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Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron-268 [HMM-268]

Marine Light Helicopter Squadron 268 (HML-268) was activated as a squadron on 15 September 1972 at MAG-29, Marine Corps Air Station (H), New River, N.C., flying Bell UH-1N Huey helicopters. The Squadron provided utility combat helicopter support to the landing force during ship-to-shore movement and in subsequent operations ashore. After five years, it was deactivated on 30 September 1977.

Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 268 (HMM-268) was reactivated on 1 March 1979 at MAG-16, MCAS (H) Tustin, Calif. The Red Dragons were designated for medium-lift, flying the Boeing Vertol CH-46 Sea Knight helicopters.

On 24 February 1980, HMM-268 deployed for the first time under the Unit Deployment Program. While assigned to MAG-36, MCAS (H) Futenma, Okinawa, the RED DRAGONS conducted operations on the Japanese mainland and Korea. After the squadron's second deployment, HMM-268 was officially designated as the 3d Marine Aircraft Wing "Night Assault Squadron" in 1983 and led the way on Night Vision Goggle employment.

In 1986, the Red Dragons began their current cycle of Western Pacific deployments as the Aviation Combat Element (ACE) as part of the 11th Marine Amphibious Unit aboard the USS New Orleans.

Since that time, the Red Dragons have participated in numerous Western Pacific and South West Asia deployments. While exercising in 1989, the Red Dragons answered the call to support the Exxon Valdez Alaskan oil spill cleanup, flying over 232 hours in support.

Responding to the Persian Gulf crisis in 1990, the Squadron embarked aboard the USS New Orleans to support Operation Desert Shield. The Red Dragons participated in numerous exercises and the largest post-Korean War amphibious landing.

During Operation Desert Storm, HMM-268(C) moved ashore and provided combat assault support to the 5th Marine Expeditionary Brigade, to include the "G-day" tactical insertion of 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment along the Saudi Arabian/Kuwaiti border.

Since Operation Desert Storm, HMM-268 has continued to provide support to the Fleet including operations in Somalia and Eritrea.

In February 1999, the RED DRAGONS joined MAG-39 and MCAS Camp Pendleton as the result of the BRAC-mandated closures of Marine Corps Air Facility Tustin and MCAS El Toro.

The Red Dragons won the Marine Corps Aviation Association's Marine Helicopter Squadron of the Year in 1994. Additionally they have won nine Chief of Naval Operations Safety Awards, its most recent and fifth consecutive award in 1998.




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