|Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 362|
|Active||April 30, 1952 - November 30, 2012|
|Allegiance||United States of America|
|Branch||United States Marine Corps|
|Type||CH-53D Sea Stallion heavy helicopters|
Marine Aircraft Group 24|
1st Marine Aircraft Wing
|Garrison/HQ||MCAS Kaneohe Bay|
|Motto(s)||"Semper Malus" - Always Ugly|
Operation Desert Storm
Operation Uphold Democracy
Operation Iraqi Freedom
Operation Enduring Freedom
Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 362 (HMH-362) was a United States Marine Corps helicopter squadron consisting of ten CH-53D Sea Stallion assault support helicopters and 220 Marines and Sailors. The squadron, known as the "Ugly Angels", was activated on April 30, 1952 as Marine Helicopter Transport Squadron and was last based at Marine Corps Air Station Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii falling under the command of Marine Aircraft Group 24 (MAG-24) and 1st Marine Aircraft Wing (1st MAW) within III MEF.
Support the Marine Air-Ground Task Force Commander by providing assault support transport of combat troops, and equipment, day or night under all weather conditions during Expeditionary, Joint, or Combined operations.
The Ugly Angels hold the proud distinction of having served as the first Marine aircraft unit in the Republic of Vietnam, going ashore on 15 April 1962 as Marine Helicopter Transport Squadron Light HMR (L) 362 with their Sikorsky UH-34s, arriving at Sóc Trăng in the Mekong Delta south of Saigon. under the leadership of Lieutenant Colonel Archie Clapp. The task unit was called "Shufly" and its first operational employment involved lifting Vietnamese troops into battle on April 22. It was the evolution of "Archie’s Angels" to "Ugly Angels" that gave HMM/HMH-362 their well-known call sign. HMM-362 served in the Republic of Vietnam until 1969, in addition to the first deployment to Soc Trang, the squadron also deployed to Kỳ Hà, Marble Mountain and Hue/Phu Bai. During these years HMM-362 also supported operations in Vietnam from the sea, serving aboard the USS Iwo Jima, USS Okinawa, and USS Princeton. HMM-362 lost a total of thirty-three Marines during their years of supporting combat operations in the Republic of Vietnam.
The squadron would fly the last combat missions of the UH-34 "Huss" and on August 18, 1969 they held a ceremony at Phu Bai marking the end of its combat role. The final six aircraft in the squadron were flown to Da Nang to be shipped back to the United States and the squadron's title was transferred to Marine Corps Air Station New River, North Carolina where they would transition to the CH-53 Sea Stallion and redesignated as HMH-362.
The squadron relocated from Santa Ana, California to Vietnam in 1962 as part of Marine Aircraft Group 36, 3d Marine Aircraft Wing. From 1969 through 1995 the squadron was located at Marine Corps Air Station New River, NC and was under MAG-26, 2d MAW, II MEF. It was during this time that the squadron was officially re-designated Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 362.
During the early 1990s the squadron deployed to Saudi Arabia for Operation Desert Storm. In 1993 the squadron deployed aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) with 6x CH-53D's and 4x UH-1N helicopters as part of a Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force (SPMAGTF). In 1994 the squadron served as the Aviation Combat Element aboard the USS Wasp (LHD-1) in support of Operation Uphold Democracy in Haiti. Shortly after, In 1995 HMH-362 relocated to MCAF Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii as part of Marine Aircraft Group 24, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing.
Global War on Terror
In March 2002, HMH-362 opened a new chapter when it became the first CH-53D squadron from MAG-24 assigned to the Marine Corps’ Unit Deployment Program at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan for a six-month period. Within 48 hours of their arrival in the western Pacific, the Ugly Angels embarked on a four-month, island-hopping tour known within the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing as the "Fishhook," so named for the shape of its stops in various Southeast Asian nations. Operating as the Aviation Combat Element (ACE) in five countries for Landing Force Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (LF CARAT) 2002, the squadron played an essential role in the Commander's, U.S. Pacific Command Theater Engagement Plan. During this period, the Ugly Angels flew over 7,100 nautical miles from mainland Japan through the Republic of the Philippines, Brunei, Singapore, and Malaysia to Utapao, Thailand, before redeploying to Iwakuni. The total distance covered by HMH-362’s helicopters exceeded that of a flight from New York to Hong Kong. HMH-362 ended 2002 with a culmination of over 59,000 Class A mishap-free flight hours.
After returning to Kaneohe Bay in 2002, HMH-362 resumed its assault support mission throughout the Hawaiian Islands. In September 2003, HMH-362 once again returned to the Western Pacific in support of the Unit Deployment Program, deploying with eight CH-53D aircraft to MCAS Iwakuni, Japan. Over the six-month period, the squadron participated in exercises in the Republic of the Philippines. Additionally, the squadron deployed two separate training detachments to the Republic of Korea in January 2004. In March 2004, HMH-362 returned to the Republic of Korea in support of Exercise Foal Eagle. Additional high lights from UDP ’03-’04 included a three-week training detachment to the Japanese island of Okinawa, and support of Exercise Yamasakura on mainland Japan. HMH-362 redeployed to its home station of MCB Kaneohe Bay in April 2004 to resume its assault support mission in the Hawaiian Islands.
The Ugly Angels embarked on its third UDP tour in the spring of 2005, spending six months aboard MCAS Futenma in Okinawa, Japan. That summer, one-half of the squadron was attached to the aviation combat element for the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (31st MEU) and participated in the Philippines Bilateral Exercise (PHIBLEX) aboard the USS Essex (LHD-2). In November 2005, the squadron conducted a presidential support mission during which it flew logistical support missions for the Commander-in-Chief’s visit to Osaka, Japan. The squadron’s flawless execution of that mission prompted a second presidential support operation the following February in Hyderabad, India. In July, 2006, HMH-362 operated aboard the USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD-6) as the aviation combat element for the RIMPAC exercise 2006.
Operation Iraqi Freedom
2007 would see HMH-362 participate in its first major combat operation since Desert Storm. On April 3, the Ugly Angels departed MCAS Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii for a planned seven-month tour aboard Al Asad Airbase in western Iraq as part of OIF 06-08. The squadron officially assumed their mission following a transfer of authority from HMH-363 on April 13th, and subsequently flew over 380 combat flight hours in the first two weeks in the Al Anbar Province.
The "Ugly Angels" remained there for seven months and returned in November 2007. During the deployment, HMH-362 became the first heavy lift helicopter squadron in OIF to incorporate the "Aeroscout" mission. The Marine Corps Aviation Association honored the "Ugly Angels" by awarding the squadron the Keith B. McCutcheon Award as Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron of the Year.
Operation Iraqi Freedom to Operation Enduring Freedom
On January 23, 2009 the squadron was again deployed to Al Asad Airbase, in Iraq in support of OIF. Early into their deployment however their tasking was changed and the squadron was redeployed to Kandahar International Airport in Afghanistan as part of Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force - Afghanistan and later Marine Aircraft Group 40 which is the aviation combat element of the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade. For this high altitude deployment the T64-GE-413 engines of the squadron's CH-53Ds were upgraded to the T64-GE-416 engine which is used in the CH-53E Super Stallion. The squadron arrived in Afghanistan on April 15 and began supporting combat operations on April 22. The squadron moved from Kandahar International Airport to operate from Camp Bastion on May 17 and resumed operations on May 18. The Ugly Angels provided assault support as part of Operation Kanjari, a heliborne insert of approximately 4,000 Marines into the heart of Taliban country in the Helmand River Valley earning the most prestigious U.S. unit award for combat gallantry, the Presidential Unit Citation. The squadron returned to Marine Corps Base Hawaii on August 18, 2009, 40 years to the day after receiving their first CH-53. The squadron did not receive any enemy caused damage throughout the entire deployment.
Operation Enduring Freedom
Following an extremely safe and successful combat tour, the Ugly Angels conducted a Change of Command on 15 Sep 2009  and quickly transitioned from combat operations to garrison operations that would focus on a robust Pre-deployment Training Program (PTP). This training plan would be executed over a compressed 10-month timeline. During this PTP cycle, the Ugly Angels supported Lava Viper, a joint operations live fire exercise on the Big Island of Hawaii within the U.S. Army’s Pohakuloa Training Area, Weapons and Tactics course 2-10 and a desert training package at Marine Corps Station in Yuma, AZ. Toy for Tots were flown by Ugly Angels from Oahu to Molokai just in time for Christmas. The squadron conducted the first external lift of an 11th Marines M777A2 cannon at the Marine Corps Base Hawaii airfield in 2010. Gunnery Sergeant Donald Wilson was recognized as the 2010 Marine Corps Aviation Associations “Willie D. Sproule” Maintenance Marine of the year and Sergeant Steve Boungnadeth was recognized as 2010 MCAA Paul G. Vess' Avionics Marine of the year.
The Ugly Angels would again deploy to the Helmand Province from August 2010 to March 2011. In August 2010 the Ugly Angles departed Hawaii for Camp Bastion to conduct a Relief in Place (RIP) with fellow Hawaiian squadron HMH-363. On 7 September 2010, during a Transfer of Authority (TOA) ceremony on the Bastion flight line the Ugly Angels assumed the CH-53D mission from the Red Lions. The squadron of 190 Marines and Sailors operated from Camp Bastion, Afghanistan, during Operation ENDURING FREEDOM 10.2 in support of 3d Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward), I Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward), Regional Command Southwest. The Ugly Angels provided day and night all weather professional assault support to Marine Corps Infantry and coalition partners under the call sign of “Provider.”
The Ugly Angels immediately surged to support the Afghanistan national elections. Multiple flights were flown in support of polling centers and the movement of Afghanistan officials throughout the Helmand Province. Highlights of the deployment were the support of over 20 named operations. The employment for the first time of the GAU-21/A 0.50 Cal Medium Window Pintle Connection Weapon System mounted in both the left and right forward windows. This weapon system is also used with the Ramp Mounted Weapon System. Aircraft 51 (Buno 157748) attained 10,000 flight hours, the Ugly Angel Games, the airfield movement of all squadron aircraft and spaces from the old Bastion flight line to the newly built Bastion flight line and multiple Aero-Hunter Missions with 3rd Battalion, 25th Marines. Many Distinguished Visitors spent time with the Ugly Angels from the 35th Commandant of the Marine Corps General James F. Amos, the Commanding General 3d MAW (FWD), and the Commanding General 1st Marine Division (FWD).
The Ugly Angels were recognized for excellence and continued their relationships with friends and families throughout the deployment. The Secretary of the Navy awarded the Ugly Angels as the 2010 Navy and Marine Corps aviation squadron for safety and excellence. Lt Sarah Ballard, US Navy, was selected as the Operational Flight Surgeon of the year 2010, Corporal Yevgeniy Levin participated in a Naturalization ceremony in Kandahar, the squadron flew American Flags for the U.S. Bobsled Team and Sergeant Joshua Obermier was recognized as the 2011 Marine Corps Aviation Associations James E. Nicholson Non-Commissioned Leadership award.
The Ugly Angels conducted a RIP/TOA with fellow Hawaiian squadron HMH-463 “Pegasus” on 10 March 2011 and redeployed to Hawaii after supporting Regional Command Southwest with over 4200 sorties, safety delivered over 17,000 passengers and 2.3 million pounds of cargo. This accomplishment was made possible by an extremely dedicated and talented maintenance department that conducted over 68,000 maintenance man-hours and 21 aircraft phase inspections. The squadron had two aircraft sustain battle damage during the deployment, and all Ugly Angels that deployed to Afghanistan safely returned to Hawaii.
On 18 March 2010, the entire squadron was reunited in Hawaii and on 8 April 2010 the last Change of Command ceremony was held aboard Marine Corps Base Hawaii. The Ugly Angels immediately began another aggressive PTP cycle. The Ugly Angels returned to Afghanistan in 2012, marking the final combat deployment for the CH-53D.
Historical "Ugly Angel" Patches
A unit citation or commendation is an award bestowed upon an organization for the action cited. Members of the unit who participated in said actions are allowed to wear on their uniforms the awarded unit citation. HMH-362 has been presented with the following awards:
|Presidential Unit Citation Streamer with three Bronze Stars||1965–1967, 2009||Vietnam, OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM - Afghanistan|
|Navy Unit Commendation Streamer with one Silver and one Bronze Star||1962,1965–1966,1968–1969||Vietnam|
|Meritorious Unit Commendation Streamer with four Bronze Stars||1968–1969, 1987–1988, 1993, 1996–1998|
|National Defense Service Streamer with three Bronze Stars||1962–1969, 1991, 2001–present||Vietnam War, Gulf War, War on Terrorism|
|Vietnam Service Streamer with two Silver Stars and one Bronze Star||Vietnam|
|Southwest Asia Service Streamer with two Bronze Stars|
|Iraq Campaign Streamer with two Bronze Stars||2007, 2009||Iraq|
|Afghanistan Campaign Streamer with one Bronze Star||2009, 2010–2011||Afghanistan|
|Global War on Terrorism Service Streamer||2001–present|
|Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm Streamer||Vietnam|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 362.|
- United States Marine Corps Aviation
- List of active United States Marine Corps aircraft squadrons
- List of inactive United States Marine Corps aircraft squadrons
- Dorr (2003), p.200.
- Dunstan (2003), p.193
- Fails (1978), p.126
- The good, the bad, the Ugly Angels, Marine Corps News, 12/04/2002, Story by Lance Cpl. Josh Hauser The squadron participated in numerous exercises in 2002, including Balikatan, Cobra Gold, and LF CARAT, and also planned for contingency operations in India and Bangladesh. Throughout the deployment in Southeast Asia, the Marines and Sailors of HMH-362 consistently executed all medium and heavy lift assault support missions while validating the Self-Deploying Air Bridge concept in the Pacific theater.
- Sgt. Alfonso, Juan D. (2009-04-29). "Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 362 Takes the Fight From Iraq to Afghanistan". Defense Video & Imagery Distribution System. Retrieved 2009-04-30.
- Cpl Young, Ryan (2009-05-01). "Spreading Their Wings: 'Ugly Angels' Deploy From Iraq to Afghanistan". Defense Video & Imagery Distribution System. Retrieved 2009-05-01.
- This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Marine Corps.
- Dorr, Robert F. (2005). Marine Air - The History of the Flying Leathernecks in Words and Photos. Penguin Books. ISBN 0-425-20725-0.
- Dunstan, Simon (2003). Vietnam Choppers: Helicopters in Battle 1950-1975. Osprey Publishing. ISBN 1-84176-796-4.
- Fails, William R (1978). Marines and Helicopters 1962-1973. History and Museums Division - Headquarters Marine Corps. ISBN 0-7881-1818-8.