Marine Medium Tilt-Rotor Squadron VMM-774
Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron-774 [HMM-774]
HMM-774 was the last Marine Corps squadron operating the CH-46E. The transition of HMM-774 to VMM-774 was needed as part of the established U.S. Marine Corps Aviation Plan replacing CH-46E aircraft and enhancing the mission and combat capability of the medium-lift community. The CH-46E is at the end of its service life. Replacement of the CH-46E helicopters with the MV-22B is needed to improve operational capabilities, limit vulnerabilities in expected combat situations, and maintain combat and mission readiness.
HMM-774 is a Marine Forces Reserve (MARFORRES) squadron based at NS Norfolk (Chambers Field), Virginia. HMM-774 is a medium-lift helicopter squadron consisting of CH-46E Sea Knight transport helicopters. The reserve squadron has been continuously stationed aboard NS Norfolk since being activated in 1969 and is currently located in Hangar LF-60 in the LF area of the airfield. The Mid-Atlantic region, primarily Virginia and North Carolina, is where the squadron has operated since its activation. HMM-774 falls under the command of Marine Aircraft Group 49 and the 4th Marine Aircraft Wing, with the mission of supporting the Marine Air-Ground Task Force.
The mission of HMM-774 is to maintain combat readiness and provide support to the 4th Marine Aircraft Wing. The HMM-774 "Wild Goose" fly the CH-46E Sea Knight helicopter, which are maintained by MAG-42, Det B and reserve unit personnel. Missions include tactical air lifts, MEDEVAC operations, helicopter support team training and SEAL team support.
In August 1946, the Marine Corps established Marine Air Detachment at Naval Air Station (NAS), Norfolk, Virginia with Marine Reserve Fighter Squadron 233 (VMF-233) flying the F-4U Corsair. Over the years, the unit has been reassigned and redesignated several times, finally aquiring its current designation, Marine Aircraft Group 42, Detachment B, in June 1992. From 1946 to 1969, VMF-233 flew out of NAS Norfolk with a wide array of aircraft including the F-4U Corsiar, FH1 Phantom, F8F Cougar, F2H Banshee, AD5 Skyraider, T2V Sea Star, and A4D Skyhawk. In October 1951 the unit was activated for the Korean War. In 1969, VMA-233 was deativated and Marine Medium Helicopter 774 (HMM-774) was activated flying the UH-34 Sea Horse helicopter.
In 1970, the CH-46 replaced the UH-34 and in 1971 the squadron was assigned under the command of Fourth Marine Aircraft Wing. In December 1990, HMM-774 was activated as an element of Marine Aircraft Group 26, First Marine Expeditionary Force (I MEF). The squadron was subsequently assigned for duty with I MEF in Southwest Asia and saw action in Desert Shield and Desert Storm.
Over the years, Marines and Sailors from this Norfolk-based reserve site have conducted myriad operations in numerous American states as well as Internationally. From Washington, D.C., Florida, Arizona, California, and Oklahoma, to Puerto Rico, Bahamas, and Southwest Asia.
MAG-42, Detachment Bravo provides administrative, maintenance, operational and training support for two reserve units, Helicopter Marine Medium Squadron (HMM)-774 and Marine Air Logistics Squadron (MALS) 42, Detachment Bravo. MAG-42, Det B is composed of HMM-774, Marine Aviation Logistics Sqadron 42, Det B, and a small cadre of support personnel. With 12 CH-46 helicopters and approximately 250 active duty and reserve Marines and Sailors, it conducts routine operations in support of Department of Defense and other governmental agencies.
The 4th Marine Air Wing, Medical Marine Air Group 42, Detachment B, trains reserve medical personnel to provide medical support to active and reserve personnel at Sewells Point Branch Clinic, Norfolk, and in the field. The unit also supports operational medical requirements for Marine Aircraft Group 42, Detachment B, located at Naval Air Station Norfolk. The Fourth Marine Aircraft Wing Medical, Marine Aircraft Group 42, Detachment B is a Naval Reserve Unit providing combat-capable medical and religious personnel to elements of the Fourth Marine Aircraft Wing of the United States Marine Corps Reserve. The unit is capable of integrating rapidly and deploying with the U.S. Marines in support of combat or humanitarian missions anywhere in the world on short notice.
In addition to the medical and religious support provided by unit chaplains, corpsmen, and religious personnelmen to the U.S. Marines in garrison or in the field, the unit also provides aerospace medical expertise and airborne MEDEVAC capability via its flight surgeons and aviation medical technicians. Detachment B's specific mission is to maintain mobilization readiness of its corpsmen (NEC 8404), religious personelmen, aviation medical technicians, chaplains, and flight surgeons through training, mutual, and contributory support of the Fourth Marine Aircraft Wing and Sewell's Point Branch Medical Clinic. Detachment B provides such support to its immediate gaining command, Helicopter Marine Medium Squadron 774 (HMM-774), Marine Aircraft Group 42, NAS Norfolk, Virginia.
The existing 12 CH-46E aircraft assigned to the squadron would be retired in Fiscal Year (FY) 2015. There would be a period of training required to transition CH-46E personnel to MV-22B personnel. Once training is complete and all 12 MV-22B aircraft have arrived, VMM-774 would operate the MV-22B at NS Norfolk. The first MV-22B aircraft would arrive at NS Norfolk in FY 2016, and the squadron is expected to be fully operational by FY 2018.
The action is part of a Marine Corps wide process of replacing its aging fleet of medium-lift helicopters, such as the CH-46E, with modern compatible airframes such as the MV-22B. These legacy aircraft are nearing the end of their lifecycle, cannot travel great distances, and are not well equipped for night or adverse weather operations (U.S. Marine Corps 1999). Transitioning the squadron includes more than just replacing its aircraft, it also includes renovating facilities to house and maintain the new system, as well as developing the skills needed to employ the new airframe within the squadron.
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