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HML/A-269 responds to nation's call

Marine Corps News

Release Date: 3/8/2004

Story by Sgt. Christine C. Odom

MARINE CORPS AIR STATION NEW RIVER, N.C.(March 3, 2004) -- At a moment's notice, warfighters from Marine Light/Attack Helicopter Squadron-269 were called on the alert and deployed to Haiti in support of a contingency operation March 3.

As part of the Alert Contingency Marine Air Ground Task Force (ACM), the "Gunrunners" joined 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, Camp Lejeune.

"We're not exactly sure what we will do there; possibly provide stability while the Haiti government gets established or under control," explained Maj. Richard T. Boyer, HML/A-269 executive officer.

The squadron took an undisclosed amount of aircraft with them as they departed from New River, and approximately 100 Marines were given a 96-hour notice to pack their seabags and prepare to leave when ordered, added Boyer of Russellville, Ark.

Sgt. Heath R. Memezes, "Gunrunners" flightline mechanic and collateral duty inspector, was one Marine who received notice to say his good-byes.

"Up until today we didn't even know we were leaving," said Memezes, a native of Summerset, Mass.

Although it was short notice, the squadron is still prepared to meet whatever mission is assigned, added Boyer. The Marines attend Weapons and Tactics Instructors Course at MCAS Yuma, Ariz., and Combined Arms Exercise at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, Calif., as part of their combat training.

"I don't expect to see any combat," said Memezes. "We'll probably do convoy escorts or VIP operations."

The squadron's estimated date of return is still unknown, but Boyer doesn't anticipate their absence to be more than 90 days.

"Everyone has been briefed," said Boyer. "They knew this could happen, and they're ready to go."

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