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Marine Aircraft Group 36


Marine Aircraft Group 36


MCAS Futenma, Okinawa, Japan

Commanding Officer
Col James F. Harp

Colonel Harp graduated from the University of Redlands in May 1989 and was commissioned through the Marine Corps Officer Candidate Course (OCC) in December 1991. Following training at The Basic School in Quantico, VA, he attended flight school in Pensacola, FL, and received his Aviator’s wings in April 1994.

After training in the CH-53E helicopter at HMT-302 in Tustin, CA, 1stLt Harp served in HMH-465, where he completed two unit deployments to Okinawa, one Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) deployment with HMM-165 (REIN), and participated in two Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force exercises (Korea), Exercise IRON MAGIC (UAE), Exercise RED REEF (Saudi Arabia), and OPERATION STABILIZE (East Timor).

From June 2000 to November 2003, Captain Harp served in Marine Aviation Weapons & Tactics Squadron One (MAWTS-1) as a CH-53D/E Weapons and Tactics Instructor, Aviation Development, Tactics, and Evaluation (ADT&E) Aviation Assault Support Specialist and Aircraft Survivability Equipment Subject Matter Expert, and deployed as an augment to Marine Aircraft Group 16 (MAG-16), for OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM I (OIF I).

From November 2003 to December 2004, Major Harp served in MAG-16, as Future Operations Officer and Assistant Operations Officer, during their deployment in support of OIF II to replace the Army’s Third Infantry Division (aviation element) in Al Anbar Province, Iraq. Following redeployment, he was reassigned to HMH- 466, where he served as the Operations Officer, deploying to Iraq a third time in support of OIF 04-06.2.

From June 2006 to August 2007, LtCol Harp served at Headquarters Marine Corps, Department of Aviation, in the Aviation Weapons Systems Requirements Branch (APW), as the Heavy Helicopter Requirements Officer, for the CH-53D, CH-53E, and CH-53K helicopter programs.

From September 2008 to Apr 2010, LtCol Harp commanded HMH-366, reactivating the unit as the Marine Corps 7th active duty CH-53E squadron, and achieving Full Operational Capability (FOC) with the deployment of squadron detachments to Iraq and Africa. Following Command, LtCol Harp attended the United States Army War College, in Carlisle, PA, where he earned a Master’s degree in Strategic Studies.

From March 2012 to March 2013 LtCol Harp deployed to Wardak Province, Afghanistan with the Afghanistan/Pakistan Hands program, where he served under Special Operations Joint Task Force-Afghanistan as a senior liaison to Afghan provincial leadership, for Special Forces conducting Village Stability Operations.

In March 2013, LtCol Harp reported to II Marine Expeditionary Force, where he was promoted to Colonel and served as the G-3 - Current Operations Officer until August 2015. He was then transferred to Marine Air Ground Task Force Training Command, Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, where he served as the Chief of Staff until relocating to Okinawa, Japan to assume command of MAG-36, in June 2017.

Col Harp is a graduate of the Army War College, Amphibious Warfare School, Command and Staff College, Airlift Load-Planners Course, Weapons and Tactics Instructor Course, Commanders Course, Aviation Commanders Safety Course, Senior Officer’s Legal Course, and is DLS Phase I in Dari/Farsi. His personal decorations include: the Legion of Merit (1 star), Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (1 star), Air Medal (6 strike/flight awards), Navy Commendation Medal (4 stars) & Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medal (1 star).