The Island Packet and The Beaufort Gazette correct all errors of fact. If you see an error in this article, please call the city desk at 843-706-8139. Corrections and clarifications will appear in this space.
Web sites may link directly to search results and individual articles without permission.
Up to one paragraph of text may be included from an article as long as full attribution is given and the attribution links back to the full article.
To republish more than one paragraph of text, please contact us for permission.
The Marines of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 122 at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort will have a new moniker and a new commander when they make their first combat deployment this fall since the Vietnam War.
Lt. Col. William Lieblein relinquished his 18-month command of VMFA-122 on Friday to Lt. Col. Douglas Douds.
All units at the air station rotate commanding officers every 18 months. Lieblein will join the air station's Marine Aircraft Group 31 as a safety officer under Commanding Officer Col. Gregg Brinegar.
Along with control of the 180 Marines and sailors formerly under his command, Lieblein surrendered the squadron's nickname of the "Crusaders," which it has had since 1959, in anticipation of the squadron's deployment to Iraq in September. The squadron will return to its World War II-era nickname, the "Werewolves."
"The notion of being a crusader in that part of the world doesn't float," Lieblein said.
As he thanked family and friends in his goodbye speech to the squadron, Lieblein lauded his Marines' efforts over the past 18 months.
"They're overworked and underpaid, but they're constant professionals," he said. "They always do it right, no matter how hard it is."
Douds reminded the squadron's Marines that they'll need to increase training intensity to prepare for their upcoming combat deployment, the unit's first since 1968.
He also told them they should be honored to carry on the memory of VMFA-122's past Marines, who were organized in 1942 at Camp Kearny, Calif.
"The battles, names and locations have changed, but not our Marines," he said. "America needs an Army, America needs a Navy and America needs an Air Force, but it wants a Marine Corps. I thank God that we have this opportunity in this time and place. It's a beautiful day to be a Werewolf."