| Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 29 History
The Squadron was activated as Headquarters and Maintenance Squadron (H&MS) 29 at Marine Corps Air Station New River, North Carolina and assigned to Marine Aircraft Group (MAG) 29 on 1 May 1972. During the years from 1972 through 1976, H&MS-29 operated the MAG-29 Aerial Observer School and performed its primary mission as an Intermediate Maintenance and Supply support activity. During that time frame, the Squadron deployed Marines to support numerous operations at Yuma, Arizona; Camp Drum, New York; the Caribbean, and in both land and sea-borne operations in and around the Mediterranean and the Middle East. The Supply Department implemented the Operational Logistics Concept (OLC) in 1976.
From 1977 through 1984, Squadron detachments distinguished themselves by simultaneously augmenting shipboard Aviation Intermediate Maintenance Departments (AIMD) while optimizing aircraft availability in joint exercises such as Northern Wedding, Bold Guard, Teamwork, Display Determination, ANORAK Express, and in operations with the Multinational Forces in Beirut, Lebanon. From 1985 through 1989, H&MS-29 supported over 200 deployments in support of MAG-29 operations, which included Combined Arms Exercises, Weapons and Tactics Instructor Courses, Cold Weather Operations, Landing Force Sixth Fleet deployments, Drug Operations, and Joint Operations spanning from the Persian Gulf and Okinawa to Norway and South America.
Throughout its history, H&MS-29 averaged an induction rate of over 1200 repairable items each month, and held an inventory of 35,000 line items of repairable and consumable materials with a value in excess of $110 million. Through intermediate maintenance and supply, the Squadron supported 13 different type model series aircraft. On 1 October 1988, H&MS-29 was re-designated as Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron (MALS) 29 as a result of the implementation of the Marine Aviation Logistics Support Package concept. During 1989, the Basic Warrior Training Program was instituted and the Squadron provided simultaneous aviation logistical support to three composite squadrons.
In August 1990, MALS-29 commenced its support of Operation DESERT SHIELD by deploying four detachments aboard L-Class ships in direct support of MAG-40, 4th MEB. Additionally, during December 1990, MALS-29, under the operational control of MAG-26, deployed to Southwest Asia. Prior to departing from Saudi Arabia in May 1991, MALS-29 was a participant in Operation DESERT STORM and distinguished itself with several first-time aviation logistics actions, including operating a fully functional rotary wing Intermediate Maintenance Activity aboard the SS WRIGHT, (TAVB-3), while continuously supporting MAG-26 during the ground war. On 22 May 1991, the Squadron recalled its personnel, who were disbursed throughout the Kuwaiti theater of operations, and during June 1991, redeployed itself at MCAS New River, NC. The reconstitution of the Intermediate Maintenance Activity in support of MAG-29 was completed on 1 August 1991.
From 1992 through 1999, MALS-29 continued to excel in the support of MAG-29 tactical aircraft operations. Squadron detachments distinguished themselves on land and sea, continuously supporting Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Forces (SPMAGTF) and major land-based and Landing Force Sixth Fleet deployments. Over this period, the Squadron underwent extensive changes in personnel and logistical support with the decommissioning of VMO-1 (OV-10 aircraft) and the transfer of HMT-302 (CH-53/MH-53) to MAG-29.
Operation ASSURED RESPONSE in Liberia, Operation SILVER WAKE in Albania, and tactical operations in Zaire demonstrated MALS-29's ability to provide expeditionary support around the globe. In 1999, participation in Operations ALLIED FORCE, ALLIED HARBOR, NOBLE ANVIL, and JOINT GUARDIAN placed the MALS-29 detachment within the Aviation Combat Element of the 26th MEU (SOC) in support of the Ground Combat Elements peacekeeping mission surrounding the Kosovo Conflict. This detachment also participated as the Marine Component of Joint Task Force SHINING HOPE. Before returning home, the MEU (SOC) was called to Turkey for Disaster Relief from the tragic earthquakes for Operation AVID RESPONSE.
Operational tempo remained high as MALS-29 entered the new millennium. A modified Air Contingency Marine Air Ground Task Force (ACM), with a MALS-29 Detachment, was executed to the island of Vieques, Puerto Rico to assist U.S. Marshals in removing American Citizens from the last naval live ordnance bombing range. Additionally, Second Marine Aircraft Wing designated MALS-29 as the Host MALS for Exercise CAROLINA PATRIOT, the activation of the Aviation Logistics Support Ship (T-AVB). Compositing personnel and equipment from all four Marine Aircraft Wings, MALS-29 (-) (Rein) deployed as an Intermediate Maintenance Activity (IMA) afloat in support of a MAGTF Aviation Combat Element (ACE) for a contingency operation. The 295 Marines and Sailors, and 147 Mobile Maintenance Facilities (MMF), was the largest unit ever to marshal, embark aboard the SS Wright, operate as an Aviation Logistics Element, then retrograde to their respective parent MALS.
In January 2003, MALS-29 received orders to deploy the squadron in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and a possible larger scale conflict in Iraq. In the unprecedented time of less than three weeks, MALS-29 developed a unique and flexible concept of logistics support while embarking personnel, equipment, and supplies aboard four L-class ships as part of Task Force Tarawa. Innovatively adapting current aviation logistics doctrine, utilizing Sea Based Logistics Concepts, MALS-29 integrated Marines into the Aviation Intermediate Maintenance Department (AIMD) of the supporting L-class ships to create a sustainable, scaleable, and highly capable sea-based support structure for the four flying squadrons of MAG-29. From multiple sites throughout the theatre and deep into Iraq, MALS-29 supported more than 6,000 flight hours and over 3,700 combat sorties during Operation Iraqi Freedom, giving MAG-29 over 400 miles of reach inland and the flexibility to leapfrog great distances in pursuit of operational objectives. Throughout the duration of combat operations, MAG-29 squadrons maintained a combined average 81 percent Mission Capable rate and a 60 percent Full Mission Capable rate, the highest readiness rates of any Rotary Wing MAG in theatre. By the end of June 2003, MALS-29 had accomplished its mission and had begun the extensive maintenance required after six months of flying combat missions in the austere desert environment. While accomplishing this reconstitution phase, MALS-29 stood ready for the next mission, which was not long in coming. In August, MALS-29 began planning to support HMH-464 as they took over the Heavy Lift Mission in Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa (CJTF HOA). Rejecting the status quo logistics support plan in place, MALS-29 pioneered a support plan to leverage global logistics and shorten the existing gap between the point of entry for supplies and the supported aircraft by 6,000 miles. MALS-29 FWD was stood up in October, embedding skilled personnel, a robust support equipment cache, and a carefully tailored support package with supported aircraft. Aircraft readiness has risen by nearly 50% since MAG-29 took over the mission, providing another example of the effect of Wolverine Logistics Support. In March 2004 Wolverine Logistical Support was called upon via the activation of the Air Contingency MAGTF in support of security operations with MAGTF-8 in Haiti.
In January 2007, MALS-29 received orders to deploy again in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. From multiple sites throughout the Al Anbar Province of Iraq, MALS-29 supported more than 108,100 flight hours and over 71,216 combat sorties during OIF 06-08. Giving MAG-29 the capability to support the more than 30,000 square miles of Al Anbar Province, utilizing a total of 32 different squadrons and the flexibility to establish multiple forward operating bases in pursuit of the operational objectives. Throughout the duration of combat operations, MAG-29 squadrons maintained a combined average 85.3 percent Mission Capable rate and a 71.6 percent Full Mission Capable rate. Using the tools and methodologies of AIRSpeed, MALS-29 was able to better support the ongoing combat support mission in Iraq. MALS-29 Marines successfully implemented an AIRSpeed philosophy of Continuous Process Improvement by conducting Lean 5S events in every work space occupied by MALS-29 at Al Asad Air Base and Camp Al Taqaddum. As a result, MALS-29 was able to dramatically improve the ability to support air operations in Al Anbar Province, Iraq. By the end of January 2008, MALS-29 had completed 13 months in theater and one of the most successful and productive deployments of any MALS in history.
MALS-29 Marines have and will continue to provide exceptional aviation logistical support in keeping with the legacy established 1 May 1972.