Marine Medium Tiltrotor Training Squadron-204 [VMMT-204]
Marine Medium Tiltrotor Training Squadron 204(VMMT-204) was originally desginated Marine Medium Helicopter Training Squadron 204(HMT-204). It was officially redesignated as VMMT-204 on 10 June 1999.
VMMT-204's mission is to provide training to both Marine and Air Force Osprey pilots and units in the use and maintenance of the Bell Boeing MV-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft which is scheduled to replace the Marine Corps fleet of CH-46 and CH-53D helicopters.
Marine Medium Tiltrotor Training Squadron 204 was prviously designated as Marine Helicopter Training Squadron-204. The unit was formed at Marine Corps Air Station New River, NC, on 1 May 1972. Following the Vietnam War, marine Aircraft Training Group 40 was deactivated and Marine Medium helicopter Training Squadron-401and Marine Heavy Helicopter Training Squadron-402 were combined to form HMT-204.
HMT-204 was originally a composite training squadron, tasked with training both CH-46 and CH-53 pilots. In January 1986, the Commanding Officer of HMT-204 accepted the first fleet model of the CH-46E Survivability, Reliability and Maintainability (SR&M).
In June 1988, HMT-302 assumed responsibility for training all CH-53 pilots and the last CH-53 departed HMT-204. On 9 November 1988, HMT-204 was awarded the Meritorious Unit Commendation for meritorious service in support of Fleet Marine Force units during 1987. In October 1993, HMT-301 was deactivated and HMT-204 became the single site Fleet Readiness Squadron for the entire Marine Corps CH-46E community. As a result of this transition, HMT-204 earned the distinction of being the largest CH-46E squadron in the Marine Corps. Additionally, October 1993 saw the establishment of the Fleet Replacement Enlisted Skills Training (FREST) Program. HMT-204 FREST provides comprehensive technical training for officers and enlisted in the operation, maintenance and repair of the CH-46E aircraft and associated equipment.
In fulfilling its then primary mission of training all CH-46E pilots and crew chiefs, HMT-204 has trained over 1,800 CH-46E replacement aircrew (basic, refresher, modified refresher and conversion pilots), over 275 instructor pilots and over 450 crew chiefs.
Additionally, over 100 AV-8 pilots have completed the vertical flight familiarization syllabus, in the CH-46. In December 1995, HMT-204 has broken new ground for training pilots and crew chiefs in night formation, night vision goggle operations, terrain flight, navigation and formalized aircrew coordination training.
Since being commissioned, HMT-204 had amassed over 95,000 CH-46 class "A" mishap-free flight hours. In recognition of this significant achievement, the squadron has been the recipient of the Chief of Naval Operations Safety Award in fiscal years 1977, 1994, and 1997.
VMMT-204 received in April 1999 from Raytheon Systems Company, a new motion-based operational flight trainer(OFT) to train Marine Corps and Air Force instructors to fly the Osprey. The OFT will provide the pilot with computer-generated horizontal and vertical visual scenes within a 24-foot dome. Both out-of-window visual scenes and forward-looking infrared imagery are made possible by the OFT's six-channel visual-display system. Its full range of motion also allows pilots to get "a real feel" of both acceleration and deceleration and gives them the opportunity to train in a broad spectrum of simulated environments.
As of mid-1999, VMMT-204 was scheduled to be ready for training (RFT) in March 2001 with 12 Ofsprey production aircrafts.
On December 11, 2000, a MV-22 from VMMT-204, crashed in wooded area near Jacksonville, N.C, while conducting night-vision goggle confined area landings, killing 4. This was the second Osprey crash that year. On April 8, an Osprey crashed during night maneuvers in the Arizona desert killing nineteen Marines in that accident.
The Commanding Officer of VMMT-204 was relieved of duty on January 18, 2001 following anonymous accusations that he had ordered maintenance records for the MV-22 aircrafts to be falsified and thus lie about about Osprey maintenance problems and the aircraft's readiness for flight.
As of early 2000, VMMT-204 was scheduled to oversee the training, transition process to the MV-22 and combat qualification of HMM-264 which will subsequently be renamed VMM-264.
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