JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – An event at New River Air Station on Friday marked the end of an era for one unit of Marines and Sailors.
Friends, family and servicemembers gathered for a bittersweet moment as the HMH 366 Squadron was officially deactivated. It was time to say goodbye to the Hammerhead unit after 20+ years. The squadron, which was deactivated for a short time in 2000, came back after 9/11 when the nation needed them the most.
“The first commander took it and within 18 months of taking and rebuilding the squadron, had forces deployed to the Horn of Africa, and also to Operation Iraqi Freedom,” said the last commander of HMH 366, Lt. Col. L. Orion Jones.
In the squadron’s two decades of service, they were deployed all over the world.
“Our team has pretty much fought in every climate place imaginable and been successful every single time,” said Jones.
The service members that were a part of the HMH 366 Squadron will now move on to other units. The unit’s deactivation comes because of a much bigger picture.
“The Marine Corps is taking the structure that currently exists and displacing it to other new capabilities so that we are better prepared to fight the future fight against peer near-peer adversaries,” said Jones.
The ceremony included the marching of the command and final review. But, the most significant part was the casing of the colors. The moment symbolized the end of the unit.
“This is just a story in one person’s life and one Marine’s life. But I think it’s an important story that they have, and they can tell,” said Jones.