WILMINGTON, N.C. - Although the unit is constantly sending troops and aircraft to locations around the world, Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 366 celebrated their rich history with an enduring Marine Corps tradition.
The Super Stallion squadron hosted a mess night for more than 50 officers and staff noncommissioned officers aboard the historic USS North Carolina in Wilmington, N.C., May 24.
The squadron has Marines deployed to the Horn of Africa, Afghanistan and will be sending a third detachment to join the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit in the coming months.
The commanding officer felt, with a majority of the unit’s staff and officers home for a brief moment, that this would be the best time for the unit to conduct the mess night.
“These Marines work hard to lead our squadron into greatness,” said Lt. Col. Richard T. Anderson, the commanding officer for HMH-366. “They are constantly away from their families and deserve time to relax and build the esprit de corps between the staff NCOs and officers.”
The traditional schedule that HMH-366 followed included a cocktail hour, the March of the Beef and the dinner.
“As one of the senior staff members it is my job, like the other senior enlisted members, to teach and pass on the traditions of the Corps to those junior to me,” said Master Sgt. Sean P. Bosh, a maintenance chief for HMH-366. “This event builds camaraderie between all present and helps build that working relationship between staff and officers. We are the leaders of this unit.”
The senior enlisted and officers should be using times like the mess night to teach the junior staff and officers about the traditions and pass on knowledge their seniors passed on to them, said Bosh.
“We do deploy a lot and just being here as the most junior officer has shown me I can trust these guys while I’m flying and hopefully they can trust me,” said 1st Lt. Nicholas R. Ferri, a pilot with HMH-366. “With the high octane deployment rate we keep, we need to be able to feel comfortable with who we are heading down range with. These traditions help us do that.”
The tradition of the formal mess night dates back to World War II and was conducted by officers of the 3rd Regimental Combat Team in 1953. Still today, the Marine Corps carries on the tradition that usually ends with the final toast and with the words, “Take courage then seize the fortune that awaits you, repair to the Marine Rendezvous where in a flowing bowl of punch, and three times three, you shall drink, ‘Long live the United States and success to the Marines.’”