VMM-774 Wild Goose Tail (2018)
A 20 inch tail of the VMM-774 Wild Geese!
Marine Medium Helicopter 774 was activated September 5, 1958, at Naval Air Station New York as Marine Transport Helicopter Squadron 774 (HMR-774). The squadron operated the SH-34G/J Sea Bat helicopter. In April 1962 the squadron was redesignated Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 774, but was deactivated on 30 September 1962.
HMM-774 was reactivated at Naval Air Station Norfolk (Chambers Field) on July 1, 1969. HMM-774 initially operated UH-34D Sea Horse helicopters. In 1970, the CH-46 replaced the UH-34 and in 1971 the squadron was assigned under the command of the 4th Marine Aircraft Wing. In January 1991, HMM-774 was mobilized as an element of Marine Aircraft Group 26, I Marine Expeditionary Force (I MEF) in support of OPERATIONS DESERT SHIELD and DESERT STORM. In July 2004, the squadron was mobilized and deployed to Al Asad, Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom from August 2004 to March 2005 and from September 2005 to March 2006. The squadron was demobilized during July 2006.
On July 12, 2010, HMM-774 embarked aboard USS Iwo Jima (LHD-7) in support of Continuing Promise 2010. During this humanitarian mission, HMM-774 provided support to numerous countries in South America, to include Haiti, Nicaragua, Panama, Colombia, Guatemala, Suriname and Costa Rica. HMM-774 also played a vital role in the aftermath of Hurricane Thomas while deployed to South America and the Caribbean. Shortly after Hurricane Tomas passed through the Bahamas, HMM-774 pulled out of Suriname in short notice and followed the storm to Haiti. Once Hurricane Tomas made landfall, USS Iwo Jima rushed to the scene. Within hours of Hurricane Tomas’ destruction, USS Iwo Jima was on the site and HMM-774 was flying aerial recon to asess the situation and decide if further assistance was required.
Following a brief detachment aboard the USS Oak Hill (LSD-51) as a participant in Amphibious Southern Partnership Station 2012, HMM-774 no longer embarked on any further navy vessels. The squadron was present for Integrated Training Exercise (ITX) 4-13, providing a portion of the aviation combat element (ACE), as well as the same exercise, 4-14, the following year at Twentynine Palms, California. Following the return from Twentynine Palms in June 2014, the squadron turned attention to preparing for the upcoming transition to the MV-22B Osprey aircraft. As of April 2015, HMM-774 continues to gradually retire aircraft leading to a complete disposition of the CH-46E by December 2015. Retirement of the final aircraft around that time will bring an end to the last dedicated Marine medium helicopter squadron operated by the Marine Corps (VMR-1 currently maintains a small inventory of CH-46 aircraft for search and rescue operations). Activation as VMM-774 is expected in the opening months of 2016 with the arrival of the first Osprey. The squadron is expected to continue being based out of Naval Station Norfolk well into the foreseeable future.