100 years of U.S. Marine Corps aviation celebrated at MCAS Yuma

The open house at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma in 2012 marked 100 years of U.S. Marine Corps aviation. Some exotic aircraft are stationed at Yuma: the AV-8B Harrier II with it’s vertical/short take off and landing capability and the F-5E Tiger of the Marine Corps Reservists in the role of “Aggressor”.

The F-5’s are assigned to Marine Fighter Training Squadron 401. The “Snipers” of VMFT-401 are the United States Marine Corps’ only adversary squadron. Their mission is to provide dissimilar air combat training (DACT) instruction to active and reserve Marine and Navy squadrons. Their F-5E’s wear very colorful paint schemes, which are similar to the camouflage of Russian fighter aircraft.
The AV-8B is an extensively redesigned ground attack version of the British Harrier II. The aircraft is mostly used for close air support but also for reconnaissance.

Recce Reports was granted access to the rehearsals, the day before for the actual open house at 16 & 17 March 2012. There was a very interesting static show with a wide variety of Marines aircraft and an impressive airshow with performances by the USAF demonstration team, The Thunderbirds, and team ‘Tora, Tora, Tora’, a re-creation of the Japanese attack on Hawaii’s Pearl Harbor in 1941. But also the Marines themselves gave a show of force with their F-5E’s, AV-8B and OV-22 Osprey.

An article about this Airshow was published in the October 2012 issue of AIM magazine.