"Like its namesake, a bird of prey, the Harrier is a ground attack aircraft capable of patient hunting and sudden forays."
The Marines chose the Harrier in 1970s because its radical Vertical/Short Take Off and Landing (V/STOL) technology would enhance the close support provided by Marine aviators to embattled infantry units. At sea, the Marines could launch Harriers from the decks of amphibious assault ships, closer to inshore targets than aircraft carriers. Ashore, the Harrier's ability to operate from austere sites far forward of standard airfields reduced flight time to the objective and allowed the aircraft to attack targets for longer intervals before refueling. Harrier pilots gave exceptional attack support to ground Marines in Kuwait, Afghanistan, and Iraq.