Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 367 "SCARFACE"

Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 367

Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 367 (HMLA-367) is a United States Marine Corps helicopter squadron consisting of AH-1Z Viper attack helicopters and UH-1Y Venom utility helicopters. The squadron is based at Marine Corps Base Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii and falls under the command of Marine Aircraft Group 24 (MAG-24) and the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing (1st MAW).

The mission of HMLA-367 is to support the Marine Air-Ground Task Force MAGTF Commander by providing offensive air support, utility support, armed escort and airborne supporting arms coordination, day or night, under all weather conditions during expeditionary, joint, or combined operations. Ultimately their mission is to support Marine ground combat Marines as with any Marine aviation.

As the United States increased its presence in the South Vietnam, the Marine Corps reactivated VMO-3 at Marine Corps Air Station Camp Pendleton on 1 August 1966 and assigned it to Marine Wing Support Group 37. The squadron arrived in Vietnam in December 1966 and were now flying the UH-1E. VMO-3 became fully operational at Huế/Phu Bai on 16 January 1967.

In 1966 and for the first half of 1967, the squadron’s radio call sign was “Oakgate,” which sometimes got confused for the term OK. Major Bill Murphy is credited with first using the call “Scarface” while on TAD, and lobbied to have the substantially more macho Scarface designation adopted as VMO-3’s signature when all Marine squadrons in-country changed call signs during the summer of 1967. On November 14, 1967) Major General Bruno Hochmuth, then commanding general of the 3rd Marine Division was killed when a UH-1E Huey from VMO-3 exploded and crashed 5 miles northwest of Huế. Four others also died in this crash.

The squadron assumed a new identity in March 1968 when VMO-3 was re-designated HML-367 and immediately began operations in direct support of ground combat units. Based at Hue and Phu Bai, the squadron flew the Bell UH1E Huey throughout I Corps in support of the 1st and 3rd Marine Divisions, the United States Army and the Army of the Republic of Vietnam. In addition to the countless other missions flown they most notably supported Operations Medina, Fortress Ridge, Prairie Fire, Project Delta, Sparrow Hawk, Dewey Canyon, Apache Snow, Swift Saber and Lam Son 719.

In addition to participating in the above operations, the Scarface crews also flew near daily missions in support of MACV-SOG on what were then top secret reconnaissance missions deep into Laos.

Squadron assets quickly grew from eighteen aircraft (UH-1E) to twenty five. In 1969, HML-367 exceeded 2,000 flight hours for the month of June. October 1969 saw the departure of Marine Air Group 36 from the Republic of Vietnam. Due to the continued necessity for armed helicopter support, HML-367 remained in Vietnam and was assigned to Marine Aircraft Group 16 (Forward) at Phu Bai.

In December 1969, HML-367 began flying the AH-1G Cobra, thus becoming the first operational “Cobra” Squadron in the Marine Corps. Soon after, all the squadron’s Hueys were transferred to another squadron (HML-167) and replaced with the Bell AH-1G Cobra.

On April 24, 1970 the Squadron had all of their twenty five aircraft in an “Up” status. This was the first time a Helicopter Squadron had attained 100% aircraft availability in Vietnam. To celebrate the event, a 25-plane “fly-over” of Marble Mountain was conducted with Plane Captains called on to fill the front seats of all 25 Cobras. Total flight time for Fiscal Year 1970 was 22,378 hours.