VMA-211 mourns its Commander as it pushes forward to complete deployment in Afghanistan

U.S. Marines with Marine Attack Squadron (VMA) 211, Marine Aircraft Group 13, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward) relocate six AV-8B Harriers to continue conducting counter-insurgency operations, Camp Bastion, Helmand province, Afghanistan Sept. 26, 2012. The six AV-8B Harriers were relocated to Camp Bastion to increase the overall readiness level after the base was attacked on Sept. 14, 2012.

Although it suffered the worst hit to enemy fire since WWII, enduring not only the loss of eight AV-8B+ Harrier jets in the Taliban attack on Camp Bastion’s airfiled, Marine Attack Squadron 211 remains fully operational and continues to fly in Helmand province, to provide support to ground troops in Southwest Afghanistan area of operation.

Coalition Forces attend a memorial service in honor of Lt. Col. Christopher K. Raible at Camp Bastion, Helmand province, Afghanistan Sept. 19, 2012. Raible, commanding officer of Marine Attack Squadron (VMA) 211, Marine Aircraft Group 13, 3D Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward), was killed in action while repealing an enemy attack on Camp Bastion Sept. 14, 2012.

The insurgent attack that cost the life of the squadron’s commanding officer, Lt. Col. Christopher Raible, and wiped out the majority of the American jump jets operating “in theater”, has not prevented the U.S. Marine Corps unit to fly the daily close air support missions for the infantry battalions or the patrol owerwatch sorties, aimed to spot typical ambush positions.

In fact, on Sept. 26, the squadron received six new airframes, both in the VMA-211 “Avengers” and in the VMA-231 “Ace of Spades” markings, to continue the deployment.

A U.S. Marine Corps AV-8B Harrier sits on the flight line at Camp Bastion, Helmand province, Afghanistan Sept. 26, 2012. The Harrier was one of six relocated to Camp Bastion to increase the overall readiness level of Marine Attack Squadron (VMA) 211 and is painted in memory of Lt. Col. Christopher K. Raible and Sgt. Bradley W. Atwell, who were killed during an attack on Camp Bastion Sept. 14, 2012.

One of the aircraft is painted in memory of Lt. Col. Christopher K. Raible and Sgt. Bradley W. Atwell, who were killed during an attack on Camp Bastion Sept. 14, 2012.

Image credit: U.S. Marine Corps

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About David Cenciotti 3633 Articles
David Cenciotti is a freelance journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written four books.