HMLA-367

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Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 367
HMLA 367 insignia.png
HMLA-367 insignia
Active
  • December 1, 1943 - August 20, 1949
  • August 1, 1966 - present
Country United States
Allegiance United States of America
Branch United States Marine Corps
Type Attack
Role Close air support
Air interdiction
Aerial reconnaissance
Part of Marine Aircraft Group 24
1st Marine Aircraft Wing
Garrison/HQ Marine Corps Air Station Kaneohe Bay
Nickname(s) Scarface
Oakgate (Vietnam War)
Motto(s)

"When you are out of Scarface, you are out of guns" (Vietnam)
"Hieu Duuc" ("Can Do" VMO-3)

"Hover Cover"
Tail Code VT
Engagements World War II
* Battle of Peleliu
* Battle of Okinawa
Vietnam War
Operation Desert Shield
Operation Desert Storm
Operation Iraqi Freedom
Operation Enduring Freedom
* Operation Moshtarak
Commanders
Current
commander
LtCol Frank Makoski

Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 367 (HMLA-367) is a United States Marine Corps helicopter squadron consisting of AH-1Z SuperCobra attack helicopters and UH-1Y Venom utility helicopters. The squadron is based at Marine Corps Base Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii and falls under the command of Marine Aircraft Group 24 (MAG-24) and the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing (1st MAW).[1]

Mission

The mission of HMLA-367 is to support the Marine Air-Ground Task Force MAGTF Commander by providing offensive air support, utility support, armed escort and airborne supporting arms coordination, day or night, under all weather conditions during expeditionary, joint, or combined operations.

History

Origins during WWII

HMLA-367 has a long and distinguished record in the United States Marine Corps. Its historical lineage can be traced back to December 1, 1943 when it was activated at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia as Marine Observation Squadron 351 (VMO-351) which was assigned to the Artillery Spotting Division.

In January 1944, the squadron was re-designated as and deployed to Marine Aircraft Group 11 on the island of Espiritu Santo whereupon it took part in the campaigns on Peleliu and Okinawa. The squadron participated in the occupation of North China from October 1945 through June 1947 and was relocated in 1949 to MCAS Cherry Point, North Carolina and assigned to the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing. The Squadron, having served honorably throughout the Pacific Theater, was deactivated on August 20, 1949.

Vietnam War

As the United States increased its presence in the Republic of Vietnam, the Marine Corps reactivated VMO-3 at Marine Corps Air Station Camp Pendleton on 1 August 1966 and assigned it to Marine Wing Support Group 37. The squadron arrived in Vietnam in December 1966 and were now flying the UH-1E. VMO-3 became fully operational at Huế/Phu Bai on 16 January 1967.

In 1966 and for the first half of 1967, the squadron's radio call sign was "Oakgate," which sometimes got confused for the term OK. Major Bill Murphy is credited with first using the call "Scarface" while on TAD, and lobbied to have the substantially more macho Scarface designation adopted as VMO-3's signature when all Marine squadrons in-country changed call signs during the summer of 1967. On November 14, 1967) Major General Bruno Hochmuth, then commanding general of the 3rd Marine Division was killed when a UH-1E Huey from VMO-3 exploded and crashed 5 miles northwest of Huế. Four others also died in this crash.

The squadron assumed a new identity in March 1968 when VMO-3 was re-designated HML-367 and immediately began operations in direct support of ground combat units. Based at Hue and Phu Bai, the squadron flew the Bell UH1E Huey throughout I Corps in support of the 1st and 3rd Marine Divisions, the United States Army, and the Army of the Republic of Vietnam. In addition to the countless other missions flown they most notably supported Operations Medina, Fortress Ridge, Prairie Fire, Project Delta, Sparrow Hawk, Dewey Canyon, Apache Snow, Swift Saber and Lam Son 719.

In addition to participating in the above operations, the Scarface crews also flew near daily missions in support of MACV-SOG on what were then top secret reconnaissance missions deep into Laos.

Squadron assets quickly grew from eighteen aircraft (UH-1E) to twenty five. In 1969, HML-367 exceeded 2,000 flight hours for the month of June. October 1969 saw the departure of Marine Air Group 36 from the Republic of Vietnam. Due to the continued necessity for armed helicopter support, HML-367 remained in Vietnam and was assigned to Marine Aircraft Group 16 (Forward) at Phu Bai.

In December 1969, HML-367 began flying the AH-1G Cobra, thus becoming the first operational "Cobra" Squadron in the Marine Corps. Soon after, all the squadron's Hueys were transferred to another squadron (HML-167) and replaced with the Bell AH-1G Cobra.

On April 24, 1970, in another show of maintenance magic, the Squadron had all of their twenty five aircraft in an "Up" status. This was the first time a Helicopter Squadron had attained 100% aircraft availability in Vietnam. To celebrate the event, a 25-plane "fly-over" of Marble Mountain was conducted with Plane Captains called on to fill the front seats of all 25 Cobras. Total flight time for Fiscal Year 1970 was 22,378 hours.

HML-367 completed its combat tour in Vietnam in June 1971, and relocated to MCAS Futenma, Okinawa, rejoining MAG-36. Once established, the Squadron began peacetime operations using the UH-1E.

Post Vietnam 1970s

In April 1975, HML-367(REIN), with nine UH-1E's and twelve CH-46's deployed aboard the USS Midway, the USS Hancock, and Naval Air Station Cubi Point, Philippines in support of Operations Eagle Pull, Talon Vise and Frequent Wind. The squadron participated in the evacuation of Vietnamese and Cambodian refugees from the mainland during both April and May. In June 1975, HML-367 returned to Okinawa and resumed normal operations. In 1976, the squadron took receipt of the new UH-1N and in 1977, AH-1J's Cobra gunships.

After more than eight years on the island of Okinawa, HML-367 was reassigned to Marine Aircraft Group 39 (MAG-39), 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, at Marine Corps Air Station Camp Pendleton, California. The majority of squadron personnel stayed behind, having been transferred to other units of the 1st Marine Air Wing. New personnel were selected from the parent command, and by August 1981, unit strength was up to 165 men and 16 aircraft.

1980s & 1990s

During this timeframe the HMLA-367 spent approximately six of each eighteen months split into rotations to Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, Okinawa, Japan as well as attached as Det "A" in Subic Bay, Philippines, and as part of an Aviation Combat Element (ACE) aboard an amphibious assault ship, typically the USS Tarawa (LHA-1) while in rotation with two other squadrons also based at Marine Corps Air Station Camp Pendleton, California.

While not on their rotation overseas, HMLA-367 supported major exercises deploying for training frequently to the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, California, Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Arizona, Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada & Naval Air Station Fallon, Nevada.

HMLA-367 also supported combined US Navy & USMC security operations, "Kernel Usher & Kernel Blitz" aboard the USS Tarawa and other naval ships for exercises around the Pacific Coast of California.

Desert Storm/Desert Shield

Shortly after the invasion of Kuwait on 2 August 1990 HMLA-367 was quickly chosen as the Light Attack component for Marine Aircraft Group 70 (MAG-70) in support of Operation Desert Shield/Storm and immediately deployed.

Scarface arrived in Al Jabail, Saudi Arabia on 29 August 1990, as the first operational U.S. Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron in theater. HMLA-367 recorded the first Iraqi tank kill by an AH-1W "Super Cobra" Helicopter during the battle of "Al Elbow" in Southwestern Kuwait on 30 January 1991.

HMLA-367 also had confirmed kills of military targets during the Battle of Khafji on 30–31 January 1991, and during the ground war, Operation Lonesome Dove, which commenced on 24 February 1991.

HMLA-367 accrued confirmed kills of 48 tanks, 24 armored personnel carriers and 23 other troop transport vehicles, trucks, etc., as well as many other military targets, more than any other operational combat squadron during Desert Storm/Desert Storm.

On 12 April 1991, Scarface concluded operations and began departing Saudi Arabia, returning to Camp Pendleton, California.

HMLA-367 Scarface Marines were all awarded the National Defense Service Medal, Southwest Asia Service Medal with 2 bronze stars, the Kuwait Liberation Medal (Saudi Arabia), & the Kuwait Liberation Medal ( Kuwait) for their service during Operation Desert Storm & Desert Shield combat operations.

Global War on Terror

The squadron was deployed for 13 months to Okinawa from 2002–03 and this was followed less than a year later by a deployment to Al Taqaddum, Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

While there, the squadron flew in support of numerous ground units including the 1st Marine Division during the Battle of Fallujah. In the next three years, Scarface would return to Iraq two more times in support of OIF 05-07.2 and OIF 08.1-08.2.

After three deployments to Iraq in only four years, Scarface returned to MCAS Camp Pendleton in November 2008 to transition its Huey pilots to the new UH-1Y, and to prepare for upcoming operations in Afghanistan.

After yet another turnaround of less than a year, HMLA-367 deployed to Afghanistan in October 2009 to support international security and assistance forces during Operation Enduring Freedom. The seven-month deployment was the first combat deployment of the UH-1Y. The squadron’s skills were again put to the test as Scarface simultaneously provided support for seven infantry battalions and participated in the battles for Marjah and Now Zad in the Helmand Province of Afghanistan.

In April 2011 "Scarface" HMLA-367 was the first squadron to have both the newest upgraded four-blade rotor UH-1Y "Yankee" Huey utility helicopter and the AH-1Z "Zulu" Cobra gunships along with a state of the art flight simulator for each helicopter.

In 2012, Scarface moved to its current location of Marine Corps Air Station Kaneohe Bay on island of Oahu in Hawaii. The unit reverted to the venerable AH-1W Super Cobra prior to the relocation to MCAS Kaneohe Bay. They have also conducted numerous deployments as part of the 31st MEU and to Okinawa as part of the Unit Deployment Program (UDP).

Unit awards

A unit citation or commendation is an award bestowed upon an organization for the action cited. Members of the unit who participated in said actions are allowed to wear on their uniforms the awarded unit citation. HMLA-367 has been presented with the following awards:

Ribbon Unit Award
United States Navy Presidential Unit Citation ribbon.svg
Presidential Unit Citation with three Bronze Stars
U.S. Navy Unit Commendation ribbon.svg
Navy Unit Commendation with one Bronze Star
Meritorious Unit Commendation.jpg
Meritorious Unit Commendation with two Bronze Stars
Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal ribbon.svg
  Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with two Bronze Stars
World War II Victory Medal ribbon.svg
World War II Victory Medal
National Defense Service Medal ribbon.svg
National Defense Service Medal with two Bronze Stars
China Service Medal ribbon.svg
China Service Medal
Vietnam Service Medal ribbon.svg
Vietnam Service Medal with two Silver Stars and one Bronze Star
VNCivilActionsRibbon-2.svg
Vietnam Meritorious Unit Citation Civil Action Medal
Bronze star
Bronze star
Southwest Asia Service Streamer with two Bronze Stars August 1990 – February 1991 Desert Shield, Desert Storm
Kuwait Liberation Medal (Kuwait) ribbon.svg
Kuwait Liberation Medal (Kuwait) August 1990 – February 1991 Desert Shield, Desert Storm
Kuwait Liberation Medal (Saudi Arabia) ribbon.svg
Kuwait Liberation Medal (Saudi Arabia) January 17, 1991 – February 28, 1991 Desert Shield, Desert Storm
Iraq Campaign Medal ribbon.svg
Iraq Campaign Medal
Afghanistan Campaign Medal ribbon.svg
Afghanistan Campaign Medal
Global war terrorism service ribbon.gif
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal

See also

References

Notes

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Marine Corps.
  1. ^ FY 10 Marine Aviation Plan

Bibliography

  • Plaster, John L. (2000). SOG: A Photo History of the Secret Wars. Boulder, CO: Paladin Press. ISBN 1-58160-058-5. 
  • 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. 

Web

  • HMLA-367's official webpage
  • Helicopter units involved in Lam Son 719
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