Marine Medium Tilt Rotor Squadron 166



Mission Statement Under 3rd MAW

The 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing's mission is to provide combat ready expeditionary aviation forces capable of short notice world wide deployment to Marine Air Ground Task Force (MAGTF), fleet and unified commanders.

Our mission to provide well trained, organized and equipped combat ready forces remains our number one priority.

The Third Marine Aircraft Wing (3rd MAW) is comprised of Marines, sailors and civilians. We enjoy a climate of trust and cohesiveness that makes our combat organization greater than the sum of its individual parts. As a combat team, we focus on excellence and mission success. We accept nothing less than superior performance, for mediocrity has no place in aviation.

Our high standards of professional excellence are apparent in our conduct and preparation for combat. We are the epitome of professionalism in everything we do: in our work ethic, our grooming standards, in our daily behavior, and while we are enjoying well-earned liberty. We remain combat ready to conduct any mission assigned. We stay fit for duty – physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Our posture for success sustains us in combat.

We are representatives of the United States of America, of our service, and of our families. Our personal interaction sets the standard by which 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing is judged. We always maintain the highest standards of professionalism and human dignity.

The action, or inaction, of any one individual plays a critical role in our preparation for combat.

Our leadership is proactive, never abusive. We thrive on challenges, seek solutions, and produce positive, timely results. We are always accountable and accept responsibility for our actions. We know the rules and regulations and abide by them. Integrity is our cornerstone, honesty is our guide, and respect for our fellow man is our creed. We will not waiver in our mission to defeat terrorism and destroy those extremists who threaten our way of life.

Excel, demand excellence, set the example, be responsible, contribute to the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing success and we will make a difference as we defeat the enemies of our great country.

VMM-166 Leaders

Lieutenant Colonel James Clifford Ford III
Commanding Officer, Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 166

Lieutenant Colonel James Clifford Ford III graduated from the Virginia Military Institute and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant on 17 December 1999.  He reported to The Basic School in January 2000 and upon graduation in June 2000 he reported to the Naval Air Training Command, Pensacola, Florida.  While awaiting flight training he was assigned

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Major Tyler Kesterson
Executive Officer, Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 166

Major Kesterson reported to Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, California, in April 1998 for recruit training. Upon completion of Naval Aircrew Candidate School in Pensacola, Florida he was assigned to Marine Helicopter Training Squadron 303 and served as a Crew Chief and mechanic on the UH-1N Huey and AH-1W Cobra. In 2003, Sergeant Kesterson was accepted into the Broadened Opportunity for Officer Selection and Training program and spent a year in Newport, RI. After completion of training, he matriculated into the Marine Enlisted Commissioning Education Program and attended the University of Colorado. Staff Sgt. Kesterson graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management and was commissioned a 2nd Lt. in the Marine Corps on December 21st, 2007. 2nd Lt. Kesterson subsequently reported to Quantico, Virginia for training at The Basic School. Following graduation in November 2008, he reported to Naval Air Station (NAS) Pensacola, Florida for initial flight training. After completing Aviation Preflight Indoctrination, 2nd Lt. Kesterson transferred to NAS Whiting Field for Primary Flight Training with Training Squadron 2. Following primary flight training, 1st Lt. Kesterson reported to Helicopter Training Squadron 28 for Intermediate Helicopter training. Upon completion he transferred to NAS Corpus Christi for Advanced Multi-Engine training. 1st Lt. Kesterson received his wings on December 17, 2010 at NAS Corpus Christi. He then reported to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Training Squadron (VMMT) 204 at Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) New River, North Carolina for training in the MV-22B Osprey and was subsequently assigned to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 266. He served in the squadron from 2011 to 2016. He held billets as the Pilot Training Officer, Assistant Operation Officer and Squadron Weapons and Tactics Instructor. During this time he deployed with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit in 2013 and with Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force (SPMAGTF)-Crisis Response - Africa in 2015. In 2016, he earned a Master of Arts (MA) in Leadership studies from Marshall University. In May of 2016, Capt. Kesterson reported to the Philadelphia Consortium, Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps, serving as the Marine Officer Instructor for Villanova, Pennsylvania, Drexel, and Temple University. Maj. Kesterson was promoted to his current rank on November 1, 2017. In 2019 he earned a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree from Villanova University. In June 2019, Maj. Kesterson reported to MCAS Miramar and was assigned to VMM-166. After completing the MV-22B refresh syllabus with VMMT-204, he assumed the duties as the Aircraft Maintenance Officer. He deployed with the squadron in March of 2020 with SPMAGTF-Crisis Response - Central Command 20.2. Upon returning from the deployment he assumed his current duties as the Executive Officer of the squadron. Maj. Kesterson’s personal awards include the Air Medal with numeral 2 and the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (gold star in lieu of second award).

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Sergeant Major Garett G. Kirkby
Sergeant Major, Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 166

Sergeant Major Kirkby graduated from LaFargeville Central High School near Watertown, NY in 1998.  He reported to Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, SC for Basic Training in August of 1998. He was then assigned to Personnel Administrative School where he was promoted to Private First Class and graduated February 1999. Upon graduation he

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3rd MAW News
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3rd Marine Aircraft Wing