When I was in the 3rd Marine Air Wing back in the early 70s, there was one Marine Corps squadron on each navy aircraft carrier, but on some shows I've seen recently (mostly on the Smithsonian Channel) I haven't noticed any Marine Corp aircraft. This leads me to wonder if they're stilled deployed on the carriers.

Edit: I found this picture in the 2018 Marine Aviation Plan
enter image description here Notice the "VMFA-251" marking on the fuselage. This would make it a Marine Corps aircraft.

Just above the picture is this blurb:

The F/A‐18A‐D community continues combat operations for the sixteenth straight year as Hornets support Operation INHERENT RESOLVE: Landbased with SPMAGTF‐CR and shipboard on aircraft carrier deployments as part of our TACAIR Integration (TAI) commitment.

This certainly implies that some Marine Corps aircraft are deployed on some aircraft carriers, but not necessarily all of them.

  • $\begingroup$ Does this Wikipedia page answer your question? $\endgroup$
    – Ron Beyer
    Commented Jun 20, 2018 at 1:55
  • $\begingroup$ @RonBeyer No, it doesn't as it only lists the squadrons and their home base. You need to find the deployment history for the squadron to find out if it was deployed on a carrier. In a limited search, I was only able to find recent helicopter and Harrier deployments on amphibious assault ships (LHA/LHD), not on CVNs. I didn't see any carrier deployments for the F/A-18. $\endgroup$
    – Gerry
    Commented Jun 20, 2018 at 15:57
  • $\begingroup$ @Gerry The Sea Knight and Osprey are both flown by the USMC. The Osprey being operated entirely (as of 2018) by the USMC (for carrier operations, the Navy has ordered some but haven't taken delivery yet), so any picture you see of an Osprey landing on a carrier is a USMC carrier deployment. $\endgroup$
    – Ron Beyer
    Commented Jun 20, 2018 at 16:12
  • $\begingroup$ It was my understanding that the Marine Corps squadrons deployed on aircraft carriers were VMFA squadrons, so they would have been fixed wing, though that's not to say some Marine helicopters weren't. $\endgroup$
    – BillDOe
    Commented Jun 20, 2018 at 18:07

1 Answer 1


According to Wikipedia's page on Carrier Air Wings, there are nine active carrier air wings currently active (for eleven aircraft carriers). Of those nine, CVW-9 includes Marine Corps squadron VMFA-314 operating the F-35C Lightning II, and CVW-17 includes VMFA-323, which operates the F/A-18C Hornet.

So out of nine carrier air wings, two include Marine Corps squadrons. Not all carrier air wings include Marine Corps squadrons. I believe other Marine Corps squadrons train on aircraft carriers, but are not permanently associated with air wings like VMFA-312 and VMFA-323 are.


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