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Marine Medium Tilt-Rotor Squadron VMM-266
Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron-266 [HMM-266]

Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 266 was activated to MAG 26 at MCAS New River on 26 April 1983 as part of the "mirror image MAGs" reorganization. In the 14 years of its existence, the "Fighting Griffins" have deployed to far off places such as Southwest Asia, Somalia, Haiti, and participated in NATO deployments off the coast of the Former Yugoslavia in support of "real-world" contingencies.

Prior to August 1991, the Squadron deployed to Norway, Honduras, and the Caribbean in support of fleet training as well as multiple deployments to Marine Warfare Training Center Bridgeport, CA and Combined Arms Exercises at MCAGCC Twenty Nine Palms, CA. Since then, HMM-266 has deployed to the Mediterranean Sea as part of Landing Force Sixth Fleet 1-92, 1-94, and 2-96.

The Squadron therefater participated in three exercises in cooperation with the countries of Spain, Israel, and Greece, and supported Operation SILVER KNIGHT in Albania and Operation JOINT ENDEAVOR/NOBLE ANVIL during the six month deployment as part of the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable). Lastly, the Squadron participated extensively in Humanitarian Assistance Operations in North Carolina following the devastation caused by Hurricane Floyd in August 1999.

HMM-266 has been recognized by receiving the Edward C. Dyer Award as the Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron of the Year for 1999 and the CNO Safety Award for the years of 1989, 1992, 1994, and 1998. Additionally, the Squadron has been awarded the Navy Unit Commendation for service in Southwest Asia, the Meritorious Unit Commendation, and the Southwest Asia Service, and the National Defense Service Streamers.

The Marine Corps completed an aviation first, April 8, 2011, by flying MV-22B Ospreys on the aircraft's longest movement to date. Six Ospreys with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 266 returned to the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit after a trek from Camp Bastion, Afghanistan, to Souda Bay, Greece, with the assistance of a pair of KC-130J Hercules from 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward) who provided transport and aerial refueling support.

"As far as aerial refueling missions are concerned, this was a Marine Corps and Naval aviation first," said Capt. Ben Grant, the executive officer for the Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 252 detachment currently deployed in support of operations in Afghanistan. "Never before has an MV-22 movement been conducted this far or on this scale. On this mission, the MV-22s travelled in excess of over 2,800 miles from Camp Bastion to Souda Bay, using aerial refueling provided by KC-130Js. We transited three continents over land and water, three combatant commands' areas of responsibility, and did it with no major issues."

The mission was conducted to return VMM-266 Marines, cargo and aircraft to the USS Kearsarge and the 26th MEU, which had been tasked to the Mediterranean region in support of operations in Libya.

By 2012 Colonel Christopher Mongo Seymour, commanding officer of Marine Air Group 26, (the parent unit of VMM-264) rated it as one of the safest aircraft in theatre thanks to its high speed (up to 300kts) and high cruising altitude (putting it out of range of insurgent AAA and small arms). He also notes it is one of the most capable aircraft in dealing with deadly brownout, or spatial disorientation for the pilot when rotors kick up dust and sand close to the ground.




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