Updated: Nov 20, 2021
The 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, or 3rd MAW, is the aviation arm of I MEF, the Marine Corps' west coast-based warfighting organization. Since its founding on 10 November, 1942, it has been based all over the country, first at Cherry Point, North Carolina, then Hawaii, Miami, and Los Angeles. The wing has fought in the Pacific, Korea, Vietnam, Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan, and every other major engagement the Marine Corps has conducted since its founding.
Today, 3rd MAW is headquartered in San Diego, California at Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Miramar, led by a Major General and his staff. It is comprised of five subordinate aircraft and support groups and a headquarters element, each led by a Colonel. These groups are composed of units known as squadrons with a Colonel or Lieutenant Colonel as their commanding officer. Each subordinate unit is based at locations across the southwestern United States at MCAS Miramar, MCAS Yuma, Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, and Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton.
Marine aviators and their support crews operate a variety of aircraft platforms such as the F/A-18 Hornet, F-35B Lightning, AH-1Super Cobra, and MV-22B Osprey. The Wing also fields a variety of drones to support an assortment of surveillance, combat, and humanitarian missions. On the ground, 3rd MAW brings a litany of support troops to bear to keep aircraft flying. Specialized units throughout the organization have specific functions of aircraft and vehicle maintenance, air traffic control, air base operations, and air defense.
Throughout 3rd MAW's diverse history, it has been integral to our national defense and support of partner nations. This illustrious history began early, with squadrons fighting in the Pacific during the Second World War, and it has continued today with combat operations support in the Middle East.