|Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 165|
|Allegiance||United States of America|
|Branch||United States Marine Corps|
|Type||Medium Lift Helicopter Squadron|
|Part of||Marine Aircraft Group 16
3rd Marine Aircraft Wing
|Garrison/HQ||Marine Corps Air Station Miramar|
Operation Desert Storm
Operation Enduring Freedom
Operation Iraqi Freedom
* 2003 invasion of Iraq
Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 165 (HMM-165) is a United States Marine Corps helicopter squadron consisting of CH-46E Sea Knight transport helicopters. The squadron, known as the "White Knights", is based at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, California and fall under the command of Marine Aircraft Group 16 (MAG-16) and the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing (3rd MAW).
Provide assault support transport of combat troops, supplies and equipment during expeditionary, joint or combined operations. Be prepared for short-notice, worldwide employment in support of Marine Air-Ground Task Force operations.
Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 165 was activated on July 1, 1965 at Marine Corps Air Station Santa Ana, California as part of Marine Aircraft Group 36, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing. During August 1965, the White Knights were reassigned to Marine Wing Service Group 37.
In September 1966, the White Knights deployed to the Republic of Vietnam, where they were assigned to Marine Aircraft Group 36, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing. From October 1966 to August 1969, the squadron operated from Ky Ha, Hue/Phu Bai, the USS Valley Forge (CV-45), the USS Tripoli (LPH-10), Marble Mountain area near Da Nang, and from the USS Tarawa (LHA-1). On June 6, 1968, HMM-165 had two of their CH-46As shot down in the vicinity of Khe Sahn. There were no deaths on the first incident but the second crash which occurred at LZ Loon, southeast of Khe Sahn, resulted in the death of 12 of the 23 Marines on board.
In August 1969, the squadron redeployed to Okinawa where it was reassigned to Marine Aircraft Group 15 of the 9th Marine Amphibious Brigade. In December 1969, the squadron again became part of Marine Aircraft Group 36.
During the early 1970s, HMM-165 participated as part of the Special Landing Force in support of activities in the Republic of Vietnam. During July and August 1972, the White Knights took part in Philippine flood relief operations, flying in food and supplies to local populations. At the end of April 1975, helicopters of HMM-165 played a key role in the evacuation of Saigon, Operation Frequent Wind. At 0500 on 30 April 1075, under direct orders from President Gerald Ford, the crew of Lady Ace 09 evacuated U.S. ambassador Graham Martin from the US Embassy, Saigon, marking the official end of American involvement in the Vietnam War.
In November 1977, the White Knights packed up and moved to Marine Corps Air Station Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii where they were reassigned to Marine Aircraft Group 24, the air combat element of the 1st Marine Brigade.
During September and October 1983, as part of the 31st Marine Amphibious Unit, HMM-165 deployed to the western Pacific and Indian Oceans. HMM-165 was diverted to Beirut, Lebanon, where they conducted contingency operations from the deck of the USS Tarawa. In December 1989, the White Knights supported American interests, to include reinforcement of the American Embassy, in the Republic of the Philippines during that country's coupe attempt.
In August 1990, the squadron was sent to Saudi Arabia to participate in Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm. The White Knights returned home from Saudi Arabia in March 1991. HMM-165 was the "last squadron in the Philippine Islands" when they supported the special purpose MAGTF from July to November 1992. From September to October 1992 a detachment was sent to Cambodia to participate in Joint Task Force Full Accounting. The squadron aided the task force in the search for remains of MIA's from the war in Vietnam. In March 1993, another detachment from HMM-165 was sent to Cambodia to participate in Joint Task Force Full Accounting; this time the mission was cut short when the task force base camp was attacked by mortar fire in April 1993.
As a result of the Base Realignment And Closure Committee's (BRAC) actions HMM-165 was reassigned from the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing Aviation Support Element, Marine Corps Base Hawaii, to Marine Aircraft Group 16, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, Marine Corps Air Station El Toro, California on May 15, 1996.
HMM-165 moved to MCAS Miramar, San Diego, California in November 1998 as the result of additional BRAC requirements. In December 1998 HMM-165 was designated the Aviation Combat Element for the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit.
In July 2001, HMM-165 was designated the Aviation Combat Element for the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit. After the terror attacks of September 11, 2001, HMM-165 deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.
The White Knights received orders to deploy to Iraq in December 2002. Beginning in January, HMM-165 deployed on the USS Boxer (LHD-4) and cruised to the Persian Gulf. After offloading in Kuwait, the squadron was tasked with supporting Regimental Combat Team 1 (RCT-1) for the duration of Operation Iraqi Freedom. On the night of April 1, 2003, HMM-165 comprised the CH-46 element of Task Force 20, the special team that extracted prisoner of war Army PFC Jessica Lynch.
The squadron redeployed to Iraq in September 2006 attached to the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit. On December 3, 2006 a helicopter carrying 16 personnel made an emergency landing on Lake Qadisiyah in Al Anbar Province. Four of the passengers drowned in the incident. They returned to Camp Pendleton on May 30, 2007.
A unit citation or commendation is an award bestowed upon an organization for the action cited. Members of the unit who participated in said actions are allowed to wear on their uniforms the awarded unit citation. HMM-165 has been presented with the following awards:
|Presidential Unit Citation Streamer with one Bronze Star||1966-1967, 1968,||Vietnam War|
|Navy Unit Commendation Streamer with three Bronze Stars||1968, 1968, 1969, 1972||Vietnam War|
|Meritorious Unit Commendation Streamer with three Bronze Stars||1972, 1975||Vietnam War|
|National Defense Service Streamer with two Bronze Stars||1961–1974, 1990–1995, 2001–present||Vietnam War, Gulf War, War on Terrorism|
|Armed Forces Expeditionary Streamer||Somalia|
|Vietnam Service Streamer with two Silver and three Bronze Stars||July 1965 - April 1971, April - December 1975|
|Southwest Asia Service Streamer||September 1990 - February 1991||Desert Shield, Desert Storm|
|Iraq Campaign Streamer||January - July 2003, March - April 2005, November 2006 - April 2007|
|Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Streamer||March - May 2003|
|Global War on Terrorism Service Streamer||2001–present|
|Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm Streamer|