US Marine Corps, October 10, 2014 - MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CAMP PENDLETON, CA by Cpl Raquel Barraza - Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron (HMM) 364 “Purple Foxes” held a change of command and redesignation ceremony aboard Marine Corps Air Station Camp Pendleton, Calif., Oct. 9.
During the ceremony, Lt. Col. John Field, outgoing commanding officer of HMM-364, relinquished command to Lt. Col. Paul B. Kopacz, oncoming commanding officer.
“It has been my esteemed honor and privilege for the past 19 months to lead the finest assault squadron in the Marine Corps,” said Field.
The outgoing commanding officer had some words of encouragement for the Marines of HMM-364 after he relinquished command.
“It is not one man or one Marine that is responsible; it is a team effort and it’s that team effort that is going to carry forward as we enter the next chapter of 364 and the MV-22,” said Field.
The ceremony also signified the squadron’s transition to a Marine medium tiltrotor squadron; the CH-46E Sea Knight, also known as the “Phrog,” will be replaced by the MV-22B Osprey. HMM-364 is the last Marine medium helicopter fleet squadron to make the transition to the Osprey.
It is not the end of the great legacy of this squadron although the Purple Foxes were saying goodbye to the CH-46.
“I have no doubt the Purple Foxes will continue to excel with [the Osprey],” said Field. “The reason there is no doubt is because it’s not about a machine. It doesn’t matter if it’s a CH-46 or an Osprey, what’s important is the Marines that maintain and fly those airplanes.”
As the oncoming commanding officer unraveled the new guidon of now Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 364, Marines finally bid farewell to their Phrog and began a new era.