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A CH-46E Sea Knight sits on the flight line during sunset aboard Moffett Federal Airfield, Calif., Sept. 11. Marines of HMM-268 conducted familiarization navigation flights and night confined area landing flights while in Moffett.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Raquel Barraza

Red Dragons prepare to say good bye to Sea Knight

26 Sep 2013 | Lance Cpl. Raquel Barraza

Marines with Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 268 “Red Dragons” took their last deployment for training to Moffett Federal Airfield, Calif., Sept. 2- 18. 
 
This is the last training mission the squadron will conduct before they begin their transition to the replace the CH-46E Sea Knight with the MV-22B Osprey. 
 
“We will start selecting who will transition and send them to their [military occupational specialty] schools to learn about the Osprey,” said Lt. Col. Brian Peterson, the commanding officer of HMM-268 and a Concord, Ohio, native. 
 
In October, the squadron will also move from Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif.
 
“We’re excited to get to Miramar; we’re excited to make an impact,” said Peterson. “We’re excited to show how quickly and efficiently we can transition to the Osprey once we get our chance.”

The transition of the squadron will start in October and is slated to be completed in April 2014.
They begin to send the Marines to school months beforehand so they have the foundation to build the new squadron, explained Peterson. 
 
Marines throughout the squadron know how historic this transition will be for them and the Marine Corps. 
 
“The Sea Knight is one of the few links the Marine Corps still has today from decades of Marines,” said Staff Sgt. Zachary Curran, a CH-46E Sea Knight avionics technician and a Brentwood, Calif., native. “Marines were working on [the Sea Knight] 40 years ago. We can share the same war stories.” 
 
Even with the excitement of a new aircraft and home for the squadron, it is a bitter sweet good bye for the Sea Knight.

“It’s the only aircraft I’ve ever really known,” said Peterson. “It will be sad to see it go but, eventually it has to make way for the next generation as we all do.”

With this transition, the Red Dragons will cease to be one of only two active duty Sea Knight squadrons left in the Marine Corps, leaving only one….

3rd Marine Aircraft Wing