US Marine Corps, April 11, 2013 - Marine Corps Air Station New River, N.C. by Lance Cpl. Mary Coleman -- Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 167 celebrated its 45th birthday aboard Marine Corps Air Station New River with spirited competition, food and tunes at the air station soccer fields, March 28.
The squadron participated in its own version of the Highland Games, an annual Scottish competition consisting of traditional Scottish athletic events. More than 10 teams battled it out in events including tug-of-war, jousting and stone-put. The six top teams with the most points proceeded to the culminating event, an obstacle course race.
Party-goers also enjoyed a festive meal of pork barbecue, baked beans and chips.
“It’s an awesome experience,” said Pfc. Isaiah Kibler, an HMLA-167 airframe mechanic. “It’s a great chance for camaraderie. I think it’s the best event of the year.”
After the games and feasting came to an end, members of the squadron gathered together for a reminder of their rich history.
HMLA-167 came into being at the Marble Mountain Air Facility in the Republic of Vietnam, March 15, 1968. They are the oldest light attack helicopter squadron in the Marine Corps.
While in Vietnam, the squadron flew more than 60,000 flight hours in support of the South Vietnamese battling the spread of communism.
On May 26, 1971, HMLA-167 made a permanent move to the air station. Since then, the squadron has conducted numerous flights in support of Operation Desert Storm, conducted relief support in Haiti and supported Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.
After the reading of the squadron’s history, the first slice of birthday cake was served to the Marine who had been with the squadron the longest, Gunnery Sgt. Zabdiel Hamilton, HMLA-167 quality assurance division chief.
Hamilton, who has been with HMLA-167 for nine years and four months, said the birthday celebration is a good way to honor the squadron’s accomplishments and history.
“I think this is awesome,” Hamilton said. “Everyone comes out and has a good time. It really improves morale.”