"Sumos" Detachment Welcomed Home By Family, Friends, Comrades
A detachment of 42 Marines and one KC-130J aircraft with Marine
Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 152, the “Sumos,”
were welcomed home May 18 by family, friends and other Marines from
the unit after returning from a six-month deployment in Afghanistan
in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. The Marines were replaced
by a second detachment of Marines from VMGR-152 who arrived at
Kandahar Air Base, Afghanistan, earlier in May.
“As the former [commanding officer] of this unit,
it’s very exciting to be able to watch as we complete our
first year of combat support operations since the Vietnam
era,” said Maj. Jason D. Kindred, acting commanding officer
for VMGR-152, Marine Aircraft Group 36, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing,
III Marine Expeditionary Force.
The detachment flew more than 2,500 sorties and totaled 2,300
flight hours while deployed, according to Maj. Josh M. Vance,
detachment officer in charge.
The missions performed by the detachment included in-flight
refueling of fixed and rotary wing aircraft, air deliveries,
logistics runs, supply drops, refueling of forward-operating bases,
ground refueling and casualty transportation. The Sumos also
transported Marines, soldiers and airmen to different areas of
KC-130J File Photo
The unit worked alongside VMGR-352 “The Raiders,”
3rd MAW, I MEF, based out of Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, CA,
to accomplish these missions. Combined, they boasted six KC-130Js
for operations, two of which were from Okinawa. According to Vance,
the in-flight work day for the Marines was usually 10 hours or
longer and consisted of short, high-intensity missions. He said he
remembers receiving fire the second day in theater and many times
afterward while flying sorties during the deployment. “I am
very proud of all these Marines for their hard work while
deployed,” said Kindred.
KC-130J Interior File Photo
A large part of the unit’s success was due to the
dedication and effort the Marines put forth throughout the
deployment, he added. “If it wasn’t for the support of
my wife, I don’t think I would have been so successful on
this detachment. She took a lot on her shoulders for me,”
said Gunnery Sgt. Don Alvarado, maintenance control chief for the
VMGR-152 detachment during the deployment.