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Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron-466 [HMH-466]

Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 466, AKA "The Wolfpack", was commissioned on Nov. 30,1984. It became the Marine Corps' third and Marine Aircraft Group 16's second CH-53E squadron. By Dec.12, 1984, the squadron had grown to more than 180 Marines and had accepted two CH-53E Super Stallions from Sikorsky Aircraft in Bridgeport, Conn. Using the Super Stallion the Wolfpack provides heavy lift support to Marine, and other forces worldwide.

The first operational flight was conducted Dec. 19, 1984, and by June 30, 1985, HMH-466 had accepted 11 of its 16 allotted CH-53E helicopters. By then, the squadron had flown 1,100 hours, carried 1,000 passengers, and lifted 175,000 pounds of cargo. Delivery of aircraft continued until Aug. 5, 1985, when the last CH-53E was delivered.

In the past 10 years, HMH-466 has participated in 10 Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) deployments and has been the recipient of many prestigious awards, including the Secretary Defense Phoenix Award for outstanding maintenance (1987), Fleet Marine Forces Pacific Annual Aviation Safety Award (1986), the Mike Yunck Award for the best overall squadron in the Third Marine Aircraft Wing (1988), a Meritorious Unit Citation (1986), and a Navy Unit Citation (1992). August 1990 brought the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait and the Wolfpack became the first CH-53E squadron to deploy to Saudi Arabia. In support of Operation Desert Shield/Storm, HMH-466 recovered downed aircraft, conducted the first Night Vision Goggles troop insertion, and provided heavy lift support from port facilities to staging areas in preparation for the ground phase of the operation. Upon cessation of hostilities, the Wolfpack returned to MCAS Tustin having sustained no losses of personnel or aircraft.

In May 1992, the Wolfpack embarked upon its first unit deployment to Marine Aircraft Group 36, MCAS Futenma, Okinawa, Japan and became the second CH-53E squadron deployed to the Western Pacific. In addition, the Squadron detached four aircraft to Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 161 in support of the 11th MEU(SOC). In November, 1992, HMH-466 returned to MAG-16, thus culminating an extremely successful six month Unit Deployment Program. From December 1992 to March 1993, the Wolfpack detached four aircraft to Somalia in support of Operation Restore Hope. In November 1993, HMH-466 celebrated its ninth birthday. During this month, the Wolfpack attained 25,000 flight hours, becoming the only CH-53E squadron to reach this goal Class "A" mishap-free. The squadron deployed to WESTPAC in May 1994, detaching four aircraft to both HMM-166 and HMM-262 for the 15th and 31st MEU(SOC)s.

In November 1994, the Wolfpack finished a successful WESTPAC deployment and celebrated its 10th birthday. Some WESTPAC highlights included passing 27,000 Class "A" mishap-free flight hours, support to President Clinton and HMX-1 in the Philippines, and a 900 mile non-stop aerial refueling mission from Okinawa to Manila. The Wolfpack detachment with the 15th MEU supported Operation Support Hope in Rwanda and supported Marines in Kuwait. On May 29, 1995, the Wolfpack exceeded 30,000 Class "A" mishap-free hours, becoming the only CH-53E squadron in the Marine Corps to do so. During October 1995, the Wolfpack transferred four of its aircraft to HMM-163 in support of the 13th MEU, and the remainder of the squadron departed for Okinawa, Japan, on May 1, 1996. During the six month deployment the squadron endured a three month grounding, due to faulty Swashplates. The grounding enabled the squadron to support Ulchi Focus Lens operations in the Republic of Korea during August 1996. From September to November the Wolfpack was hard at work putting together eight aircraft with good Swashplates, before the unit Deployment came to an end. The squadron returned to MCAS Tustin Nov. 3, 1996. As of March 10, 1997, HMH-466 has flown 33,680 Class A" mishap-free flight hours, carried 45,957,854 pounds of cargo and transported 41,826 passengers. Currently, the Wolfpack has four aircraft deployed to HMM-268, HMM-163 and HMM-265 in support of the 11th, 15th, and 31st MEU Special Operations Capable.

As of late 2000, the Wolfpack was involved in the Unit Deployment Program (UDP) aboard MCAS Futenma, Okinawa, Japan. On the UDP the Wolfpack is an element of MAG-36(Marine Aircraft Group 36), 1st MAW (First Marine Aircraft Wing), Marine Forces Pacific.

Pilots and crews of Marine CH-53E Super Stallion helicopters from Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 466 began their first flight operations in the Al Anbar Province, Iraq, on Feb. 28, 2004 in support of OIF. These are the first flight operations in Iraq to take place for Marine Aircraft Group 16 since its return to the country after the main combat phase of Operation Iraqi Freedom.




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Page last modified: 05-07-2011 02:18:38 ZULU