HMH-463 receives nomination for best in Corps
Submitted by: MCB Hawaii
Story by: Computed Name: Lance Cpl. Edward C. deBree
Story Identification #: 200762917940
MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII(June 28, 2007) -- Marine Heavy Helicopter quadron 463 recently received the Joe Foss Award for “HMH of the Year” from the Marine Corps Aviation Association, May 19, in Okinawa, Japan, for being the best in 1st Marine Aircraft Wing.
Upon receiving the award, the Pegasus squadron was nominated for the Keith B. McCutcheon award, the “HMH of the Year” award Marine Corps wide.
Pegasus earned the nomination for 1st MAW after completing a successful tour in Al Asad, Iraq, in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom from late 2006 to early 2007.
“The nomination really results from the morale being very high, which was a result from the great leadership from the (commanding officer) on down to the lance corporals policing their own,” said Capt. Brian Friestman, pilot training officer, HMH-463, Marine Aircraft Group 24. “The Marines in this squadron seemed to be happy to be doing what they were trained to do out there.”
The squadron was the first CH-53D squadron to deploy to Iraq and flew more hours than any other squadron, Friestman said. The squadron transported approximately two-million pounds of cargo and 20,000 passengers during the deployment.
“Anytime you go out and do your mission it feels great, but when people recognize you for what you did it makes it that much sweeter,” said Maj. David S. Rentz, the executive officer during HMH-463’s deployment. “We did a lot better than anyone expected we would do. No one knew what to expect from the 53Ds from Hawaii who haven’t deployed for so long.”
Winners of MCAA awards will be invited to the MCAA 2007 Award Reunion Symposium held in Reno, Nev., in mid-October.
Sometime between now and October, the squadron will receive a message from the association if they win, said Capt. Joseph Overstake, legal officer.
“At this stage all the nominations have been forwarded to the commandant for consideration,” he said. “We’re just sitting and waiting for the results at this point.”
As the squadron waits for the results of the nominations, they feel they will take home the award.
“I think we stand a pretty good shot, but the only thing wrong with the nomination is the intangibles like morale, esprit de corps, and cohesion,” Friestman said. “These are the things that should have put us there and you can’t really put in a write-up.”
The MCAA is an organization consisting of former and retired Marines of the Marine Corps aviation community.
When a Marine enters a field in aviation, they’re invited to become a member and receive a quarterly magazine called “The Yellow Sheet,” which contains news from Iraq and Marine Corps aviation history.
For more information on MCAA, go to http://www.flymcaa.org.