The 1stMAW was moved to Iwakuni, Japan from Korea in 1957, approximately, and replaced the U. S. Navy Aviation and Australian forces stationed there since it was turned over to them by the U. S. Marine occupying force in 1945. The name of the base was changed from NAS, Iwakuni to MCAS Iwakuni. I was there when this took place. The 1st Division (formerly part of 1stMarine Brigade in the early war) had already returned to Pendleton. The 3rd MAW was already based in California at MCAS El Toro.
The "First, Second, and Third" Marine Air wings are not necessarily part of the First, Second, and Third Divisions, per se, but operated under Fleet Marine Forces Pacific, to serve any Marine force in the Pacific Theatre.
At that time the 2nd Division and 2nd MAW were on the East Coast, as part of Fleet Marine Forces, Atlantic.
Any air wing can be a part of any combat brigade. You will notice, that the divisons and air wings are highly mobile, and usually are attached to any Brigade or Expeditionary force that the highly mobile Marine Corps may place into combat anyplace, with any Naval Fleet.
This arrangement gives the Marine Corps high mobility. There are only two combat commands, FMF Pac, and FMF Lant (as explained above, East and West) These commands usually work under the Chief of Navial Opeations in a combat situation. The Commandant of the Marine Corps is not a combat command, although he has administrative control of the entire Marine Corps and sets policy. The separate generals staffs serve either with the East or West FMF commands in combat. Being in the "old corps" was quite different from the present corps, and some of the commands have been altered. But.........once a Marine, always a Marine.
Thanks, Harlan Ross May, USMC Retired
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