The U.S. Marine Corps’ Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 362 (VMM 362), known as the “Ugly Angels,” were declared fully operational capable on Feb. 28.
Fully operational capable is a significant achievement that affirms the squadron is staffed, trained, and equipped. Upon completion of the requirements, the unit became part of the collective combat-power of Marine Aircraft Group 16 and 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing (MAW).
Following the certification, they continued to work together to accomplish additional training and readiness objectives while conducting precautionary measures to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
“It was a big day,” said Lt. Col. Matthew McSorely, commanding officer of VMM-362. “We launched a report saying the squadron is ready-to-go, and I am extremely proud of all the hard work and effort the Marines put into building this squadron from the ground up.”
The Ugly Angels were first activated as a UH-34D squadron on April 30, 1952, under the designation of Marine Helicopter Transport Squadron 362 at Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Santa Ana, California. The squadron was re-designated in 1956 as Marine Helicopter Transport Squadron (Light) 362; again in 1962 as Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 362; and a third time, in 1969, when they transitioned to the CH-53 as Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron (HMH) 362. HMH-362 was deactivated in 2012. Most recently, on Aug. 17, 2018, the Ugly Angels were reactivated as an MV-22B Osprey squadron.
MV-22B’s provide medium-lift assault support to ground forces, which enables expeditionary operations and maximizes ship-to-shore speed and agility. The aircraft provides increased range and speed to ground commanders when compared to the aircraft’s predecessor. It can carry up to 18 fully combat loaded Marines from a ship or expeditionary base to an objective hundreds of miles away.
The path to fully operational capable consisted of key milestones such as initial operational capability (IOC), which was achieved by VMM-362 on June 30, 2019. Later that year, the squadron completed a unit training detachment to Albuquerque, New Mexico, to test its ability to conduct sustained operations away from home base in order to refine how it would operate while deployed. VMM-362 cleared all five major inspections thanks to the herculean efforts of the “Ugly Angels” Marines and Sailors.
“Now we can represent the MAW with absolute confidence as a fully operational squadron,” said McSorely. “The training we have completed up to this point will allow us to support the ground forces’ mission without reservations.”
The activation timeline now complete, the Ugly Angels are prepared to augment and sustain operations while forward-deployed; allowing 3rd MAW to assist in providing a response to a variety of contingencies.