Oldest squadron in the Corps celebrates 92 years
by Lance Cpl. Christopher Johns
MARINE CORPS AIR STATION MIRAMAR, Calif. – Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron (MALS) 11 celebrated its 92nd anniversary aboard Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif., Dec. 2.
Marines with MALS-11, the oldest squadron in the Marine Corps, gathered to share in history during a cake-cutting ceremony.
The Marine Corps formed the squadron initially as Flight 1, 2nd Air Squadron in Marine Flying Field, Marine Barracks, Quantico, Va., in December 1921. While the name changed many times, MALS-11 and her Marines provides support to fixed-wing aircraft in 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing.
The award-winning squadron earned the Secretary of Defense Award for Maintenance Excellence in 1992 and was nominated again in 1995, 1999 and 2000. The nearly century-old squadron was also recognized as the Donald E. Davis MALS of the Year in 2004, 2007 and 2009.
MALS-11 provided around-the-clock support to 13 squadrons and 136 aircraft of differing types, models and series while deployed to Southeast Asia for Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm. In Iraq, the logistics squadron provided more than 18 million pounds of ordnance safely on time and on target – greater than the combined ordnance expenditure of six carrier battle groups that supported the same operations.
“It’s an honor and privilege to serve as the [commanding officer] for a squadron with such a rich legacy,” said Lt. Col. John DeLateur, MALS-11 commanding officer. “We talk about history a lot in this squadron, [Marine Corps] history and our squadron’s history, and every Marine, except for probably those who just joined us, appreciates and cherishes our great legacy. I really look forward to when this squadron turns 100 in eight years. I would really love to see that event.”
Marines who have been with the squadron for years and new Marines alike spend time learning about their unit’s history. One such Marine has only been with the squadron for a few days.
“It’s amazing to be a part of a squadron with such an illustrious history,” said Pfc. Jennifer Carrillo, a power lines mechanic with MALS-11 and a San Diego native. “I feel truly privileged to be here, and I really look forward to learning more about MALS-11.”