MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII, HI -- Since their arrival in 2012, the AH-1W Super Cobra helicopters have been flown out of Marine Corps Base Hawaii (MCBH) as a part of Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 367. With the introduction of the newest variant of the aircraft, the AH-1Z Viper, the whiskey models took flight for one last time with HMLA-367, March 13, 2018.
“Today was the sundown of our mighty AH-1 whiskey aircraft,” said Lt. Col. Frank Makoski, the commanding officer of HMLA-367.
Two out of the eight AH-1Ws located on MCBH were flown by Makoski and senior leadership for their final flight in Hawaii.
“It’s likely the last flight for myself, the aircraft maintenance officer, the [HMLA-367] commanding officer and the [Marine Aircraft Group 24] commanding officer,” said Maj. Mark Koval, the squadron operations officer of HMLA-367.
For their last trip, the pilots took the retiring aircraft for a counter clockwise flight around the island of Oahu with a flight time of approximately an hour and a half, starting and ending at MCBH.
“It’s bittersweet,” said Makoski, an Orwell, Ohio native. “I love flying that aircraft. It’s bitter in the sense that I’m not going to have an aircraft to fly, but it’s sweet because it’s a transition for the Marine Corps.”
HMLA-367 received its first three AH-1Zs in December 2017 to begin replacing the AH-1Ws, but it’s not the last the squadron will see of the cobras.
“I had a great time flying it,” said Maj. Robert Arbegast, the maintenance officer of HMLA-367. “My [era] of the cobra is going away, which is sad, but it’s not like the cobras are going away.”
Out of the eight aircraft with HMLA-367, three will stay on the island of Oahu as static displays. The other five will be transported by strategic airlift to the Aircraft Maintenance and Regeneration Group in Tucson, Arizona where they will preserve the aircraft.
“Now she’ll be a force in readiness in the reserves vice being ready to go forward today, which is what the remainder of the aircraft are ready for,” said Arbegast, a native of Ayden, North Carolina.
The squadron will continue to maintain and fly the “Huey” UH-1Y Venom helicopters and new AH-1Zs as well as continue sending aircraft to augment the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit in Okinawa, Japan and Marine Rotational Force — Darwin.