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VMA-211 Marines set to return from Afghanistan
Yuma-based Marines with Marine Attack Squadron 211 are scheduled to return to Marine Corps Air Station Yuma on Thursday and Friday after a six-month deployment in Afghanistan.
The main body of the squadron is expected to arrive on Thursday afternoon, with a smaller contingent the following day. The homecoming, however, will be filled with both happiness and sadness. While deployed the squadron was touched by tragedy on Sept. 14, when Lt. Col. Christopher “Otis” Raible, VMA-211's commanding officer, and Sgt. Bradley Atwell, a Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 13 electronics technician, were killed in an insurgent attack on Camp Bastion.
During the attack, several other Marines were wounded. Six Harrier jets were also destroyed and two others were badly damaged. VMA-211 was the only Marine Corps Harrier squadron in Afghanistan at the time. Six AV-8B Harriers were flown to Camp Bastion on Sept. 28 to replace the ones that were destroyed, which allowed the squadron to continue flying its missions.
While deployed, VMA-211 Marines supported U.S. and International Security Assistance Force aerial and ground combat operations across Afghanistan as a part of Operation Enduring Freedom.
MCAS Yuma is home to 3rd MAW's MAG-13 which includes four AV-8B Harrier Squadrons — VMA-211, 311, 214 and 513; Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 13 and Marine Wing Support Squadron 371.
James Gilbert can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 539-6854. Find him on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/YSJamesGilbert or on Twitter @YSJamesGilbert.