HMLA-167


HMLA-167
Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 167
Warrior patch 2010.jpg
HMLA-167's insignia
Active April 1, 1968 - present
Country United States
Allegiance United States of America
Branch United States Marine Corps
Type Light/Attack Helicopter Squadron
Role Close Air Support
Air interdiction
Assault Support
Part of Marine Aircraft Group 26
2nd Marine Aircraft Wing
Garrison/HQ Marine Corps Air Station New River
Nickname "Warriors"
Motto Have Guns-Will Travel
Tail Code TV
Engagements Vietnam War
Operation Praying Mantis
Operation Desert Storm
Operation Provide Comfort
Operation Provide Promise
Operation Southern Watch
Operation Deny Flight
Operation Joint Endeavor
Operation Silver Wake
Operation Iraqi Freedom
* Operation Vigilant Resolve
Operation Enduring Freedom
Commanders
Current
commander
LtCol Timothy A. Kolb Sr

Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 167 (HMLA-167) is a United States Marine Corps helicopter squadron consisting of AH-1W SuperCobra attack helicopters and UH-1N Huey utility helicopters. Known as the "Warriors", they are based at Marine Corps Air Station New River, North Carolina and fall under the command of Marine Aircraft Group 29 (MAG-29) and the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing (2nd MAW).

Contents

Mission

Support the Marine Air-Ground Task Force 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

Vietnam War

On April 1, 1968, at Marble Mountain Air Facility, Republic of Vietnam, Marine Light Helicopter Squadron 167 was commissioned. From commissioning date until June 1971, HML-167 would participate in operations against communist forces in the Republic of Vietnam. Flying UH-1E’s for the duration of its tenure in Vietnam. On June 21, 1969, HML-167 dropped the first helicopter bomb. This was accomplished using the Helicopter Trap Weapon (HTW).

An HML-167 UH-1E over Marble Mountain, Christmas 1970.

In May 1971, HML-167 was the last operating Marine helicopter squadron in the Republic of Vietnam. On May 26, 1971, the squadron held its official stand down, concluding over 60,000 combat flight hours.[1] On June 19, 1971, HML-167 was transferred to MCAS New River, Jacksonville, North Carolina and became a part of Marine Aircraft Group 26, 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing.

1970s & 1980s

In April 1972, HML-167 received the Marine Corps’ first UH-1N. HML-167 acquired the additional responsibilities as training squadron and model manager for the UH-1N. On May 16, 1972, HML-167 was transferred to Marine Aircraft Group 29. The squadron performed the first coast to coast UH-1N flight in 1973.

From 11 to 22 August 1980 personnel and equipment from the squadron deployed throughout Haiti to provide disaster relief after the effects of Hurricane Allen. When Hurricane David and Hurricane Frederic hit the Dominican Republic, HML-167 was on the scene to provide disaster relief from 1 to 17 September 1980.

In 1982, HML-167 was reorganized and transferred back to MAG-26 at the same Air Station. This was evident by HML-167’s role in the peacekeeping force in Lebanon from October 1982 through November 1983. On October 1983, HML-167 achieved ten years of mishap free flying, accumulating approximately 65,000 flight hours. Through the years HML-167 was awarded the following: CNO Aviation Safety Award (1972,76, 78, 81, 92, 93), FMFLANT Aviation Award (1975, 83), National Defense Transportation Award 1981, and Commandant of the Marine Corps Certificate of Commendation 1981.

HML-167 received its first AH-1T Cobras on January 17, 1984, and became HMLA-167 on April 1, 1986. It was the first unit to be officially designated as a Light/Attack Squadron with a permanent composite mix of UH-1N and AH-1T Helicopters.

Throughout 1986 and 1987, HMLA-167 demonstrated its flexibility. HML/A-167’s main body deployed as the Aviation Combat Element (ACE) for contingency MAGTF 2-88 in the Persian Gulf participating in Operation Praying Mantis. MAGTF 2-88 conducted an assault on the Sassan Gas/Oil separation platform complex in response to the Iranian mine attack on the USS Samuel B. Roberts. HMLA-167 also escorted eleven "Earnest Will" oil tanker convoys as well as ten minesweeper transits during its deployment in the Persian Gulf . As 1989 came to a close, HML/A-167 took delivery of its first three AH-1W Super Cobras during a ceremony at the National Helicopter Association’s annual convention.

The Gulf War & the 1990s

Beginning in June 1990, detachments from HMLA-167 supported 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit during the largest Noncombatant Evacuation Operation (NEO) since the evacuation of Saigon with the evacuation of over 3,000 American citizens and foreign nationals from the embattled capital in Monrovia, Liberia.

In August, HMLA-167 was recalled for deployment in support of Operation Desert Shield. Six AH-1W’s and sixteen pilots were detached to MAG 29 and subsequently deployed to Saudi Arabia later that month and would remain in theater through the completion of Operation Desert Storm. Separate detachments from HML/A-167 would also participate in Operation Provide Comfort and Operation Encourage Hope in eastern Turkey and northern Iraq during the spring and summer months of 1991.

Detachments from the squadron would eventually begin participating in operation Operation Provide Promise in the Adriatic Sea during the Balkans crisis. A special purpose MAGTF, formed with a detachment of UH-1Ns, embarked aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) in response to the continuing crisis in the Balkans. They also supported Operation Southern Watch in the Red Sea during renewed tensions with Iraq. This deployment marked the first time Marine Ground and helicopter assets were embarked aboard an aircraft carrier.

In October 1993, HMLA-167 would see be activated ito support Operation Support Democracy in expectation of contingency operations in Haiti. This operation was the first time Warrior aircraft executed an immediate embarkation aboard amphibious transport. Support for operations in the Caribbean Sea continued into 1994 while HMLA-167 was tasked to support counter drug operations within the United States. HMLA-167 won the CNO’s Safety Award for 1992 and 1993.

1994 saw squadron detachments support Operation Deny Flight off of Bosnia and assisted in the withdrawal of United States forces from Somalia.

On February 28, 1995, the squadron became the first HMLA on the East Coast to receive an AH-1W Super Cobra with the Night Targeting System. This FLIR and Laser designator was a giant leap in technology and capability for the Warriors.

From 1995-2001, the Warriors supported all MAG-26 designated Marine Expeditionary Unit deployments. These detachments supported numerous contingency operations to include: Operation Joint Endeavor in Bosnia, Operation Silver Wake in Albania and Operation Guardian Retrieval and Operation Noble Obelisk in Africa. The Squadron also sourced one 2 plane UH-1N detachment to Special Purpose MAGTF-8 in support of Operation Assured Response/Quick Response in Liberia, Africa. The Special Purpose MAGTF Huey detachment also conducted the medical evacuation of numerous civilians from the Merchant Vessel Borren Mill after it caught fire and was rendered unseaworthy 100 miles (160 km) off the West Coast of Africa. In the fall of 1998, Special purpose MAGTF/JTF Full Provider supported humanitarian relief operations in Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic and Haiti with two Warrior UH-1Ns after Hurricane Georges ripped through the Caribbean.

The Global War on Terror

In 2003, HMLA-167 supported Marine Aircraft Group 29 by providing 9 aircraft and 17 personnel to HMLA-269 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

In February 2004 HMLA-167 again deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The squadron deployed 18 AH-1Ws, 9 UH-1Ns, and a small detachment of Marines in January aboard the USS Bataan. On the February 22, all 27 aircraft made the transit from Kuwait to Al Asad, Iraq. This was the home of HMLA-167 for the next six months. During Operation Vigilant Resolve in Fallujah in April 2004, HMLA-167 sent a detachment to help with surge operations from Al Taqaddum. The Warriors also operated from three forward operating bases (FOBs), FOB Al Qaim, FOB Korean Village and FOB Kalsu.

At the same time the Warriors were in Iraq, HMLA-167 had a detachment with the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit operating out of Afghanistan. As the Air Combat Element for the MEU, they operated out of Kandahar International Airport, outside of Khandahar, Afghanistan and flew in support of Marine, Army, Special Forces, and Afghan National Army operations in southwestern Afghanistan.

On August 24, 2004 the Warriors returned to MCAS New River. They fell back under the command of MAG-26. Having left their aircraft in Iraq for follow on units, the Warriors began to reassemble their squadron. The first aircraft delivered to 167 were former Unit Deployment Program (UDP) aircraft from Okinawa. These were dropped off by a Russian transport aircraft to MCAS Cherry Point. HMLA-167 would eventually accept and transfer over 111 aircraft during then next year.

HMLA-167 AH-1Ws and an UH-1N at Al Asad, Iraq, in 2008.

On August 7, 2005 HMLA-167 departed MCAS New River and rejoined MAG-26 in Al Asad, Iraq. This trip to Iraq would be the third in less than three years for many of the Marines. HMLA-167 redeployed to MCAS New River on March 1, 2006. During this same period, HMLA-167 had a detachment with the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit that operated out of Al Asad during its 6-month deployment.

In August 2006, HMLA-167 departed MCAS New River after only 5 months at home to join MAG-16 in Al Asad, Iraq. HMLA-167 redeployed to MCAS New River in March 2007. The squadron has again deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom leaving MCAS New River on March 11, 2008 for a seven month tour in Iraq.[2] After only a few months home, HMLA 167 split into two detachments the main body deploying to Iraq and a small four AH-1W cobra detachment deploying to Afghanistan on February 8, 2009 and the rest heading back to Iraq for a seven month deployment.

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-167 has been presented with the following awards:

Ribbon Unit Award
Joint Meritorious Unit Award-3d.svg
Joint Meritorious Unit Award
Navy Unit Commendation ribbon.svg
Navy Unit Commendation with two Bronze Stars
Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation ribbon.svg
Meritorious Unit Commendation with twp Bronze Stars
National Defense Service Medal ribbon.svg
National Defense Service Medal with two Bronze Stars
Vietnam Service Ribbon.svg
Vietnam Service Medal with one Silver Star and two Bronze Stars
Vietnam gallantry cross unit award-3d.svg
Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm Streamer
VNCivilActionsRibbon-2.svg
Vietnam Meritorious Unit Citation Civil Action Medal
Iraq Campaign ribbon.svg
Iraq Campaign Medal
Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary ribbon.svg
Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal
Global War on Terrorism Service ribbon.svg
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. ^ Fails(1978), p. 161.
  2. ^ Cpl John Scott Rafoss (2008) (PDF). "Warriors" deploy to OIF. MCAS New River. http://www.newriver.usmc.mil/PDF_ROTOVUE/106-19Mar08l.pdf. Retrieved 2008-03-21. [dead link]
Bibliography
  • Fails, William R (1978). Marines and Helicopters 1962-1973. History and Museums Division - Headquarters Marine Corps. ISBN 0-78811-818-8. 

External links


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