Marine Medium Tilt-Rotor Squadron VMM-162
Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron-162 [HMM-162]
Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 162 was commissioned in June of 1951 at MCAF Santa Ana, California. In July 1953, the squadron deployed to Hanshin, Japan. It was later moved to the Naval Air Facility at Oppama, Japan, where it worked in conjunction with the Third Marine Division in 1954.
In 1957, HMR(L)-162 boarded the USS Princeton to participate in operation "Celon". In 1958, the squadron participated in operation "Strongback" in the Philippines, working with troops of the Philippine Republic.
In February of 1959, HMR(L)-162 was transferred to the Marine Corps Air Facility , New River, North Carolina, where it became a unit of Marine Aircraft Group 26. During the summer months HMR(L)162 was involved with relief operations in the Gulf Coast area in the aftermath of Hurricane Carla.
HMR(L)-162 deployed overseas in June 1962. After a brief stop in Okinawa, it proceeded to Udorn, Thailand to relieve HMR(L)-261. On January 4, 1963, HMM-162 relieved HMM-163 at Danang, South Vietnam. The squadron departed for the United States in June 1963 and relocated on 17 June 1963 at MCAF, New River.
In November 1965, HMM-162 participated in the Carib 5-65 exercises. Operations in the Caribbean area continued until March of 1966 when the squadron returned to New River. During the summer of 1966, the squadron flew over 1,000 hours per month while accumulating over 10,000 accident free hours.
In November of 1970, HMM-162 successfully completed shipboard and amphibious operations aboard the USS Coronado. The operation included troop lifts, cargo transfers and carrier qualifications. On 17 April 1971, HMM-162 deployed on a Mediterranean Cruise aboard the USS Guam in support of the 32nd MAU. After returning from the Med Deployment HMM-162 settled into garrison life. During this non-deployed period the squadron participated in many exercises including Exotic Dancer and Exploit Alpha, a training exercise to evaluate the capabilities of the AV-8A "Harrier" aboard an LPH.
On 30 April 1974, HMM-162 deployed with the 34th MAU to the Mediterranean for six months. During this deployment HMM-162 participated in Operation Nimbus Star/Moon and the evacuation of U.S. Nationals from the island of Cyprus.
Again, this time on the 6th of January 1976, HMM-162 left for the Mediterranean in support of the 34th MAU. Deployed aboard the LPH Guadalcanal, the squadron monitored the unrest in Europe and was continuously in a high state of readiness throughout the cruise.
During the period 1-18 February 1978, HMM-162 was deployed to the Naval Station Roosevelt Roads in support of the 38th MAU for READEX 1-78. This exercise demonstrated the squadron's ability to provide rapid helicopter support in the Caribbean area when naval shipping was not readily available. During May 1978, HMM-162 deployed aboard the USS Inchon in support of exercise Solid Shield. During the period 23 August-31 October 1978, the squadron deployed on a North Atlantic cruise aboard the USS Guadalcanal assigned with 4th MAB forces in support of NATO exercises Northern Wedding and Bold Guard.
The 21st of December 1978 marked the date on which HMM-162 received its' eighteen Echo model CH-46 helicopters, making it the first Tactical Helicopter Squadron with the newest model helicopter.
On 3 July 1979, the Golden Eagles of HMM-162 received the Fleet Marine Force Atlantic Aviation Safety Award of 4,724 accident-free flight hours. This award becomes more meaningful considering HMM-162 amassed the accident free hours while successfully integrating the CH-46E into the fleet's inventory. During the period 10 October-16 November 1979, HMM-162 was assigned to the 38th MAU and deployed to the United States Naval Base, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba for REINFORCEX 1-80. The squadron was embarked aboard the USS Nassau for the transit to and from the exercise area.
From 9 July-7 December 1980, the squadron embarked on the USS Saipan for READEX 3-80. From 28 August 1980-23 February 1981, HMM-162 was aboard the USS Saipan as the Aviation Element of the 34th MAU. The squadron took part in several exercises including Team Work-80 and PHIBLEX 12-80. Then, from 23 February 1981-19 January 1982, HMM-162 was stationed at MCAS New River and then, from 20 January-26 June 1982, the squadron deployed on the USS Nassau as part of LF6F 1-82. On 10 January 1983, HMM-162 detached from MAG-26 and joined MAG-29 as a step in the helicopter Air Group reorganization with the Second Marine Aircraft Wing.
From 11 May-7 December 1983, HMM-162 was embarked on the USS Iwo Jima as the Air Combat Element of the 24th MAU. During this period the squadron conducted daily flight operations in the Beirut, Lebanon area. HMM-162 flew over 7,400 deployed flight hours, setting a new LF6F flight hour record. The squadron's accident free performance resulted in HMM-162 being named the recipient of the CNO Safety Award for 1983. From 7 December 1983-23 January 1985, HMM-162 was located at MCAS New River. During this period HMM-162 participated in four exercises and received two awards.
The mission commander for the MCMAX lift of BLT 2/4 and in June 1984 participated in LIVEX 1-84. The other two exercises included the MCMAX in July 1984 and CAO 1-85 in October 1984. HMM-162 flew over 20,000 accident free hours and received the FMFLANT Annual Aviation Safety Award for 1983. On 25 September 1984, the squadron was awarded its second major award of the year, the National Defense Transportation Association Unit Award for 1984.
From 23 January-8 August 1985, HMM-162 was embarked on the USS Saipan as the Air Combat Element of the 24th MAU. During this period the squadron conducted daily flight operations and accrued 4,675.6 hours, carrying 20,625 passengers and 3,218,716 pounds of cargo. HMM-162 then embarked on 29 April 1986 aboard the USS Iwo Jima for Ocean Venture-86. During the D-Day assault on 6 May, HMM-162 completed 30,000 accident-free flight hours. On 19 May the squadron returned to New River.
From 19 August 1986-22 February 1987, HMM-162 was embarked on the USS Saipan as the Air Combat Element of the 22nd MAU (SOC). During this deployment HMM-162 participated in Northern Wedding/Bold Guard, African Eagle, and numerous other exercises. Immediately upon returning to New River, HMM-162 began preparations for Exercise Solid Shield. The squadron deployed to the Caribbean aboard the USS Saipan from 30 April 1987-20 May 1987 for this exercise.
In 1995, after returning from a two-month deployment in Norway, the squadron went composite in August and did work-ups preparing for LF6F-96. On 23 January, 1996, they deployed as part of the 22nd MEU on the USS Guam. While on the six-month deployment, the squadron participated in Operations Joint Endeavor, Assured Response, and Quick Response. While off the coast of Monrovia, HMM-162 was responsible for the non-combatant evacuation of 309 refugees including 49 Americans. The squadron returned on 22 July, 1996.
The squadron was the 22nd MEU's Aviation Combat Element (ACE) for the LF6F 1-01 deployment. In addition to its organic CH-46 Sea Knight helicopters, it was augmented by other transport and attack helicopters and jets.
From 2 July to 7 December 1998, HMM-162 deployed as the Air Combat Element for the 22nd MEU (SOC) in the Mediterranean for LF6F 3-98. While deployed, the squadron participated in Operation Autumn Shelter, a contingency operation for the evacuation of American citizens from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The "Golden Eagles" participated in Operation Balkan Calm, and deployed to Kosovo in the event evacuation of a multi-national peace observer team was required. While on station in the Adriatic, HMM-162 flew in support of Operation Silver Knight, Albania, Operation Deliberate Forge, Bosnia-Herzegovina and a reinforcement mission to the United States Embassy in Tirana, Albania. From 15 September to 19 November 1998, HMM-162 flew 2285.5 hours lifting 5,827 passengers and 781,440 lbs. of cargo in support of the mission. The squadron also participated in Exercises Matador 98, Sigonella, Sicily, Cooperative Best Effort, a multi-national Partnership for Peace exercise in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Atlas Hinge 98, Tunisia, Dynamic Mix 98, Sardinia, Rescue Eagle 1998, Romania, and Sea Breeze 98, a Partnership for Peace exercise in the former Soviet nation of the Ukraine. On 7 December, the squadron returned back to New River.
On 26 July 1999, the squadron deployed with eight CH-46E's in support of CAXs 9,10-99 and WTI 1-00. On 15 September, Hurricane Floyd struck Jacksonville, North Carolina. Over a two week period, the squadron flew in support of relief operations in Eastern North Carolina, flying 15 passengers, and 36,500 pounds of relief supplies, water and blankets to the disaster areas.
In 2003, HMM-162 deployed to Kuwait+ and then participated in the 2003 invasion of Iraq+. During the two-month period that they flew in support of I Marine Expeditionary Force+ in Iraq+ they transported more than 500,000 pounds of cargo, 2,200 passengers and flew over 900 flight hours.
HMM-162 officially stood down December 9, 2005 to begin the process of transitioning to the MV-22 Osprey. On August 31, 2006, the squadron was reactivated as the second operational Osprey squadron in the Marine Corps.
In early April 2008, VMM-162 quietly deployed to Iraq to take over from VMM-263, the first operational V-22 combat unit. While in Iraq, VMM-162 transported several high profile people around the country including then presidential candidate Barack Obama. With the pending drawdown of Marines in Iraq, VMM-266 is expected to be the last. This will free up additional tiltrotor aircraft for other assignments in the future.
After the devastating 2010 Haiti earthquake+ on 12 January, VMM-162, serving as the aviation combat element+ of the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit+ (24th MEU) was diverted from its scheduled Middle East deployment to provide humanitarian assistance and disaster relief+ to Haiti+, as part of Operation Unified Response+. The squadron's Ospreys, operating from the USS Nassau (LHA-4)+ were the first ever used for a humanitarian mission.
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