USMC HMLA 269 AH 1Z credit Stephen j Stein 640HMLA-269 reactivated

On 1 July 2024, Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron (HMLA) 269 The Gunrunners ('HF-xx'), part of the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing (MAW), was reactivated during a ceremony at Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) New River (NC).

The unit was previously deactivated on 9 December 2022, in accordance with Force Design initiatives. During the squadron’s brief deactivation, the Marine Corps conducted an analysis of force management to ensure that no operational commitments were left unfulfilled. This analysis identified the need for an additional HMLA squadron on the East Coast to provide sustained operational support to II Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF). This change within 2nd MAW represents incremental adjustments to Force Design to meet the conditions described in recent national security and defense strategies.

The squadron will resume operating the Bell AH-1Z Viper attack helicopter and the Bell UH-1Y Venom utility helicopter. Both aircraft are manned, trained, and equipped to fight from the sea into austere environments and confined littoral spaces, supporting the Marine Air-Ground Task Force by providing offensive air support, utility support, armed escort, and airborne supporting arms coordination.

HMA-269 was formed at MCAS New River (NC) on 22 February 1971 and activated on 1 July 1971 as the Marine Corps' first designated attack helicopter squadron. Equipped with the AH-1J Sea Cobra, its mission was to provide close-in fire support during aerial and ground escort operations during ship-to-shore movement and subsequent operations ashore.

In December 1977, HMA-269 took delivery of the first AH-1T (TOW) Cobra. The squadron opened a new era of attack helicopter aviation in early 1979 by being the first Marine Corps squadron to fire the TOW anti-tank missile from an airborne platform.

In the early 1980s, with the addition of the UH-1N to the squadron, HMA-269 became HMLA-269 and expanded its primary mission to include utility helicopter support.

Credit photo: Stephen J Stein (Via

Subscribe to Scramble

As a member you get access to all our
premium content and benefits learn more