VMM-262 Flying Tigers Squadron Patch – Plastic Backing
Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 262 was activated in September 1951 at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, North Carolina and designated Marine Helicopter Transport Squadron 262 (HMR-262). Although activated during the Korean War, the squadron remained on the U.S. east coast providing helicopter support for the Fleet Marine Force units of that area. In February 1952, the Squadron was assigned to Marine Aircraft Group 26. During July 1954, the Squadron was relocated to Marine Corps Air Station New River, North Carolina where it remained until 1966.
On February 1, 1962, the Squadron’s designation was changed to Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 262 and, in April through June 1965, HMM-262 participated in Operation Powerpack in the Dominican Republic.
HMM-262 was deployed to the Republic of Vietnam in December 1966 and subsequently reassigned to Marine Aircraft Group 36, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing. The squadron supported operation during the Vietnam War and operated from Kỳ Hà, Marble Mountain, Quảng Trị, Phu Bai and the USS Tripoli while participating in numerous operations throughout the country.
With the withdrawal of troops from Vietnam, HMM-262 relocated to MCAS Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii during 1971 and was assigned to Marine Aircraft Group 24.
While stationed at Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, HMM-262 provided helicopter support to the 1st Marine Amphibious Brigade, FMF. In December 1976, HMM-262 was designated as the first Hawaii-based helicopter squadron to deploy to the western Pacific as a composite squadron. The squadron deployed aboard the USS Tripoli on 17 November and remained the “Cutting Edge” of the 31st MAU for the next eight months.
The Flying Tigers boarded the USS Belleau Wood in March 1990 to become the first Hawaii-based helicopter squadron to deploy aboard ship since 1985. In August 1990, HMM-262 deployed to Okinawa, Japan on UDP (Unit Deployment Plan) and repositioned its flag in September 1990 to NAS Cubi Point, Republic of the Philippines, to become the ACE (air combat element) in support of Marine Air-Ground Task Force 4-90 (MAGTF 4-90). The Squadron participated in emergency flood/earthquake relief efforts and was extended overseas due to Operation Desert Shield/Storm and returned to Hawaii on June 4, 1991.
In September 1992, the Flying Tigers once again embarked aboard the USS Belleau Wood and participated in Hurricane Iniki relief efforts on the island of Kauai. On September 27, 1992, the Squadron transferred its home base to MCAS Futenma, MAG-36, 1st MAW, Okinawa. This effectively transitioned the Flying Tigers to become the first permanently assigned HMM squadron in the region since 1978.
In October 2001, HMM-262 (REIN) sent a detachment of personnel and aircraft aboard the USS Harpers Ferry to the new nation of East Timor for humanitarian assistance operations. As all Unit Deployment Program personnel were frozen in December 2001, the Squadron concluded the year with a “Be Prepared To” order to remain the ACE for the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) and to prepare for potential contingency operations. After 18 months as the ACE of the 31st MEU, the Squadron was again reassigned to MAG-36 and was named a Chief of Naval Operations Aviation Safety Award winner for calendar year 2002.
In December 2004, HMM-262 deployed to the Philippines as part of Joint Task Force-535 in support of its Humanitarian Aid/Disaster Relief (HA/DR) mission. In only nine days of flying, the Squadron delivered over 204,800 pounds of food, water, and supplies to an isolated area that had been devastated by flooding and mudslides resulting from a succession of typhoons.
A CH-46 from HMM-262 takes off from a field in Leyte as part of the humanitarian operations following the 2006 mudslides
From January through March 2005, HMM-262 deployed aboard the USS Fort McHenry (LSD-43) and the USS Essex (LHD-2) as part of Joint Task Force-536 in support of Operation Unified Assistance, the HA/DR effort following the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake/tsunami. Operating off the northwestern coast of Sumatra, Indonesia, HMM-262 supported the effort by delivering aid and supplies to the victims of the massive tsunamis. During the period from January 14 to February 9, the Squadron delivered over 493,755 pounds of food, water, and other supplies to an area that spanned over 120 miles (190 km) of coastline. At the conclusion of this effort the Squadron was selected to provide helicopter lift on 19 & 20 February 2005 for former Presidents Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush during their tour of the tsunami-devastated areas of Thailand and Indonesia.
In February 2006, the squadron was again on board the USS Essex as part of the 31st MEU when called to provide humanitarian assistance to those affected by the 2006 Southern Leyte mudslide.
In January 2007, HMM-262 deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. This marked the first combat deployment of the squadron since the Vietnam War.The squadron was based at Al Taqaddum Air Base and their mission was to provide assault support for II Marine Expeditionary Force (II MEF) units in Al Anbar Province. From February to May 2007 the squadron flew 1,574 sorties totaling 2,532 flight hours. They also had one Marine killed in action
On 30 September 2013, the CH-46E Sea Knights from HMM-262 made their final flight from Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, and were retired to make way for the MV-22B Osprey’s. HMM-262’s CH-46Es were the last of their type in Okinawa, and the Pacific. The unit was redesigned as Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 262 (VMM-262).
In May 2015, HMM-262 deployed to assist in relief efforts after the April 2015 Nepal earthquake.