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HMLA-469 activated

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  • HMLA-469 activated

    Pendleton activates helicopter squadron

    7/1/2009 By Lance Cpl. Damien Gutierrez , Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton
    MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. — To meet the demands of an evolving global threat, Marine Corps Air Station Camp Pendleton activated a new light attack helicopter squadron, July 1.
    Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 469 was activated Wednesday to coincide with the Commandant of the Marine Corps’ “Grow the Force” initiative.

    “The activation is going to bring so much more fighting power to our table and really help decrease the amount of Marines that are deployed," said Col. Paul F. Callan, chief of staff, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing.

    Comprised of AH-1W Cobra attack helicopters and UH-1N Huey utility helicopters, the new squadron is designed to provide offensive air support, utility support, armed escort and airborne supporting arms coordination during naval expeditionary operations or joint operations.

    "This type of air support is very valuable in the type of combat zone we face today,” said Callan. “With this squadron in the air and the commander having such a great concern for what he does, its safe to say the Marines below them have nothing to worry about."

    Lieutenant Col. Christopher D. Patton was appointed as the new squadron’s commanding officer during the activation ceremony. Patton’s extensive service history includes military operations in Lebanon, Pakistan, Kuwait, Jordan and Djibouti.

    “There couldn’t have been a better man for the job, he is a terrific leader who knows his history,” said Sgt. Maj. Keith Massi, newly appointed HMLA 469 sergeant major. “He really cares for his Marines and we all look forward to the many years of success he has in store."

    The squadron, nicknamed “Vengeance”, is commanded by Marine Aircraft Group 39 and the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing and is based out of Marine Corps Air Station Camp Pendleton.

    The unit’s nickname comes from the words of former president George W. Bush, when he stated that America will seek vengeance on those responsible for the September 11, 2001 attacks.

    Each helicopter in the squadron has the initials S.E., for September Eleventh, inscribed on the tail wing to pay tribute to those who lost their lives that day.

    "It was overwhelming when I received the news that I was going to be in charge,” said Patton. “I will just keep doing what I have been since the beginning, striving to be the best at everything I do."