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The new guidon for Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 166 is carried out to the squadron for the transfer of the colors during the change of command and redesignation ceremony here June 23. VMM-166, formerly Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 166, was activated during the ceremony.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Steven H. Posy

‘Sea Elks’ transition to tilt-rotor platform

25 Jun 2010 | Lance Cpl. Steven H. Posy

Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 166 celebrated 44 years of history and embraced its future Wednesday as the squadron transitioned from the CH-46E “Sea Knight” to the MV-22 “Osprey.”

VMM-166, formerly Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 166, held its change of command and redesignation ceremony here June 23, where Lt. Col. Christopher W. Morton relinquished command to Lt. Col. Michael A. Boorstein.

“We knew that the CH-46 would eventually be replaced, and the time has come for a better platform to carry us into the future,” said Morton, the executive officer of Marine Aviation Group 16 here.

The ceremony began with a performance by the band and was followed by the change of command. The colors were then transferred and HMM-166 was deactivated and redesignated as VMM-166.

 Morton then reflected on the history of the squadron and the Marines who worked with the CH-46 as he delivered an emotional speech in front of a crowd of spectators and fellow Marines.

“We are at the end of an era and the beginning of a new one,” said Morton. “I am proud to have been a part of four decades of the CH-46 history, and I am equally excited for the future of the squadron with the MV-22.”

The squadron honored the CH-46 legacy and celebrated the future of the Osprey during the ceremony.

“It is a unique time in history and in the Marine Corps, as we welcome the future and say goodbye to the CH-46,” said Maj. Gen. Thomas L. Conant, the commanding general of 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing. “The squadron has done a great job during this transition.”

After a speech by Boorstein, the ceremony concluded with food and beverages for the guests.

“This is an historic and exciting time for our squadron,” said Boorstein. “The redesignation ceremony is a formal recognition of the commencement of this new chapter. Our [executive officer], Maj. Todd R. Schiro, and [sergeant major], Sgt. Maj. Michael D. Johns, did a tremendous job in preparing and executing the ceremony, I was very proud to take part in it.” 

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3rd Marine Aircraft Wing