Marine Light/Attack Helicopter Squadron-167 [HML/A-167]
On 1 April 1968, at Marble Mountain Air Facility, Republic of Vietnam, Marine Light Helicopter Squadron-167 was commissioned. From commissioning date until June of 1971, HML-167 would participate in operations against communist forces in the Republic of Vietnam. Flying UH-1E's for the duration of its tenure in Vietnam, HML-167 achieved distinction with the following awards: Commanding General Third MAF "Outstanding Performance" (1968), Presidential Unit Citation with a Bronze Star, Meritorious Unit Citation with a Bronze Star, National Defense Service Streamer, Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with a Palm, and the Vietnam Meritorious Unit Citation. Additionally, on 21 June 1969, LtCol. T.F. Miller, the HML-167 Commanding Officer, dropped the first helicopter bomb. This was accomplished using the Helicopter Trap Weapon (HTW). In May 1971, HML-167 was the last operating helicopter squadron in the Republic of Vietnam. On 26 May 1971, the squadron held its official stand down in the Republic of Vietnam, concluding over 60,000 combat flight hours.
On 19 June 1971, HML-167 was transferred to MCAS(H) New River, Jacksonville, NC and became a part of MAG-26, 2d Marine Air Wing. On 15 June 1971, the last two aircraft in the Republic of Vietnam departed and flew aboard USS Dubuque.
In April of 1972, HML-167 received the Marine Corps' first UH-1N and became the primary UH-1N squadron for the Marine Corps. HML-167 acquired the additional responsibilities as training squadron and model manager for the UH-1N. On 16 May 1972, HML-167 was transferred to Marine Aircraft Group 29 at the same Air Station. The squadron performed the first coast to coast UH-1N flight in 1973.
Awarded the Meritorious Unit Commendation in 1979, HML-167's dedication and professionalism was evident throughout 1980 as well. From 11 to 22 August 1980 personnel and equipment from the squadron deployed throughout Haiti to provide disaster relief after the effects of Hurricane Allen. When Hurricanes David and Frederick hit the Dominican Republic, HML-167 was on the scene to provide disaster relief from 1 to 17 September 1980.
In 1982, HML-167 was reorganized and transferred back to MAG 26 at the same Air Station. Under MAG 26 command, the squadron continued to demonstrate its commitment to standards of excellence. This was evident by HML-167's role in the peace keeping force in Lebanon from October 1982 through November 1983. On October 1983, HML-167 achieved ten years of mishap free flying, accumulating approximately 65,00 flight hours. Through the years HML-167 was awarded the following: CNO Aviation Safety Award (1972,76, 78, 81, 92, 93), FMFLANT Aviation Award (1975, 83), National Defense Transportation Award 191, and Commandant of the Marine Corps Certificate of Commendation 1981.
HML-167 received its first AH-1T Cobras on 17 January 1984, and became HML/A-167 on 1 April 1986. It was the first unit to be officially designated as a Light/Attack Squadron with a permanent composite mix of UH-1N and AH-1T Helicopters.
Throughout 1986 and 1987, HML/A-167 demonstrated its flexibility by supporting four independent detachments simultaneously. HML/A-167's main body was deployed as the Aviation Combat Element (ACE) to contingency MAGTF 2-88 in the Arabian Gulf participating in operation "Praying Mantis," conducting and assault on the Sassan Gas/Oil separation platform complex in response to the Iranian mine attack on the USS Samuel B. Roberts. HML/A-167 also escorted eleven "Earnest Will" oil tanker convoys as well as ten mine sweeper transits during its deployment in the Persian Gulf and was subsequently awarded the Joint Meritorious Unit Commendation. The rear detachment not only provided administrative support for the main body, but also maintained flight operations in support of FMFLANT, including a deployment to Puerto Rico during Ocean Venture 88. Upon return from the Persian Gulf, HML/A-167 deployed to 29 Palms to support Combined Arms Exercises 9/10-88. During the same time frame HML/A-167 provided a detachment to Teamwork 88. The year closed out with another detachment leaving in support of an LF6F squadron.
The operational tempo of 1988 continued into 1989 with detachments from HML/A-167 supporting Alpine Warrior in Wisconsin, Cold Weather 89 in Norway, as well as Solid Shield and a squadron deployment to MCAS Yuma Arizona. As 1989 came to a close, HML/A-167 took delivery of its first three AH-1W Super Cobras during a ceremony at the National Helicopter Association's annual convention.
While the main body of HML/A-167 participated in CAX 3/4-90, a detachment of UH-1N's participated in COMMARFORCARIB 1-90 in support of Operation "Topkick," providing presidential support during President Bush's visit to Colombia for a drug summit. Beginning in June, detachments from HML/A-167 supported22d MEU during the largest Noncombatant Evacuation Operation (NEO) since the evacuation of Saigon with the evacuation of over 3,000 American citizens and foreign nationals from the embattled capital in Monrovia, Liberia. In August, as the squadron was deploying to 29 Palms, California for CAX 9/10-90, HML/A-167 was recalled for deployment in support of Operation Desert Shield. Six AH-1W's and sixteen pilots were detached to MAG 29 and subsequently deployed to Saudi Arabia later that month and would remain in theater though the completion of Operation Desert Storm. Separate detachments from HML/A-167 would also participate in operation "Provide Comfort" and "Encourage Hope" in eastern Turkey and northern Iraq during the spring and summer months of 1991. While squadron detachments continued to support operations in southwest Asia, HML/A-167 continued to train and prepare crews for Landing Force Sixth Fleet commitments while continuing to accept deliveries of AH-1W helicopters and training maintenance personnel on maintaining the new fleet of Cobras.
CAX 3/4-92 ushered in the new year marking the beginning of a busy year that would see the squadron support three detachments in response to growing global crises. Detachments from the squadron would eventually begin participating in operation "Provide Promise" in the Adriatic Sea during the Balkans crisis. As these commitments rolled into 1993, HML/A -167 participated in CAX 3/93. A special purpose MAGTF, formed with a detachment of UH-1Ns, embarked aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) in response to the continuing crisis in the Balkans, supported operation "Southern Watch" in the Red Sea during renewed tensions with Iraq. This deployment marked the first time Marine Ground and helicopter assets were embarked aboard an aircraft carrier. Assuming the air contingency force in the spring, HML/A-167 would see it activated in October to support "Operation Support Democracy" in expectation of contingency operations in Haiti. Marking the first such time an immediate embarkation aboard amphibious transport. HML/A-167 performed superbly, establishing another HML/A-167 "first." Support for operations in the Caribbean Sea continued into 1994 while HML/A-167 was tasked to support counter drug operations within the United States. HML/A-167 won the CNO's Safety Award for 1992 and 1993.
1994 was much like the prior year. The squadron continued to train the detachments that excelled during overseas deployments. Squadron detachments supported Operation "Deny Flight" off of Bosnia and assisted in the withdrawal of United States forces from Somalia. In October, HML/A-167 deployed to Cecil Field, FL, and the next month they deployed to MCAS Beaufort, SC, to support Exercise "Hornet's Nest."
In January 1995, the squadron deployed to Twenty Nine Palms, CA, to support CAX 3/4-95. After CAX, much of the squadron went to support WTI Class 1-95.
On February 1995, the squadron became the first HML/A on the East coast to receive a NTS AH-1W.
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