Marine Corps Air Station New River is a community, with all the Marines, Sailors and civilians pitching in to support the mission. It is the Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron that provides the bulk of this support. The major thrust of this support is focused on the two Marine Aircraft Groups assigned to New River.
Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron
The nucleus of this community is Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron. H&HS provides the operational and logistical support needed to keep the aircraft flying. From the air traffic controllers in the tower to the cooks working in the dining facility, the headquarters team is a crucial link in the New River chain.
MAG-26 was activated June 16, 1952, and assigned to MCAS New River in July 1954. The Marines and Sailors of MAG-26 have had a challenging and diverse mission throughout the past 50 years, taking part in contingency and training operations around the globe. Helicopter and tiltrotor squadrons of the group have participated in operations including: Operation Provide Promise in the Adriatic Sea; Operation Provide Comfort in northern Iraq and Turkey; Operation Victor Squared in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; Operation Deny Flight in the Balkans; Operation Continue Hope in Somalia; Operation Silver Wake in Albania; Operation Allied Force in Kosovo; and Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.
The beginning of 1995 was met with many firsts for MAG-26. In conjunction with USS O’Bannon (DD-987), HMH-461 was the first fleet squadron to perform a hover in-flight refueling mission while hovering over a naval vessel. HML/A-167 was also the first squadron to use the Night Targeting System on the AH-1W Super Cobra. More recently, MAG-26 provided the first Osprey squadrons to Iraq and Afghanistan.
On Jan. 28, 2009, MAG-26 turned over with Marine Aircraft Group 16 and assumed primary command of aviation support in Iraq’s Al Anbar Province. This yearlong deployment for the MAG in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom culminated in November when the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing headquarters turned over its mission as the aviation combat element of Multi-National Forces West to MAG-26 (Rein). The final elements of MAG-26 returned from successful operations in Iraq in February 2010. Their success across the world demonstrates the versatility and focus on mission that is the hallmark of MAG-26. During 2010, VMM-162 (Rein) returned from operations with the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit while the first MV-22 squadron, VMM-261, returned from Afghanistan. In the past year, MAG-26 was restructured to include all of the Marine Corps MV-22 Osprey tiltrotor squadrons.
MAG-29 was activated May 1, 1972, at New River and within 11 days swelled to include three flying squadrons. During their first operational year, they flew more than 23,500 flight hours. From the mid to late 1980s, MAG-29 supported multiple Marine Amphibious Unit deployments to the Mediterranean and deployments to Norway in support of Exercise Battle Griffin. Throughout 1989 and 1990, MAG-29 participated in numerous exercises and operations, which culminated with all MAG-29 units deployed in support of Operation Desert Shield/Storm and Landing Force, 6th Fleet commitments. MAG-29 has been a constant part of the II Marine Expeditionary Force’s deployed combat-ready arsenal. From contingency operations through the 1980s to operations in Southwest Asia, the pilots and crews of MAG-29 squadrons have been on the tip of the spear. As innovators, one of their squadrons was the first to use an AH-1W Super Cobra to mark targets for AV-8B Harriers to drop laser-guided bombs. Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 365 supported Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. In January 2003, MAG-29 (Rein) deployed to become the 3rd Rotary Wing Aircraft Group for 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. During its combat deployment, MAG-29 (Rein) squadrons flew in excess of 111,000 combat flight hours, and supported the tactical movement of 187,000 passengers and the aerial medical evacuation of 4,500 coalition and Iraqi force personnel. In February 2008, MAG-29 was replaced by MAG-16 and redeployed to MCAS New River. The next year, MAG-29 was also restructured to house all Marine Heavy Helicopter and Light Attack Helicopter squadrons assigned to New River. During 2010, HMH-464 returned from Afghanistan as well as a partial unit attached to the 24th MEU.
Marine Air Control Squadron 2
MACS-2 is a unique element that helps make deployed combat air power possible. From air traffic control to command and control communications, the Marines of MACS-2 are a professional unit ready to go in a moment’s notice. They aid in the establishment and operation of expeditionary airfields, making it possible to project air power deep into enemy territory. Their radars can sweep the skies to guide aircraft to targets and bring them back to the airfield from which they departed.
Marine Wing Support Squadron 272
They are the muscle on the ground that can build and sustain airfield operations nearly any place in the world.
From heavy equipment operators to water purification experts, the Marines and Sailors of MWSS-272 are equipped and trained to support a warfighting aviation combat element.
MWSS-272 trains on a day-to-day basis with both Marine Aircraft Groups located aboard New River. They deploy around the world on a regular basis to support exercises and operations. More recently, the MAG’s squadrons have served in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Center for Naval Aviation Technical Training
The mission of CNATT Marine Unit New River is to provide the best possible technical training to enlisted personnel in the operation, and maintenance and repair of aeronautical equipment and systems in response to operating forces’ requirements. Additionally, they provide mentorship and professional development of Marines, Sailors and Airmen, preparing them for the challenge of leadership and responsibility.
The CNATT Marine Unit New River is composed of a headquarters element, three Maintenance Training Units and a training support branch. There is the CH-46 MTU, the CH-53 MTU and the V-22 MTU, each of which provides state-of the-art, computer-based maintenance instruction in addition to hands-on training. In addition to training enlisted technicians, the unit develops lesson plans and guides and provides refresher and specific systems training to units preparing to deploy as well as Mobile Training Teams. The Training Support Branch provides logistics, administrative and curriculum development support to each of the MTUs.
Marine Tiltrotor Test and Evaluation Squadron 22
The mission of VMX-22 is to provide operational test planning, execution, reporting, support, tactics development and technical expertise for assigned tiltrotor weapons systems, subsystems and related support devices. It operates under the oversight of the chief of naval operations via Commander, Operational Test and Evaluation Force.
In the mid-’80s, the Marine Corps identified the need to update current aviation combat capabilities. This led to the development of new technology and the MV-22 Osprey.
The Osprey continues to replace the aging fleet of CH-46E Sea Knight helicopters. The capabilities of this aircraft include twice the speed, three times the payload and the ability to fly six times farther than the CH-46E
helicopters it is replacing.