ROYAL AUSTRALIAN AIR FORCE BASE TINDAL, Australia -- As Exercise Southern Frontier 2014 nears its conclusion, service members with Marine All-Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 242 gathered for a mess night aboard Royal Australian Air Force Base Tindal, Australia, June 28 to celebrate all the hard work the squadron accomplished.
Southern Frontier is an annual bilateral training exercise between the RAAF and the United States Marine Corps with a primary focus on offensive air support and enhancing military interoperability.
As part of the event, Marines hosted Wing Commander Mark Larter, the senior Australian defense officer for RAAF Base Tindal, Australia.
The purpose behind a mess night is to bring Marines together as a band of brothers and to remember the Marines who came before them said Lt. Col. Shawn Basco, VMFA(AW)-242 commanding officer.
“We were fortunate to have (Larter) here and join us for mess night,” said Basco. “Mess night is among one of the Marine Corps’ most honored traditions. As our host here, Larter and the rest of the RAAF have been very helpful in assisting us with anything we needed and this is a great way for the Marines to show thanks to the RAAF for their hospitality.”
Basco said even though the exercise may be coming to an end his, Marines’ work is far from done.
According to Basco, his Marines have their work cut out for them as they prepare their F/A-18 Hornets for the long trip back to Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan.
Their work will include not only rigorous maintenance on the aircraft, but ensuring the squadron is properly packed-up and ready for departure.
“There are not as many distractions here,” said Sgt. Maj. Jason Simmons, VMFA(AW)-242 sergeant major. “Here, we have the opportunity to focus on work, improve our skills and most importantly, build camaraderie. These things are what make an exercise successful. If we are able to complete our training and build bonds as a squadron, then we completed an exercise successfully.”
According to Basco, as Marines reach the home stretch of the exercise, they will leave with a sense of accomplishment knowing they completed their commander’s intent.
“We accomplished my main goal for the squadron,” Said Basco. “To be more combat capable, there is no greater goal as a Marine Fighter Attack Squadron but to be combat ready and I know my Maries are more than ready and up to any challenge.”