HMLAT 303 – Training the Future of Light Attack

Before HMLAT-303 was established in April 1982, Marine Corps helicopter pilots received advanced aircraft training at their fleet squadron after completing basic flight training. Overtime, the Marine Corps realized that this method of training was a drain on squadron operational effectiveness. It recognized the need for a dedicated training squadron that would operate from a high tempo training syllabus to train their young helicopter pilots and enlisted aircrews. The 27th Commandant of the … [Read more...]

Major General Tom Conant – 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing Commanding General

  At precisely 0830 hours I was ushered into the office of the Commanding General of the Third Marine Aircraft Wing (MAW), Tom “Stash” Conant. Major General Conant, dressed in a tan flight suit, took a minute to finish up some last minute business with this aide (Captain Aaron Bohl). I took this time to stand in awe of his office that was a wealth of USMC aviation memorabilia and definitely fitting for a Commanding General. After a moment or two, Major General Conant walked over to me … [Read more...]

Weapons and Tactics Instructor 1-12

In October 2011, Marine Corps Air Station Yuma was once again home for the Weapons and Tactics Instructor Course or as it’s more commonly known as “WTI.” I was fortunate enough to be invited to WTI (class 1-12) and experience the world-class training of Marine Corps aviators first hand. Over the course of several weeks, I would make three trips to MCAS Yuma. During these visits I was fortunate enough to speak with various Marines involved with WTI, including crew chiefs, instructor pilots, and … [Read more...]

Lt. Col. John McCarthy – The Story of a USMC Combat Pilot

United States Marine Corps Lieutenant Colonel John “JJ” McCarthy started his military career as a submariner. In 1946, a seventeen year old John McCarthy enlisted in the United States Navy. After boot camp he scored high enough on a military test   for Submarine School in New London, Connecticut and was later assigned to the U.S.S. Bergall (SS320) as a Diesel Engine Mechanic and later a Sonar Technician. While assigned as a submariner, JJ enrolled in Temple University, in Philadelphia, … [Read more...]