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List of active United States Marine Corps aircraft squadrons

  (Redirected from List of United States Marine Corps aircraft squadrons)

This is a list of all of the active squadrons that exist in the United States Marine Corps, sorted by type. Most squadrons have changed names and designations many times over the years, so they are listed by their current designation.

To see Marine Aviation units sorted by command hierarchy, see aviation combat element.

Contents

Squadron designationsEdit

The basic tactical and administrative unit of United States Marine Corps aviation is the squadron. Fixed-wing aircraft squadrons (heavier than air) and tiltrotor squadrons are denoted by the letter "V", which comes from the Spanish verb "volar" (to fly). Rotary wing (helicopter) squadrons use "H." Marine squadrons are always noted by the second letter "M." Squadron numbering is not linear as some were numbered in ascending order and others took numbers from the wing or the ship to which they were assigned. From 1920 to 1941, Marine flying squadrons were identified by one digit numbers. This changed on July 1, 1941 when all existing squadrons were redesignated to a three-digit system. The first two numbers were supposed to identify the squadrons parent group but with the rapid expansion during World War II and frequent transfer of squadrons this system fell apart.[1]

Rotary-wing aircraftEdit

Marine Helicopter SquadronEdit

The squadron is responsible for the helicopter transportation of the President of the United States, Vice President, Cabinet members and VIPs. In addition to its VIP transport role, it is also tasked with operational test and evaluation (OT&E) of new flight systems for Marine Corps helicopters.[2] The squadron flies the VH-3D Sea King the VH-60N Whitehawk, and the MV-22 Osprey. These were due to be replaced by the VH-71 Kestrel,[3] however that program was cancelled in April 2009.[4] Lastly, HMX-1 provides support to training at The Basic School, providing aerial insertion for various training events, as well as MAGTF Air component orientation to the student officers.

Squadron Name Insignia Nickname Date Commissioned Senior Command Station
HMX-1
 
Marine One
1 December 1947
Headquarters Marine Corps
MCAF Quantico, VA[5]

Marine Heavy Helicopter SquadronsEdit

Heavy helicopter squadrons were first formed in 1966 when the Marine Corps began flying the heavy lift CH-53 Sea Stallion during the Vietnam War.[6] Each squadron is equipped with sixteen CH-53 helicopters. Their primary role is moving cargo and equipment with the secondary role of transferring troops ashore in an amphibious assault. All squadrons have transitioned from the CH-53 Sea Stallion to the larger and more powerful CH-53E Super Stallion.[7] The CH-53Es are the most powerful helicopter in the U.S. military inventory today.[8] Due to a reorganization in Marine aviation, HMH-366 was reactivated in 2008[9] at MCAS Cherry Point.[10]

 
CH-53D Sea Stallion
 
CH-53E Super Stallion
Squadron Name Insignia Nickname Date Commissioned Senior Command Station
HMH-361
 
Flying Tigers
25 February 1952
MAG-16, 3rd MAW
MCAS Miramar, CA[11]
HMH-366
 
Hammerheads
30 September 2008
MAG-29, 2nd MAW
MCAS New River, NC
HMH-461
 
Iron Horse
15 March 1944
MAG-29, 2nd MAW
MCAS New River, NC[12]
HMH-462
 
Heavy Haulers
15 April 1944
MAG-16, 3rd MAW
MCAS Miramar, CA[13]
HMH-463
 
Pegasus
20 July 1944
MAG-24, 1st MAW
MCAS Kaneohe Bay, HI[14]
HMH-464
 
Condors
5 April 1944
MAG-29, 2nd MAW
MCAS New River, NC[15]
HMH-465
 
Warhorse
1 December 1981
MAG-16, 3rd MAW
MCAS Miramar, CA
HMH-466
 
Wolfpack
30 November 1984
MAG-16, 3rd MAW
MCAS Miramar, CA

Marine Heavy Helicopter Training SquadronEdit

The squadron trains newly designated (i.e., winged) Naval Aviators, conversion pilots, refresher pilots, and enlisted aircrew on the CH-53E Super Stallion.[16]

Squadron Name Insignia Nickname Date Commissioned Senior Command Station
HMHT-302
 
Phoenix
1 November 1966
MAG-29, 2nd MAW
MCAS New River, NC

Marine Light Attack Helicopter SquadronsEdit

The Marine Corps’ light attack squadrons are composite squadrons made up of 18 AH-1W SuperCobras or AH-1Z Vipers and 9 UH-1Y Venoms.[17] The primary missions of the Cobra is close air support, forward air control, reconnaissance and armed escort,[18] while the Huey provides airborne command and control, utility support, supporting arms coordination and medical evacuation.[19] The AH-1W is due to be upgraded to the AH-1Z Viper as part of the H-1 upgrade program which will see both the AH-1 and UH-1 get greater power, improved avionics and an 85% commonality of parts.[20][21][22] The transition to the UH-1Y was completed in August 2014 when HMLA-773 flew the UH-1N for the last time.[23] Due to the need for more light attack squadrons, the Marine Corps began adding new squadrons in 2008.[24] HMLA-467 and HMLA-469 are the newest squadrons. However, as a result of force structure reductions, HMLA-467 is scheduled to be deactivated by the end of FY16[10]

 
AH-1W Cobra
 
A UH-1Y of HMLAT-303 at Camp Pendleton, 2008
Squadron Name Insignia Nickname Date Commissioned Senior Command Station
HMLA-167
 
Warriors
1 April 1968
MAG-29, 2nd MAW
MCAS New River, NC[25]
HMLA-169
 
Vipers
30 September 1971
MAG-39, 3rd MAW
MCAS Camp Pendleton, CA[26]
HMLA-267
 
Stingers
15 February 1944
MAG-39, 3rd MAW
MCAS Camp Pendleton, CA[27]
HMLA-269
 
The Gunrunners
22 February 1971
MAG-29, 2nd MAW
MCAS New River, NC[28]
HMLA-367
 
Scarface
1 December 1943
MAG-24, 1st MAW
MCAS Kaneohe Bay, HI[29]
HMLA-369
 
Gunfighters
1 April 1972
MAG-39, 3rd MAW
MCAS Camp Pendleton, CA[30]
HMLA-469
 
Vengeance
30 June 2009
MAG-39, 3rd MAW
MCAS Camp Pendleton, CA[31]
HMLA-773
 
Red Dog
June 1968
MAG-49, 4th MAW
Joint Base McGuire–Dix–Lakehurst, NJ[32]
HMLA-775
 
Coyote
1 October 2016
MAG-41, 4th MAW
MCAS Camp Pendleton, CA[33]

Marine Light Attack Helicopter Training SquadronEdit

The squadron trains newly designated (i.e., winged) Naval Aviators, conversion pilots, refresher pilots, and enlisted aircrew on the UH-1Y Venom, and the AH-1Z Viper.[34]

Squadron Name Insignia Nickname Date Commissioned Senior Command Station
HMLAT-303
 
Atlas
30 April 1982
MAG-39, 3rd MAW
MCAS Camp Pendleton, CA

Tiltrotor AircraftEdit

Marine Medium Tiltrotor SquadronsEdit

Marine tiltrotor squadrons are new units operating the MV-22 Osprey with their main mission being assault support. The Osprey offers twice the speed, five times the range, and can fly more than twice as high as the helicopters it is replacing.[35] As the Marine Corps’ number one aviation acquisition priority, the Osprey is replacing the aging fleet of CH-46 Sea Knight helicopters and is a cornerstone of the capstone concept of Expeditionary maneuver warfare.[36] As of October 2017, the Marine Corps has 16 Fully Operationally Capable (FOC) MV-22 squadrons. VMM-268, VMM-364, and VMM-164 reached FOC in FY16. The two newest Osprey squadrons, VMM-362 and VMM-212, will stand up in FY18 and FY19 respectively, completing the Marine Corps' transition to 18 active component MV-22 squadrons. Each squadron operates 12 aircraft.

 
USAF CV-22 Osprey
Squadron Name Insignia Nickname Date Commissioned Senior Command Station
VMM-161
 
Greyhawks
15 January 1951
MAG-16, 3rd MAW
MCAS Miramar, CA[37]
VMM-162
 
Golden Eagles
June 30, 1952
MAG-26, 2nd MAW
MCAS New River, NC[38]
VMM-163
 
Ridge Runners
December 1951
MAG-16, 3rd MAW
MCAS Miramar, CA[39]
VMM-164
 
Knightriders
July 1, 1962
MAG-39, 3rd MAW
MCAS Camp Pendleton, CA
VMM-165
 
White Knights
July 1, 1965
MAG-16, 3rd MAW
MCAS Miramar, CA[40]
VMM-166
 
Sea Elk
September 13, 1985
MAG-16, 3rd MAW
MCAS Miramar, CA[41]
VMM-261
 
Raging Bulls
April 5, 1951
MAG-26, 2nd MAW
MCAS New River, NC[42]
VMM-262
 
Flying Tigers
September 1951
MAG-36, 1st MAW
MCAS Futenma, Japan[43]
VMM-263
 
Thunder Chickens
June 16, 1952
MAG-29, 2nd MAW
MCAS New River, NC[44]
VMM-264
 
Black Knights
June 30, 1959
MAG-26, 2nd MAW
MCAS New River, NC[45]
VMM-265
 
Dragons
October 1, 1962
MAG-36, 1st MAW
MCAS Futenma, Japan[46]
VMM-266
 
Fighting Griffins
April 26, 1983
MAG-26, 2nd MAW
MCAS New River, NC[47]
VMM-268
 
Red Dragons
April 26, 1983
MAG-24, 1st MAW
MCB Hawaii, HA[48]
VMM-362
 
Ugly Angels
April 30, 1952
MAG-16, 3rd MAW
MCAS Miramar, CA[49]
VMM-363
 
Red Lions
June 2, 1952
MAG-24, 1st MAW
MCB Hawaii, HI[50]
VMM-364
 
Purple Foxes
September 1, 1961
MAG-39, 3rd MAW
MCAS Camp Pendleton, CA[51]
VMM-365
 
Blue Knights
July 1, 1963
MAG-26, 2nd MAW
MCAS New River, NC[52]
VMM-764
 
Moonlight
April 15, 1958
MAG-41, 4th MAW
MCAS Miramar, CA[53]
VMM-774
 
Wild Goose
1969
MAG-49, 4th MAW
NS Norfolk, VA[54]

Marine Medium Tiltrotor Training SquadronEdit

The squadron provides new and conversion training to both Marine Corps and Air Force pilots and units in the use and maintenance of the Osprey tiltrotor aircraft.[55]

Squadron Name Insignia Nickname Date Commissioned Senior Command Station
VMMT-204
 
Raptors
May 1, 1972
2nd MAW
MCAS New River, NC

Fixed-Wing AircraftEdit

Marine Attack SquadronsEdit

After World War II, the United States Navy decided to combine all of the functions of the scout bomber, torpedo bomber and bomber torpedo communities into the Attack designation.[56] On July 22, 1946, it released Bulletin No. 46-1543, which authorized the formation of attack squadrons; however, the Marine Corps did not form any until 1952.[1] Today, Marine attack squadrons fly the AV-8B Harrier II[57] and are tasked with providing close air support, air interdiction, surveillance and escort of helicopters. Because the STOVL Harrier can operate from amphibious assault ships, expeditionary airfields and tactical remote landing sites, it provides commanders with more flexibility in providing air support.[58] The Harrier is due to be replaced by the F-35B, the STOVL version of the F-35 Lightning II.[59] This transition began in 2016 when VMA-211 exchanged its Harriers for the F-35B and became VMFA-211.

 
AV-8B Harrier II taking off
 
AV-8B Harrier II landing
Squadron Name Insignia Nickname Date Commissioned Senior Command Station
VMA-214
 
Black Sheep
1 July 1942
MAG-13, 3rd MAW
MCAS Yuma, AZ[60]
VMA-223
 
Bulldogs
1 May 1942
MAG-14, 2nd MAW
MCAS Cherry Point, NC[61]
VMA-231
 
Ace of Spades
8 February 1919
MAG-14, 2nd MAW
MCAS Cherry Point, NC[62]
VMA-311
 
Tomcats
1 December 1942
MAG-13, 3rd MAW
MCAS Yuma, AZ
VMA-542
 
Tigers
6 March 1944
MAG-14, 2nd MAW
MCAS Cherry Point, NC[63]

Marine Attack Training SquadronEdit

 
TAV-8B

The squadron trains newly designated (i.e., winged) Naval Aviators to fly the AV-8B Harrier II.[64]

Squadron Name Insignia Nickname Date Commissioned Senior Command Station
VMAT-203
 
Hawks
July 1, 1947
MAG-14, 2nd MAW
MCAS Cherry Point, NC

Marine Fighter Attack SquadronsEdit

The Marine Corps' VMFA squadrons fly the single seat F/A-18A++, F/A-18C/C+ Hornet and F-35B Lightning II. Their primary role is to intercept and destroy enemy aircraft and to attack and destroy surface targets in all weather conditions. Each Hornet squadron operates 12 aircraft, each F-35B squadron operates 16 aircraft, and each F-35C squadron will operate 10 aircraft.[65][66][67]

 
F/A-18C Hornet
 
F/A-18 Hornet in transonic flight
Squadron Name Insignia Nickname Aircraft Date Commissioned Senior Command Station
VMFA-112
 
Cowboys
F/A-18A++
March 1, 1942
MAG-41, 4th MAW
NASJRB Fort Worth, TX[68]
VMFA-115
 
Silver Eagles
F/A-18A++/C+
July 1, 1943
MAG-31, 2nd MAW
MCAS Beaufort, SC[69]
VMFA-121
 
Green Knights
F-35B
June 24, 1941
MAG-12, 1st MAW
MCAS Iwakuni, Japan[70]
VMFA-122
 
Flying Leathernecks
F-35B
March 1, 1942
MAG-13, 3rd MAW
MCAS Yuma, AZ[71]
VMFA-211
 
Wake Island Avengers
F-35B
January 1, 1937
MAG-13, 3rd MAW
MCAS Yuma, AZ[72]
VMFA-232
 
Red Devils
F/A-18C
September 1, 1925
MAG-11, 3rd MAW
MCAS Miramar, CA[73]
VMFA-251
 
Thunderbolts
F/A-18C
December 1, 1941
MAG-31, 2nd MAW
MCAS Beaufort, SC[74]
VMFA-312
 
Checkerboard
F/A-18C
June 1, 1943
MAG-31, 2nd MAW
MCAS Beaufort, SC[75]
VMFA-314
 
Black Knights
F/A-18A++
October 1, 1943
MAG-11, 3rd MAW
MCAS Miramar, CA[76]
VMFA-323
 
Death Rattlers
F/A-18C
August 1, 1943
MAG-11, 3rd MAW
MCAS Miramar, CA[77]

Marine All-Weather Fighter Attack SquadronsEdit

The VMFA(AW) squadrons fly the two seat F/A-18D Hornet. Their primary mission is to attack and destroy surface targets, day or night, under all weather conditions; conduct multi-sensor imagery reconnaissance; provide supporting arms coordination; and intercept and destroy enemy aircraft in all weather conditions. The current F/A-18s saw their first action in Operation Desert Storm after replacing the venerable A-6 Intruder.[65][66][78]

 
F/A-18D dropping bombs
Squadron Name Insignia Nickname Date Commissioned Senior Command Station
VMFA(AW)-224
 
Bengals
May 1, 1942
MAG-31, 2nd MAW
MCAS Beaufort, SC
[79]
VMFA(AW)-225
 
Vikings
January 1, 1943
MAG-11, 3rd MAW
MCAS Miramar, CA
[80]
VMFA(AW)-242
 
Bats
July 1, 1943
MAG-12, 1st MAW
MCAS Iwakuni, Japan
[81]
VMFA(AW)-533
 
Hawks
October 1, 1943
MAG-31, 2nd MAW
MCAS Beaufort, SC
[82]

Marine Fighter Attack Training SquadronsEdit

VMFAT-101 trains newly designated (i.e., winged) Naval Aviators to fly the F/A-18 Hornet while VMFAT-501 trains new and transitioning pilots to fly the F-35B Lightning II.[83][84]

Squadron Name Insignia Nickname Date Commissioned Senior Command Station
VMFAT-101
 
Sharpshooters
January 3, 1969
MAG-11, 3rd MAW
MCAS Miramar, CA
VMFAT-501
 
Warlords
April 1, 2010
MAG-31, 2nd MAW
MCAS Beaufort, SC

Marine Fighter Training SquadronEdit

VMFT-401 is the only aggressor squadron in the Marine Corps. It flies the F-5E Tiger II and provides instruction to active and reserve squadrons through dissimilar adversary combat tactics. The squadron is based at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, AZ and is assigned to Marine Aircraft Group-41, 4th Marine Aircraft Wing, Marine Forces Reserve.

Marine Aerial Refueler Transport SquadronsEdit

VMGR squadrons operate the KC-130 Hercules tanker/transport. Their primary missions are aerial and rapid ground refuelling, transportation of personnel and cargo to include MEDEVACs and parachute insertions, flying the airborne version of the Direct Air Support Center (DASC) and emergency resupply into unimproved landing zones.[85][86][87]

 
KC-130J Hercules of VMGR-252
Squadron Name Insignia Nickname Aircraft Date Commissioned Senior Command Station
VMGR-152
 
Sumos
KC-130J
11 March 1942
MAG-12, 1st MAW
MCAS Iwakuni, Japan
[88]
VMGR-234
 
Rangers
KC-130J
1 May 1942
MAG-41, 4th MAW
NASJRB Fort Worth, TX
[89]
VMGR-252
 
Otis
KC-130J
1 June 1928
MAG-14, 2nd MAW
MCAS Cherry Point, NC
[90]
VMGR-352
 
Raiders
KC-130J
1 April 1943
MAG-11, 3rd MAW
MCAS Miramar, CA
[91]
VMGR-452
 
Yankees
KC-130T
9 September 1988
MAG-49, 4th MAW
Stewart ANGB, NY
[92]

Marine Transport SquadronEdit

VMR squadrons provide search and rescue support as well as movement of key personnel and critical logistics support around the world. They also provide movement of high priority passengers and cargo during wartime in support of operations and other critical commitments.[93]

 
UC-35D
Squadron Name Insignia Nickname Date Commissioned Senior Command Station
VMR-1
 
Roadrunners
January 1943
H&HS, MCAS Cherry Point
MCAS Cherry Point, NC

Marine Operational Test and Evaluation SquadronEdit

The squadron is a Marine Corps test and development unit. Its mission is to conduct operational testing and evaluation of Marine Corps fixed, tiltrotor, and rotary-wing aircraft. The unit was redesignated to VMX-1 (from VMX-22) on May 13, 2016.[94]

Squadron Name Insignia Nickname Aircraft Date Commissioned Senior Command Station
VMX-1
 
Flying Lions
UH-1Y
AH-1W/Z
CH-53E/K
MV-22B
F-35B
RQ-21
August 28, 2003
Operational Test and Evaluation Force
MCAS Yuma, AZ

Unmanned Aerial SystemsEdit

Marine Unmanned Aerial Vehicle SquadronsEdit

VMUs operate the RQ-7B Shadow unmanned aerial system (UAS) which provides Marine ground forces with reconnaissance, surveillance, and target acquisition. They also provide artillery spotting and can assist in search and rescue operations.[95][96] Since 2004, the VMU squadrons have also been operating the Boeing ScanEagle UAS, and has longer endurance and smaller footprint, but has a lesser camera capability with no IR pointer.[97] The Navy/Marine Corps has shown interest in the MQ-8B Fire Scout Vertical Takeoff and Landing Tactical Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (VTUAV),[98] which was originally developed to meet the future Tier III requirements of the Marine Corps.[99] Due to the high operational tempo of the VMU squadrons in recent years, the Marine Corps stood up VMU-3 in 2008 and VMU-4, a reserve unit, was activated in 2010 with the lineage of VMO-4.[24]

 
RQ-7 Shadow
Squadron Name Insignia Nickname Date Commissioned Senior Command Station
VMU-1
 
Watchdogs
21 January 1987
MAG-13, 3rd MAW
MCAS Yuma, AZ
[100]
VMU-2
 
Night Owls
June 1984
MAG-14, 2nd MAW
MCAS Cherry Point, NC
[101]
VMU-3
 
Phantoms
12 September 2008
MAG-24, 1st MAW
MCAS Kaneohe Bay, HI
VMU-4
Evil Eyes
20 December 1943
MAG-41, 4th MAW
MCB Camp Pendleton, CA

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

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