Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron (HMLA) 267 maintains a ready-to-deploy, light-lift, attack helicopter squadron, capable of fighting the nation’s battles anytime, anywhere. Specifically, the Squadron supports the Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF) commander by providing offensive air support, utility support, armed escort, and airborne supporting arms coordination; day or night; under all weather conditions; during expeditionary, joint, or combined operations.
On 15 February 1944, the Squadron activated at Quantico, Virginia as Marine Observation Squadron (VMO) 5, the “Black Aces.” The operational aircraft at the time was the Stinson OY-1 “Sentinel,” commonly known as the “Grasshopper." VMO-5’s primary tasks were providing aerial fire support spotting and observation in support of ground forces.
The Squadron deployed with the 3d Marine Aircraft Wing (MAW) to the Pacific Theater following several months of training in Camp Pendleton, California and Ewa, Hawaii, to support the invasion of Iwo Jima. Elements of the Squadron went ashore on 19 February 1945 and remained until the end of the campaign. In April of 1945, the Squadron was relocated to Hilo, Hawaii. In June of the same year, VMO-5 was assigned to Marine Observation Group 1, then reassigned in August to the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing.
Following the end of World War II, the Squadron deployed to Sasebo, Japan for occupation duty from September 1945 to January 1946. Upon completion of this tour, VMO-5 returned to San Diego and was deactivated on 31 January 1946.
The buildup of forces for the Vietnam War led to the Squadron’s reactivation on 15 December 1966. Sub Unit 1 of Headquarters & Maintenance Squadron 30, the USMC training unit for UH-1E utility helicopters, re-designated as VMO-5 and attached to Marine Wing Service Group 37 at Camp Pendleton. The reactivated Squadron became known as the “Stingers,” equipped with both UH-1E helicopters and OV-10 fixed wing observation planes. The Squadron served as the primary training squadron for UH-1E and OV-10 aircrew on their way to Vietnam.
On 15 March, 1968, the Squadron was re-designated Marine Light Helicopter Squadron 267 (HML-267), and remained in a combat ready status for the remainder of the Vietnam War. OV-10s were removed from the Squadron in November 1971 and all UH-1Es were upgraded to the UH-1N “Huey” by December 1976.
In November of 1979, following the end of the Vietnam War, HML-267 deployed a third of its assets at regular intervals to MCAS Futenma in Okinawa, Japan, as part of the new Unit Deployment Program (UDP). The UDP supported Marine Amphibious Units in the Pacific and Indian Oceans while the remainder of the Squadron continued to reside in Camp Pendleton with Marine Aircraft Group 39.
In February 1982, the Squadron acquired a new attack helicopter, the AH-1J “Sea Cobra” leading the Squadron’s re-designation to Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron (HMLA) 267 in March 1987. That same month, the first AH-1W “Super Cobra” was delivered to replace the recently acquired Sea Cobras.
The Marines of HMLA-267 have since deployed to combat as a Huey/Cobra team in support of Operations Desert Shield, Desert Storm, Restore Hope, Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom, as well as supporting the 11th, 13th, 15th, and 31st Marine Expeditionary Units (MEUs). Over the past three decades, the Stingers’ Black Ace has been seen on light attack helicopters flying over the open deserts of Kuwait, the sandy cities of Iraq, the tumult of Mogadishu, and the vast mountains of Afghanistan.
In April 2012, HMLA-267 completed its most recent transition to the upgraded AH-1Z and UH-1Y to become the first all-upgrade H-1 squadron in the Marine Corps. This transition led to the first all-upgrade MEU and all-upgrade UDP in March 2013 and November 2016, respectively.
From June to July 2016, elements of HMLA-267 participated in Operation Inherent Resolve in Iraq and Syria. Since 2016, HMLA-267 has supported three UDPs, and the 13th, 11th, and 15th MEUs.
HMLA-267’s numerous honors and decorations include the Presidential Unit Citation Streamer, Navy Unit Commendation Streamer with bronze star, Meritorious Unit Commendation Streamer with three bronze stars, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Streamer with bronze star, World War II Victory Streamer, Navy Occupation Service Streamer with Asia clasp, National Defense Service Streamer with two bronze stars, Armed Forces Expeditionary Streamer, Iraq Campaign Streamer, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Service Streamer, and Global War on Terrorism Service Streamer. In 2017, the Squadron received the MCAA John P. Giguere Squadron of the Year Award.
In all its missions, Stingers have flown and toiled on aircraft with honor and pride in support of the Marines on the ground, taking to heart its creed to fight and win our nation’s battles “Anytime, Anywhere.”