You would have to be living under a rock not to recognize one of the most iconic slogans of the Marines. The Marine Corps was born in Philadelphia, PA on November 10, 1775. The first recruiting headquarters was set up at Tun Tavern by Captain Samuel Nicholas. The aviation branch of the Marine Corps officially began on May 22, 1912. First Lieutenant Alfred Austell Cunningham was credited as being the first Marine aviator. World War I saw the expansion of the Marine Corps air component. At the end of the war Congress authorized 1,020 men for Marine Corps aviation and the establishment of permanent air stations at Quantico, Paris Island and San Diego. During World War II, Marine Aviators were credited with shooting down over 2000 Japanese aircraft, with 120 aces and 11 Medals of Honor. It was December 1, 1947, when the Marine Helicopter Squadron One (HMX-1) was commissioned. HMX-1 was the first Marine Helicopter squadron at Marine Base Quantico, Virginia. HMX-1 was established to test tactics, techniques, procedures, and equipment. HMX-1 is now known for the helicopter transport of the President of the United States. The designation originated when President Dwight D. Eisenhower who was on vacation, was urgently needed back at the White House. HMX-1 stepped in to fly the President back to the White House. The helicopter trip took seven minutes. From that day, September 7,1957, the main mission of HMX-1 is to provide direct support to the President of the United States. Other missions include primary Operational Test and Evaluation (OT&E) unit for Marine assault support helicopter and related equipment. The squadron also supports the Marine Corps Combat Development Command by developing helicopter tactics, techniques, and landing force equipment. Initially, the transport of the President of the United States was shared with the U.S. Army, but in 1976, the Marine Corps was assigned sole responsibility to provide helicopter support for the President worldwide.
This week, we salute Harlen Bradley, who served in HMX-1. Harlen has resided in Rosebud county for over ten years. He served in the Marine Corps from 1975 to 1987. During those years, Harlen has three different Military Occupational Specialties (MOS): 0331 Machine Gunner, Infantry; 0151 Administrative Clerk and 6123 Power Plant Mechanic. Apparently, Harlen did not enjoy being an Administrative Clerk. After many requests to go back to his original MOS, his was finally approved to become a Power Plant Mechanic. Assigned to HMX-1, he was a crew chief on the flight line. After being told he was scheduled for recruiting duty, Staff Sergeant Bradley decided to hang up his boots and work in the civilian sector. A native of New Mexico, Harlen loves living in Montana. He volunteers with the Rosebud County Fire Department. He is an active member of the Forsyth Rifle and Pistol Club, where he is the match director for the Buffalo Rifle matches. Not only that, but he has also participated in several Quigley Rifle matches.
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Dr. Irene Dickerson is a retired Army Colonel living her best life in Big Sky Country.