US Marine Corps, October 31, 2013 - by Pfc. Unique Roberts - CHERRY POINT, N.C. - In 2008, the commandant of the Marine Corps proposed to “grow the force,” from that idea arose Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 467.
HMLA-467 was officially activated October 23, 2008. The squadron celebrated its fifth anniversary Thursday, by hosting a birthday party in its honor. More than 100 people attended the event.
Maj. Lee Hemming, an AH-1W Super Cobra pilot with the squadron, said he remembers flying an attack helicopter to Cherry Point when the squadron stood up.
“It was a great feeling to start flying an aircraft that were ours and be able to hold the call sign of Saber on the radio,” said Hemming. “To go from nothing to finally flying aircraft our maintainers worked on with the squadron call sign gives everyone a sense of identity and accomplishment.”
The squadron, now consisting of AH-1W Super Cobra attack helicopters and UH-1Y Venom helicopters, received their first aircraft in September of 2008. Today ‘467 has nearly 20 aircraft.
“It’s hard to believe it has been five years,” said Hemming. “Great feeling to come back to the squadron you helped stand up. For the guys that never left, a definite sense of accomplishment, seeing the unit from the very beginning until now.”
In January 2009, the Sabers supported Marine Aircraft Group 31 during Exercise Southern Fury. During September and October in 2009 the Sabers supported Enhanced Mojave Viper at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms.
“From 2010 to 2011, HMLA-467 provided humanitarian assistance and disaster relief efforts in Haiti and participated in combat operations in Afghanistan while attached to the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit,” said Capt. Shane J. Vigil, a pilot with HMLA-467.
In 2012, the squadron participated in drug interdiction operations and provided Hurricane Sandy disaster relief support.
Aside from participating in exercises and supporting training for Marines and joint services across the world, the Sabers were the first East Coast HMLA squadron to support the 31st MEU.
“What once was a few reserve aircraft on a jet base tucked in the side of the hangar is now a fully operational war-fighting unit with dedicated, hard-working Marines ready at a moment’s notice,” said Vigil.
Over the past five years the sabers have thrived to make the mission just as every squadron aboard the base, and this year wasn’t any different.
“Currently, HMLA-467 has a detachment supporting the 26th MEU for the second time,” said Vigil.
The squadron has successfully completed previous goals and strives to complete even more.
“A goal for the squadron is to continue to improve and maintain our Combat readiness,” said Hemming.
In remembrance and celebration of all the squadron has accomplished in conjunction with their seasonal fall festival, the squadron hosted a birthday party for its Marines and their families.
“The purpose of the event was to tie together a squadron event with this fall festival for the families and kids,” said Hemming. “It was a good chance for the families to have fun and see other squadron families.”
Some of the activities the Marines and their family members participated in were, pumpkin decorating, Trunk-or-Treat and a cake cutting ceremony.
“It looked like a successful event from my end,” said Hemming.