June 07, 2005

MARINE CORPS AIR FACILITY - QUANTICO

Virginia

Marine Corps Air Facility - Quantico, the home of the presidential helicopter fleet, operates an airport fire department staffed by military firefighters. A separate structural fire department staffed by civilian firefighters serves the Quantico marine installation.

From Firehouse.com:

About MCAF Quantico Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting - We operate out of one station ... 45 active duty US Marine Corps Fire Fighters. We provide the primary ARFF support to HMX-1 the Presidential Helicopter Squadron. Apparatus: 4, P-19A Crash Trucks, 1, P-26 5000 gallon Water Tanker, 2, Rescue vehicles, 1, Incident Command Vehicle, and other various support equipment.

From the MCAF web site:

Aviation first arrived at Quantico in July 1918, when two kite balloons were flown to spot artillery fire. These forerunners of today's spotter aircraft were soon augmented with the assignment of four seaplanes, which operated from the muddy junction of Chopawamsic Creek and the Potomac River.

In 1919, a flying field was laid out and the land leased to accommodate a squadron returning from World War I combat in Europe. The facility was later named Brown Field, in memory of 2ndLt Walter V. Brown, who lost his life in an early accident at that location. The present site was selected in 1931, when larger and faster planes brought recognition of the limitations and hazards of Brown Field - its single, crosswind runway, bound by trees, hills, swamp, a high tension line and a railroad.

A new airfield was constructed by changing the course and flow of Chopawamsic Creek and reclamation of the marshland from that area. The new facility was named Turner Field - after Colonel Thomas C. Turner, a veteran Marine aviator, who lost his life in Haiti in 1931.

By 1939, four squadrons - 68 bombers, scout bombers, fighters, transports, utility and observation planes - were based here. On 1 December 1941, the field was named Marine Corps Air Station, Quantico, and placed under operational control of the Commanding General, Marine Barracks.

In 1947, Marine Helicopter Squadron One was established at Quantico to pioneer an entirely new concept in air operation; to evaluate and test, in coordination with the Landing Force Development Center, the theory of carrying troops to the battle zone by helicopter.

By the close of the Korean conflict, helicopters had gained permanent acceptance by the military for tactical and logistical support operations.

Effective 15 November 1976, MCAS Quantico was re-designated as Marine Corps Air Facility (MCAF), Quantico, Virginia. MCAF Quantico is currently the home of Headquarters Squadron (HqSqn) and Marine Helicopter Squadron One (HMX-1). HMX-1, in addition to its tactical development mission, flies the President of the United States and provides helicopter support for the Marine Corps Combat Development Command.