Transport Squadron 162 (HMR-162) was activated on 30 June 1951 under
the command of Colonel Harold J. Mitchner at the Marine Corps Air
Facility (MCAF), Santa Ana, California, where the young squadron
conducted its first two years of operations.
The primary mission of the squadron at that time was to
provide airlift and air supply for the Fleet Marine Force in
amphibious operations. The
personnel strength of the squadron grew quickly and crews were sent
to Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS), Quantico, Virginia to accept and
ferry the new HRS-1 helicopters to MCAF, Santa Ana.
|The HRS-1, powered by the 700 hp Wright R-1300-3 engine had a rotor
diameter of 53 feet, a fuselage length of 42 feet 4 inches and a max
gross weight of 8,400 pounds. The
aircraft had a max speed of 112 knots, a cruising speed of 92 knots
and a range of 330 nm. The
HRS-1 had an external lift capacity of 2000 pounds.
During these early months, the squadron was occupied
primarily with proficiency training, which contributed to the
growing body of knowledge of rotary winged aircraft and their
tactical employment, ultimately evolving into a basis for the Marine
Corps doctrine of vertical envelopment.
During this equipping phase, Mr. Igor Sikorsky, the famous
aircraft designer, visited the squadron to observe his product in
operation with the fleet.
1952 found a contingent of the squadron participating in Exercise
Lex Baker One, the first full-scale joint Marine-Navy
training maneuver to be held on the West Coast since 1949.
Helicopters of HMR-162 made amphibious warfare history during
the operation when they airlifted a combat-equipped company of the
3d Marines from the escort carrier USS Rendova, (CVE-114), 10
miles at sea, to the Camp Pendleton hills.
The ship-to-shore movement was the first ever attempted on
such a scale. The earliest ship-to-shore
movement of troops by helicopter, although
with a lesser number of men, occurred during Operation
Packard III, on the East Coast in May 1949.
1 March 1952 the squadron commanding officer, Colonel Mitchner, was
reassigned to become the commanding officer of the Marine Corps'
first helicopter group, Marine Aircraft Group (MAG) 16.
Major George H. Linnemeier took over the squadron.
1953 the squadron continued its training syllabus and in April
participated in Operation
Desert Rock V, which involved the helicopter lift of
company-sized elements into an area subjected to a nuclear blast. The helicopters were also used to conduct
In May, the squadron took part in Exercise
Pacphibex II at Camp Pendleton, California. Then, on 30 July
1953, squadron flight personnel boarded the
light aircraft carrier USS
Bataan (CVL-29) at San Diego, for their first overseas
Auxiliary Air Base, Osaka, Japan was the squadron's destination; the
ship arrived on 19 August 953.
| remaining personnel sailed from Long Beach, California on
board theattack transport USS
Menard (APA-201) on 4 August 1953 and joined the squadron on
22 August at Osaka.
March 1954 the squadron participated in MARDIVLEX I with 3d
Marine Division troops. Upon
completion of this exercise, HMR-162 moved to its new base at Oppama,
Japan on 31 March.
1 March 1955, the squadron departed Japan for Ascom City, Korea to
relieve HMR-161 and to support the 1st Marine Division.
The squadron remained in Korea for approximately one month
flying mostly VIP missions.
In late 1955, the squadron embarked on board Navy shipping and
sailed for Okinawa where it participated in NAVMARLEX 3-55 and
4-55 from October through December when the squadron again
returned to Oppama, Japan. |
The squadron embarked on
board the antisubmarine warfare carrier USS Princeton (CVS-37) at
Yokosuka, Japan on 4 February 1956 for participation in NAVMARLEX
1-56 (Operation FIRM LINK) during that month.
HMR-162 was involved in additional maneuvers during 1956 as
squadron personnel again sailed for Okinawa in late July and
returned to Oppama on 4 September.
In November maneuvers were conducted in the Iwo Jima area.
the latter part of 1956, the squadron was redesignated as Marine
Helicopter Squadron-Light (HMR(L) ) 162.
In the fiscal year 1956, the squadron logged 5,166
accident-free flight hours and was awarded the Chief of Naval
Operations Aviation Safety Award.
March 1957, the helicopters of HMR(L)-162 were utilized in support
of Marines participating in PACTRAEX 57L in the Philippines.
During this month six Marines of the squadron were awarded
the Philippine Legion of Honor for their gallant conduct in the
recovery operations at the scene of the tragic death of President
Ramon Magsaysay on Cebu Island.
The plane carrying the Philippine President from Cebu City to
Manila crashed and the squadron was asked to assist in the rescue
and recovery operations that were subsequently undertaken.
July 1957, the squadron departed its Oppama base for maneuvers in
the Okinawa area. Squadron
personnel participated in the 9th Marines' HELOLEX
in late September and then entered in Exercise PHIBLINK in the
Philippines in early December.
the year came to a close HMR (L)-162 boarded the USS Princeton and
set sail for the South China Sea. While enroute, the ship was ordered to Singapore to load
supplies to be helo distributed to flood victims in Ceylon. The squadron used 20 HRS-3s in the operation and logged a
total of 1123.9 hours for the five days of evacuation and resupply.
One of the recommendations to emerge from this action was
that efforts be continued and intensified to devise navigational
systems for helicopters.
a stop at Singapore, squadron personnel disembarked at Cubi Point,
P.I. to participate in Exercise
unit returned to Oppama, Japan in March.
In June 1958, HMR (L)-162 embarked aboard an LSD (Landing
Ship Dock) with 18 HUS helicopters and went to Okinawa for
maneuvers. During this
deployment the squadron became the first helicopter unit to fly on
the airways from Japan to Okinawa under actual instrument
5 February 1959, the squadron was transferred to the Marine Corps
Air Facility, New River, North Carolina, where it reformed as a unit
of Marine Aircraft Group (Transport Helicopter (Light) MAG (HR) (L))
26. On 15 February,
Lieutenant Colonel Milton M. Cook, Jr. was assigned as commanding
officer and the squadron began a rebuilding program.
On 1 March, MAG (HR) (L) -26 was redesignated MAG-26.
During April the squadron participated in TRALEX 2-59
in the Camp Lejeune area. During
the summer months HMR(L)-162 was involved with the relief operations
in the Gulf Coast area in the aftermath of Hurricane Carla.
2 April 1960, HMR (L)-162 was reduced to zero strength and shifted
to the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing.
The squadron was immediately built up in a few days at MCAF
Futema, Okinawa as personnel began reporting from New River.
During June, the squadron embarked on the amphibious assault
ship USS Princeton (LPH-5) to participate in PHIBEX 24-60 (Operation SEA HAWK).
Later, in August, the squadron embarked aboard the USS Hornet (CVS-12) for
maneuvers in the western Pacific, returning to Okinawa in December