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Marine Medium Helicopter Training Squadron-164 [HMMT-164]

Marine Medium Helicopter Training Squadron 164 (HMMT-164) was activated on 1 July 1964 at Marine Corps Air Station Santa Ana, Calif., as part of Marine Aircraft Group 36, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing and originally designated Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 164 (HMM-164). In August 1965 the squadron transferred to Marine Wing Support Group 37, Marine Corps Air Station, El Toro, Calif. The squadron received the first CH-46 "Sea Knights" assigned to West Coast duty six months after activation.

HMM-164 deployed for a three and one-half year tour to Vietnam in 1966, arriving at Marble Mountain in March of that year as part of MAG-16, 1st MAW. The squadron introduced the CH-46 Sea Knight to Vietnam and built an enviable combat record while operating out of many different locations in the northern section of Vietnam. These areas included: Quang Tri, Dong Ha, Khe Sanh, Hue City, Phu Bai and off the decks of the USS Princeton, the USS Tripoli and the USS Valley Forge. While in Vietnam, HMM-164 supported U.S. forces in all the major operations, most notably in Operation MEADE RIVER and Operation HASTINGS.

In October 1969, the squadron left Vietnam and relocated to Okinawa, Japan where it joined MAG-15. From October 1969 through April 1972 it deployed with elements of the U.S. Seventh Fleet as part of a special landing force. HMM-164 supported combat and Search and Rescue operations off the coast of Vietnam until April 1972 when it deployed aboard the USS Okinawa. While aboard the Okinawa HMM-164 continued to provide Joint Service combat support in Operations SONG THAN and LAM SONG until returning to MCAS Futeuma, Okinawa in 1973.

After the withdrawal of American forces from Vietnam and the squadron's subsequent transfer to MAG-39, HMM-164 participated in numerous peacetime operations aboard naval shipping traveling to Korea, the Republic of the Philippines and Japan as well as many exercises in Okinawa. Additionally, the squadron provided helicopter support for units of the 3rd Marine Division and units of the Army, Navy, and Air Force on Okinawa. In April 1975, detachments from HMM-164 participated in Operation EAGLE PULL, Phnom Penh, Cambodia and Operation FREQUENT WIND, the evacuation of the U.S. Embassy, Saigon, Vietnam.

From August 1975 until August 1978, HMM-164 was stationed at MCAS Futenma, Okinawa. During this time the squadron conducted countless missions in support of 3d MAF Forces throughout the western pacific to include deployments to the Republic of the Philippines, Korea and Atsugi, Japan. With the advent of the Unit Deployment Program, on 1 September 1978, twelve years after initial deployment to WestPac, HMM-164 returned home to Santa Ana, Ca. In September 1979, the Squadron rejoined MAG-36 at Futema, Okinawa for a six-month tour, returning to Tustin, Ca, on 24 February 1980.

During November 1980, HMM-164 became the first unit on the west coast to receive the "E" Model CH-46. By March 1981 the Squadron had received its full complement of "Echos" and in September 1981 again deployed to 1st MAW, Okinawa, for six months. While in the western pacific it deployed numerous times to Japan and to the Republic of Korea.

HMM-164 returned to Tustin in March 1982. The squadron participated in many exercises and went on training deployments to the deserts and mountains in the continental U. S. before deploying to the western pacific again in September 1983. On 13 February 1984, HMM-164 returned to Tustin and resumed operations with the 3rd MAW. In 1984 the Squadron worked to increase proficiency, supporting local exercises, including the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.

The first half of 1985 saw the squadron preparing for shipboard deployment to the western pacific. During the summer of 1989, the squadron simultaneously supported oil spill cleanup efforts in Valdez, Alaska and an Air Contingency Force at Soto Cano Air Base, Honduras. In October, the squadron deployed to Indian Springs Air Force Auxiliary Field for pilot training and 29 Palms in December for the squadrons PRE-MCCRES. In January it deployed to the USS Okinawa for amphibious refresher training. The squadron deployed again in February to the USS Okinawa for it's MCCRES and support of BLT 1/4's MCCRES. On May 15, HMM-164 became a composite squadron under operational control of the 13th MAU. The Squadron's first composite exercise was Kernel Usher 85-3. In July of 1985 the squadron deployed aboard the USS Okinawa, supporting the 13th MAU in Kernel Usher 85-5, Valiant Usher85-5, and also Fortress Blitz 86-1. In December of 1985 HMM-164 returned to Tustin and MAG-16. In May of 1986 the Squadron supported CAX 6-86 and also the Gallant Eagle Exercise in July.

June 1990, HMM-164 deployed to the western pacific with the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit and provided support relief efforts following the July earthquake that devastated the Philippines. August 1990 the squadron proceeded to Southwest Asia and participated in maritime interdiction operations during Operation DESERT SHIELD. HMM-164 then provided combat support during Operation DESERT STORM before returning to Tustin in April 1991. The Squadron deployed in October 1992 with the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit. At the close of 1992 HMM-164 would receive the CNO's Aviation Safety Award, a tribute to the hard work and dedication. It then provided essential support to Joint Task Force (Somalia) during Operation RESTORE HOPE from December 1992 until February 1993. HMM-164 returned to MCAS, Tustin April 1993.

August 1993, found the Squadron providing support for units training at the Mountain Warfare Training Center, Bridgeport and provided a mission capabilities demonstration for the Secretary of the Navy. Most notably, August 1993 HMM-164 was chosen as the Helicopter Squadron of the Year. In 1993 it would also provide support for the Commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. Mundy, and receive the second consecutive CNO Aviation Safety Award.

January 1994 the squadron supported aircraft capabilities demonstrations during the celebrations and remembrance of the 1st Marine Division's anniversary. In addition HMM-164 provided support for MOUNT demonstrations for International VIP's visiting Camp Pendleton, California. October and November 1994 HMM-164 gave aviation support for the 31st MEU prior to their deployment.

June 23, 1995, HMM-164 (REIN) deployed as the Aviation Combat Element with the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit(Special Operations Capable) providing tactical and logistical support in Jordan during Exercise INFINITE MOONLIGHT, the largest combined military operation, to date, between the United States and Jordan. It also provided support for the United States Central Command in Operation VIGILANT SENTINEL in Kuwait as well as Bahrain, Quatar, and United Arab Emirates and also participated in Exercise EAGER MACE in Kuwait, before returning to MCAS Tustin on 21 December 1995 after a successful completion of another WESTPAC and relocating to MCAS El Toro, California in December 1995. On 27 December 1995 HMM-164 moved to its new home at MCAS El Toro. In February 1996 HMM-164 was called upon to support the President of the United States as he visited the flood-ravaged areas around Portland, Oregon. HMM-164 was again the recipient of the CNO's Aviation Safety Award for 1995.

On 28 August 1997, HMM-164 (REIN) deployed again as the Air Combat Element for the 13th marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable). The squadron participated in Exercise EAGER MACE 98 in Kuwait, in Exercise NEON FALCON, which was the first bilateral training venture between the Bahraini Armed Forces and the United States, and Operation SILENT ASSURANCE in Qatar. During the month of December 1997 and January 1998, the squadron's AV-8Bs and KC-130s flew combat sorties in support of Operation SOUTHERN WATCH over southern Iraq. HMM-164 (REIN) returned to MCAS El Toro on 26 February 1998 completing it's final WESTPAC prior to redesignation as a Fleet Replacement Squadron.

In April and August of 1998 the squadron deployed to MCMWTC Bridgeport to support both east and west coasts units.

On 8 January 1999, HMM-164 relocated to MCAS Camp Pendleton, California as part of the BRAC move and was attached to MAG-39 effective 11 January. The squadron was officially designated a training squadron on 23 February 1999, and began training all pilots and crew chiefs, replacing HMT-204 as the only CH-46D/E model Aircraft Training Squadron in the Marines, while HMT-204 was redesigated VMMT-204. During March 1999 we deployed two aircraft to Moffett Federal Airfield to support Operation URBAN WARRIOR. Our first pilot to train graduated on 12 May 1999 and our first Crew Chief class graduated on 23 August 1999. On 1 June 1999, the squadron took over the roles as Model Manager and Fleet Project Team Manager. For Fiscal Year 1999, the squadron deployed 4-5 aircrafts one week a month during the High Light Level period in order to fulfill the Pilot Training Requirement for that year.




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