News: HMLA-167 completes UDP deployment
Story by Lance Cpl. Jorden Wells
MARINE CORPS AIR STATION NEW RIVER, N.C. - Marines with Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron (HMLA) 167 returned from Okinawa, Japan, Dec. 5.
More than 60 Marines were greeted by loved ones as they arrived at the squadron’s hangar after being deployed to Japan and the Philippines for six months as part of the Unit Deployment Program (UDP).
The Marine Corps utilizes UDP’s as a means to deploy groups of Marines to improve unit continuity and reduce the number of accompanied tours.
“While we were deployed with the UDP, we helped augment the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) and were available to support any of the battalions out of Okinawa,” said Capt. Sean M. Walker, HMLA-167 ground safety officer.
While deployed, HMLA-167 also conducted bi-lateral training with other branches of the U.S. and Japanese militaries.
“While deployed with the UDP, we also spent a month in the Philippines,” said Walker. “While there, we performed joint training with the Philippine armed forces.”
With the war in Afghanistan winding down, the UDP will be used more often to expand Marines’ training and readiness.
“I loved the deployment with the UDP to Japan and the Philippines,” said Lance Cpl. Joshua Hwang, a Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron (MALS) 29 Marine attached to HMLA-167 for the deployment. “It was a good deployment, and I would not mind signing up to go back again anytime.”