Last CH-46E flight before re-designation
US Marine Corps, December 01, 2011 - MARINE CORPS AIR STATION MIRAMAR, Calif. -- Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 163 flew its last flight of the CH-46E Sea Knight before re-designating as a Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron with MV-22B Ospreys, Nov. 30. HMM-163 is scheduled to re-designate as VMM-163, Dec. 2.
Marine Aircraft Group 16 was recently composed of one CH-46E squadron, four MV-22B Osprey squadrons, four CH-53E Super Stallion squadrons, a Personnel Support Detachment and a maintenance and logistics squadron. HMM-163 was the last CH-46E tenant squadron aboard MCAS Miramar, and is the fifth MV-22B Osprey squadron to join MAG-16.
The Osprey, compared to the Sea Knight, can carry three times the payload and travel twice as fast and five times farther.
“It’s newer and extremely capable,” said Lt. Col. Joseph Levreault, commanding officer of Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 163 and a South Hadley, Mass., native.
Levreault took the CH-46E on its last flight.
"I've been flying out here since 1995 and I've always flown with MAG-16,” said Levreault. “It was nice. I did a lap around the old sites where I was trained.”
Capt. Liam Flemming, a HMM-163 operations officer and a Queens, N.Y., native, said it was a good time to see Levreault’s old stomping grounds and come back to Miramar to see some of his piloting skills.
The Sea Knight’s first flight was in 1962 and has been an effective medium-lift tandem rotor transport helicopter with its primary function in assault support.
The United States Marine Corps began crew training for the Osprey in 2000, and fielded it in 2007. The Osprey is a multi-mission tilt-rotor aircraft with vertical takeoff and landing capabilities and short takeoff and landing capabilities.
Levreault’s flight was the last “ooh-rah” flight for the squadron.
“It's nice to be the last one to say, ‘I flew the last flight in the squadron,’” said Levreault. “It was just nice to close [flying the CH-46E] off here in Miramar.”
Though the squadron is no longer home to the Sea Knight, the Marines of HMM-163 are awaiting the arrival of the Osprey to begin a new phase in the squadron’s history.
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HMM-163 Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 163 US Marine Corps