List_of_inactive_United_States_Marine_Corps_aircraft_squadrons

List of inactive United States Marine Corps aircraft squadrons

While other nations have Marines who are aviators, only the United States Marine Corps has its own dedicated aviation arm. The following is a list of all of the inactive squadrons that have existed since the beginning of Marine Corps aviation. Most squadrons have changed names and designations many times over the years so they are listed by their final designation.

Squadron designations

The basic tactical and administrative unit of United States Marine Corps aviation is the squadron. Fixed-wing aircraft squadrons (heavier than air) 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 the war and frequent transfer of squadrons this system fell apart.

Inactive squadrons

Squadrons are listed by their designation at the time they were decommissioned.

Pre-World War II squadrons

Following World War I, Marine aviation was significantly reduced. Many of the squadrons were renamed and redesignated numerous times and many still exist today with other designations. The squadrons listed below reflect those squadrons that were deactivated prior to World War II and were never reconstituted in any form.

Squadron Name Insignia Nickname Date Decommissioned
VP-3M
Marine Patrol Squadron 3
1931
VO-6M
Marine Observation Squadron 6
Hell Divers
1932
VO-10M
Marine Observation Squadron 10
April 1, 1931
VS-14M
Marine Scouting Squadron 14
July 1, 1933
VS-15M
Marine Scouting Squadron 15
July 1, 1933
ZK-1M
1st Marine Barrage Balloon Squadron
December, 1929

Marine Reserve Scouting Squadrons

The Marine Aviation Reserve was inactive from 1918 through 1928. When reconstituted the names and aircraft used by these squadrons changed frequently but their home duty stations remained constant. The aircraft for these squadrons were assigned to the reserve bases themselves and were shared with co-located Navy Reserve squadrons. The squadrons were absorbed into the 1st and 2nd Marine Aircraft Wings and their identities lost when they were mobilized in December 1940.

Squadron Name Insignia Nickname Location Date Decommissioned
VMS-1R
Boston, Massachusetts
December, 1940
VMS-2R
Brooklyn, New York
December 1940
VMS-3R
Anacostia, D.C.
December, 1940
VMS-4R
Miami, Florida
December 1940
VMS-5R
Black Knights
Grosse Ile, Michigan
December, 1940
VMS-6R
Minneapolis, Minnesota
December, 1940
VMS-7R
Long Beach, California
December 1940
VMS-8R
Oakland, California
December, 1940
VMS-9R
Seattle, Washington
December 1940
VMS-10R
Kansas City, Kansas
December, 1940
VMS-11R
Brooklyn, New York
December, 1940

Marine Barrage Balloon Squadrons

Squadrons flying lighter than air vehicles (balloons), were indicated by the letter Z in naval squadron designation. The first use of balloons by the Marine Corps was during World War I when they were used for artillery spotting. After the outbreak of World War II, the Navy authorized the Marine Corps to create barrage balloon squadrons for the air defense of advanced naval bases. Balloon training was cancelled in the summer of 1943 and the remaining units were deactivated by the end of the year.

Squadron Name Insignia Nickname Date Decommissioned
ZMQ-1
December 15, 1943
ZMQ-2
August 21, 1942
ZMQ-3
December 9, 1943
ZMQ-4
February 20, 1943
ZMQ-5
December 5, 1943
ZMQ-6
December 8, 1943

Marine Scout Bombing Squadrons

Scout bombing squadrons each had eighteen to twenty-four SBD Dauntless dive bombers and were tasked with conducting dive-bombing attacks and long range scouting and patrol missions. They also provided close air support, laid smoke screens and sprayed DDT around bases. The majority of these squadrons were quickly deactivated following the end of World War II although three entered the Marine Air Reserve for a short period.

Squadron Name Insignia Nickname Date Decommissioned
VMSB-243
Flying Goldbricks
September 25, 1945
VMSB-244
Bombing Banshees
VMSB-245
Red Mousie
November 17, 1945
VMSB-342
Bats from Hell
October 10, 1944
VMSB-343
Gregory’s Gorillas
June 10, 1946
VMSB-344
October 10, 1944
VMSB-474
September 10, 1945
VMSB-484
September 10, 1945
Squadron Name Insignia Nickname Date Decommissioned
VMSB-931
January 31, 1946
VMSB-932
Teufelhund
January 31, 1946
VMSB-933
September 10, 1945
VMSB-934
October 15, 1945
VMSB-941
October 10, 1944
VMSB-942
October 10, 1944
VMSB-943
January 31, 1946
VMSB-944
October 10, 1944

Marine Torpedo Bombing Squadrons

VMTBs were torpedo bomber squadrons that operated the TBF Avenger. They were in service with the Marine Corps during World War II and were deactivated shortly after the war. They were part of the Cactus Air Force on Guadalcanal, served on escort carriers during the campaign to retake the Philippines and provided close air support for Australian forces on Borneo and Marines during the Battle of Okinawa.

Squadron Name Insignia Nickname Date Decommissioned
VMTB-132
Crying Red Asses
November 9, 1945
VMTB-151
Ali Baba
March 20, 1946
VMTB-341
Torrid Turtles
September 13, 1945
VMTB-454
Helldivers
January 28, 1946
VMTB-621
March 10, 1945
VMTB-622
January 31, 1946
VMTB-623
March 20, 1946
VMTB-624
March 10, 1946

Marine Fighting Squadrons

Marine Fighting Squadrons were multirole squadrons responsible for air-to-air combat, combat air patrols, attacking enemy shipping, escorting bombers and close air support. By far the most numerous of any type of Marine Corps squadron, they first made their mark flying the F4F Wildcat as part of the Cactus Air Force on Guadalcanal and finished World War II flying the venerable F4U Corsair. Many VMF squadrons continued to operate after the war with most in the Marine Air Reserve; however, with the retirement of the F-8 Crusader the VMF squadrons either became VMFAs or were deactivated.

Squadron Name Insignia Nickname Date Decommissioned
VMF-111
Devil Dogs
October 22, 1965
VMF-113
Whistling Devils
October 22, 1965
VMF(AW)-114
Death Dealers
July 1, 1963
VMF-123
Eight Balls
Late 1950s
VMF-141
VMF-155
Ready Teddys
October 15, 1945
VMF-213
Hell Hawks
mid-1970
VMF-215
Fighting Corsairs
January 30, 1970
VMF-216
Bull Dogs
March 10, 1945
VMF-218
Hellions
early 1960s
VMF-221
Fighting Falcons
June, 1959
VMF-222
Flying Deuces
December 31, 1949
VMF-313
Lily Packin’ Hellbirds
1950s
VMF-413
Shamrocks
January 1963
VMF-422
Flying Buccaneers
June 30, 1947
VMF-441
Blackjacks
June, 1959
VMF-452
Sky Raiders
December 31, 1949
VMF-471
September 10, 1945
VMF-472
Flying Seahorses
December 24, 1945
Squadron Name Insignia Nickname Date Decommissioned
VMF-481
September 10, 1945
VMF-482
October 10, 1944
VMF-511
August 31, 1972
VMF-512
March 10, 1946
VMF-514
The Whistling Death
December 9, 1945
VMF-521
September 10, 1945
VMF-522
September 10, 1945
VMF-523
October 15, 1945
VMF-524
October 15, 1945
VMF-541
The Bat Eyes
early 1960s
VMF-911
Devilcats
March 15, 1946
VMF-912
March 15, 1946
VMF-913
January 1946
VMF-914
January 31, 1946
VMF-921
October 10, 1944
VMF-922
October 10, 1944
VMF-923
October 10, 1944
VMF-924
October 10, 1944

Marine Night Fighter Squadrons

After witnessing the Royal Air Force's success using radar directed fighters at night in 1941, the Navy's Bureau of Aeronautics authorized eight Marine night fighter squadrons to be formed by 1945. This timeline was brought forward considerably after the attack on Pearl Harbor and their need proven by the frustration of the Cactus Air Force's pilots not being able to engage Japanese bombers at night during the Battle of Guadalcanal. This led to the formation of the first VMF(N) in November 1942. After much deliberation the PV-1 Ventura was picked as the first choice of aircraft for these squadrons. The night fighting squadrons featured radar equipped aircraft, ground based radar and personnel that provided Ground-controlled interception (GCI). The VMF(N) designated squadrons were deactivated after the war as the night fighting mission was assumed by the fighter and attack communities.

Squadron Name Insignia Nickname Date Decommissioned
VMF(N)-532
Night Fighters
May 31, 1947
VMF(N)-534
May 31, 1947
VMF(N)-544
April 20, 1946

Marine Bombing Squadrons

The Marine Bombing Squadrons were formed during World War II to fill the need for a long range, land based bomber that could be used against enemy shipping and submarines. In the Pacific Theater, the squadrons served ashore as a garrison air force to attack bypassed Japanese bases and other installations. The VMBs flew the PBJ-1, which was the naval version of the B-25 Mitchell. Sixteen of these squadrons were commissioned with seven serving in combat, four never able to leave the U.S. due to the war ending and four others converted to VMTB squadrons. The seven PBJ squadrons that saw combat in the Pacific suffered the loss of 45 aircraft, 26 in combat and 19 in non-combat operations, and 173 crew, 62 officers and 111 enlisted men.

Squadron Name Insignia Nickname Date Decommissioned
VMB-423
Seahorses
November 30, 1945
VMB-433
Fork-Tailed Devils
November 30, 1945
VMB-443
November 30, 1945
VMB-453
March 20, 1946
VMB-473
March 20, 1946
VMB-483
March 15, 1945
VMB-611
Black Seahorse
November 30, 1945
VMB-612
Cram's Rams
March 15, 1946
VMB-613
November 21, 1945
VMB-614
Ruptured Ducks
December 28, 1945

Marine Operational Training Squadrons

All of these squadrons were activated at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, North Carolina in February 1945 as medium bomber pilot training units. They instructed Marines learning to fly the PBJ-1. Following the end of the war they were quickly deactivated.
Squadron Name Insignia Nickname Date Decommissioned
MOTS-811
September 10, 1945
MOTS-812
September 10, 1945
MOTS-813
November 1945
MOTS-814
'''
November 1945

Marine Photographic Squadrons

Marine photographic squadrons were first formed in 1942 and went through numerous name changes while they were active. VMDs/VMPs flew photographic modified versions of the SBD Dauntless, PB4Y-1 Liberator and PB4Y-2 Privateer. The main mission of these squadrons was to conduct long range, very high-altitude photographic reconnaissance.

Squadron Name Insignia Nickname Date Decommissioned
VMD-154
Pathfinders
September 10, 1945
VMP-254
November 30, 1949
VMP-354
December 8, 1949
VMD-954
January 31, 1946

Marine Glider Squadron

The Marine Corps established a glider program in April 1942. Eventually they set goals of having 10,800 Marines qualified as glider infantry, with 1,371 gliders and 3,436 pilots. They originally operated from Page Field on MCRD Parris Island but later moved to Marine Corps Air Station Eagle Mountain Lake outside Dallas, Texas. The program was disbanded in 1943 when it was determined that glider assaults into small, heavily fortified, jungle islands would be tactically unfeasible.

Squadron Name Insignia Nickname Date Decommissioned
VML-711
May 24, 1943

Marine Transport Squadrons

Flying the R4D and the R5C-1, these squadrons were responsible for movings troops and cargo,aerial resupply, delivery of Paramarines and medical evacuation.The last of these squadrons was deactivated in 1949.

Squadron Name Insignia Nickname Date Decommissioned
VMR-152
1949
VMR-153
1949
VMR-353
February 15, 1946
VMR-952
May 31, 1947
VMR-953
Puss in Boots
May 31, 1947

Marine Scouting Squadrons

There were three Marine Scouting Squadrons prior to World War II; however, VMS-3 was the only squadron to retain the designation. The squadron served in Haiti from 1919 through 1934 and then spent its last ten years at St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. During World War II they were the only Marine Corps squadron to operate east of the United States. They began the war flying the Grumman J2F Duck, transitioned to the OS2N Kingfisher and at the time of deactivation were flying SBD Dauntless dive bombers.

Squadron Name Insignia Nickname Date Decommissioned
VMS-3
Devilbirds
May 20, 1944

Marine Target Towing Detachments (VMTD/VMJ)

Marine Target Towing detachments were first formed at Marine Corps Air Station Ewa in October 1944. They were responsible for towing targets for antiaircraft gunnery and radar tracking practice. They flew JM-1 Marauders and the R5C-1 Commandos. The last of these detachments was deactivated in March 1946.

Squadron Name Insignia Nickname Date Decommissioned
VMJ-1
October, 1945
VMJ-2
March 6, 1946
VMJ-3
Red Asses
October 21, 1945

Marine Observation Squadrons

The Marine observation squadrons were formed during the latter stages of World War II with the primary mission of forward air control of strike aircraft for close air support and air interdiction. They saw extensive service during the Vietnam War flying the OV-10 Bronco. The Marine Corps began decommissioning the VMO squadrons following their participation in Operation Desert Storm as propeller driven aircraft were seen as too dangerous to fly on the modern battlefield. Their mission has been assumed by the VMFA(AW) squadrons.

Squadron Name Insignia Nickname Date Decommissioned
VMO-1
July 31, 1993
VMO-2
Cherry Deuce
May 20, 1993
VMO-4
Evil Eyes
March 31, 1994
VMO-6
Tomcats
January 1, 1976
VMO-7
November 16, 1945
VMO-8
July 1976
VMO-951
October 10, 1944

Marine Attack Squadrons

In 1951, the Marine Corps began fielding the AD-1 Skyraider ground attack aircraft which had as its main role close air support for the Marines on the ground. Thus many squadrons had their designation changed from VMF to VMA to reflect this ground attack role. 13 squadrons were equipped with the Skyraider until they were finally phased out in 1958. Follow on VMA squadrons operated the A-4 Skyhawk during the Vietnam War through their retirement just after Operation Desert Storm. The VMA tradition is carried on today by squadrons flying the AV-8B Harrier II.

Squadron Name Insignia Nickname Date Decommissioned
VMA-124
Whistling Death
1996
VMA-131
Diamondbacks
December 5, 1998
VMA-133
Dragons
1992
VMA-143
Rocket Raiders
VMA-144
Hensagliska
VMA-217
Max’s Wild Hares
1964
VMA-233
Flying Deadheads
1969
VMA-236
Black Panthers
Late 1960s
VMA-241
Sons of Satan
VMA-322
Fighting Gamecocks
June 27, 1992
VMA-324
Devildogs
VMA-331
Bumblebeess
October 1, 1992
VMA-543
Night Hawks
April 1, 1974

Marine Reconnaissance Squadron

Marine Reconnaissance Squadron 4 was the only reserve photographic reconnaissance squadron in the Marine Corps. They were based out of Naval Air Station Olathe, Kansas and flew the F-8 Crusader.

Squadron Name Insignia Nickname Date Decommissioned
VMJ-4
1973

Marine Composite Reconnaissance Squadrons

Following the Korean War Marine Composite Squadron 1 (VMC-1) and Marine Photographic Squadron 1 (VMJ-1) were combined to form VMCJ-1. The new squadron was responsible for both Photoreconnaissance and Electronic Warfare. In its early years it flew the RF-8A Crusader and EF-10B Skyknight but these were later replaced by the RF-4B Phantom II and the EA-6A Electric Intruder. The squadron was deactivated following the end of the Vietnam War and the reorganization of the Marine Corps' composite community in 1975.

Squadron Name Insignia Nickname Date Decommissioned
VMCJ-1
Golden Hawks
September 1975

Marine Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron

Upon the decommissioning of the Marine Composite Squadrons (VMCJs), VMFP-3 became the lone photographic reconnaissance squadron in the Marine Corps. They flew the RF-4B Phantom II and operated from 1975 until being decommissioned in 1990. Their capability has since been replaced by various targeting pods used on Marine aircraft and the Advanced Tactical Airborne Reconnaissance System which is found in some of the F/A-18 Hornet squadrons.

Squadron Name Insignia Nickname Date Decommissioned
VMFP-3
Eyes of the Corps
September 3, 1990

Marine Fighter Attack Squadrons

The first Marine Corps squadron to be redesignated a VMFA was in June 1962 upon receipt of the first F-4 Phantom II aircraft. VMF and VMA squadrons were redesignated because the new Phantoms could be both fighter aircraft and ground attack aircraft. These squadrons were heavily deployed during the Vietnam War. Most of these squadrons would eventually convert to the F/A-18 Hornet with the last F-4 Phantom leaving service in 1992. The end of the Cold War saw the deactivation of some VMFA squadrons as part of the overall drawdown of the US Military

Squadron Name Insignia Nickname Date Decommissioned
VMFA-134
Smoke
April 1, 2007
VMFA-212
Lancers
March 11, 2008
VMFA-235
Death Angels
June 14, 1996
VMFA-321
Hells Angels
September 30, 2004
VMFA-333
Fighting Shamrocks
March 31, 1992
VMFA-334
Falcons
December 30, 1971
VMFA-351
1978
VMFA-451
Warlords
January 31, 1997
VMFA-531
Grey Ghosts
April 27, 1992

Marine All-Weather Fighter Attacks Squadron

Please click here for specifics on the Marine All-Weather Fighter Attacks Squadrons

Squadron Name Insignia Nickname Date Decommissioned
VMFA(AW)-332
Moonlighters
March 30, 2007

Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadrons

Please see above for specifics on the Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadrons

Due to a reorganization in Marine aviation, HMH-366 is due to be reactivated in 2008 and will be based at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point.

Squadron Name Insignia Nickname Date Decommissioned
HMH-769
Titan
August 2, 2008
HMH-777
Flying Armadillos
1980

Marine Medium Helicopter Squadrons

The original Marine Medium Helicopter squadrons flew the UH-34D Sea Horse, which shortly after its inception saw extensive combat during the Vietnam War. Beginning in 1966 they began to be replaced with the CH-46 Sea Knight which was faster, could carry more troops and is still in service today. The decommissioned HMM squadrons reflect the UH-34D training squadron and various reserve squadrons.

Squadron Name Insignia Nickname Date Decommissioned
HMM-561
August 27, 1969
HMM-761
August 31, 1962
HMM-762
December 31, 1962
HMM-763
September 30, 1962
HMM-766
Beavers
October 1, 1976
HMM-768
1976

Marine Light Helicopter Squadrons

Squadron Name Insignia Nickname Date Decommissioned
HML-765
'
June 30, 1976
HML-767
Nomads
August 1, 1994
HML-770
1980/81
HML-771
Hummers
August 1, 1994
HML-776
Gangsters
July 1, 1994

Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadrons

The Marine Corps’ light attack squadrons (HMLAs) 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 provided airborne command and control, utility support, supporting arms coordination and medical evacuation. These squadrons were first formed during the Vietnam War with the fielding of the AH-1 Cobra gunship and its being combined in the same squdron with the UH-1H Iroquois that initially belonged to the Marine Corps' VMO squadrons. The majority of these squadrons are still active today in the Opearting Forces today

Squadron Name Insignia Nickname Date Decommissioned
HMLA-775
Coyotes
September 6, 2008

Training squadrons

Squadron Name Insignia Nickname Date Decommissioned
VMAT-20
Marine Attack Training Squadron
VMAT-102
Marine Attack Training Squadron
Skyhawks
VMT-103
Marine Training Squadron
Sky Chickens
VMFAT-201
Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron
Hawks
September 30, 1974
VMAT(AW)-202
Marine All-Weather Attack Training Squadron
Double Eagles
1990
VMGRT-253
Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Training Squadron
Titans
September 14, 2006
HMT-301
Marine Helicopter Training Squadron
Windwalkers
June 3, 2005
HMHT-401
Marine Heavy Helicopter Training Squadron
May 1, 1972
HMMT-402
Marine Medium Helicopter Training Squadron
May 1, 1972

See also

Notes

References

Bibliography

  • Astor, Gerald (2005). Semper Fi in the Sky - The Marine Air Battles of World War II. New York: Random House.
  • Blair, Clay, The Forgotten War: America in Korea, 1950-1953, Naval Institute Press (2003)
  • Burkholder, Furner L. Friends Made, Moments Shared, Memories for Life: An Oral History of WWII- U.S. Marine Corps - VMSB 343. LeMieux International.
  • Chapin, John C. (2000). Fire Brigade: U.S. Marines in the Pusan Perimeter. Washington D.C.: Marine Corps Historical Center.
  • Condon, John Pomeroy Corsairs and Flattops - Marine Carrier Air Warfare, 1944-45. Annapolis Maryland: Naval Institute Press.
  • Corum, James S. & Johnson, Wray R. Airpower in Small Wars - Fighting Insurgents and Terrorists. Lawrence, Kansas: University Press of Kansas.
  • De Chant, John A. Devilbirds - The Story of United States Marine Aviation in World War II. New York: Harper & Brothers.
  • Dorr, Robert F. Marine Air - The History of the Flying Leathernecks in Words and Photos. Penguin Group.
  • Johnson, Edward C. (1977). Marine Corps Aviation: The Early Years 1912 - 1940. United States Marine Corps.
  • Krulak, Victor H. (Lt. Gen.), First to Fight: An Inside View of the U.S. Marine Corps, Naval Institute Press (1999)
  • Lundstrom, John B. (2005 (New edition)). First Team And the Guadalcanal Campaign: Naval Fighter Combat from August to November 1942. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-59114-472-8.
  • Mersky, Peter B. (1983). U.S. Marine Corps Aviation - 1912 to the Present. Nautical and Aviation Publishing Company of America. ISBN 0-933852-39-8.
  • Millstein, Jeff U.S. Marine Corps Aviation Unit Insignia 1941-1946. Paducah, Kentucky: Turner Publishing Company.
  • Rottman, Gordon L. U.S. Marine Corps World War II Order of Battle - Ground and Air Units in the Pacific War, 1939 - 1945.’’. Greenwood Press. ISBN 0-313-31906-5.
  • Sherrod, Robert (1952). History of Marine Corps Aviation in World War II. Washington, D.C.: Combat Forces Press.
  • Shettle Jr., M. L. United States Marine Corps Air Stations of World War II. Bowersville, Georgia: Schaertel Publishing Co.. ISBN 0-964-33882-3.
  • Tillman, Barrett Corsair - The F4U in World War II and Korea. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-55750-944-8.
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