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Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 463

 

Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 463

Pegasus

MCAS Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, USA
Biography

Commanding Officer
LtCol Eric D. Purcell

Lieutenant Eric D. Purcell grew up in New Milford, Connecticut and spent a year abroad in Rancagua, Chile while in high school.  He graduated from The College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Spanish as well as a concentration in Latin American Studies.  He received his commission as a Second Lieutenant on 22 May, 1998.

Upon completion of the Basic School in March of 1999, he reported to NAS Pensacola for initial flight training. He was designated a Naval Aviator on 21 December 2000.  Following his winging, he reported to HMT-302 at MCAS New River, North Carolina, for training as a CH-53E Super Stallion pilot.  He completed his training and was designated a CH-53E Helicopter Second Pilot (H2P) in July of 2001.
1stLt Purcell reported to his first fleet squadron, HMH-462, aboard MCAS Miramar, in August of 2001 and served as the Officer-In-Charge (OIC) of the Tool Room, Flight Equipment and Ordnance divisions.  In January 2002 he deployed to Okinawa, Japan, as part of the Unit Deployment Program and fulfilled the Flight Line and Flight Equipment Officer-in-charge (OIC) billets.  1stLt Purcell was promoted to Captain on June 1, 2002 while participating in Landing Force KARAT in Surabaya, Indonesia.     

Upon returning from Deployment in July of 2002, he transitioned from the Maintenance Department to the Operations Department where served as a schedule writer and subsequently the Current Operations Officer.

In January 2003, he deployed with HMH-462 to Ali Al Salem Airbase in Kuwait and participated in combat operations in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM (OIF).

Upon returning from OIF in October of 2003, Capt Purcell was transferred from the Operations Department to the Administration Department where he served as the adjutant while preparing for his Night Systems Instructor check ride and Weapons and Tactics Instructor (WTI) Course 1-05.  In September of 2004, he chopped to HMM-163(REIN) and the 13th MEU(SOC).  In October of 2004, he successfully graduated from WTI 1-05, was designated a Weapons and Tactics Instructor and assigned to the Operations Department where he served as the CH-53 WTI, pilot training officer and future operations officer.  In July 2005 he deployed with the 13th MEU in support of a WESTPAC Deployment.  After supporting training exercises in Australia and Egypt, the MEU offloaded in Kuwait and deployed to Al Asad Airbase, Iraq.  From October to December of 2005, Capt Purcell participated in combat operations in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM.  

In July of 2006, Capt Purcell reported to Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron One in Yuma, Arizona.  During his three-year tour at MAWTS-1, Captain Purcell served as the Personnel Recovery Subject Matter Expert (SME) and the Assault Support Aircraft Survivability Equipment SME.  He also was a member of the Aircraft Design Tactics and Evaluation Department before serving as the CH-53 Division Head.  While at MAWTS-1 he participated in combat operations during Lessons Learned trips to Afghanistan (2008) and Iraq (2006) and augmented HMH-464’s Horn of Africa Detachment in July and August of 2007.  While assigned to MAWTS-1 Capt Purcell was designated a CH-53D Helicopter Aircraft Commander and promoted to the rank of Major on July 1, 2008.

In August 2009, Major Purcell reported to the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University where he served as the Commandant of the Marine Corps Fellow.  While stationed at Tufts University Major Purcell earned a Master of Arts Degree in International Security Studies. 

In May of 2010, Major Purcell reported for duty with Marine Aircraft Group 16 at MCAS Miramar and was assigned to HMH-361.  In July 2010, Major Purcell deployed with HMH-361 in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM 10-2 where he served as the Operations Officer.   In June of 2011, Major Purcell was transferred to the Maintenance Department and designated the Maintenance Officer.  In July of 2012, Major Purcell returned to Afghanistan for a deployment as the Maintenance Officer in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM 12-2.

In April of 2013, Major Purcell reported to the aviation hallway in Headquarters Marine Corps to serve as APW-51, Heavy Lift Requirements Officer.  On June 1, 2015, Major Purcell was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel.  In August of 2015, LtCol Purcell reported for duty at Marine Air Group 16.   In January 2016, LtCol Purcell was assigned as the Commanding Officer of HMH-463.

LtCol Purcell’s personal decorations include the Air Medal with golden numeral 1 and bronze numeral “20”, Meritorious Service Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with two gold stars, the Joint Service Achievement Medal, the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, the Iraq Campaign Medal with two bronze stars, the Global War on Terrorism Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal with one bronze star, the NATO ISAF Afghanistan Campaign Medal and the National Defense Service Medal.