2nd Marine Aircraft Wing
USMC - 2MAW.png
2nd MAW Insignia
Active10 July 1941–present
CountryUnited States
BranchUnited States Marine Corps
TypeMarine Aircraft Wing
RoleConduct air operations in support of the Fleet Marine Forces
Part ofII Marine Expeditionary Force
Garrison/HQMarine Corps Air Station Cherry Point
Nickname(s)2nd MAW
EngagementsWorld War II

Operation Desert Storm
War on Terror

Commanding GeneralMajGen Michael S. Cederholm
Assistant Wing CommanderCol Jeffrey P. Hogan
Gen. Glenn M. Walters
Lt.Gen. Francis P. Mulcahy
Lt.Gen. Ralph K. Rottet
Lt.Gen. George C. Axtell
Maj.Gen. William L. McKittrick
BGen. Alexander W. Kreiser Jr

The 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing (2nd MAW) is the major east coast aviation unit of the United States Marine Corps and is headquartered in Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, North Carolina. The Wing provides the aviation combat element for the II Marine Expeditionary Force.


Conduct air operations in support of the Marine forces to include Offensive air support, anti air warfare, assault support, aerial reconnaissance, electronic warfare, and control of aircraft and missiles. As a collateral function, the MAW may participate as an integral component of naval aviation in the execution of such other Navy functions as the Fleet Commander may direct.

Subordinate units

Due to a re-organization within Marine aviation, 2nd MAW expanded between 2007–2010.[1] In 2008, HMH-366 and HMLA-467 were commissioned in September and October, respectively. In 2010, VMFA-451 was recommissioned and re-designated as VMFAT-501 as the Fleet Replacement Squadron for the F-35 Lightning II.

Structure 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing
Structure 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing



World War II

In late 1940, Congress authorized a naval air fleet of fifteen thousand aircraft. The Marine Corps was allotted a percentage of these planes to be formed into two air wings with thirty-two operational squadrons. On the advice of Navy and Marine Corps advisors returning from observing the war in Europe these numbers were doubled very soon after. It was under this expansion program that the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing was commissioned in San Diego, California on 10 July 1941.[2] Its first subordinate command was Marine Air Group Two which was based at Marine Corps Air Station Ewa, Hawaii. This gave 2dMAW some of the oldest squadrons in Marine aviation[3]

Although the Hawaii-based squadrons sustained extensive damage during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941, 2dMAW contributed to 83 South Pacific combat operations. Marines and aircraft from 2dMAW participated in major battles or campaigns at Wake Island, Guadalcanal, Midway, Saipan, Tinian, Guam and Okinawa. 2dMAW served as the headquarters for the Tactical Air Force, Tenth Army during the Battle of Okinawa.[4] During three months of combat over the skies of Okinawa, squadrons from 2dMAW accounted for 484½ planes shot down helping to create 21 new Marine Corps aces.[5] Following the surrender of Japan, 2dMAW retained its headquarters on Okinawa and sent Marine Aircraft Group 31 (MAG-31) to Yokosuka and other units to Omura and Nagasaki.[6]

In April 1946, 2dMAW relocated to its present home at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, North Carolina.

Vietnam War

During the Vietnam War, 2nd MAW supplied combat-ready units and personnel to operations in the Asian Theater.

1980s and 1990s

In the 1980s, 2nd MAW units were active participants in exercises and operations around the globe, to include those in Lebanon, Cuba, Grenada, Panama, and the Dominican Republic.

The decade of the 1990s began with Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm. The millennium closed with 2nd MAW squadrons prosecuting and supporting NATO air strikes in Kosovo and Serbia during Operation Allied Force, and flying support during Operation Northern Watch from Incirlik, Turkey.

Global War on Terror

Marines from 2nd MAW headquarters prepare morning colors for the first time at the new headquarters building in 2008.
Marines from 2nd MAW headquarters prepare morning colors for the first time at the new headquarters building in 2008.

From 2000 through 2002, EA-6B Prowler squadrons deployed in support of Operation Southern Watch, Operation Northern Watch and Unit Deployment Program rotations to Japan. AV-8B Harrier and helicopter squadrons deployed in support of the 22nd, 24th and 26th Marine Expeditionary Units. F/A-18 Hornet squadrons deployed aboard the USS Harry S. Truman with Carrier Air Wing 3; and Marine Wing Support Group 27 and Marine Air Control Group 28 deployed personnel in support of all exercises and operations in which 2nd MAW flying squadrons were participating.[citation needed]

In early 2001, VMFA-312 and VMAQ-3 participated in a joint combined strike against Iraq. This marked the first Marine Corps combat use of the Joint Standoff Weapon (JSOW). VMA-542 and HMM-261 flew combat missions over Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and conducted humanitarian missions in Djibouti. The Marines of VMA-542 were among the first to employ the LITENING 2 targeting pod in combat.[citation needed]

In 2003, 2nd MAW deployed more than 7,700 Marines and Sailors in support of the Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom, and Joint Task Force Horn of Africa. More than 200 tactical combat aircraft flew in support of these missions. They supported combat and contingency operations around the globe, with greater than 70 percent of the command and control, support group, and aircraft deployed simultaneously.[citation needed]

During the 2003 invasion of Iraq, 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing units flew over 7,800 combat sorties, expended over 3.9 million pounds of ordnance, carried over 10,000 troops and 6.2 million pounds of cargo, built five base camps, two expeditionary airfields (EAFs), ten forward area arming and refueling points (FARPS) and three forward operating bases (FOBs). 2nd MAW eventually headquartered at Al Asad Airbase to serve as the aviation combat element of Multi-National Forces West for the remainder of the Iraq War. In the fall of 2009, the wing headquarters turned this mission over to Marine Aircraft Group 26 and returned home.[7]

As American forces ended their missions in Iraq, 2dMAW continued to support the War on Terrorism in Afghanistan. Units from 2dMAW rotated through Afghanistan on a regular basis until the Marine Corps finally withdrew in 2014.

Current aircraft

Fixed-wing aircraft

Rotary wing aircraft

Tilt rotor aircraft


See also


Public Domain This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Marine Corps.
  1. ^ "2010 Marine Aviation Plan" (PDF). Marines. 2009. Archived from the original (PDF) on 31 March 2010. Retrieved 5 January 2010.
  2. ^ Sherrod 1952, pp. 438.
  3. ^ De Chant Devilbirds p. .
  4. ^ Rottman 2002, pp. 432.
  5. ^ De Chant 1947, pp. 241.
  6. ^ De Chant 1947, pp. 251.
  7. ^ Multi-National Force West Public Affairs. "Marines end wing-level operations in Iraq". Al Asad Airbase: United States Marine Corps. Retrieved 9 November 2009.