Visit to MCAS Miramar, California, January 2010

Aggressor F/A-18    Miramar in Southern California is historically known throughout the world as the home of the USNavy Fighter Weapons School, "Top Gun". History and tradition though had no effect during the 1990's when it was decided that all the USNavy squadrons here would move elsewhere, as the base was being handed over to the USMC to house their units which were leaving El Toro. And so, Miramar MCAS, on the Northern outskirts of San Diego, is now a major USMC base, hosting a wide variety of operational types and units.

AH-1   Our visit here followed previously successful trips around other California bases, and was organised by the Public Relations Office here. We turned up at the gate at the appointed time, and were met by our host, whose mini-van we all piled into for the duration of our visit. First port of call was the ramp of VMGR-352 "Raiders", whose Lockheed KC-130J Hercules fleet provide transport support and aerial refuelling capabilities to the USMC. We were free to take as many photographs as we wanted, and this proved to be the case as we travelled down the flight-lines to visit all the based units.

   Next on the agenda were the F-18 Hornet flight-lines. Miramar is home to many USMC fighter-attack squadrons, and there was plenty of activity here with all the resident units participating in a busy flying programme. The USMC Hornet training and conversion unit, VMFAT-101 is one of the units, so they are always especially busy in training and converting crews to the F-18. Again, we were given as much time and freedom as we wanted to photograph the activities, and eventually we got back into the mini-van to continue on to the next flight-lines.

H-53   The USMC operate 2 main transport types, filling the medium and heavy helicopter transport roles. Sikorsky CH-53 Stallions fulfil the heavy role, whilst Boeing H-46 Seaknights currently take care of the medium role. These vintage helicopters are eventually to be replaced by the tilt-rotor Bell V-22 Osprey, and the first example for Miramar had only recently been delivered to the base. There were also some UH-1 and AH-1s on the flight-line, gaining training experience in escorting the larger transport helicopters.

   Again, we had as much opportunity and freedom to photograph as we wanted, and we made the most of it. Once satisfied, we returned to the mini-van and departed back to the main gate. Thanks go to our superb escort, and all the Public Relations staff, as well as all the other USMC staff we encountered.

SeaKnight    Hercules    Hornet

Units in residence during our visit are listed below:-

VMFAT-101 "Sharpshooters" F/A-18 SH
VMFA(AW)-121 "Green Knights" F/A-18 VK
VMFA(AW)-225 "Vikings" F/A-18 CE
VMFA-232 "Red Devils" F/A-18 WT
VMFA-314 "Black Knights" F/A-18 VW
VMFA-323 "Death Rattlers" F/A-18 WS
HMH-361 "Flying Tigers" CH-53 YN
HMH-465 "Warhorse" CH-53 YJ
HMH-466 "Wolfpack" CH-53 YK
HMM-163 "Ridge Runners" H-46 YP
HMM-165 "White Knights" H-46 YW
VMGR-352 "Raiders" KC-130J QB
VMM-161 "Greyhawks" MV-22 YR

Aircraft noted during our visit included:-

160531 SH T-34C VMFAT-101
160937 SH T-34C VMFAT-101
160945 T-34C VMFAT-101
163561 UC-12F Base Flight
166762 QB-762 KC-130J VMGR-352
166764 QB-764 KC-130J VMGR-352
166765 QB-765, black fin KC-130J VMGR-352
167108 QB-108 KC-130J VMGR-352
167924 QB-924 KC-130J VMGR-352
167984 QB-984 KC-130J VMGR-352
167903 YR-01 MV-22 VMM-161
164644 AF-11 F/A-18C Hangared
163104 SH-12 red, aggressor F/A-18B VMFAT-101
165190 SH-201 F/A-18C VMFAT-101
164701 F/A-18C VMFAT-101
164903 SH-205 F/A-18C VMFAT-101
164693 SH-206 F/A-18C VMFAT-101
162842 SH-211 F/A-18B VMFAT-101
164707 SH-215 F/A-18C VMFAT-101
162873 SH-217 F/A-18C VMFAT-101
164039 SH-223 F/A-18C VMFAT-101
163992 SH-224 F/A-18C VMFAT-101
163736 SH-231 F/A-18C VMFAT-101
163440 SH-232 F/A-18C VMFAT-101
163509 SH-235 F/A-18C VMFAT-101
163508 SH-237 F/A-18C VMFAT-101
163447 SH-241 F/A-18D VMFAT-101
163441 SH-242 F/A-18D VMFAT-101
164241 SH-256 F/A-18D VMFAT-101
164001 SH-257 F/A-18D VMFAT-101
164028 SH-260 F/A-18D VMFAT-101
164032 SH-261 F/A-18D VMFAT-101
164022 SH-262 F/A-18D VMFAT-101
164056 SH-263 F/A-18D VMFAT-101
164026 SH-265 F/A-18D VMFAT-101
164211 SH-270 F/A-18D VMFAT-101
164272 SH-274 F/A-18D VMFAT-101
164245 SH-275 F/A-18D VMFAT-101
164712 WS-201 F/A-18C VMFA-323
164722 WS-202 F/A-18C VMFA-323
164727 WS-204 F/A-18C VMFA-323
164733 WS-206 F/A-18C VMFA-323
164736 WS-210 F/A-18C VMFA-323
164955 WS-211 F/A-18C VMFA-323
164877 WS-213 F/A-18C VMFA-323
164975 WS-215 F/A-18C VMFA-323
165188 WS-216 F/A-18C VMFA-323
162893 VW-10 F/A-18A VMFA-314
165864 CE-01 F/A-18D VMFA(AW)-225
165410 CE-02 F/A-18D VMFA(AW)-225
165532 CE-04 F/A-18D VMFA(AW)-225
165680 CE-05 F/A-18D VMFA(AW)-225
165415 CE-06 F/A-18D VMFA(AW)-225
164677 CE-09 F/A-18D VMFA(AW)-225
164662 CE-10 F/A-18D VMFA(AW)-225
164679 CE-11 F/A-18D VMFA(AW)-225
164690 CE-12 F/A-18D VMFA(AW)-225
165530 VK-00 F/A-18D VMFA(AW)-121
165411 VK-05 F/A-18D VMFA(AW)-121
164667 VK-07 F/A-18D VMFA(AW)-121
165416 VK-08 F/A-18D VMFA(AW)-121
164652 VK-11 F/A-18D VMFA(AW)-121
164670 VK-12 F/A-18D VMFA(AW)-121
164705 F/A-18D VMFA(AW)-121
164882 VK-16 F/A-18D VMFA(AW)-121
165181 WT-00 F/A-18C VMFA-232
165186 WT-01 F/A-18C VMFA-232
165687 WT-03 F/A-18D(R) VMFA-232
165193 WT-05 F/A-18C VMFA-232
165194 WT-06 F/A-18C VMFA-232
165195 WT-07 F/A-18C VMFA-232
165218 WT-10 F/A-18C VMFA-232
165222 WT-11 F/A-18C VMFA-232
165227 WT-12 F/A-18C VMFA-232
165230 WT-13 F/A-18C VMFA-232
164730 WT-14 F/A-18C VMFA-232
164018 WT-18 F/A-18C VMFA-232
163498 YW-41 AH-1
165277 YW-43 AH-1
165446 YW-44 AH-1
165044 YW-45 AH-1
159205 YW-31 UH-1
159690 YW-33 UH-1
160167 YW-36 UH-1
156477 YP-00 H-46 HMM-163
153316 YP-01 H-46 HMM-163
154822 YP-02 H-46 HMM-163
157701 YP-03 H-46 HMM-163
157662 YP-04 H-46 HMM-163
156427 YP-05 H-46 HMM-163
157696 YP-07 H-46 HMM-163
154816 YP-10 H-46 HMM-163
154023 YW-00 H-46 HMM-165
157704 YW-1-2 H-46 HMM-165
155311 YW-02 H-46 HMM-165
154027 YW-03 H-46 HMM-165
153346 YW-04 H-46 HMM-165
156451 YW-05 H-46 HMM-165
154851 YW-06 H-46 HMM-165
154831 YW-07 H-46 HMM-165
153357 YW-14 H-46 HMM-165
154005 YW-15 H-46 HMM-165
161179 YN-00 CH-53 HMH-361
161391 YN-01 CH-53 HMH-361
164780 YN-02 CH-53 HMH-361
162483 YN-03 CH-53 HMH-361
165245 YN-04 CH-53 HMH-361
163078 YN-06 CH-53 HMH-361
164362 YN-07 CH-53 HMH-361
164365 YN-09 CH-53 HMH-361
164787 YN-11 CH-53 HMH-361
162009 YN-14 CH-53 HMH-361
164364 YN-16 CH-53 HMH-361
161384 YK-20 CH-53 HMH-466
161993 YK-21 CH-53 HMH-466
162478 YK-22 CH-53 HMH-466
164359 YK-23 CH-53 HMH-466
165504 YK-24 CH-53 HMH-466
164781 YK-25 CH-53 HMH-466
162502 CH-53 HMH-466
163080 YK-28 CH-53 HMH-466
164860 YK-30 CH-53 HMH-466
161381 YK-32 CH-53 HMH-466
164361 YK-33 CH-53 HMH-466
163072 YJ-50 CH-53 HMH-465
164783 YJ-51 CH-53 HMH-465
161265 YJ-52 CH-53 HMH-465
164776 YJ-53 CH-53 HMH-465
165245 YJ-56 CH-53 HMH-465
164779 YJ-58 CH-53 HMH-465
162501 YJ-59 CH-53 HMH-465
161382 YJ-62 CH-53 HMH-465
161996 YJ-64 CH-53 HMH-465
162524 YJ-67 CH-53 HMH-465
162525 YJ-68 CH-53 HMH-465
163081 YJ-69 CH-53 HMH-465
162484 YJ-70 CH-53 HMH-465