From VMA-211 Squadron History:
“In November 1941, VMF-211 flew 12 of its 24 Wildcats and 13 of its 29 pilots aboard the USS Enterprise for movement to Wake Island, the scene of the squadron’s heroic battle. On December 8, 1941 the Japanese attacked, destroying seven of the 12 aircraft on the ground. In the next two weeks, the remaining five planes repelled numerous attacks and inflicted great losses on the enemy. During the course of the defense, the Marine ground forces and VMF-211 caused the loss of at least four enemy warships, the first major Japanese naval vessels sunk during the Pacific war, and the squadron was credited with 8 aircraft destroyed. After the loss of its last aircraft, the squadron became a ground unit and fought until the surrender of atoll. The first Marine airman to be awarded the Medal of Honor in World War II was VMF-211’s Henry T. Elrod.”
We also heard from our sources that LtCol. Chris “Otis” Raible went out as a true Marine warrior. Evidently his practice was to visit and his walk his squadron’s flight line every night after flight ops secured at around 2200. He was out there closest to the enemy when the walk attack came. He pulled out his 9MM and took them on. He held his ground and evidently took some of them with him!
It is also interesting to note that the Taliban targeted the Harriers undoubtedly because of efficacy in supporting operations in Afghanistan.
Targeting a key force with the terrorist version of “precision strike weapons,” only highlights the value of the Harrier and the USMC combat team.
We have seen the Harrier and its USMC team operate consistently as a core combat force in ground operations.
This slideshow highlights the VMM-211 this summer in Afghanistan.
Credit: 3rd MAW:7/1/12
- In the first photo, Lt. Col. Chris Raible, the commanding officer of Marine Attack Squadron 211, is seen smiling after landing the first AV-8B Harrier jet from Marine Attack Squadron 211 aboard Camp Bastion, Afghanistan, July 1. The landing marked the squadron’s official move from Kandahar Airfield to Camp Bastion. Raible, a Pittsburgh native, praised the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward) efficiency in establishing all new hangars and workspaces for the squadron. Raible explained that his squadron will now be able to conduct more combat operations and communicate more effectively with the ground combat element now that they are in close proximity to all the units they support.
- In the second photo, the first AV-8B Harrier jet from Marine Attack Squadron 211 lands aboard Camp Bastion, Afghanistan, July 1. The landing, conducted by the squadron commanding officer Lt. Col. Chris Raible, marked the squadron’s official move from Kandahar Airfield to Camp Bastion
- In the third photo, the first AV-8B Harrier jet from Marine Attack Squadron 211 lands aboard Camp Bastion, Afghanistan, July 1.