Commander: "It's Like Winning The Lottery"
If you see the Marines attached to All-Weather Fighter Squadron
332 in Beaufort, NC, walking with a particular swagger these days,
indulge them. Congratulate them. They derserve it.
The squadron Wednesday was honored as the Corps' first tactical
unit ever to have flown 100,000 hours without a major mishap.
"By itself, the sheer numbers are monumental," said Lt. Gen. Jim
Amos, commander of the II Marine Expeditionary Force, headquartered
at Camp Lejeune, N.C. "It's almost like winning the lottery." He
was quoted in the Charlotte Observer.
Only three other aviation units flying the F/A-18 have flown
100,000 hours with no major safety infractions. They're all Navy
It's an amazing achievement,
considering the condutions in which Marine aviators fly.
"Typically, it's at two o'clock in the morning on night-vision
goggles over a town like Baghdad in... blowing sand," Amos told the
The record was set May 24th, as Captains Greg Summa ("Sumo") and
Mark Bortnem were on a ground-support training mission, according
to Squadron commander Lt. Col. Dave Wilbur ("Pony"). Yes, they knew
what was at stake.
"It wasn't like we went out and said, `Be real careful. Fly the
airplane real smooth and don't screw this up,' " Wilbur told the
Observer. "We took them out there. We strapped bombs on the
airplane. They went up there and they were done."
Perhaps it's the best of omens. Squadron 332 will soon deploy to
Iraq's Al Asad Air Base, near the Syrian border, for a seven-month