MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan -- Marine Attack Squadron 513, also known as the Nightmares, arrived in Iwakuni early February to support the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit.
VMA-513 joined Marine Aircraft Group 12 March 20, 2013, upon completion of the support. The Nightmares are participating in Foal Eagle in Korea for the remainder of April and will then head back to Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Ariz.
The unit is also doing its best to make the most of its time in Japan while helping out the local community.
“We went to the Kintai Bridge cleanup,” said Sgt. Maj. Raquel R. Painter, VMA-513 sergeant major. “A lot of our Marines have also taken advantage of the opportunity to go up to Hiroshima and view the sites.”
The squadron is also planning a professional military education trip to Iwo Jima before it leaves.
Despite making the most out of their time in Japan, the deployment will also be remembered as their last.
“VMA-513 is deactivating, so the squadron is actually being shut down,” said Maj. Andrew P. Diviney, VMA-513 executive officer. “All the Marines in the unit will either be transferred out to other Harrier units or F-35 units. VMA-513 will cease to exist on July 13, 2013.”
Morale hasn't been an issue while in Japan, despite the unit’s decommission approaching.
“When we first got the news it was right before we started gearing up for the (Unit Deployment Program) and a lot of Marines were disappointed,” said Painter. “We are one big family here, but the good thing is that most of them are going to other units together.”
The unit also maintained its performance and mission capabilities despite the troubling times.
“As we have downsized our unit ... I've been incredibly impressed with how the Marines have moved and kept the aircraft going,” said Diviney. “The level of readiness that we've been able to achieve during this deployment has really impressed me.”
Painter also added the unit has some really high-caliber Marines and she has not seen such hard-working Marines anywhere else in her career.
The end may be drawing near for VMA-513, but the memories of its illustrious deeds will always remain.
“I'm very proud to be a part of this unit as it deactivates,” said Diviney. “Our patch dates back to 1944... so 69 years of service and to be the last executive officer, I'm proud of that."