ARABIAN GULF (NNS) — Lt. Gen. William Beydler, commander, United States Marine Corps Forces Central Command (MARCENT), visited the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71), Feb. 12, while underway in the Arabian Gulf.
Beydler, responsible for the U.S. Marine Corps forces in the Central Command area of responsibility, flew on board Theodore Roosevelt to visit the embarked Marines and Sailors in the "Checkerboards" of Marine Strike Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 312 while the squadron is currently supporting Operation Inherent Resolve and maritime security operations in U.S. 5th Fleet.
"Our country expects us to be ready all the time," said Beydler. "I understand how hard it is to do what you're doing out here, and all of us need to maintain a sense of urgency. The challenges in front of us demand it."
Beydler addressed non-commissioned officers and officers assigned to VMFA-312, as well as recognized individual Marines for their continued sacrifices and hard work while deployed.
"I thank you for your service. There is risk out here but there is one thing that comes from this and it's the satisfaction of serving your country," said Beydler. "So I thank you for your service and I thank your families for allowing you to serve."
During the visit, Beydler also met with members of the strike group and air wing leadership, toured aircraft maintenance and squadron spaces, and observed flight operations at sea.
"We are proud to showcase the professionalism of our Marines, as well as highlight specific examples of their action in support of Operation Inherent Resolve," said Lt. Col. Benedict Buerke, commanding officer of VMFA 312. "It takes every single Marine and Sailor out here to make it happen, and it means a lot to have General Beydler take the time to visit the ship while conducting operations 5th Fleet."
The Checkerboards are one of only two Marine Corps fighter squadrons assigned to carrier air wings embarked on U.S. Navy aircraft carriers. The squadron of 224 Marines and the F/A-18C Hornets add a unique capability to the air wing mission and strengthen the overall capacity of the Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group.
Theodore Roosevelt, the flagship of (CSG) 9, is currently underway with USS Bunker Hill (CG 52), USS Halsey (DDG 97), USS Sampson (DDG 102), and USS Preble (DDG 88) for a routine deployment. The Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group deployment is an example of the U.S. Navy's routine presence in waters around the globe, displaying commitment to stability, regional cooperation and economic prosperity for all nations.