Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Arizona, 

9 March 2013




The annual Air Show staged by the United States Marine Corps at its Western most Harrier base MCAS Yuma in Arizona took place this year on 9 March 2013. Situated close to the Mexican border in the extreme south of the state of Arizona, Yuma houses almost half of the Marines' Boeing AV-8B Harrier II fleet with four squadrons flying the type, as well as the adversary fleet of Northrop F-5N Tiger II's numbering a single squadron. Furthermore, there is an H&HS (Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron) operating the Beech UC-12B and Bell HH-1N. Add to this the single squadron of Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II"s now building up.

Much of this was on show during the 9 March Airshow. Blessed by brilliant sunny weather, although with a strong wind at times, the Yuma Airshow attracted a large crowd, no doubt among others coming to view the Marine Corps' latest aquisition in the shape of the F-35B Lightning II, the much vaunted Joint Strike Fighter or JSF for short. This type is due to replace the AV-8B Harrier II and F/A-18 Hornet.

Older USMC aircraft were much in evidence as well, both in the air and in the static park. These included the recently acquired former Swiss Air Force F-5N Tigers resplendent in eye catching Agressor colour schemes. Add to this the unique tilt-rotor MV-22B Osprey and one got a good overview of what the Marines can bring to the fight.

The Marines also demonstrated the proceedings of a rescue mission using an HH-1N helicopter. Other branches of the US Military were in evidence as well. The Navy showed up with a brightly coloured F/A-18F Super Hornet from the now decomissioned carrier USS Enterprise in colourful CAG markings from VFA-11 "Red Rippers". 

 Of interest was a U.S. Army UH-72A Lakota from an Aviation Field Test unit. Further Army presence included an Cessna U-27A Caravan with a Marines MC-12W arriving during the morning.

Part of America's impressive history was on show as well with the Commemorative Air Force's B-29A "Fifi" in the static park and a pair of P-51D Mustangs, an F4U-1A Corsair as well as a T-33A and a MiG.15 flying together in a set piece describing an action during the Korean War of 1950 until 1953.

All in all, the Yuma Air Show may have been small by some standards, but it certainly was an opportunity to see and photograph U.S. Marine Corps equipment in the air, alongside with some interesting and rarely seen types from the Navy and the Army. 

All pictures (c) Hans Rolink