Make your own free website on Tripod.com

HMR-161

161_disney.gif

Proposed Disney design


hmr161.gif hmr161_53.gif
161old.gif

HMR(L)-161

161l.gif

HMR(C)-161



HMM-161

hmm161rvn.gif
161phrog.gif
161sm.gif
hmm161_2009 (8K)

VMM-161

vmm161a (9K)

vmm161 (8K)

Subdued version

vmm161d (8K)

Desert version

Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 161
VMM-161

"Grayhawks"

Since its activation as HMR-161 in 1951, VMM-161 has been a rotorcraft pioneer. Eight months after activating, the squadron deployed to Korea, operating from CVE escort carriers and from land bases. The first transport helicopter squadron in the armed forces, HMR-161 carried out several "firsts", including the first ship-to-shore movement of troops in combat, the first movement of an entire battalion by helicopter, and the first helicopter combat resupply mission.

In 1953, HMR-161 relocated to Hawaii, where it operated under the 1st Marine Brigade and MAG-13. The squadron was redesignated HMR(L)-161 in 1956. In 1957 the Grayhawks became a composite-reconaissance helicopter squadron (HMR(C)-161), operating a mix of HRS and HOK-1 helicopters, along with OE-1 "Bird Dogs". HMR(C)-161 became a transport helicopter squadron again in 1958, and began operating the HUS-1/UH-34D "Sea Horse". In 1962 another redesignation took place with the squadron becoming a Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron (HMM-161).

HMM-161 deployed to Vietnam in 1965 for the first of two tours of duty there. Before leaving Hawaii, the squadron aircraft had pineapples painted on their noses, giving rise to the squadron's nickname "Pineaplle Squadron".

HMM-161 departed Vietnam at the end of 1966, relocating to New River, NC, where they traded in their UH-34Ds for CH-46Ds. HMM-161 returned to the war in Vietnam in 1968 and served there until 1970, when it relocated to Tustin. For the next two decades HMM-161 supported Marine forces on the West Coast and in Okinawa, participated in numerous deployments and training exercises, and assisted local authorities when needed.

HMM-161 returned to combat in 1990, serving throughout Operation Desert Shield/Storm.

HMM-161 deployed several times to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. 2009 saw the final deployment of the squadron as a helicopter squadron; HMM-161 returned home to begin transitioning to the MV-22B "Osprey". VMM-161 became the first West Coast VMM on 8 October 2009.


Lineage

1951 - 1964

Activated 15 January 1951 at El Toro, California, as Marine Helicopter Transport Squadron 161, Air, Fleet Marine Force, Pacific.

Deployed during August 1951 to Korea and attached to the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing.

Participated in the war in Korea operating from East Central Front.

Participated in the defense of the Korean Demilitarized Zone from July 1953 to March 1955.

Relocated during March 1955 to Kaneohe Bay, Territory of Hawaii, and attached to Marine Aircraft Group 13.

Redesignated 31 December 1956 as Marine Helicopter Transport Squadron (Light) 161, Marine Aircraft Group 13, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing.

Redesignated 1 June 1958 as Marine Helicopter Squadron (Composite) 161

Attached 1 October 1958 to the 1st Marine Brigade.

Attached 1 March 1959 to Marine Aircraft Group 13, 1st Marine Brigade.

Redesignated 1 July 1959 as Marine Helicopter Transport Squadron (Light) 161.

Redesignated 1 February 1962 as Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 161, Marine Aircraft Group 13, 1st Marine Brigade.

1965 - 1969

Deployed during May 1965 to Hue/Phu Bai, Republic of Vietnam, and attached to Marine Aircraft Group 16, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing.

Relocated during January 1966 to Futenma, Okinawa.

Redeployed during April 1966 to Da Nang, Republic of Vietnam.

Redeployed during June 1966 to Phu Bai, Republic of Vietnam.

Relocated during November 1966 to Futenma, Okinawa and attached to Marine Aircraft Group 15, 9th Marine Amphibious Brigade.

Relocated during December 1966 to New River, North Carolina and attached to Marine Aircraft Group 26, 2d Marine Aircraft Wing.

Redeployed during May 1968 to Quang Tri, Republic of Vietnam, and attached to Provisional Marine Aircraft Group 39, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing.

Redeployed during October 1969 to Phu Bai, Republic of Vietnam, and attached to Marine Aircraft Group 16, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing.

1970 - 2009

Redeployed during September 1970 to Santa Ana, California and attached to Marine Aircraft Group 56, 3d Marine Aircraft Wing, Fleet Marine Force, Pacific.

Reassigned during July 1971 to Marine Aircraft Group 16, 3d Marine Aircraft Wing, Fleet Marine Force, Pacific.

Participated in the system of Unit Deployment between Marine AircraftGroup 36, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing and Marine Aircraft Group 16 during the late 1970s and until 1985.

Deployed during June 1986 aboard USS Tarawa to the Western Pacific as the Aviation Combat Element for the 13th Marine Amphibious Unit.

Elements deployed to the Persian Gulf onboard USS Okinawa as part of Contingency Marine Air-Ground Task Force (CMAGTF) 1-88.

Deployed during January 1989 aboard USS Belleau Wood to the Western Pacific as the Aviation Combat Element for the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) (MEU (SOC)).

Elements participated during August 1989 in the cleanup of Prince William Sound, Alaska (Exxon Valdez) Oil Spill.

Deployed during April 1990 aboard USS New Orleans for Rim-Of-The- Pacific (RIMPAC)-90.

Deployed on 17 August to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as part of Marine Aircraft Group 70, 7th Marine Expeditionary Brigade, in support of Operation Desert Shield.

Participated in Operation Desert Storm in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Emirate of Kuwait.

Deployed during May 1992 aboard USS Tarawa to the Western Pacific and Persian Gulf as the Aviation Combat Element for the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) (MEU(SOC)).

Deployed during October 1994 aboard USS Essex to the Western Pacific and Persian Gulf as the Aviation Combat Element for the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) (MEU(SOC)).

Participated in Operation United Shield, the withdrawal of United Nations forces from Somalia in 1995.

Relocated during November 1995 to Marine Corps Air Station El Toro, California.

Deployed during March 1997 aboard USS Boxer to the Western Pacific and Persian Gulf as the Aviation Combat Element for the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) (MEU(SOC)).

Relocated during 1999 to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, California.

Deployed during 2003 as Aviation Element for 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) (MEU(SOC)). Participated in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Redesignated 8 October 2009 as Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 161 (VMM-161).


Honors

PRESIDENTIAL UNIT CITATION STREAMER with two bronze stars
- Korea
1951

- Vietnam
1965 -1966

- Iraq
21 March-24 April 2003

JOINT MERITORIOUS UNIT AWARD STREAMER
Somalia
1995

NAVY UNIT COMMENDATION STREAMER with three bronze stars
- Korea
1952 - 1953

- Vietnam
1965
1968

- Southwest Asia
1990 - 1991

MERITORIOUS UNIT COMMENDATION STREAMER with 3 bronze stars
- Vietnam
1968 - 1969

- Persian Gulf
1987 - 1988

- 1 May 2000-30 Apr 2001
- 8 Oct 2000 - 1 Jan 2001

NATIONAL DEFENSE SERVICE STREAMER with 3 bronze stars

KOREAN SERVICE STREAMER with 1 silver star

ARMED FORCES EXPEDITIONARY STREAMER
- Somalia
1995

VIETNAM SERVICE STREAMER with 2 silver stars and 1 bronze star

SOUTHWEST ASIA SERVICE STREAMER with 3 bronze stars

GLOBAL WAR on TERRORISM EXPEDITIONARY STREAMER

KOREAN PRESIDENTIAL UNIT CITATION STREAMER

VIETNAM CROSS of GALLANTRY with PALM STREAMER

VIETNAM MERITORIOUS UNIT CITATION CIVIL ACTIONS STREAMER