MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON -- For the first time in Marine Corps history, a Camp Pendleton based squadron will be the Air Combat Element for a Marine Expeditionary Unit.
Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 268 is scheduled to deploy as the first Marine Aircraft Group 39 composite squadron ACE for a Southern California MEU in March 2001.
Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 267 will be the first HMLA squadron to support an HMM ACE within MAG 39, said Lt. Col. Robert A. Martinez, commanding officer, HMLA 267.
?I?m proud that HMLA 267 will be part of the ACE,? said 1st Lt. David Moore, adjutant, HMLA 267. ?I?m sure they?ll do an outstanding job.?
Historically, MAG 39 units would augment various squadrons at Marine Corps Air Station, El Toro, Ca., said Capt. Aaron C. Marx, human affairs officer, HMLA 267. Those units would then deploy from MCAS El Toro to Southern California MEUs. When MCAS El Toro closed in the spring of 1999, some of the squadrons relocated to Camp Pendleton and attached to MAG 39. Now Camp Pendleton based HMLA 267, with augmentees from MCAS Miramar, will deploy as HMM 268 (Reinforced) for the 11th MEU (Special Operations Capable).
A MEU consists of about 2,200 personnel commanded by a colonel. A MEU is deployed on up to four Naval amphibious ships to fulfill routine forward deployments with fleets in the Mediterranean, the Western Pacific, and periodically, the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. The force has the ability to rapidly organize for combat operations in virtually any environment.
The ACE is a Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron reinforced with four types of helicopters into a composite squadron. These units include CH-53E ?Super Stallions,? CH-46E ?Sea Knights,? UH-1N ?Hueys? and AH-1W ?Super Cobras.? ACE assets may also include fixed-wing aircraft such as the AV-8B ?Harrier? jet.
Col. Carl B. Jensen, commanding officer, MAG 39, expressed his admiration and confidence in the Marines of HMLA 267 during a formation held on the flight line before they marched down to attach with the Marines and sailors of HMM 268, Aug. 25.