HMH-462

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Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 462
HMH-462 insignia.png
HMH-462 Unit insignia
Active April 15, 1944 - September 10, 1945
November 1, 1957 - present
Country United States
Branch United States Marine Corps
Type Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron
Role Assault support
Part of Marine Aircraft Group 16
3rd Marine Aircraft Wing
Garrison/HQ Marine Corps Air Station Miramar
Nickname(s) "Heavy Haulers"
"The Screw Crew"
Tail Code YF
Engagements Vietnam War
* Operation Eagle Pull
* Operation Frequent Wind
Operation Desert Storm
Operation Iraqi Freedom
* 2003 invasion of Iraq

Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 462 (HMH-462) is a United States Marine Corps helicopter squadron consisting of CH-53E Super Stallion heavy transport helicopters. The squadron, known as the "Heavy Haulers", is based at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, California and falls under the command of Marine Aircraft Group 16 (MAG-16) and the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing (3rd MAW).

History

World War II

Squadrons logo during WWII when they were VMF-462

Marine Fighting Squadron 462 (VMF-462) was activated Marine Corps Air Station El Centro, California on April 15, 1944. On October 10, 1944 the squadron absorbed personnel and equipment from VMF-481 and they were redesignated a fighter pilot replacement training unit. The unit flew the Vought F4U-1 Corsair during this time. Shortly thereafter they transferred to Marine Corps Air Station El Toro, California and remained there until the end of the war. The squadron was quickly deactivated after the war's end on September 10, 1945.[1]

1950s and early 1960s

A HMH-462 CH-37C with an UH-34D from HMM-363 near MCAS Tustin, 1964.

On November 1, 1957, 462 was reactivated at Marine Corps Air Facility Santa Ana, California as Marine Helicopter Transport Squadron (Medium) 462 HMR(M)-462. In March 1958 the squadron received the Sikorsky HR2S-1(CH-37 Mojave), known as the "Deuce." In July 1958 the squadron participated in NASA’s abort recovery tests of the Mercury space capsule in the Salton Sea. During July 1959 HMR(M)-462 worked with the United States Army in El Paso, Texas to conduct the initial aerial transport tests of the Hawk missile system. One year later, the squadron worked with Convair Astronautics Corporation in San Diego to help construct Atlas missile silos. Also during 1960, HMR(M)-462 joined with the Federal Aviation Administration, Sikorsky Aircraft, the U.S. Army, New York Airways and British technical representatives of the Decca Corporation to establish Instrument Flight Procedures for helicopters. In June 1965 the squadron was once again decommissioned and placed in a cadre status as the Marine Corps awaited the arrival of the CH-53A "Sea Stallion."

Vietnam War

CH-53A from HMH-462 atop a mountain side base in Vietnam, July 1969.

In August 1968, under the command of LtCol R.E. Nelson, the "Heavy Haulers" deployed to the Republic of Vietnam for combat operations. Assigned to Marine Aircraft Group 36 at Phu Bai, the squadron's primary tasks were the resupply of outlying Fire Support Bases (FSB) and Helicopter Landing Zones (HLZ) in the field, troop transport, medical evacuation, Tactical Aircraft Recovery (TAR), Command and Control flights (C&C), and recon team insert/extracts. Its primary area of operations was Northern I-Corps Tactical Zone (NICTZ), Quang Tri and Thua Thien Provinces, bordering the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) on the north and the Laotian Border to the west. However, during Summer/Fall 1969, HMH-462 was tasked with supporting the 1st MARDIV, in Quang Nam; and 2d ROK Marine Brigade on search and destroy operations vicinity Go Noi Is and LZ-211 near Hoi An, south of Da Nang, in Operation Victory Dragon. HMH-462 participated in Operation Keystone Eagle, July/August, the stand down and subsequent redeployment of 9th Marine Regiment, 3D MARDIV. The squadron participated in numerous named operations including: Meade River, Taylor Common, Dawson River, Dewey Canyon, Purple Martin, Maine Crag, Apache Snow, Cameron Falls, Herkimer Mtn, Utah Mesa (USMC/USA), Virginia Ridge, Georgia Tar, Arlington Canyon, Idaho Canyon, Ellis Ravine (USA), Massachusetts Bay (USA), Iroquois Grove (USA), Williams Glade (USMC/USA), Durham Peak, Pipestone Canyon and a series of ROK Marine operations, "Victory Dragon." At a Change of Command Ceremony on the MAG-36 flightline, 15th May, 1969, LtCol R.E. Nelson turned over command of the squadron to the new Commanding Officer, LtCol R.K. Wood. On 17 August 1969, CH53A aircraft took part in the flyover at MAG-36 Phu Bai. A salute the officers, crew chiefs, gunners, and support personnel, HMM-362, "Ugly Angels," as the Marine Corps retired the last UH-34D, "Huss," from the Fleet. On 20 October 1969, HMH-462 sailed aboard the USS New Orleans from Phu bai to Okinawa to provide support to Marine forces in Japan. In 1975 HMH-462, still stationed in Okinawa, was assigned to the 9th MAB and 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit. On 12 April 1975 the "Heavy Haulers" operating from USS Okinawa (LPH-3), participated in Operation Eagle Pull, the evacuation of Phnom Penh. Seventeen days later from 29–30 April, HMH-462 participated in Operation Frequent Wind, the evacuation of Saigon.[2] Shortly thereafter, the squadron was embarked upon the USS Hancock (CV-19) and sailed back towards Cambodia to participate in the rescue operation of the SS Mayaguez. The Mayaguez rescue was completed before the Hancock arrived on station and the Hancock returned to Subic Bay.

Post Vietnam and the 1990s

After nearly ten years of continuous overseas service, HMH-462 was relocated to Marine Corps Air Station Tustin, California and assigned to Marine Aircraft Group 16. They also participated in the Unit Deployment Program to MCAS Futenma, Okinawa, In December 1989, a squadron detachment was assigned to participate in coup contingency operations in the Republic of the Philippines as part of Marine Aircraft Group 90.

In August 1990, the "Heavy Haulers" were assigned to Marine Aircraft Group 70 and deployed to Jubail, Saudi Arabia as part transport, MEDEVAC, VIP, and FARP support to MAG-70/16 and I Marine Expeditionary Force operations.

In February 1991, the squadron relocated to Tanajib, Saudi Arabia, where it provided support for Operation Desert Storm. Following the conclusion of hostilities, the squadron returned to MCAS Tustin. During March 1991, the squadron received the 1990 Chief of Naval Operations Safety Award. In September, the squadron reached another milestone when it completed 15,000 class A mishap free flight hours.

In 1992 it was also announced that HMH-462 had been selected for transition to the CH-53E Super Stallion. In June, the Heavy Haulers took possession of their first CH-53E Super Stallion and began the transition process.

A HMH-462 CH-53E in 2002.

In 1996, the squadron reached another milestone when it completed 28,000 class A mishap free flight hours. In May of the same year, after completing another unit deployment to Okinawa, Japan. The "Heavy Haulers" received the Heavy Helicopter Squadron of the Year Award from the Marine Corps Aviation Association for 1996.

In March 1997, HMH-462 surpassed 30,000 class A mishap free flight hours. After returning home in May 1998 from another unit deployment cycle. They became the first helicopter squadron in MAG-16 to make the transition from Tustin to MCAS Miramar, California. In December of the same year, HMH-462 surpassed yet another class A mishap free flight hour milestone of 35,000 hours and received the Heavy Helicopter Squadron of the Year award for 1998.

The Global War on Terror

HMH 462 served in Operation Iraqi Freedom from February 2003 to October 2003 and Operation Enduring Freedom from September 2004 to May 2005. They flew many missions supporting logistics and combat missions involving insertion and extraction of special forces groups. The squadron is currently preparing for another deployment in support of the Global War on Terror.[3]

See also

References

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Marine Corps.

Citations

  1. ^ Sherrod History of Marine Corps Aviation in WWII, p.471.
  2. ^ "Chapter 5: The Final Curtain, 1973 - 1975". history.navy.mil. 2000. Retrieved 2007-07-24. 
  3. ^ ‘Heavy Haulers’ prepare for deployment

Bibliography

  • Rottman, Gordon L. (2002). U.S. Marine Corps World War II Order of Battle - Ground and Air Units in the Pacific War, 1939 - 1945.’’. Greenwood Press. ISBN 0-313-31906-5. 
  • Sherrod, Robert (1952). History of Marine Corps Aviation in World War II. Washington, D.C.: Combat Forces Press. 

External links

  • Official website
  • Squadron's unofficial website
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