Change of Command for the Marauders - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

08/26/04

Change of Command for the Marauders

There's a change at the top, but an uncertain future for some naval aviators at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort. In about a year and a half, the Marauders will go down in history when the unit disbands. But today, WTOC spent some time with them for their change of command ceremony.

Marines and sailors came together as Strike Fighter Squadron 82's CDR Thomas Halley handed over command to the squadron's former executive officer, CDR Devon Jones. Under CDR Halley, the Marauders spent nearly nine out of 12 months out to sea.

"We did our workups off the coast here, went on a six-month deployment for Operation Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom, came back three months later and then back out for two months in Scotland and Morocco," Halley said.

Last month, the Department of the Navy announced the Marauders would be disestablished within the next 12 to 18 months. But despite the squadron's uncertain future, its new commander reassured them of their importance to the Navy and our country.

"Marauders, our mission is not changed, the fight overseas continues, while floating or training, we're part of that fight," said CDR Jones. "In the coming time, our focus is not to be disestablished."

In fact, CDR Jones says the Marauders are ready for whatever comes their way. "The Marauders stand ready to fight with the tip of the spear, with the team," he said. "We will support the mission with combat-capable aircraft and highly trained strike fighter pilots. We are ready, flexible, and committed to the mission, whatever that might be."

CDR Halley will now be working in the Office of Legislative Affairs at the Pentagon in Washington, DC.

Reported by: Jaime Dailey, jdailey@wtoc.com

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