Marine Aircraft Group 12

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Marine Aircraft Group 12
MAG-12 patch web.png
MAG-12 Insignia
Active1 March 1942 – present
CountryUnited States
AllegianceUnited States of America
BranchUnited States Marine Corps
TypeFixed Wing Aircraft Group
RoleOffensive Air Support
Antiair Warfare
Aerial Reconnaissance
Electronic Warfare
Assault Support
Part of1st Marine Aircraft Wing
III Marine Expeditionary Force
Garrison/HQMarine Corps Air Station Iwakuni
Nickname(s)The Ready Group
EngagementsWorld War II
* Philippines campaign (1944–45)
Korean War
* Attack on the Sui-ho Dam
Vietnam War
Operation Enduring Freedom
Commanding OfficerCol Douglas S. DeWolfe
Sergeant MajorSgtMaj Michael Johnson
Vernon M. Guymon
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 Marine Aircraft Group 12, as the tactical air arm of the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, is to conduct air reconnaissance, electronic warfare, antiair warfare, offensive air support, control of aircraft and missiles, and assault support from advanced bases, expeditionary bases or the sea base supported by organic aviation logistics and aviation ground support logistics as required by III MEF and United States Pacific Command and be prepared to conduct such support and engagement operations as may be directed.

Subordinate units[edit]

F/A-18D Hornet Squadron

F-35B Lightning II Squadron

Unit Deployment Program Squadrons, three stateside-based squadrons on a six-month rotational deployment as a part of MAG-12.

KC-130J Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron

Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron

Marine Wing Support Squadron


WW II[edit]

Marine Aircraft Group 12 was activated at Camp Kearny, San Diego, California, on 1 March 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. MAG 12 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[edit]

On 20 April 1952, MAG-12 made its home at K-6 Air Base, 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[edit]

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 29 January 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[edit]

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.

See also[edit]


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


 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.