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Master Sgt. Anthony L. Sexton and Staff Sgt. Nelson Mondaca stand at their positions during Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 269's birthday ceremony July 1 at Al Asad, Iraq. Sexton and Mondaca shared a piece of cake to celebrate the oldest and newest members of the squadron. Sexton, a native of High Point, N.C., is the avionics chief for HMLA 269, Marine Aircraft Group 16 (Reinforced), 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, and has been with the squadron since 1984. Mondaca, a Miami, native, is a maintenance administrator for HMLA-269 and is the newest to the unit.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Brandon L. Roach

'Gunrunners' celebrate 35th birthday in Al Asad

3 Jul 2006 | Lance Cpl. Brandon L. Roach

Marines, sailors and civilians gathered under the shade of an old hanger here July 1 to celebrate the 35 years of hard work, dedication and service by the Marines of Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 269.

The squadron, HMLA-269, Marine Aircraft Group 16 (Reinforced), 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, was activated July 1, 1971, at Marine Corps Air Station New River, N.C., and was the first designated light attack helicopter squadron.

While history was made in the hangar, Master Sgt. Anthony L. Sexton, avionics chief, and Staff Sgt. Nelson Mondaca, maintenance administration, shared a piece of cake to celebrate the oldest and newest members of the unit.

After the ceremonial March on the Colors, the members of the squadron listened to a Marine read through some of the highlighted missions and statistics from their squadron history.

Throughout its time, HMLA-269 has had many achievements and awards and as the Marines stood in formation, their pride could be seen as Lt. Col. Scott S. Jensen, commanding officer, HMLA-269, praised and recognized their hard work.

Although birthdays are celebrated routinely throughout the military services, it is a great boost to morale and something for Marines to remember when it is done in a combat zone.

"It is good that even during a war we can have some normality and celebrate the traditions of the squadron and the Marine Corps," said Mondaca.
3rd Marine Aircraft Wing