HMM-261 is the third-oldest helicopter squadron
in the Marine Corps and has a distinguished record that includes
combat in Vietnam, Grenada, and the Gulf War. Most recently (2002), HMM-261 served as the 22nd MEU ACE. During this period the squadron operated in Afghanistan in support of Operation "Enduring Freedom".
In February 2002 the squadron reached 40,000 consecutive mishap-free flight-hours.
The "Bulls" make regular deployments to the Carribean, Mediterranean and Atlantic, and participate in exercises at home and with our allies.
Activated 5 April 1951 at Cherry Point, North Carolina, as Marine Helicopter Transport Squadron 261.
Reassigned June 1952 to Marine Aircraft Group 26, 2d Marine Aircraft Wing.
Relocated July 1954 to New River, North Carolina.
Redesignated 31 December 1956 as Marine Helicopter Transport Squadron (Light) 261.
Relocated and reassigned January 1959 to Marine Aircraft Group 16, Iwakuni, Japan.
Relocated July 1959 to Futenma, Okinawa.
Relocated and reassigned May 1960 to Marine Aircraft Group 26, New River, North Carolina.
Relocated and reassigned June 1961 to Marine Aircraft Group 16, Futenma, Okinawa.
Redesignated 1 February 1962 as Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 261.
Participated in expeditionary duty, Thailand, May - June 1962.
Relocated July 1962, Marine Aircraft Group 26, New River, North Carolina.
Relocated and reassigned June 1963 to Marine Aircraft Group 16, Da Nang, Republic of Vietnam.
Afloat aboard USS Iwo Jima, October 1963 - April 1964, Western Pacific.
Relocated April 1964 to Futenma, Okinawa.
Relocated and reassigned June 1964 to Marine Aircraft Group 26, New River, North Carolina.
Relocated and reassigned June 1965 to Marine Aircraft Group 16, Da Nang, Republic of Vietnam.
Participated in the war in Vietnam, June 1963 - September 1963 and June 1965 - May 1966, operating from
USS Valley Forge
Relocated and reassigned June 1966 to Marine Aircraft Group 26, New River, North Carolina.
Participated as part of the Multinational Peace-Keeping Force in Lebanon, August - October 1982 and October 1983 - February 1984.
Participated in the landings on Grenada - Carriacou, October - November 1983.
Participated in Operation Sharp Edge, May - September 1990, Liberia.
Participated in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, Southwest Asia,
January - April 1991.
Participated in Joint Task Force Operation Guardian Retrieval, Brazzaville, Congo, May 1997.
Conducted Noncombatant Evacuation Operations in support of Joint Task Force Noble Obelisk, Freetown, Sierra Leone, May - June 1997.
PRESIDENTIAL UNIT CITATION STREAMER
NAVY UNIT COMMENDATION STREAMER with 1 silver and 1 bronze star
MERITORIOUS UNIT COMMENDATION STREAMER with 3 bronze stars
MARINE CORPS EXPEDITIONARY STREAMER
NATIONAL DEFENSE SERVICE STREAMER with 3 bronze stars
ARMED FORCES EXPEDITIONARY STREAMER with 1 bronze star
GLOBAL WAR ON TERRORISM EXPEDITIONARY STREAMER
VIETNAM SERVICE STREAMER with 3 bronze stars
SOUTHWEST ASIA SERVICE STREAMER with 3 bronze stars
HMM-261 has received the CNO Safety Award nine times and has been named "Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron of the Year" four times by the Marine Corps Aviation Association.