HMLA-469

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Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 469
HMLA-469 Logo.jpg
HMLA-469's insignia
Active June 30, 2009 - present
Country United States
Allegiance United States of America
Branch United States Marine Corps
Type Light Attack squadron
Role Close air support
Utility
Part of Marine Aircraft Group 39
3rd Marine Aircraft Wing
Garrison/HQ Marine Corps Air Station Camp Pendleton
Nickname Vengeance
Tail Code SE
Commanders
Current
commander
LtCol Powers
Aircraft flown
Attack helicopter AH-1W Cobra
Utility helicopter UH-1Y Venom

Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 469 (HMLA-469) is a United States Marine Corps helicopter squadron consisting of AH-1W Cobra attack helicopters and UH-1Y Venom utility helicopters. The squadron is based at Marine Corps Air Station Camp Pendleton, California and falls under the command of Marine Aircraft Group 39 (MAG-39) and the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing (3rd MAW). The squadron was activated on June 30, 2009.

The stand-up of HMLA-469 is part of the Commandant’s plan to “grow the force” to better meet the demands of the War on Terror and the complexities of an evolving global threat.[1]

Mission[edit]

Provide offensive air support, utility support, armed escort and airborne supporting arms coordination during naval expeditionary operations or joint and combined operations.

History[edit]

True to the necessity for the creation of the squadron, the unit's insignia and call sign are inspired by a 29 September 2001 quotation from President George W. Bush summing up the nation's sentiments in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks: "Tonight, we are a country awakened to danger and called to defend freedom. Our grief has turned to anger and anger to resolution. Whether we bring our enemies to justice or justice to our enemies, justice will be done." In the spirit of these words, the HMLA-469 callsign is “Vengeance,” which is defined as “punishment inflicted in retaliation for an injury or offense; retribution with great force or vehemence.” The Squadron patch is Scarlet and Black with a winged warrior holding a sword and shield. The warrior signifies the Marine Corps as an institution, dedicated to the defense of freedom and the protection of those unable to defend themselves in the face of tyranny. His wings represent the unit’s identity as a Light Attack Helicopter Squadron. The sword signifies that the squadron is an instrument of destruction for the enemies of the United States and the shield with its scales of justice indicates the squadron's readiness to repulse attack and deliver a measured, just, and victorious response. Each helicopter in the squadron has the tailcode SE, for September Eleventh, inscribed on the tail boom to pay tribute to those who lost their lives that day.[2]

On October 29, 2009 a US Coast Guard HC-130 aircraft with seven crewmembers collided with an HMLA-469 AH-1 Cobra helicopter with two crewmembers 15 miles east of San Clemente Island. Both aircraft crashed into the ocean and all nine crewmembers in both aircraft were killed.[3] The C-130 was searching for a missing boater while the USMC aircraft was heading towards a military training area in company with another Cobra and two CH-53E Super Stallions from Marine Corps Air Station Miramar.[4]

On 22 February 2012, HMLA-469 suffered another tragic loss. Vengeance 97, crewed by Major Nathan Anderson, Captain Michael Quin, Sergeant Justin Everett, Lance Corporals Corey Little and Nickoulas Elliott and Vengeance 98, crewed by Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Budrejko and Captain Benjamin Cerniglia experienced a midair collision over the Chocolate Mountains of Arizona resulting in the death of all seven Marines. Their loss was a tremendous blow to every member of the Vengeance family. As the squadron paused to mourn the loss of its brothers, Vengeance kept an ever present posture of preparing for combat, just as the fallen had. HMLA-469 deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in May, 2012.

On 26 November 2012, Vengeance returned to Camp Pendleton and resumed training. On 13 December 2012, Lieutenant Colonel Stephen J. Lightfoot was relieved by Lieutenant Colonel Richard D. Joyce.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Marine Corps.
  1. ^ LtGen John Castellaw (2007). "2007 Marine Aviation Plan" (PDF). Headquarters Marine Corps. Archived from the original on 2008-06-25. Retrieved 2008-07-13. 
  2. ^ Pendleton activates helicopter squadron Scout Newspaper, 07 July 2009, Lance Cpl. Damien Gutierrez
  3. ^ Schmidt, Steve, "Military Aircraft In Collision Off Coast", San Diego Union-Tribune, October 30, 2009, p. 1.
  4. ^ Steele, Jeanette, "Search For Crash Answers", San Diego Union-Tribune, October 31, 2009, p. 1.

External links[edit]