NEW RIVER, N.C. –
Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron (HMH) 461 held a redesignation ceremony Jan. 24 at Marine Corps Air Station New River, North Carolina.
The squadron received its first CH-53K King Stallion, and the ceremony signified the beginning of the Marine Corps’ modernization from the CH-53E Super Stallion to the CH-53K King Stallion in support of the expeditionary warfare vision for future-force employment.
The CH-53E supported heavy-lift and troop-transport operations across the globe since 1981. With the implementation of the CH-53K, the Marine Corps will have a better ability to mass combat power quickly with its heavy-lift capability while maintaining a global amphibious presence, making it an important asset to respond to any conflict around the world.
“The CH-53K is the new advanced platform replacing the CH-53E, which is aging,” said Lt. Col. Adam A. Horne, commanding officer of HMH-461. “The CH-53K King Stallion will take 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing (MAW) and the Marine Corps into the future.”
Gen. David H. Berger, 38th commandant of the Marine Corps, set forth the vision of the future in his planning guidance, which was published in July 2019. In his guidance, Berger committed to reshaping the capabilities of the Marine Corps to become optimized for naval expeditionary warfare in contested spaces, to facilitate sea denial and to support the various fleet forces. The transition from the CH-53E to the CH-53K will provide the Marine Corps optimized vertical, heavy-lift, sea-based helicopters with the ability to fly longer distances, carry more ground troops and carry heavier loads to take on challenges in future conflicts.
“Today, our Marine Corps got a little stronger,” said Maj. Gen. Michael Cederholm, commanding general of 2nd MAW. “Placing the CH-53K King Stallion into the hands of our warfighters will ensure we capitalize on the unique qualities and characteristics of the 53K, and will allow 2nd MAW to continue to provide the best aviation support to the Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF) right now, and well into our future. … We continue to become a more modernized and lethal force so, when the time comes, we will deliver on II Marine Expeditionary Force’s motto: ‘Come to Fight—Come to Win.’”
The increased heavy-lift capability of the CH-53K is unprecedented within the MAGTF and joint force in support of the National Defense Strategy.