Suppression of enemy air defense

List of active United States Marine Corps aircraft squadrons

This is a list of all of the active squadrons that currently exist in the United States Marine Corps, sorted by type. Most squadrons have changed names and designations many times over the years, so they are listed by their current designation. To see Aviation units sorted by command hierarchy, see aviation combat element.

Squadron designations

The basic tactical and administrative unit of United States Marine Corps aviation is the squadron. Fixed-wing aircraft squadrons (heavier than air) and tiltrotor squadrons are denoted by the letter "V", which comes from the French verb "Voler" (to fly). Rotary wing (helicopter) squadrons use "H." Marine squadrons are always noted by the second letter "M." Squadron numbering is not linear as some were numbered in ascending order and others took numbers from the wing or the ship to which they were assigned. From 1920 to 1941, Marine flying squadrons were identified by one digit numbers. This changed on July 1, 1941 when all existing squadrons were redesignated to a three-digit system. The first two numbers were supposed to identify the squadrons parent group but with the rapid expansion during World War II and frequent transfer of squadrons this system fell apart.

Rotary-Wing Aircraft

Marine Helicopter Squadron

The squadron is responsible for the helicopter transportation of the President of the United States, Vice President, Cabinet members and VIPs. In addition to its VIP transport role, it is also tasked with operational test and evaluation (OT&E) of new flight systems for Marine Corps helicopters. The squadron currently flies the VH-3D Sea King and the VH-60N Blackhawk but these are due to be replaced by the VH-71 Kestrel in the near future.

Squadron Name Insignia Nickname Date Commissioned Senior Command Station
HMX-1
Nighthawks
December 1, 1947
Headquarters Marine Corps
MCAF Quantico, VA

Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadrons

Heavy helicopter squadrons were first formed in 1966 when the Marine Corps began flying the heavy lift CH-53 Sea Stallion during the Vietnam War. Their primary role is moving cargo and equipment with the secondary role of transferring troops ashore in an amphibious assault. Most of the squadrons have transitioned to the larger and more powerful CH-53E Super Stallion; however, three squadrons of the original Sea Stallions still remain. The CH-53Es are the most powerful helicopter in the U.S. military inventory today. Due to a reorganization in Marine aviation, HMH-366 was reactivated in 2008 at MCAS Cherry Point.

Squadron Name Insignia Nickname Date Commissioned Senior Command Station
HMH-361
Flying Tigers
February 25, 1952
MAG-16, 3rd MAW
MCAS Miramar, CA
HMH-362
Ugly Angels
April 30, 1952
MAG-24, 1st MAW
MCAF Kaneohe Bay, HI
HMH-363
Red Lions
June 2, 1952
MAG-24, 1st MAW
MCAF Kaneohe Bay, HI
HMH-366
Hammerheads
September 30, 2008
MAG-29, 3rd MAW
MCAS Cherry Point, NC
HMH-461
Iron Horse
March 15, 1944
MAG-26, 2nd MAW
MCAS New River, NC
HMH-462
Heavy Haulers
April 15, 1944
MAG-16, 3rd MAW
MCAS Miramar, CA
HMH-463
Pegasus
July 20, 1944
MAG-24, 1st MAW
MCAF Kaneohe Bay, HI
HMH-464
Condors
April 5, 1944
MAG-26, 2nd MAW
MCAS New River, NC
HMH-465
Warhorse
December 1, 1981
MAG-16, 3rd MAW
MCAS Miramar, CA
HMH-466
Wolfpack
November 30, 1984
MAG-16, 3rd MAW
MCAS Miramar, CA
HMH-772
Hustler
April 15, 1958
MAG-46, 4th MAW
NAS Willow Grove, PA

Marine Heavy Helicopter Training Squadron

The squadron trains newly commissioned Naval Aviators, conversion pilots, refresher pilots, and enlisted aircrew on the CH-53E Super Stallion.

Squadron Name Insignia Nickname Date Commissioned Senior Command Station
HMT-302
Phoenix
November 1, 1966
MAG-29, 2nd MAW
MCAS New River, NC

Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadrons

The Marine Corps’ light attack squadrons are composite squadrons usually made up of 12 AH-1W Cobras and 6 UH-1N Hueys. The primary missions of the Cobra is close air support, forward air control, reconnaissance and armed escort, while the Huey provides airborne command and control, utility support, supporting arms coordination and medical evacuation. Both airframes are due to be upgraded as part of the H-1 Upgrade Program which will see them get greater power, improved avionics and an 85% commonality of parts. When the aircraft are upgraded, they will have the new nomenclatures AH-1Z and UH-1Y. Due to the need for more light attack squadrons, the Marine Corps will be adding three more HMLAs in the next few years. In October 2008, HMLA-467 stood up and HMLA-469 and HMLA-567 are due to activate in 2009. Locations and group assignments of the two new squadrons has yet to be finalized.

Squadron Name Insignia Nickname Date Commissioned Senior Command Station
HMLA-167
Warriors
April 1, 1968
MAG-26, 2nd MAW
MCAS New River, NC
HMLA-169
Vipers
September 30, 1971
MAG-39, 3rd MAW
MCAS Camp Pendleton, CA
HMLA-267
Stingers
February 15, 1944
MAG-39, 3rd MAW
MCAS Camp Pendleton, CA
HMLA-269
Gunrunners
February 22, 1971
MAG-29, 2nd MAW
MCAS New River, NC
HMLA-367
Scarface
December 1, 1943
MAG-39, 3rd MAW
MCAS Camp Pendleton, CA
HMLA-369
Gunfighters
April 1, 1972
MAG-39, 3rd MAW
MCAS Camp Pendleton, CA
HMLA-467
Sabers
October 1, 2008
MAG-29, 2nd MAW
MCAS New River, NC
HMLA-773
Red Dog
June 1968
MAG-42, 4th MAW
Naval Air Station Atlanta, GA

Marine Light Attack Helicopter Training Squadron

The squadron trains newly commissioned Naval Aviators, conversion pilots, refresher pilots, and enlisted aircrew on the AH-1W SuperCobra, the UH-1N Twin Huey, as well as transition to the newer ANigg/AH-1Z Viper and UH-1Y Venom variants.

Squadron Name Insignia Nickname Date Commissioned Senior Command Station
HMLAT-303
Atlas
April 30, 1982
MAG-39, 3rd MAW
MCAS Camp Pendleton, CA

Marine Medium Helicopter Squadrons

The Marine Corps' HMM squadrons first came to being in 1964 with the fielding of the CH-46 Sea Knight medium helicopter. They provide all-weather, day/night, night vision goggle (NVG) assault transport of combat troops, supplies, and equipment during amphibious and subsequent operations ashore. Troop assault is their primary function and the movement of supplies and equipment is secondary. The CH-46 is currently being replaced by the MV-22 Osprey and HMM squadrons are incrementally being deactivated and coming back as VMMs.

Squadron Name Insignia Nickname Date Commissioned Senior Command Station
HMM-161
Greyhawks
January 15, 1951
MAG-16, 3rd MAW
MCAS Miramar, CA
HMM-163
Ridge Runners
December 1951
MAG-16, 3rd MAW
MCAS Miramar, CA
HMM-165
White Knights
July 1, 1965
MAG-16, 3rd MAW
MCAS Miramar, CA
HMM-166
Sea Elk
September 13, 1985
MAG-16, 3rd MAW
MCAS Miramar, CA
HMM-262
Flying Tigers
September 1951
MAG-36, 1st MAW
MCAS Futenma, Japan
HMM-264
Black Knights
June 30, 1959
MAG-26, 2nd MAW
MCAS New River, NC
HMM-265
Dragons
October 1, 1962
MAG-36, 1st MAW
MCAS Futenma, Japan
HMM-268
Red Dragons
September 15, 1972
MAG-39, 3rd MAW
MCAS Camp Pendleton, CA
HMM-364
Purple Foxes
September 1, 1961
MAG-39, 3rd MAW
MCAS Camp Pendleton, CA
HMM-365
Blue Knights
July 1, 1963
MAG-29, 2nd MAW
MCAS New River, NC
HMM-764
Moonlight
April 15, 1958
MAG-46, 4th MAW
Edwards Air Force Base, CA
HMM-774
Wild Goose
1969
MAG-42, 4th MAW
Naval Station Norfolk, VA

Marine Medium Helicopter Training Squadron

The squadron trains newly commissioned Naval Aviators, conversion pilots, refresher pilots, and enlisted aircrew on the CH-46 Sea Knight.

Squadron Name Insignia Nickname Date Commissioned Senior Command Station
HMMT-164
Knightriders
July 1, 1962
MAG-39, 3rd MAW
MCAS Camp Pendleton, CA

Tiltrotor Aircraft

Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadrons

Marine tiltrotor squadrons are new units operating the MV-22 Osprey with their main mission being assault support. The Osprey offers twice the speed, three times the payload, five times the range, and can fly more than twice as high as the helicopters it is destined to replace. As the Marine Corps’ number one aviation acquisition priority, the Osprey is replacing the aging fleet of CH-46 Sea Knight and CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopters and is a cornerstone of the capstone concept of Expeditionary maneuver warfare. The Marine Corps is planning on transitioning two squadrons a year to the new airframe until all squadrons have made the conversion.

Squadron Name Insignia Nickname Date Commissioned Senior Command Station
VMM-162
Golden Eagles
June 30, 1952
MAG-26, 2nd MAW
MCAS New River, NC
VMM-261
Raging Bulls
April 5, 1951
MAG-26, 2nd MAW
MCAS New River, NC
VMM-263
Thunder Chickens
June 16, 1952
MAG-26, 2nd MAW
MCAS New River, NC
VMM-266
Fighting Griffins
April 26, 1983
MAG-26, 2nd MAW
MCAS New River, NC

Marine Tiltrotor Operational Test and Evaluation Squadron

The squadron is a joint Marine Corps & Air Force test and development unit. Its mission is to conduct operational testing and evaluation of the MV/CV-22 Osprey and future tiltrotor systems.

Squadron Name Insignia Nickname Date Commissioned Senior Command Station
VMX-22
Argonauts
August 28, 2003
Commander, Operational Test and Evaluation Force
MCAS New River, NC

Marine Medium Tiltrotor Training Squadron

The squadron provides new and conversion training to both Marine and Air Force pilots and units in the use and maintenance of the Osprey tiltrotor aircraft that is scheduled to replace the Marine Corps' fleet of CH-46 Sea Knight and CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopters.

Squadron Name Insignia Nickname Date Commissioned Senior Command Station
VMMT-204
Raptors
May 1, 1972
MAG-26, 2nd MAW
MCAS New River, NC

Fixed-Wing Aircraft

Marine Attack Squadrons

After World War II the Navy decided to combine all of the functions of the scout bomber, torpedo bomber and bomber torpedo communities into one simple Attack designation. So on July 22, 1946, they released Bulletin No. 46-1543 which authorized the formation of attack squadrons; however, the Marine Corps did not form any until 1952. Today, Marine attack squadrons fly the AV-8B Harrier II and are tasked with providing close air support, air interdiction, armed reconnaissance and escort of helicopters. Because the STOVL Harrier can operate from Amphibious assault ships, expeditionary airfields and tactical remote landing sites, it provides commanders with more flexibility in providing air support. The Harrier is due to be replaced by the STOVL version of the F-35 Lightning II.

Squadron Name Insignia Nickname Date Commissioned Senior Command Station
VMA-211
Wake Island Avengers
January 1, 1937
MAG-13, 3rd MAW
MCAS Yuma, AZ
VMA-214
Black Sheep
July 1, 1942
MAG-13, 3rd MAW
MCAS Yuma, AZ
VMA-223
Bulldogs
May 1, 1942
MAG-14, 2nd MAW
MCAS Cherry Point, NC
VMA-231
Ace of Spades
February 8, 1919
MAG-14, 2nd MAW
MCAS Cherry Point, NC
VMA-311
Tomcats
December 1, 1942
MAG-13, 3rd MAW
MCAS Yuma, AZ
VMA-513
Flying Nightmares
February 15, 1944
MAG-13, 3rd MAW
MCAS Yuma, AZ
VMA-542
Tigers
March 6, 1944
MAG-14, 2nd MAW
MCAS Cherry Point, NC

Marine Attack Training Squadron

The squadron trains newly commissioned Naval Aviators to fly the AV-8B Harrier II.

Squadron Name Insignia Nickname Date Commissioned Senior Command Station
VMAT-203
Hawks
July 1, 1947
MAG-14, 2nd MAW
MCAS Cherry Point, NC

Marine Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadrons

VMAQ squadrons operate the EA-6B Prowler and are tasked with providing Electronic attack, electronic protection, radar jamming and suppression of enemy air defense using the AN/ALQ-99 jamming pod and the AGM-88 HARM. Each of the four squadrons operates five aircraft and are land-based (although they are capable of landing on board U.S. Navy aircraft carriers). The Marine Corps has recently solidified plans to install a next-generation jammer on the F-35 Lightning II. It has joined the F/A-18 Super Hornet as the launch platform for the jammer, which is scheduled to enter service in 2018.

Squadron Name Insignia Nickname Date Commissioned Senior Command Station
VMAQ-1
Banshees
July 1, 1992
MAG-14, 2nd MAW
MCAS Cherry Point, NC
VMAQ-2
Death Jesters
September 15, 1952
MAG-14, 2nd MAW
MCAS Cherry Point, NC
VMAQ-3
Moon Dogs
July 1, 1992
MAG-14, 2nd MAW
MCAS Cherry Point, NC
VMAQ-4
Seahawks
November 7, 1981
MAG-14, 2nd MAW
MCAS Cherry Point, NC

Marine Fighter Attack Squadrons

The Marine Corps' VMFA squadrons fly the single seat, A & C models of the F/A-18 Hornet and their primary role is to intercept and destroy enemy aircraft under all-weather conditions and attack and destroy surface targets under the weather. Each squadron employs 12 jets.

Squadron Name Insignia Nickname Date Commissioned Senior Command Station
VMFA-112
Cowboys
March 1, 1942
MAG-41, 4th MAW
NASJRB Fort Worth, TX
VMFA-115
Silver Eagles
July 1, 1943
MAG-31, 2nd MAW
MCAS Beaufort, SC
VMFA-122
Werewolves
March 1, 1942
MAG-31, 2nd MAW
MCAS Beaufort, SC
VMFA-142
Gators
March 1, 1942
MAG-42, 4th MAW
Naval Air Station Atlanta, GA
VMFA-232
Red Devils
September 1, 1925
MAG-11, 3rd MAW
MCAS Miramar, CA
VMFA-251
Thunderbolts
December 1, 1941
MAG-31, 2nd MAW
MCAS Beaufort, SC
VMFA-312
Checkerboard
June 1, 1943
MAG-31, 2nd MAW
MCAS Beaufort, SC
VMFA-314
Black Knights
October 1, 1943
MAG-11, 3rd MAW
MCAS Miramar, CA
VMFA-323
Death Rattlers
August 1, 1943
MAG-11, 3rd MAW
MCAS Miramar, CA

Marine Fighter Attack Squadrons (All Weather)

The VMFA(AW) squadrons fly the B & D , two seat versions of the F/A-18 Hornet. Their primary mission is to attack and destroy surface targets, day or night, under all weather conditions; conduct multi-sensor imagery reconnaissance; provide supporting arms coordination; and intercept and destroy enemy aircraft under all weather conditions. The current F-18s saw their first action in Operation Desert Storm after replacing the venerable F-4 Phantom.

Squadron Name Insignia Nickname Date Commissioned Senior Command Station
VMFA(AW)-121
Green Knights
June 24, 1941
MAG-11, 3rd MAW
MCAS Miramar, CA
VMFA(AW)-224
Bengals
May 1, 1942
MAG-31, 2nd MAW
MCAS Beaufort, SC
VMFA(AW)-225
Vikings
January 1, 1943
MAG-11, 3rd MAW
MCAS Miramar, CA
VMFA(AW)-242
Bats
July 1, 1943
MAG-12, 1st MAW
MCAS Iwakuni, JA
VMFA(AW)-533
Hawks
October 1, 1943
MAG-31, 2nd MAW
MCAS Beaufort, SC

Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron

The squadron trains newly commissioned Naval Aviators to fly the F/A-18 Hornet.

Squadron Name Insignia Nickname Date Commissioned Senior Command Station
VMFAT-101
Sharpshooters
January 3, 1969
MAG-11, 3rd MAW
MCAS Miramar, CA

Marine Fighter Training Squadron

VMFT-401 is the only aggressor squadron in the Marine Corps. They fly the F-5E Tiger II and provide instruction to active and reserve squadrons through dissimilar adversary combat tactics. The squadron is based at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Arizona.

Squadron Name Insignia Nickname Date Commissioned Senior Command Station
VMFT-401
Snipers
March 18, 1986
MAG-46, 4th MAW
MCAS Yuma, AZ

Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadrons

VMGR squadrons operate the KC-130 Hercules tanker/transport. Their primary missions are aerial refuelling and rapid ground refuelling, transportation of personnel and cargo to include MEDEVACs and parachute insertions, flying the airborne version of the Direct Air Support Center (DASC) and emergency resupply into unimproved landing zones.

Squadron Name Insignia Nickname Date Commissioned Senior Command Station
VMGR-152
Sumos
March 11, 1942
MAG-36, 1st MAW
MCAS Futenma, Japan
VMGR-234
Rangers
May 1, 1942
MAG-41, 4th MAW
Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth, TX
VMGR-252
Otis
June 1, 1928
MAG-14, 2nd MAW
MCAS Cherry Point, NC
VMGR-352
Raiders
April 1, 1943
MAG-11, 3rd MAW
MCAS Miramar, CA
VMGR-452
Yankees
September 9, 1988
MAG-49, 4th MAW
Stewart Air National Guard Base, NY

Marine Transport Squadron

VMR squadrons provide Search and Rescue support as well as movement of key personnel and critical logistics support around the world. They also provide movement of high priority passengers and cargo during wartime in support of operations and other critical commitments.

Squadron Name Insignia Nickname Date Commissioned Senior Command Station
VMR-1
Roadrunners
January 1943
H&HS, MCAS Cherry Point
MCAS Cherry Point, NC

Unmanned Aerial Systems

Marine Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Squadrons

VMUs operate the RQ-7 Shadow unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) which provides Marine ground forces with information, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance. They also provide artillery spotting and can assist in search and rescue operations. Since 2004, the VMU squadrons have also been operating the ScanEagle UAV which is newer, provides longer endurance and can work at higher altitudes. . All of these systems will eventually be replaced by the Vertical Unmanned Aerial Vehicle. which is currently being developed to meet the future Tier III requirements of the Marine Corps. Due to the high operational tempo of the VMU squadrons in recent years, the Marine Corps stood up VMU-3 in 2008 and VMU-4 will be activated in 2011.

Squadron Name Insignia Nickname Date Commissioned Senior Command Station
VMU-1
Watchdogs
January 21, 1987
MACG-38, 3rd MAW
MCAGCC Twentynine Palms, CA
VMU-2
Night Owls
June 1984
MACG-28, 2nd MAW
MCAS Cherry Point, NC
VMU-3
Phantoms
September 12, 2008
MACG-38, 3rd MAW
MCAGCC Twentynine Palms, CA

See also

References

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