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Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron deploys to Djibouti

By Sgt. Bradly Shaver | | November 1, 2003

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Marines from Marine Corps Air Station New River, N.C., recently replaced the Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 461 here providing helicopter support throughout the Horn of Africa.

The HMH-464 Detachment A (Reinforced) will provide combat assault support of heavy weapons, equipment and troops during operations in the Horn of Africa, according to Lt. Col. Scott Minaldi, detachment officer in charge. "We primarily provide combat assault support of heavy weapons, equipment and supplies, and secondarily provide transportation for the troops," he said. "However, over the past several years, our mission of transporting troops has also become a primary mission."

Flying the CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter, HMH-464 will maintain and support the long-range capabilities HMH-461 squadron upheld.

Having a helicopter squadron in East Africa is instrumental in accomplishing the Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa's mission of detecting, defeating and deterring transnational terrorists by supplying organic operational reach and providing flexibility to a wide variety of counter-terrorism activities throughout the region.

HMH-461's commanding officer, Lt. Col. Lawrence E. Miccolis said "We've had the privilege to serve with the professionals in this joint task force. Not only alongside Marines but also Air Force, Army, Navy and a variety of Special Force service members.

"The helicopter support mission here is certainly necessary to complete the task force, and we feel we've done our part in Operation Enduring Freedom," he said. "I have absolute confidence HMH-464 will do great things supporting CJTF-HOA."

Over the next six months, the HMH-464 detachment will live by their commanding officer's motto; "We train and make ready for deployment, we deploy to War, we Fight and Win, we redeploy - and return Home with Honor."

"We always remain combat ready - ready to accomplish our mission as professional Marine warriors and assault support specialists who honor our Espirit de Corps through our courage and commitment to that mission," stated Lt. Col. Joaquin "Keen" Malavet.

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