As fireworks and barbeques kicked off across the country for Independence Day, a detachment of more than 40 Marines from the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit received a warm homecoming at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C. The detachment from Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 252, home for an operational re-set, will spend the next two weeks enjoying time with family and conducting refresher training.
“I’m very proud of them and what they did,” the squadron’s commanding officer, Lt. Col. Charles Moses, told Marine Corps Times. “The capabilities that they brought were exactly what they’re designed to do.”
While it’s not uncommon for a detachment to return home and go on standby after supporting a MEU that’s still deployed, this is the first time in two years the entire squadron has been home together at once. Despite the two week deployment break, Marines are still expected to stay on alert in case they are called back to assist 24th MEU. The two-week reset period provides time to reassess and restock equipment as well as an opportunity to train younger aircrew.
Upon notification, the detachment is prepared to deploy within a 96-hour time frame. “There are very few units that maintain a stance to be ready to go in 96 hours,” Moses said, cautioning the squadron’s Marines and their families that despite the holiday return, there is no stand down. He encouraged everyone to manage expectations in case the detachment is called to assist before the two weeks expire. “This is the bread and butter of being able to react and support through a full range of military operations,” he said.
The 24th MEU has been deployed since March. The detachment from VMGR-252 operates under the command of Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 261 (reinforced).
“It was of course special to see them return home on the 4th of July” Moses said. Families of the detachment were informed of the return just a week before the holiday.