As the drumbeat of force restructuring beats on in the U.S. Marine Corps, more units are folding up their colors. Back in 2011, the Marine Corps laid out a plan for deactivating and realigning units to bring the Corps down from 202,000 to a “middleweight” force of 182,000, and much of that restructuring is going on right now.
Out at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Marine Attack Squadron 513 became the first Av-8B Harrier Squadron to deactivate on July 12. “The Flying Nightmares” embarked on their last deployment last December, joining with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit for a float aboard the U.S.S. Bonhomme Richard. The squadron cased its colors after 69 years of service that included combat in Vietnam, the Gulf War, and Iraq and Afghanistan.
“I stand before you as the last commander of the Flying Nightmares,” VMA-513 Commanding Officer Lt. Col. Samuel “Dirty” Smith said during the decommissioning ceremony, according to the Yuma Sun. “Sad? Maybe. But I choose to think about this moment as a proud day. A day where we realize we are casing the colors on a winning unit. A unit that gets to go out at the absolute top of its game.”
For the complete story by Hope Hodge of MilitaryTimes.com, click here.