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HMLA-773 History

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  • HMLA-773 History

    HMLA-773's lineage began in June 1968 when then Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 765 (HMM-765) arrived at Naval air Station Atlanta with a 7 officers, 12 enlisted men, and a single Sikorsky UH-34D helicopter. The squadron grew rapidly from this inauspicious beginning and in July of 1971 transitioned from the venerable UH-34 to the bell UH-1E "Huey" utility/gunship. The Squadron was re-designated Marine Light Helicopter Squadron-765 (HML-765). During this period, HML-765 was the lone Marine Helicopter Squadron selected to retain the Gunship mission. On 1 July 1976 the Squadron received its first single engine AH-1G "Cobra" (now on static display at the NAS Atlanta front gate) and the Squadron was re-designated Marine Attack Helicopter Squadron 773 (HMA-773). In late 1978, HMA-773 transitioned to the twin engine AH-1J "Sea Cobra" which they operated for the next fourteen years. Throughout the 80's, HMA-773 refined its war fighting skills through a myriad of training and operational exercises.

    In November 1990 the Citizen-Marines of HMA-773 was the first reserve helicopter squadron to be activated and deployed to the Persian Gulf in support of Operations Desert Shield/Storm. While embarked aboard the USS New Orleans and USS Tripoli, the squadron distinguished itself with mine sweeping escort and combat missions during the war. In recognition of their exemplary performance during combat HMA-773 received the Navy Unit Commendation.

    In the fall of 1992, the squadron received eight, state of the art AH-1W "Super Cobras". With only a short time to transition to this radically improved weapons platform, HMA-773 embarked on an accelerated training regimen for all pilots and maintenance personnel in order to support two back to back regimental level Enhanced Combined Arms Exercises (ECAX's) at Marine Air Ground Combat Center Twenty-nine Palms, CA. In November of 1993, HMA-773 began receiving UH-1Ns and personnel from other disestablished units. In October 1994, HMA-773 reorganized and re-equipped with the addition of the UH-1N utility helicopter, pilots, and personnel from HML-776, NAS Glenview, IL. Having re-designated as a Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 773, the squadron now mirrored the active duty HMLA structure and enabled rapid total force integration for current and future combat and contingency operations.

    Since reorganizing, the "Red Dogs" of HMLA-773 have deployed on numerous counter narcotic operations throughout the United States, the Caribbean, and the West Indies. In May 1995 the Squadron deployed to the island nation of Antigua for the first in a series of "Weed eater" marijuana destruction missions. They have further developed their eradication tactics on the islands of St. Kitts-Nevis, St. Lucia, Trinidad-Tobago, Grenada, and Nassau Bahamas. HMLA-773 counter-narcotics missions in the United States have included joint operations with the Army, Coast Guard and several US Law Enforcement Agencies in Kingsville TX, El Paso TX, Naco, AZ, London KY West Palm Beach FL, and El Centro CA. In the space of two years, the Red Dogs aided in the destruction of over $20 billion worth of illegal narcotics. Proving one of the Marine Corps mottos, "in any clime and place," in March 2002, the Red Dogs deployed with two Cobras, two Huey's, and 60 Marines and Sailors to Lundamo, Norway. Participating in "Operation Battle Griffin,"" the Red Dogs took part in the second phase of NATO exercise Strong Resolve 2002. During Battle Griffin, HMLA-773 was the only reserve unit to participate and demonstrated the units ability to rapidly integrated with active components and NATO allies.

    In 2002, HMLA-773 and HMLA-773 Det A based at NAS Belle Chasse, LA, combined in order to form one complete HMLA squadron that was capable of fulfilling any assigned HMLA mission in the Marine Corps. The current squadron organization is structured to maintain 2/3 of the squadron at NAS Atlanta and 1/3 of the squadron at NAS Belle Chasse.

    Following the September 11, 2001, attack on the United States, HMLA-773 postured for participation in the Global War on Terror. The Squadron focused on preparations for combat operations in both Afghanistan and Iraq. Training has continued with an emphasis on desert and mountain, combat techniques. In October 2003 HMLA-773 answered the nation's call. The squadron activated and deployed to Bagram, Afghanistan, for further deployment along the international border between Afghanistan and Pakistan. Since Oct 03, the Red Dogs have been flying combat missions in support of Combined Joint Task Force 180/76 in order to ensure stability and engage the enemy at every opportunity. In addition, the Red Dogs have instituted Operation Red Dog, in which the Marines and Sailors of the unit gather school supplies and other humanitarian items and distribute them to the local population. The Marines and Sailors of HMLA-773 proudly serve our nation in peace and war. Ready, willing, and able...Fit Via VI!

  • #2

    Whoever at 773 wrote this up got his facts wrong.
    HMLA-773's lineage actually begins in June 1968 when then Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 765 (HMM-765) arrived at Naval air Station Atlanta with a 7 officers, 12 enlisted men, and a single Sikorsky UH-34D helicopter.
    HMLA-773 was activated 2 September 1958 at NAS Grosse Ile, MI, as HMR-773. The squadron was redesignated HMM-773 on 1 April 1962 and deactivated 31 August. In 1968 HMM-764 Wing B at Los Alamitos was redesignated HMM-773. The squadron was deactivated again the next year. In 1971 HMA-773 stood up at El Toro and was equipped with AH-1G Cobras. 773 moved to NAS Atlanta in 1976, and absorbed the personnel of HML-765, which had been deactivated in June to make room for HMA-773 and VMO-4.