Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Marines receive coins to mark combat status (The Republican, MA)

AL TAQADDUM, Iraq - The Marines of the Okinawa-based Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 262 celebrated the receipt of 250 challenge coins, donated by the unit's Vietnam Veterans Association, to signify the squadron's return to combat, this time in Iraq.
This is the first time the squadron, nicknamed the "Flying Tigers," has been deployed to a combat zone in more than 30 years.

During the Vietnam War, the squadron operated in Ky Ha, Marble Mountain, Quang Tri, Phu Bai and aboard the USS Tripoli. They are currently in Iraq's Al Anbar Province supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.

"We've deployed in support of humanitarian aid, disaster relief operations and in III (Marine Expeditionary Force) exercise operations, but this is the first time since the Vietnam War we've deployed to a combat zone," said Lt. Col. Michael Farrell, a Longmeadow native who is the commanding officer of the unit.

The squadron's past combat veterans sent the commemorative coins to remind the current "Flying Tigers" that they are being supported by their predecessors. . . .

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