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{mosimage}June 27--  For the second time in three months, the U.S. Marines conducted training exercises at Vidalia Regional Airport.

In April, the Marines installed and tested arrestor systems for F-18's on Vidalia's runways.  Last week, the airfield was one location used as part of a larger military exercise on the East Coast, according to Lieutenant Colonel Bill Kohmuench, commander of the support squadron at the Marine Corps Air Station in Beaufort.

"The Second Marine Air Wing is executing a Large Force Exercise and we're demonstrating that we can put an expedtionary airfield, which Vidalia is, in the play of the problem to demonstrate we can put a forward operating base where none has existed," he said.

{mosimage}Vidalia Mayor Ronnie Dixon(L) and Airport Manager Kevin Britton (R) welcome Major General Davis to Vidalia. 

The Commanding General of the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing out of Cherry Point, NC, Major General Jon Davis, made a stop at Vidalia Regional Thursday to check on his Marines.

"We're going forward to go protect this great nation and you're allowing us to use your facilities like this to train our Marines in a way we can't get trained anywhere else," General Davis said.

Vidalia Mayor Ronnie Dixon and members of the city council welcomed the Marines to Vidalia.

"I think it's great for this community.  They've been here before and it is really a boost to our economy and it's just great to have them here.  We're looking forward to a continued relationship that will keep them coming.

Marine Corps officials say another exercise is in the works and they could be back at Vidalia Regional Airport before the end of the year.