Photo Information

An AV-8B Harrier, piloted by Capt. Daniel S. Fiust of Marine Attack Squadron 513, takes in fuel March 28 while training above Fort Hunter Liggett, seen below. A KC-130J Hercules turboprop aircraft from San Diego-based Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 352 circled dozens of times, 22,000 feet above the remote Army post, and refueled the Harrier three times, pumping 15,000 pounds of fuel in total. Fiust conducted surveillance, reconnaissance and simulated guided-munitions strikes as part of an 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit air-ground task force exercise. The Harrier flew from the squadron’s home station in Yuma, Ariz., stopping once at Naval Air Station North Island in San Diego. Six of the squadron’s jets will reinforce the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit’s aviation combat element, Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 166 (Reinforced) when they deploy.

Photo by Gunnery Sgt. Scott Dunn

Raiders fly, refuel for MEU’s air-ground exercise

28 Mar 2009 | Gunnery Sgt. Scott Dunn

Marine aerial refueling tankers flew missions for a Marine Expeditionary Unit’s air-ground task force exercise that began March 20 at military and civilian installations throughout the state.

In KC-130J Hercules turboprop aircraft, Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 352 aviators tactically airlifted 11th MEU equipment and personnel March 26 and refueled an AV-8B Harrier jet March 28.

“(The squadron’s) support was a prime example of sharing military assets to allow the most realistic training,” said 1st Lt. Brendan Shue, assistant officer in charge of the MEU’s 1st Radio Battalion Detachment.

The 11th MEU, which is comprised of 2,200 Marines and sailors based at Camp Pendleton, is carrying out its exercise plans from Fort Hunter Liggett and getting ready for a deployment later this year.

The San Diego-based Raiders flew a dozen members of the 11th MEU’s embassy-liaison team from the remote Army post to Castle Airport in this San Joaquin Valley city, which served as a simulated sovereign country for the MEU’s training missions.

Squadron executive officer Maj. David Peterson piloted the refueling mission. The Hercules left Castle Airport and 25 minutes later circled 22,000 feet above Hunter Liggett.

Harrier pilot Capt. Daniel S. Fiust of Marine Attack Squadron 513 flew from the squadron’s home station in Yuma, Ariz., stopping to refuel at Naval Air Station North Island in San Diego.

The Harrier linked up three times to the Hercules via an aeronautical hose, taking on 2,206 gallons of fuel in total, according to Hercules loadmaster Staff Sgt. Robert Bardash.

Six of the Harrier squadron’s jets will reinforce the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit’s aviation combat element, Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 166 (Reinforced) when the unit deploys. 


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Colonel Jim W. Lively
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Colonel Lively is a native of Dallas, Texas. He received his commission in 1996 through the Platoon Leaders Course program after graduating from Texas A&M University with a BA in Psychology.

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Lieutenant Col. Le E. Nolan
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11th Marine Expeditionary Unit