Commanded by a Major General with its headquarters at Camp Foster, the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing is the aviation combat element of III Marine Expeditionary Force and its mission is to conduct air operations in support of the Fleet Marine Forces to include offensive air support, anti-air support, aerial reconnaissance including active and passive electronic countermeasures, and control of aircraft and missiles. As a collateral function, the wing may participate as an integral component of Naval Aviation in the execution of such other Navy functions as the Fleet Commander may direct.
1st MAW consists of approximately 7,500 Marines and sailors, and is organized into fixed wing/fighter attack group (Marine Aircraft Group 12 stationed at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni), two rotary assault/support groups (MAG-36 stationed at MCAS Futenma; MAG-24 stationed at Marine Corps Base Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii), and an aviation command and control group (Marine Air Control Group 18).
The Wing's rotary-wing aircraft, air control and aviation ground support assets of MAG-36 are stationed at Marine Corps Air Station Futenma. These include the CH-53 Super/Sea Stallion and a combination of CH-46 Sea Knight helicopters and the MV-22 Osprey that is replacing the CH-46. The AH-1W Cobra attack helicopters, UH-1N Huey helicopters and KC-130J Super Hercules, also stationed at MCAS Futenma, provide a powerful combination of firepower and assault support.
The Wing’s remaining units are stationed at MCAS Iwakuni, on mainland Japan and include F/A-18 Hornets and AV-8B Harriers. Also, the Wing has CH-53 Sea Stallion aircraft at Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii.
The 1st MAW is supported by the Unit Deployment Program. Two F/A-18 squadrons, one heavy-lift helicopter squadron, and one light-attack helicopter squadron deploy to Japan every six months from the United States.
The 1st Marine Aircraft Wing has distinguished itself in both combat operations and humanitarian relief efforts throughout the Asia-Pacific. For years, the 1st MAW has been a key player in providing aid to areas devastated by tsunamis, typhoons, mudslides and other disasters.