February 8–13, 2014 Our Time in Yuma

Our highlight of the past few days was the MCAS (Marine Corps Air Station) tour on Tuesday, February 11.  They do 3-4 public tours per year and we always seemed to miss the date so this year I found out the tour dates early and we made our plans to be here.

Marine Corps Air Station Yuma is the busiest air station in the Marine Corps and the third busiest in the Naval service.  There are over 4500 Marines and Sailors stationed here.  Their average tour here is three years.

This station is primarily a training base used by all services of the Military as well as a number of the United States allies.

MCAS Yuma is also home to the first F-35B squadron in the world.  “MCAS Yuma will host five F-35B squadrons, each with 16 aircraft, and one operational test and evaluation squadron with eight aircraft. Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 121 is the first operational F-35 squadron on station and completed the first-ever F-35B vertical landing conducted outside of a testing environment.”   The F-35 is the world’s most advanced multi-roll fighter and will replace many of our current fighter planes.

We arrived at 8 AM and were treated to coffee and muffins.  At 8:30, the community liaison greeted us and talked about the history of the base, our tour, and answered many of the questions.   

02-11-14 A MCAS Tour (1)

The base commanding officer was next.  He greeted us with a welcome, told us a little more about the base and their mission, and answered even more questions:

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Since there was so many people for the tour, we were split into two groups – the first group went to the buses and the second group stayed for the canine demonstration (we choose the second).

All of the canine training is passive response.  Each dog is trained to detect one of three items: narcotics, explosives, or tracking.  The passive response is that they are to sit and stare when they find narcotics or explosives – thus alerting their handler.  The tracker dog is one who follows the scent of the person who planted an explosive – right back to their home.  (WOW!).

The dogs are trained to look up to and follow their handler, either by voice or hand signals.   They are also trained to go after the bad guys.  

So that was our first demonstration: 

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The next demo was the obstacle course and how the dogs handle the commands from the handler:

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A great demonstration.   We then went to the bus where we met our tour director who told us more about the base and the buildings we passed.  We made a stop at the flight field where we were able to see the plans on display (no F-35s – Sad smile).

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Back on the bus, we went past the different squadrons – this one is for the F-35:

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Our next stop was to learn and see about the troops martial arts training (with and without weapons):

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To learn and see the obstacle course:

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And the endurance course:

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Back on the bus we made our way back to the start – all the while learning about the services on base for the soldiers and their families.

Back at the start – a true Hummer – Smile:

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Another wonderful tour!

We continued our day by having lunch at the Moose Lodge and then checking out some roads that were calling my name – Smile.  This is the road to Fortuna Pond:

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Past the pond, we just kept going past the farm fields:

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Then to this pond:

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Andy and I both said – we were here before only on foot.   As we followed the one road, we ended up on some of the BLM land north of Yuma where we used to stay.  Since we got our membership in Colorado River Adventures, we have not stayed out there and sometimes I miss it.

So that was our Tuesday.  The other days were not really exciting to write about so I am not – LOL!!!

Stay tuned and enjoy today.



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