U.S. Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 369 (HMLA-369), stationed at Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, Okinawa, Japan executed a mass formation launch known as a “Fly the Barn,” event in support of the squadron’s required annual training on April 29th, 2022. The event included 7 AH-1Z Cobra and 5 UH-1Y Huey helicopters launching as a single flight from Marine Corps Air Station Futenma and follow-on tactical training conducted across the assigned training areas of Okinawa. For this iteration of the “Fly the Barn” event, the squadron was able to conduct all normal and required training events for both its aircraft and Marines in the single flight of 12 helicopters.
“Since we deployed to Okinawa, the Marines and sailors of HMLA-369 have been working hard to enhance our lethality through realistic training and high aircraft readiness. We’re not just flying the barn for the sake of it. We are leveraging, and displaying, our full warfighting capability by employing the entire squadron in the distributed maritime and littoral environment. This event highlights the true value of the HMLA – to III MEF, USINDOPACOM and our allies across the region – as a risk-worthy, low-signature, persistent and highly lethal combat aviation unit.” said Lt. Col. Gregory Youngberg, Commanding Officer of HMLA-369.
Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 369 (HMLA-369) is a United States Marine Corps helicopter squadron consisting of AH-1Z Viper attack helicopters and UH-1Y Venom utility helicopters. The squadron, also known as the “Gunfighters”, is based at Marine Corps Air Station Camp Pendleton, California and falls under the command of Marine Aircraft Group 39 (MAG-39) and the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing (3rd MAW). HMA-369 was activated on April 1, 1972, at Marine Corps Air Station Futema, later Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, Okinawa, assigned to Marine Aircraft Group 36, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing.
1st Marine Aircraft Wing (1st MAW) operations are conducted in accordance with bilateral agreements to ensure a free and open Indo-Pacific region while meeting U.S. treaty obligations with the nation of Japan. The successful launch of 12 helicopters as a single flight as part of HMLA-369’s required training affirms to the Indo-Pacific forces that 1st MAW remains proficient, ready, and forward postured as the III Marine Expeditionary Force’s air combat element. The wing is headquartered at Camp Foster on the island of Okinawa, Japan. Activated in 1940, the wing has seen heavy combat operations during World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.