First Marine Aircraft Wing / 1st Marine Air Wing / 1st Air Wing / 1st MAW
World War II
July 7, 1941
1st Marine Aircraft Wing is a USMC element of III Marine Expeditionary Force. The brunt of the Wing's forces are located on the island of Okinawa, Japan. However, various subordinate commands are located in mainland, Japan and Hawaii. The First MAW supports the Third MARDIV, also located in Okinawa. MCAS(H) Futenma also supports helicopter squadrons and certain fixed wing assets. MCAS Iwakuni, Japan, supports the Marine fixed wing squadrons. Marine aircraft squadrons may be deployed throughout the western Pacific, operating from the NAS Guam, NAF Kadena, NAS Atsugi, aboard Navy carriers, or from Air Force or Army air facilities as the tactical situation dictates.
In short, their mission is to conduct air operations in support of the Fleet Marine Forces to include offensive air support, antiair warfare, assault support, aerial reconnaissance including active and passive electronic countermeasures (ECM), and control of aircraft and missiles. As a collateral function, the Wing may participate as an integral component of Naval Aviation in the execution of such other Navy functions as the Fleet Commander may direct.
First MAW consists of 5 subordinate groups, a headquarters squadron and a liaison group:
Marine Aircraft Group 12 (MAG-12)
Marine Aircraft Group 24 (MAG-24)
Marine Aircraft Group 36 (MAG-36)
Marine Air Control Group 18 (MACG-18)
Marine Wing Support Group 17 (MWSG-17)
Marine Wing Headquarters Squadron 1 (MWHS-1)
Marine Wing Liaison Kadena (MWLK)
World War II
In late 1940, Congress authorized a naval air fleet of fifteen thousand aircraft. The Marine Corps was allotted a percentage of these planes to be formed into 2 air wings with 32 operational squadrons. On the advice of Navy and Marine advisors returning from observing the war in Europe these numbers were doubled very soon after. It was under this expansion program that the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing was activated at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia on July 7, 1941. The First Marine Aircraft Group which was the largest east coast aviation unit in the Marines at the time, became its first component.
At the beginning of the Korean War, the initial deployment of Marines was a provisional brigade activated on July 7, 1950 — the Provisional Marine Brigade — formed from the 1st Marine Division and the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing. Its core consisted of two units — a regimental combat team from the 5th Marine Regiment and Marine Aircraft Group 33 (MAG-33). Their job was to provide close air support, resupply, and Medevac for Marine ground forces.
Two 1st MAW Aircraft Groups — MAG-33 and MAG-12 — and the 1st Antiaircraft Artillery Gun Battalion served during the course of the war.
From April 1962, when HMM-362 flew into the Mekong Delta to set up operations at the Soc Trang airfield in, through April 1975, when helicopters of HMM-164 evacuated the last Americans from the U.S. embassy in Saigon. While early missions involved Marine helicopters providing logistical support for South Vietnam, this role quickly expanded when 1st MAW pilots and crewmen were called upon to perform their traditional role of providing close air support for Marine combat units as American involvement in the war escalated.
Helicopters played an extensive role in air operations in Vietnam, as Marine pilots flew CH-34s and later CH-46s and CH-53s to transport Marines into landing zones near suspected enemy concentrations, and to evacuate the wounded following combat engagements. Helicopters, supplemented by C-130 transports where there were landing strips, were also used to re-supply Marines in the field at remote outposts. Other Marine pilots, flew UH-1E Hueys, and AH-1 Cobras. Many of these choppers provided reconnaissance and armed air cover for combat air operations.
The build up of American troops resulted in the deployment of the Marine Corps' attack and fighter aircraft including the Douglas A-4, and the McDonnell F4B, as well as the maintenance, ordnance, and other support personnel necessary.
This unit is based out of Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, Okinawa, Japan.
Units of 1st MAW are located in the Pacific Region at the following bases:
Marine Corps Air Station Futenma
Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni
Marine Corps Base Hawaii
Current aircraft in use:
Fixed wing aircraft:
AV-8B Harrier II
Rotary wing aircraft:
CH-46 Sea Knight
CH-53 Sea Stallion
Unit history from: