Golden Eagles to celebrate Golden Anniversary
Submitted by: 22nd MEU
Story Identification Number: 2001116142454
Story by 22nd MEU(SOC) Public Affairs

USS NASSAU(Jan. 14, 2001) -- When Battalion Landing Team 1/8 of the 24th Marine Amphibious Unit went ashore in Beirut, Lebanon in May 1983 as part of the Multinational Peacekeeping Force, Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron (HMM)-162 (Reinforced) flew them in. When America needed its citizens evacuated from war-torn Liberia in 1996, HMM-162 was there. Today, when BLT 1/8 needs helicopter support, they, once again, turn to their old friends and 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit team-mates, HMM-162 (REIN) for a lift.

Aboard the USS Nassau (LHA-4), HMM-162 serves as the Air Combat Element (ACE) for the 22nd MEU, Special Operations Capable (SOC), and is currently deployed to the Mediterranean Sea. While all of the units that comprise the 22nd MEU have proud histories, HMM-162 (REIN) is approaching an important milestone in its own history. The "Golden Eagles" will turn 50 on 30 June 2001, following their return home from deployment.

"This will be a truly historic moment for our squadron, " says Capt. Brett Hart, CH-46E pilot and Squadron Historical Officer. "A lot has happened in the 50 years since our squadron was first commissioned. We have participated in nearly every major conflict since the Korean War!"

"From the very beginning, our squadron has been a part of the evolution of helicopter tactics, many of which are still used today. Introduction of helicopters in the Marine Corps has enhanced our ability to fight, as Marines. It was our veterans who developed and practiced the helicopter assault in places like Korea, Vietnam, and Beiruit," Hart added.

According to the official HMM-162 history, the squadron was originally commissioned on 30 June 1951 at Marine Corps Air Facility (MCAF) Santa Ana, California as Marine Helicopter Transport Squadron (HMR) 162. During the latter part of 1956, the squadron was redesignated as Marine Helicopter Squadron-Light (HMR(L) ) 162. On 1 February 1962, the squadron was redesignated Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron (HMM) 162.

The "Golden Eagles" have flown several types of helicopters including the Sikorski HRS-1, HRS-3 and UH-34D, and the Boeing-Vertol CH-46D, CH-46F and CH-46E.

The current squadron will be joining several of their veterans at a reunion on 30 June 2001.

"For us, meeting the guys that passed to us this great tradition will be an exciting time, " said Hart.