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Nightmare Scrapbook For June, 2002|
The Final Week Of Command
A Turning of the Page
The Change of Command Ceremony
...and Top Demarco's 5 June Retirement
Top and Tamara leave us to teach Junior ROTC in Washington State
3 June: the CO's last promotion ceremony...
Three new Corporals!
General Bolden, General Robling, Colonel Post, Colonel Savarese, Distinguished
Guests, Family, Friends and fellow Marines. Mindful of the heat and our Marines in formation,
I have taken the liberty of concluding
nearly all thank-you visits in advance. I would like to reiterate my heartfelt appreciation to
Colonel Condra and my fellow CO’s, with special thanks to my Executive Officers,
Lieutenant Colonel Hile and Lieutenant Colonel Dixon—both now commanders. With that kind of
back up, one can’t go
wrong. I could never adequately thank the greatest Sergeant Major in the Marine Corps—mine. It
has been a privilege to serve with Sergeant Major Daniel L. Jackson! The Third Marine Aircraft Wing Band
always gives me shivers of pride...thank you, ladies and gentlemen for each and every one.
Last month, as I flew back from the CG’s Conference in Miramar, I found
myself anticipating today’s ambient air temperature. I somewhat wistfully envisioned a small
ceremony in my air-conditioned office where Lieutenant Colonel Dixon and I could pass the colors
and keys--concluding with a high five. But these ceremonies are not
for the squadron's commander, they are really for the Marines and sailors. They should be viewed as a benchmark, an
opportunity for our Marines and sailors to pause, look back at their accomplishments and steel themselves
for the challenges to come.
Allow me to briefly tell you about six things these Marines have done in the 18 months
of my observation:
-- When I reported in, the squadron only had six engines--due to a series of groundings. Some squadron pilots were on a
no-fly list and the organization was not "Core Competent" in any mission skill set. Today, the Nightmares are "Core Competent" in all
mission skill sets.
-- In 18 months, these Nightmares have trained four WTI candidates; matching the production of all Harrier squadrons
in the Marine Corps--combined.
-- For three months last year, these Marines operationally employed all three variants of the AV-8B--simultaneously...the
only squadron to ever do so.
-- These Marines have trained a highly-qualified, fully day-night NVG and special operations capable Marine Expeditionary Unit Detachment
to deploy shortly after this ceremony.
-- This squadron has achieved the finest aviation safety record in the history of V/STOL aviation and, without note or fanfare,
passed 45,000 mishap-free flight hours last March.
-- This squadron simultaneously recorded the lowest Ground Mishap Rate on record, contributing to Marine Aircraft Group 13's
low record, which leads the Wing.
Before assuming command of Marine Attack Squadron 513, I told the MAG-13 CO that
everything Sergeant Major Jackson and I did to return us to combat readiness would be done with an
eye to simultaneously building and maintaining high morale. Morale is like a well-charged
battery, it powers combat organizations through challenge and adversity. More commonly, it keeps
Marines focused during unplanned or extended work hours. Few dispute the axiom
that morale is to numbers as three is to one. Ladies and gentlemen, Lieutenant Colonel Dixon,
it is with great pride that I give you the Nightmares of Attack Squadron 513--with batteries
fully charged! Thank you very much.
Thank you Zak, for the many images you have donated to this site!
You can't have 'em, Zieg...
The best pilots in the Aircraft Group
Ready to sail--thanks Screech!
The temporary paint scheme
The CO's Farewell Mural--Finished Just in Time!
In the west ladderwell...
Colonel John Boyd: "To Be or To Do"
"One day you will come to a fork in the road. And you're going to have to make a decision about what direction you want to go.
If you go one way you can be somebody. You will have to make compromises and you will have to turn your back on your friends.
But you will be a member of the club and you will get promoted and you will get good assignments.
Or, you can go that other way and you can do something — something for your country and for your Air Force and for yourself.
If you decide to do something, you may not get promoted and you may not get the good assignments and you certainly will not
be a favorite of your superiors. But you won't have to compromise yourself. You will be true to your friends and to yourself.
And your work might make a difference. To be somebody or to do something. In life there is often a roll call.
That's when you will have to make a decision. To be or to do? Which way will you go?"
Following the change of command, the Flying Nightmares deployed, with six aircraft departing for the Persian Gulf aboard the USS
Belleau Wood, and the balance of the squadron relocating to Bagram, Afghanistan for combat operations.
The image below was sent to the Cow at the Industrial College of the Armed Forces in February, 2003 by the new Commanding Offier of VMA-513, LtCol Jim "Grouper"
reported that the Nightmares had achieved great success in Afghanistan, ensuring local air superiority for nation-building operations
subsequent to the liberation of the country from Muslim extremists. Click on the image to get the full-size. Thanks Grouper! Great
job, Nightmares--I'm very proud of you.
Click on image to see the larger version