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Marine Wing Support Group 37 deactivated in plans for 'leaner and meaner' Marine Corps

A Marine Wing Support Group 37 guidon, the standard of the unit, flutters in the wind during the deactivation of the group, June 15. Marines with Marine Wing Support Squadron 373 attended the deactivation to represent the four squadrons under the groups command.

CHRISTOPHER JOHNS/U.S. MARINES

By ERIKA I. RITCHIE | The Orange County Register | Published: July 18, 2020

SANTA ANA, Calif. (Tribune News Service) — A 3rd Marine Air Wing support unit — once based at the now-shuttered Marine Corps Air Station El Toro — was deactivated on Friday, July 17, at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar.

The unit, the Marine Wing Support Group 37, was responsible for synchronizing the efforts of four squadrons and how they provided ground support.

Deactivating the unit frees up time and resources toward a redesign of the Marine Corps as ordered by Commandant Gen. David Berger, who emphasized in his 2019 plan the importance of the military branch becoming “lighter and faster” across the Pacific.

“We are the nation’s crisis response force, which requires capable and ready amphibious war-fighting platforms and a family of modern connectors,” Berger said in his planning guide for overhauling the Marines. “Our expeditionary warfare system must be networked, lethal, resilient, and must enable quicker movement to new technologies and capabilities faster than our adversaries.”

The Marines are dumping some of their legacy equipment and units, such as companies that go in and build bridges or operate tanks. There are plans over the next five years to cut more from the San Diego-based air wing including, an Osprey squadron and two helicopter squadrons.

The Marine Corps will reduce its personnel by 12,000 over the next decade. It will invest resources into new fighting technologies such as drones, long-range precision missiles, reconnaissance robots and unmanned systems.

Typically, Friday’s deactivation would have included a “sundowner” ceremony for the approximate 50 Marines that will be sent to serve in other units. But, because of coronavirus precautions, base officials decided not to gather a large group, said Lt. Zach Bodner, a spokesman for the air wing.

The unit was activated on July 1, 1953, in Miami. The Marine unit relocated to El Toro in 1955 and then Miramar in 1998, where it remained until now.

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