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Marine Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Squadron 3
VMU-3 logo.png
VMU-3 insignia
  • September 12, 2008 - present[1]
Country United States
Branch USMC
Type Aerial reconnaissance
Size 200+
Garrison/HQ Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms
Nickname Phantoms
Commanding Officer LtCol John D. Thurman

Marine Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Squadron 3 is an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) squadron in the United States Marine Corps that operates the RQ-7 Shadow that consists of approximately 200 Marines. They are based out of Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, California and its primary mission is to provide aerial surveillance for the I Marine Expeditionary Force. The unit also (in conjunction with VMU-1, also based at Twentynine Palms) provides Reconnaissance, Surveillance, and Target Acquisition (RSTA) to units participating in Mojave Viper, an exercise held several times a year on the base. The squadron, nicknamed the Phantoms, was activated on September 12, 2008 and falls under the command of Marine Air Control Group 38 and the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing .

VMU-3 is the third UAV unit in the Marine Corps established to provide reconnaissance and assist with deployments and training of ground units. A third of the UAV Operators from VMU-1 and VMU-2 were reassigned to VMU-3 to provide the foundation for the new squadron. In late September 2008, VMU-3 successfully flew the Shadow 200 UAV for the first time, and continues to fly missions in support of 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, I Marine Expeditionary Force, and the Tactical Training Exercise Control Group (TTECG) on a regular basis.

VMU-3 was awarded the 2011 Commandant's Aviation Trophy for outstanding performance of a Marine aviation squadron.


VMU-3 completed its first overseas deployment to Iraq and the Helmand Province in Afghanistan in support of operations IRAQI FREEDOM/ENDURING FREEDOM in 2009-10. It was a part of the NATO ISAF Marine Corps forces in theater, and fell directly under Marine Aircraft Group 40, 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade. In 2011 VMU-3 completed its second OEF deployment.

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 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Marine Corps.
  1. ^ "USMC prepares to stand up third UAV squadron". www.janes.com. 2008-07-31. Retrieved 2008-08-19. 

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