They are the Marine Corps Fighter Attack Squadron of the year, but later this month, the Moonlighters will become a squadron of the past in Beaufort.
When the Moonlighters with Marine All Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 332 returned home from a 7 month deployment from Iraq, they didn't know it would be the squadron's last deployment. That's because the Marine Corps is decommissioning it at the end of this month until 2011 when the Joint Strike Fighter comes on line.
"It's like breaking up a family," said Moonlighter, Sgt Chris Hollon. "It kind of takes a toll on you because its like you're losing a family member," said SSgt Koza Scruggs.
"It's for the good of the fleet that's the only thing that can make it turn around and make you happy," said Sgt Hollon.
Sgt Chris Hollon has been a part of the squadron for four years and is proud to have been part of the squadron's 60 year tradition that began during World War II.
"Its basically the foundation for me, I learned a lot of good things here," said Sgt Hollon. "We've had good leadership, lots of friends, it's sad to see everyone break up and have to go."
From tough deployments to warm homecomings, this squadron has certainly been though a lot but they're going out on a high note they were recently recognized as the Marine Corps' Fighter attack squadron of the year for their mission in Iraq.
"When this squadron showed up in Al Asad, they were flying combat missions within 24 hours of arriving in Al Asad. They continued that performance the whole time they were there....they didn't cancel a sortie while they were in Iraq," said the squadron's commander, Lt. Col Sam Kirby.
For all of their contributions throughout the years, we at WTOC Salute, the Moonlighters.