The US Marine Corps (USMC) has deactivated the Marine Aircraft Group 24’s oldest flying squadron, Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 463 (HMH-463).

The deactivation of the HMH-463 squadron, also called Pegasus, was marked by a ceremony held at USMC Air Station Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii.

The deactivation of HMH-463 is in line with the USMC’s modernisation effort, Force Design 2030, to build a lethal force to compete, deter and fight in contested maritime spaces.

The squadron’s 12 CH-53E Super Stallion helicopters will be absorbed into other aviation units across the USMC.

The HMH-463 was first activated as the Marine Bombing Squadron 463 at USMC Air Station Cherry Point in North Carolina on 20 July 1944.

Following the last of three deactivations, which occurred on 30 June 1959, the HMH-463 has been active since March 1966.

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In 1971, the squadron was relocated to USMC Air Station Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii.

Pegasus has provided aviation support to USMC’s ground forces, joint force, allies and partners throughout the Pacific for over five decades.

The HMH-463 was also a part of various operations including Iraq’s operation Iraqi Freedom and Afghanistan’s Operation Enduring Freedom.

The most recent nine-month-long deployment of the squadron was with the USMC’s Japan-based 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) in May last year.

1st Marine Aircraft Wing commanding general major general Brian Cavanaugh said: “When you think of every clime and place, you must think of the Marines and Sailors of Pegasus.

“During my time in 1st MAW, which spans across three decades, I’ve witnessed HMH-463 operate across the entirety of the range of military operations.”