News: HMM-265 redesignated, awaits Ospreys
Story by Lance Cpl. Nicholas Ranum
OKINAWA, Japan - Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 265 held a redesignation ceremony here Sept. 7.
HMM-265, part of Marine Aircraft Group 36, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force, became Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 265 (VMM-265) in preparation to receive its first MV-22B Ospreys, currently located at MCAS Iwakuni.
“Since the activation of the squadron almost 50 years ago, they have been at the forefront of operations,” said Brig. Gen. Christopher S. Owens, the commanding general of 1st MAW. “The squadron has served with distinction in Bangladesh, Cambodia, East Timor and most recently in Japan as part of Operation Tomodachi, (a humanitarian assistance and disaster relief effort launched) in response to the Great East Japan Earthquake (and subsequent tsunami) in 2011.”
The general’s speech was part of a ceremony marking the end of almost half a century of service by the squadron’s CH-46E Sea Knight helicopters.
“It is a bittersweet day,” said Lt. Col. William L. DePue Jr., the commanding officer of the squadron. “This will probably be the last public opportunity to say goodbye to the CH-46E Sea Knight. That aircraft has provided almost 50 years of medium lift support for Marines on the ground.”
The squadron, known as the Dragons, have worked hard during the transition from the old aircraft to the new aircraft, according to DePue.
“This transition is the culmination of a lot of work in the squadron, the group, the wing, and all the way up to the U.S.-Japan alliance,” said DePue. “I appreciate the flexibility and the support for the transition. It has been and will remain an enormous effort.”
The ceremony highlighted the Dragon’s service since 1995 in support of Marine Corps operations from Okinawa.
“There are two things that are constant in the Marine Corps,” said Col. Jeff K. Arruda, the commanding officer of MAG-36. “Those two things are change and the rich tradition of professionalism and performance. This squadron has demonstrated the ability to adapt to many situations and continues to be a highly professional and high-performing unit.”
Those qualities have been demonstrated in the day-to-day operations of the squadron.
“We will continue to provide service to Marines on the ground while we wait to transition to the new aircraft,” said DePue. “We have provided support for operations from Vietnam to Operation Enduring Freedom. After the transition, we will continue to do that with the battle-tested and humanitarian-tested MV-22B Osprey.”
The MV-22B is a highly-capable aircraft with an excellent operational safety record. Its capabilities stand to significantly strengthen III MEF’s ability to provide for the defense of Japan, perform humanitarian assistance and disaster response missions, and fulfill other alliance roles.