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Marine Aircraft Group 12
MAG-12 Insignia
Active March 1, 1942 - present
Country United States
Allegiance United States of America
Branch United States Marine Corps
Type Fixed Wing Aircraft Group
Role Close air support
Assault support
Electronic warfare
Part of 1st Marine Aircraft Wing
III Marine Expeditionary Force
Garrison/HQ Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni
Nickname The Ready Group
Engagements World War II
* Philippines campaign (1944–45)
Korean War
* Attack on the Sui-ho Dam
Vietnam War
Operation Enduring Freedom
Col Stephen G. Nitzschke (USMC)
Robert E. Galer

Marine Aircraft Group 12 (MAG-12) is an active air group of the United States Marine Corps, tasked with providing assault support aircraft. It is currently part of the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing (1st MAW), itself an integral part of the III Marine Expeditionary Force, and based at MCAS Iwakuni in Japan.



The mission of the Marine Aircraft Group 12 is to conduct anti-air warfare and offensive air support operations in support of Fleet Marine Forces from advanced base, expeditionary airfields or aircraft carriers and conduct such air operations as may be directed.

Subordinate units




Marine Aircraft Group 12 was activated at Camp Kearney, California, on March 1, 1942. Shortly thereafter, deployed to the Pacific Theater. From December 1942 until cessation of hostilities in late 1945, the Group participated in numerous operations in the Solomon and Philippine Islands supporting the Army, Navy and Marine Corps as well as Philippine guerrilla forces. The squadron was brought to the Philippines by the request of Admiral "Bull" Halsey when he said,

I had had under my command in the South Pacific a Marine Air Group which had proved its versatility in everything from fighting to blasting enemy vessels. I knew that the group was now under MacArthur's command, and I knew, too, without understanding why, that when Kenney was not keeping it idle, he was assigning it to missions far below its capacity. Kinkaid's complaint of insufficient air cover prompted me to take a step which was more than a liberty; to a man of meaner spirit than MacArthur's it would have seemed an impertinence. I called these Marines to his attention. He ordered them forward, and within 24 hours of their arrival, they had justified my recommendation.[1]

For such service, the Group earned the Army Distinguished Unit Award and the Navy Unit Citation.

Korean War

On April 20, 1952, MAG-12 made its home at K-6 at Pyongtaek.[2] During the war units from MAG-12, except VMA-312 which was on board the USS Bataan (CVL-29), came under the control of the Air Force's Fifth Air Force.[3] Through the end of the Korean War, the group participated successfully in numerous operations and accumulated over 80,000 effective combat sorties against enemy troops, installations, vehicles and countless other vital targets. A second Navy Unit citation was awarded for its Korean War service.

Post Korea and Vietnam War

During 1956, after nearly 6 years in Korea, MAG-12 was withdrawn to Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, and remained there conducting close air support for Fleet Marine Forces in the Western Pacific until 1965. In May 1965, MAG-12 deployed to Chu Lai, Vietnam, to support Marine infantry and other allied forces in their engagements against the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese Army units. The Group participated in many large operations, including the recapture of Hue City and the relief of besieged units at Khe Sanh. Two more Navy Unit Citations were received as a result of the Group’s contribution to the Vietnam War effort. After almost 5 years of combat, MAG-12 was withdrawn from the Republic of Vietnam in February 1970, and reestablished at MCAS Iwakuni, Japan. MAG-12’s stay in Japan, though, was short. In May 1972, MAG-12 again deployed to Vietnam and conducted combat operations from Bien Hoa Air Base until finally withdrawing from the war on January 29, 1973 where they were the last American combat aviation unit still in country.[4] MAG-12 then returned to MCAS Iwakuni, where it remains today.

Post Vietnam

From this base, MAG-12 has conducted numerous operations throughout the WESTPAC area and participated in hundreds of joint service training exercises, continually honing its combat skills. Today MAG-12 consists of one Marine Aircraft Logistics Squadron and six operational flying squadrons - VMFA-242, east and west coast Unit Deployment Program (UDP) F/A-18 squadrons, a deployed EA-6B Prowler squadron, a UDP CH-53D Sea Stallion squadron, and a UDP AV-8B Harrier detachment.

In 2006 MAG-12 became the first Marine Aircraft Group to be commanded by a naval officer, Captain David Emich, under the Department of the Navy's tactical air integration program.[1]

See also


  1. ^ a b "Marine Aviation in the Philippines". Retrieved December 16, 2007.  
  2. ^ Ballenger (2000), p.x.
  3. ^ Mersky (1983), p.145.
  4. ^ Mersky (1983), p.283.


PD-icon.svg This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Marine Corps.
  • Ballenger, Lee (2000). The Outpost War - U.S. Marines in Korea, Vol.1:1952. Washington D.C.: Potomac Books. ISBN 1-57488-373-9.  
  • Mersky, Peter B. (1983). U.S. Marine Corps Aviation — 1912 to the present. Annapolis Maryland: The Nautical and Aviation Publishing Company of America. ISBN 0-933852-39-8.  


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