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Marine Air Support Squadron 2

The Deuce Is Wild

MCAS Futenma, Okinawa, Japan
Mission
Provide Direct Air Support Center (DASC) capabilities for control and coordination of aircraft operating in direct support of Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF) Forces.

 

History

Marine Air Support Squadron 2 was activated 1 January 1943, at El Centro, California, as Headquarters Squadron 43, Services Group, Marine Wings Pacific. The unit functioned as the headquarters element of Marine Aircraft Base Defense Group 43. In November 1944, the Group was assigned to Marine Aircraft Group 43. During the first two years of its existence the Squadron remained in California. With the departure of the Group, however, Headquarters Squadron 43 also moved to Hawaii.

While deployed to the territory of Hawaii in January 1945, Headquarters Squadron 43 and Marine Aircraft Group 43 were reassigned to the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing. The stay there was only of a brief duration, for on 22 February, it embarked and sailed on board the USS Allendale for the western Pacific. Marine Aircraft Group 43 had been assigned a role in the forthcoming campaign to seize Okinawa. Its mission was first to occupy Japanese airfields and then to aid in furnishing of aerial defense for ground troops. Upon landing the Squadron assumed the responsibility of assisting in the development and operation of air warning and fighter direction facilities within the Air Defense Command. For its service during the battle for the island, the Squadron was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation. On 1 August 1945, Headquarters Squadron 43 was re-designated as Headquarters Squadron, Marine Air Defense Command 2.

Headdquarters Squadron was reassigned in February 1946 to the 4th Marine Aircraft Wing and was reassigned to Air Fleet Marine Force, Pacific in March 1946 and relocated to San Diego, California in April 1946. On I August 1946, the unit was designated as Headquarters Squadron, Marine Air Control Group 2 and relocated to Santa Ana, California in September of the same year. Further re-designation occurred during July 1947 when the Squadron became the Marine Tactical Air Control Squadron 2 and subsequent reassignment was made to the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing in October 1947. Its mission was as follows: to provide central control facilities for air defense and air support operations; to furnish administrative support to group headquarters; and to operate the special air control equipment as was assigned.

Marine Tactical Air Control Squadron 2 participated in action during the Korean conflict at Pusan Perimeter, Inchon, Seoul, Chosin Reservoir, the East Central Front, and the Western Front. Upon arrival at Kobe, Japan on 1 August, the air support section of the Squadron was ordered to Pusan to control close air support missions for the 1st Provisional Marine Brigade. Three days later, on 4 August, the Air Support Section entered Korea, and assumed control of all close air support aircraft for the 1st Provisional Marine Brigade engaged on the Pusan perimeter. The air defense section remained in Japan; it set up operations at Itami Air Force Base, Honshu, Japan.

For the Inchon invasion, both sections of MTACS-2 departed their respective locations and headed for the new front. On 17 September, the Squadron disembarked at Inchon. The Air Support section aided the 1st Marine Division by providing close air support throughout the battle. The Air Defense section provided air defense surveillance against possible enemy air intrusion. When the 1st Marine Division sailed for Wonsan, both the Air Support and defense sections of MTACS-2 sailed with them. Upon arrival at Wonsan the Air Support section debarked on 26 October 1950, establishing the TADC on Wonsan Airfield, The Air Defense section moved to nearby Hamhung and was joined by he TADC on 6 November 1950. After the successful breakout of the Chosin Reservoir, the Air Support section was transported to Masan, on the southern coast of Korea. The Air Defense section remained aboard ship and sailed for Pusan, Korea and set up the TACC for operation at K-1 Airfield. In August 1951, the Marine Air Support Radar Team 1 arrived from CONUS and was attached to MTACS-2. In March of 1952, the Air Support section moved with the 1st Marine Division to the western front near Panmunjum. The Air Defense section continued to operate the TACC of the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing from its location at K-3 Airfield. The Squadron remained in Korea for the rest of the war until the Truce was signed in July of 1953. During the period July 1953 to July 1956, Marine Tactical Air Control Squadron 2 participated in the defense of the Korean Demilitarized Zone.

Approximately 6 months after the signing of the Korean armistice, on 15 February 1954, Marine Tactical Air Control Squadron 2 was re-designated as Marine Air Support Squadron 2 (MASS-2). MASS-2 was reassigned in January 1956 to Marine Wing Headquarters Group 1, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, and was redeployed to lwakuni, Japan, in July, 1956; to Camp Hague, Okinawa, in March, 1961, and to MCAS(H) Futenma, Okinawa, in September 1962. While on Okinawa, MASS-2 continued its routine of maintaining its combat readiness through frequent exercises and maneuvers.

With the onset of the Vietnam conflict, MASS-2 was relocated and operated in the Republic of South Vietnam from 1965 to 1969. Early in April 1965 the Squadron was alerted for deployment to Vietnam, and on 16 April the Squadron, less Sub Unit 1 at Cubi Point, Republic of the Philippines, arrived at DaNang on board the USS WASHTENAW COUNTY.

While in Vietnam, MASS-2 conducted operations at DaNang, Chu Lai, Quang Ngai, Marble Mountain, Phu Bai, Dong Ha, Camp Carroll, and Signal Hill, as well as other locations. On 10 May 1965, MASS-2 became the first unit to deploy an ASRT utilizing the AN TPQ-10 Course Directing Radar Central in combat. By the end of the year, the Squadron had established a DASC at DaNang and Chu Lai, and ASRTs also located at DaNang and Chu Lai. During 1966, the Squadron actively participated in Operations HASTINGS, DOUBLE EAGLE, HARVEST MOON, and numerous other operations with ASRTs and both fixed and mobile DASCs.

The arrival of MASS-3 in 1966 relieved some of the pressure from MASS-2 and allowed the Squadron to concentrate its efforts on the northern portion of I Corps Tactical Zone, By the end of 1966, MASS-2 had established a DASC and ASRT at both Phu Bai and Dong Ha in addition to the DASC and ASRT and headquarters at DaNang. On New Years Day 1967, MASS-2 ASRTs dropped multiple TPQ-10 missions on a large force of enemy moving toward the city of Hue. Squadron deployment remained the same in 1967 as in 1966, and more than 20 major operations were supported. In August, 1967, MASS-2 was assigned to the newly activated Marine Air Control Group 18, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing.

In January 1969, the Squadron assumed operational control of Vandegrift DASC, located on Route 9 just south of the "Rockpile". Hill 55 ASRT near DaNang was deployed by helo-lift to Fire Support Base Cunningham to support the 9th Marines in Operation DEWEY CANYON. When DEWEY CANYON was completed, an ASRT was deployed to Fire Support Base Birmingham to support more 101st Airborne Division operations in the Ashau area. On 18 April 1969, the Squadron’s Command Post was moved by convoy from DaNang to Dong Ha. On 10 July 1969, the Vandegrift DASC was re-designated a Helicopter Direction Center and continued to operate in this capacity in support of the remaining units of the 3d Marine Division.

On 24 September 1969, Vandegrift HDC and ASRT were closed and personnel and equipment returned to the Command Post area at Dong Ha. Dong Ha DASC continued to operate and oversaw the retrograde from the field. Then, with its mission completed, Dong Ha DASC closed on 4 November 1969.

On 8 November 1969, a 40 man detachment sailed from Cua Viet aboard the USS MEEKER COUNTY and arrived in Futenma, Okinawa on 16 November 1969. An operational DASC was established and operated in conjunction with MAG-36 and the Ninth Marine Amphibious Brigade. The Squadron went by convoy and airlift to DaNang and embarked aboard the USS WINDHAM COUNTY (LST 1170) on 22 November and sailed for Japan. The main body of the Squadron arrived at Marine Corps Air Station, lwakuni, Japan on 4 December 1969.

The Squadron redeployed to Iwakuni, Japan, in 1969 and, in 1973, became home-based at Futenma, Okinawa. MASS-2, operating as an agency of the Marine Air Command and Control System of the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, supports the III Marine Expeditionary Force by providing DASC and ASRT combat support to all Marine Air-Ground Task Forces in the Western Pacific.

Since that time, MASS-2 has operated throughout the Pacific region from Hawaii to the Republic of Korea and from Alaska to Australia. Personnel and equipment have been used in operations DESERT SHIELD/STORM and FIERY VIGIL. MASS-2 also provides continuous support to the 31st MEU.

Since its activation, MASS-2 has remained heavily committed in the Pacific region, and continues to provide air support control to ensure the Marine Air Ground team is a synergistic force in the Pacific.

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