Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron-775 [HMLA-775]
In March of 1988, the first personnel and aircraft of what would eventually become Marine Aircraft Group 46 Detachment E, Marine Attack Helicopter Squadron 775 and Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 46 Detachment E, began arriving at Marine Corps Air Station, Camp Pendleton, California.
On January 7, 1989 all of the hard work culminated in the commissioning ceremony as MAG-46 Det E, HMA-775, MALS-46 Det E became a compliment of eight 1968 model AH-1J's. It is also reported that MAG-46 Det-A was established simultaneously with Marine Attack Helicopter Squadron-775 [HMA-775] on 7 January 1989. The former provides continuous active duty site support for HMLA-775 in peacetime and provides initial standup support upon activation. Just twenty days later on January 27, 1989, the MAG was redesignated Marine Aircraft Group 46 Detachment C. The month of January was significant for the Marines of these three units. This was the standup of the first Reserve Cobra Squadron on the west coast, and the first flights by the Squadron's AH-1J aircraft made for a very exciting period in the Site's history.
Flight operations commenced with 12 vintage AH-IJ SeaCobra helicopters.
In the following year and a half, the Detachment supported many exercises. Highlights included a deployment to MCAS Yuma, Arizona and participation in combined Arms Exercise (CAX) 7/8-90 at the MCAGCTC Twenty Nine Palms, California.
On December 1, 1990, equipped with 12 AH-1J Cobras, HMA-775 was activated for deployment to Southwest Asia. Along with MAG-46 Det A personnel, the unit deployed to Southwest Asia on 5 January 1991 and to Jubail, Saudi Arabia in support of Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm. The "Coyotes" participated in every major battle from Khafji to the final assault on Kuwait City, flying over 970 combat hours and accumulating 641 combat sorties. The squadron then remained in-country, in support of Operation Desert Comfort. By May 15, 1991 the final personnel and aircraft arrived back at Camp Pendleton, closing that chapter for HMA-775.
In May of 1992 the squadron received the first eight of what would eventually total 12 AH-1W "Super Cobras" to replace the "68" model AH-1J's. HMA-775 was the first Reserve Marine Attack Helicopter Squadron to receive them. During September of 1992, while transitioning to the AH-lW, the "Coyotes" successfully shot ten AIM-9 Sidewinders off the coast of southern California. This was the first time a Reserve Marine Squadron accomplished this.
A flash flood struck the Air Station at Camp Pendleton in January of 1993. The aircraft and building spaces suffered severe damage. Through dogged determination, the spaces were cleaned up, paperwork and records recreated, and the first aircraft flew again on February 25th. By mid-April, the Squadron had moved into new temporary spaces and all aircraft were flying. During the July Change of Command, the "Coyotes" were awarded the Ensign Pierce Award for being the Marine Air Reserve Helicopter Squadron of the year in 1992.
In 1994 there were more milestones for The "Coyotes". On the 10th of May the Squadron moved into a new hangar - their first permanent home at Camp Pendleton(A prior history of the unit claimed the move took place in April). On June 18th, six UH-1N utility helicopters were added to inventory(A prior version of the unit's history claimed it received 5 UH-1N), and on August 6, the "Coyotes" were officially redesignated Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 775, or more simply: HMLA-775 (-), thus becoming the first HMLA in the Fourth Marine Aircraft Wing.
The AH-1W and UH-1N continue to receive upgrades in capabilities. Both airframes are now FLIR and laser capable.
The Detachment/squadron team functions in the same manner as that of its active duty counterparts minus deploying overseas. To enhance the squadron's readiness and demonstrate its versatility, HMLA 775 also participates in Anti-drug operations in conjunction with Federal Agencies in locations such as Key West, FL, Bahamas, Puerto Rico, Nassau, South America, California, and Jamaica.
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|