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Marine Aircraft Group 12


Marine Aircraft Group 12


MCAS Iwakuni, Yamaguchi, Japan

Commanding Officer
Col Mark Palmer

Colonel Palmer graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy with honors earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science and was commissioned in the United States Marine Corps in May 1991. Colonel Palmer was designated a Naval Flight Officer (NFO) in 1994 and completed FA-18 Weapons and Sensors Officer (WSO) training at VMFAT-101, MCAS El Toro, California in 1995.

Colonel Palmer’s operational assignments include: VMFA(AW)-242 “Bats” (1995-1997) including two Western Pacific deployments; 1st Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company (ANGLICO), as a Supporting Arms Liaison Team Leader, earning his gold jump wings; VMFA(AW)-242 “Bats” (1999-2001) including two Western Pacific Deployments; Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron One (MAWTS-1) (2001-2004), as the MAWTS-1 Forward Air Controller (FAC) and FA-18 Division Head, flying  combat missions from Al Jaber, Kuwait (2003) while attached to MAG-11 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom / Operation Iraqi Freedom, and was selected as the 2003 MAWTS-1 Instructor of the Year by the Association for Naval Aviation; VMFA(AW)-121 “Green Knights” (2004-2007) as Maintenance Officer, Operations Officer, and the Director of Safety and Standardization, including one Western Pacific deployment and one combat deployment to Al Asad, Iraq in support of OIF.


Colonel Palmer’s staff assignments include: USAFRICOM, Stuttgart Germany (2010-2013), as a Standing Joint Force Headquarters (SJFHQ) operational planning team member, the USAFRICOM J3/J4 Executive Officer, and the J9 Regional Outreach Division Chief; 2d MAW, Cherry Point, NC (2013-2017), as the 2d MAW Director of Standardization and 2d MAW Chief of Staff. 


From December 2007 - May 2009, Colonel Palmer commanded VMFA(AW)-121 “Green Knights”, participating in one Western Pacific Deployment.  Colonel Palmer was selected to command Marine Aircraft Group 12 in Iwakuni Japan.


Colonel Palmer is a graduate of the Army Airborne course (1988), Navy SCUBA course (1990), Navy Fighter Weapons School / TOPGUN (1996), MAWTS-1 Weapons and Tactics Instructor (WTI) course (2000), and he graduated with distinction from the Naval War College in Newport, RI (2010) with a Masters in National Security and Strategic Studies. 


Colonel Palmer’s personal decorations include the Legion of Merit, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (second award), Air Medal (Strike/Flight Award numeral 10), Navy Commendation Medal (second award, one with combat “V”), Joint Service Achievement Medal, and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (third award).  He has accumulated over 3,000 FA-18 flight hours.