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Legacy USMC Hornets test dynamic force employment in Middle East

Legacy USMC Hornet in Saudi Arabia
An F/A-18D Hornet lands on the flightline at Prince Sultan Air Base, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, May 8, 2021. Photo: US Air Force

US Marine Corps F/A-18D Hornet aircraft from Marine All Weather Fighter Squadron 224, Marine Aircraft Group 31, deployed to Prince Sultan Air Base, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, this week as part of a dynamic force employment.

The maneuver is aimed at enhancing US Central Command’s ability to deter aggression and promote security and stability within the USCENTCOM area of responsibility. It comes at a time when the US and NATO allies are pulling out of Afghanistan and follows the start of deliveries of new equipment that will allow the Hornets to remain in USMC service for the next decade.

The detachment of F/A-18s along with squadron personnel, from Marine Corps Air Station, Beaufort, South Carolina, will rapidly integrate into the US Air Forces Central’s theater air operations, including participating in coalition and regional partner-nation integration events. The unit’s presence in the theater highlights the U.S. military’s ability to deploy and employ forces anywhere around the globe at any moment.

“Dynamic force employment deployments demonstrate the ability to move combat capability into theater just in time for when it is required, not just in case it might be needed,” said Lt. Gen. Greg Guillot, 9th Air Force (Air Forces Central) commander. “These short-term, high-intensity deployments also enhance readiness for both AFCENT and the deploying units. AFCENT has conducted two DFE events with Air Force fighter units over the past seven months, and both units departed the theater at a higher level of readiness than when they arrived. 9th Air Force (Air Forces Central) is excited to now integrate our Marine Corps partners for this iteration.”

Photo: US Air Force

CENTCOM’s last dynamic force deployment, a detachment of US Air Force F-15E Strike Eagles from Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, S.C., occurred in January 2021.

Dynamic operations and force employment deliver joint force commanders the capability to move forces fluidly into and across the theater in order to seize, retain and exploit the initiative against an adversary.