USS Kearsarge, VMA 223 Prepare for Operations

The crew of the USS Kearsarge and pilots with Marine Attack Squadron 223 (VMA-223) continued integration training Jan. 20, building the squadron’s proficiency for operations at sea.

The squadron, which is scheduled for deployment as part of the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit later this year, coordinated with the Kearsarge to complete the initial qualifications for flight operations underway, giving the squadron’s naval aviators hands-on experience to sharpen their vital skills.

Capt. Will Mahoney, a naval aviator with VMA-223, said:

Our mission during the training was to give the ship personnel their initial qualifications with the AV-8B Harrier.

Each pilot slated to deploy with the 26th MEU took part in the training. Each aircraft completed multiple day and night landings on the Kearsarge during the qualifications.

Harriers provide combatant commanders with close air support, air-to-air combat and sea-based force projection capabilities.

USS Kearsarge, VMA 223 Prepare for Operations2

Image: US Marine Corps