MARINE CORPS AIR STATION KANEOHE BAY -- MARINE CORPS AIR STATION KANEOHE BAY -- Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron (HMLA) 367, Marine Aircraft Group 24, cased their colors during the unit's deactivation ceremony here today. During World War II the squadron activated in December 1943 as Marine Observation Squadron 351 in Quantico, Virginia. A month later, in January 1944, the Marines of “Scarface” were fighting in the skies over Peleliu and Okinawa. After a 17-year deactivation period, Scarface was reactivated for the conflict in Vietnam, where they became the first Marine aviation squadron to employ the AH-1G Cobra attack helicopter.
HMLA-367 has operated across the globe, conducting operations in support of Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and in the skies of Afghanistan on the storied battlefields of Now Zad and Marjah during Operation Enduring Freedom. Since then, HMLA-367 has proudly served throughout the Pacific, providing unparalleled assault support for Marine ground forces, the joint force, and allies and partners.
“Considering the history and lineage on Scarface’s resume, it’s entirely appropriate that we send them home. But that doesn’t detract from what the last 10 years have been here in Hawaii,” said Col Brian T. Koch, commanding officer, Marine Aircraft Group 24. “What you’ve been able to demonstrate to the Marine Corps and your accomplishments as a unit of MAG-24 is a testament to the value you will provide to Marine Aircraft Group 39 and 3d Marine Aircraft Wing.”
In 2012, Scarface moved to its current location aboard Marine Corps Air Station Kaneohe Bay on the island of Oahu, Hawaii. The squadron has conducted ship and ground-based deployments as part of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit and the Unit Deployment Program, respectively.
HMLA-367's honors include the Presidential Unit Citation Streamer with three bronze stars, Navy Unit Commendation Streamer with one bronze star, Meritorious Unit Commendation Streamer with two bronze stars, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with two bronze stars, World War II Victory Streamer, National Defense Service Streamer with two bronze stars, China Service Streamer, Vietnam Service Streamer with two silver and one bronze stars, Vietnam Meritorious Unit Citation Civil Actions Streamer, Iraq Campaign Streamer, Afghanistan Campaign Streamer, and Global War on Terrorism Service Streamer.
At the ceremony, Lt. Col. Page C. Payne, commanding officer, HMLA-367, addressed the audience, “Legacy is what makes today’s deactivation ceremony special. Scarface is fortunate to have a guaranteed future in the very near term, resurrecting to carry on our legacy, lineage, and the warfighting spirit of those before us.”
The squadron is deactivating as part of the Marine Corps’ plan to realign and restructure its Hawaii based forces. The deactivation sees 27 AH-1Z Viper attack helicopters and UH-1Y Venom utility helicopters leaving the island. However, the deactivation will be short-lived as Scarface will reactivate as a unit of Marine Aircraft Group 39, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, Marine Corps Air Station Camp Pendleton, California, later this year.
“Marines and Sailors of Scarface are warriors, and it should be no surprise that this unit, with such a rich history dating back to World War II, will be back ready to fight before the year’s end,” said Maj. Gen. Brian W. Cavanaugh, commanding general, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing. “I couldn’t be more proud of what they have done for 1st MAW this past decade.”
Going forward, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing will continue to evolve to be ready to “fight now” as part of III Marine Expeditionary Force. This implementation shows the Marine Corps' continued effort to uphold the Marines capability to improvise, adapt, and overcome in order to continue fighting and winning on the battlefields of the future, should the need arise.