Navy Air Squadron Disestablished - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

09/30/05

Navy Air Squadron Disestablished

Over the past 38 years, the Marauders of Strike Fighter Squadron 82 have served our country literally all over the world. Now this Navy squadron will no longer be a part of the Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort--or the Navy.

The Marauders may be no more, but their legacy--full of combat air missions from Vietnam to the war on terrorism--lives on.

"It's hard to put to rest 38 years of Navy history," said Cmdr. Chris Powell.

Today, the Navy deactivated the squadron in a ceremony that brought together nearly four decades of Marauders.

"I almost cried when they retired it, so it meant a lot to me because of the relationships you had," said Capt. Eugene Clemens (ret.).

And no ceremony can take away those relationships and memories. The Department of the Navy decided to disestablish this squadron nearly a year ago to help save money and make better use of its resources as the Navy and the Marine Corps integrate.

Although this is the end of this Hornet squadron, it's a new beginning for each of the Marauders. "I've got people going to Guam, Hawaii, Spain, some going to Jacksonville, some going to Oceana," said Cmdr. Powell.

Former squadron member Eric Hernandez told us, "I get to go home now. California, the West Coast. So I'll be a little closer to home. But it's still sad that it comes to an end, because I grew accustomed to being here."

"It's bittersweet," said Cmdr. Powell. "The Navy has a mission and we're part of a much bigger picture."

Navy officials say most of the Marauders will be reassigned to other squadrons by the end of next month, and they'll all be out of the Low Country by the end of the year.

Reported by: Jaime Dailey, jdailey@wtoc.com

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