On 30MAR22, Pentagon Spokesperson Kirby announced that about 400 United States Marines will be repositioned from Norway, where they are completing Exercise Cold Response to bolster NATO capabilities on their Eastern Flank.
This announcement comes a week after 4 United States Marines were killed in an MV-22 crash near Bodo Air Base in Norway. The exercise is set to end at some point this week.
About 200 service members from Marine Air Control Group 28, based at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C., have arrived in Lithuania to support the NATO ally’s defenses, Kirby told reporters at the Pentagon.
Marine Air Control Group 28 (MACG-28) is a United States Marine Corps aviation command and control unit based at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point that is currently composed of four command and control squadrons and a low-altitude air defense battalion that provides the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing with airspace coordination, air control, immediate air support, fires integration, air traffic control (ATC), radar surveillance, aviation combat element (ACE) communications support, and an integrated ACE command post in support of the II Marine Expeditionary Force.
The 2nd Low Altitude Air Defense (LAAD) Battalion employs the FIM-92 Stinger which is a man-portable air-defense system (MANPADS) that operates as an infrared homing surface-to-air missile (SAM).
Some notable equipment that MACG-28 employs is The AN/TPS-80 Ground/Air Task Oriented Radar(G/ATOR) which is the United States Marine Corps next generation Air Surveillance/Air Defense and Air Traffic Control (ATC) Radar. It is a mobile active electronically scanned array radar system.
Another 200 troops, 10 Marine Corps F-18 Hornets and “a couple of Marine Corps C-130” Hercules aircraft from Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, S.C., will also soon deploy to Eastern Europe, he said.
USNI commented that VMFA-312 is already forward in Norway, so it is assumed those jets will come from that squadron.
Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 312 (VMFA-312) is a United States Marine Corps F/A-18C Squadron. Also known as the “Checkerboards”, the squadron is based at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, South Carolina, and falls under the command of Marine Aircraft Group 31 (MAG-31) and the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing (2nd MAW).
The F/A-18C and D models, both flown by the Marines, are the result of a block upgrade in 1987 incorporating upgraded radar, avionics, and the capacity to carry new missiles such as the AIM-120 AMRAAM air-to-air missile and later on the AGM-84E SLAM as well as the IR version of the AGM-65 (AGM-65F). The last F/A-18C was manufactured in 2000.