ABOARD USS KEARSARGE --
Landing his CH-46E Sea Knight a few inches off the desired mark, a fact he jokingly blamed on the landing guide, the commanding general for the 2nd Marine Air Wing, Maj. Gen. Kenneth J. Glueck Jr., finally returned to the USS Kearsarge August 1, 2007. He once called the ship home when he was the commanding officer for a previous Marine Expeditionary Unit.
"It feels like déjà vu returning to this mighty warship,"he said during his address to the Marines and sailors of Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 261 (Reinforced).
Glueck was visiting the squadron before they departed on a scheduled six-month deployment as the Aviation Combat Element for the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable).
In his address to the Marines and sailors of HMM-261 (Rein.), Glueck thanked them for a job well done during the pre-deployment stage of the training cycle and urged them to stay professional and focused wherever they went during this deployment.
"You have done a superb job during the pre-deployment phase of your training cycle, but now its time for the big game,"he said. "Everything you do from now on is going to be scrutinized and vital to the nation's security," he continued in a friendly, but serious voice.
Glueck also took this opportunity to address his officers and reminded them of the importance of staying vigilant, working together as a team, and avoiding complacency.
"It was good to actually see the commanding general take time in his busy schedule, to come to see us off,"said Cpl. Jeromy L. Artz, an Airframer on the AV-8B Harrier II attack jet. He added that he was glad to know that someone "up there" genuinely cared for the unit and the well-being of the Marines.
Glueck finished his visit with a tour of the squadron's shipboard work spaces before finally heading back to the flight line where he boarded his"Phrog" and flew off into the afternoon sky.
Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 261 (Reinforced) is currently deployed as the Aviation Combat Element of the 22nd MEU (SOC) commanded by Col. Doug Stilwell.