Photo Information

Col. Scott Benedict straps into an AV-8B Harrier at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C., Aug. 26, 2014. Benedict flew with Capt. Chris Tchinski, a Harrier instructor pilot with Marine Attack Training Squadron 203, to better understand the capabilities of the different aircraft within the Aviation Combat Element of the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit. Benedict is the commanding officer of the 24th MEU.

Photo by Cpl. J. R. Heins

VMAT-203 supports 24th MEU commanders

4 Sep 2014 | Cpl. J. R. Heins The Official United States Marine Corps Public Website

Marine Attack Training Squadron 203 welcomed commanders with the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit for a familiarization flight aboard AV-8B Harriers at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C., Aug. 26.  Col. Scott Benedict, the 24th MEU’s commanding officer and Lt. Col. Wes Spaid, the MEU’s Avation Combat Element commander, came for an opportunity to experience the capabilities of Harrier pilots and the aircraft.

"We are tagging along on flights to gain an understanding of the challenges that Harrier pilots face and abilities they possess," said Benedict, an AH-1W Super Cobra pilot. The Harrier’s vertical/short takeoff and landing capabilities provide the MEU’s with an air-to-ground attack option while underway aboard a Navy vessel, said Benedict. 

"It is a rare opportunity to get into a different aircraft that is a part of the ACE," said Spaid, a MV-22B Osprey pilot. "The fixed-wing Harriers are much different from rotary aircraft, which gives me a great appreciation for the variety of ACE assets.” 

The 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing provides scalable aviation assets that can be tasked organized and deployed in support of the Marine Air-Ground Task Force, said Benedict. 

"Watching pilots in action provides us with a bit of familiarization on how to best maximize the capabilities of the aircraft," said Benedict. "We also had the chance to see how the aircraft were maintained and how all the different shops and divisions function."