News: “Pale Horses” deactivate: Ceremony held for deactivation of VMM-561
Story by Pfc. Melissa Eschenbrenner
MARINE CORPS AIR STATION MIRAMAR, Calif. – Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 561, the “Pale Horses,” deactivated during a ceremony aboard Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif., July 6.
The ceremony included a performance by the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing Band and a speech to give thanks to Marines and families by Lt. Col. Warren J. Curry, the commanding officer of VMM-561.
“I told the Marines when they checked in to the unit, that all I asked was 100 percent every day,” said Curry. “And that’s what they gave me.”
VMM-561 was first activated May 1968, though soon deactivated a year later during the beginning of the Vietnam War, where it was used as a training squadron. The squadron flew the Sikorsky H-34 Choctaw during the Vietnam War era.
In December 2010, the squadron was reactivated as a MV-22B Ospreys unit aboard MCAS Miramar, where they earned the National Defense Service streamer for their 2011 deployment.
Despite their honors and success, the downsize of the armed forces is one reason why squadrons are being deactivated.
“Due to a mandate by congress, VMM-561 had to be cut.” said Sgt. Maj. Stacy N. Pruitt, squadron sergeant major and a Laurel, Miss., native. “The mandate cut two [MV-22B] squadrons total.”
VMM-561 will be reactivated aboard Marine Corps Air Station Futenma as Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 265 “Dragons.” VMM-265 will be the first MV-22B squadron in Okinawa, Japan.