out of MCAS New River, N.C. Its logistics squadron, Marine Aerial Logistics Squadron 26, which also assumed responsibility from MALS-16 Feb. 1, is based out of MCAS Cherry Point. MWHS-2 is based out of MCAS Cherry Point. The air combat element is also augmented with Marines from 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, based in Okinawa, Japan.

“It was definitely an honor and a pleasure getting to lead 179 of the finest Marines the Corps has to offer,” Ostermeyer said. “I’m very grateful to 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing for giving me the opportunity to put this [air combat element] together and lead Marines in combat.”