In December 1966, the first personnel with Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 463 touched down in Da Nang, Vietnam, without any aircraft. It wasn’t until Jan. 8, 1967, that the ship carrying four CH-53A Sea Stallions arrived for the Marines.
Nearly 40 years later, Pegasus Marines are serving their country in another war under the same aircraft group, Marine Aircraft Group 16, with the same aircraft that were presented to them during the Vietnam War two years after their initial landing — the CH-53D Sea Stallion.
The squadron was originally a fixed-wing bombing squadron during World War II that has served on each coast of the United States, including Hawaii. Having served in more than nine MAGs and all three Marine Aircraft Wings, the squadron has been deactivated three times before it was finally activated again as HMH-463.
“HMH-463 was the first CH-53 helicopter squadron in the Marine Corps,” said Lt. Col. Randel W. Parker, commanding officer, HMH-463, MAG-16 (Reinforced), 3rd MAW. “We have always been an assault support platform since this helicopter was introduced in 1966.”