Dick Wise sent the following quotation from the Commandant of the USMC, General Hagee, speaking before the Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee in March last year on Marine Corps experience operating AV-8B Harriers in the Gulf.
"We had four of the five squadrons over there based on big decks. They were able to go ashore and land on improvised runways beside the road, rearm, refuel and generate a significant sortie rate. That's what STOVL brings - and that's old technology.
We were able to take those Harriers, push them out to support the 1st Marine Division. After they had dropped their ordnance they came back just directly behind the lines, set down on roads, improvised small landing areas, rearmed, refuelled, and were right back out providing close air support to those Marines on the front lines.
So when they ran out of (supplies) they were back to the carrier. They had all their maintenance. And the next day or night they were out providing that close air support. That's what the STOVL aircraft brings to the Marine Corps. And I absolutely believe that we need that capability as we look out into the future and the anti-access type of environment I think we're going to be faced with."