MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII --
Lt. Col. Vanessa M. Clark relinquished command of Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 268 to Lt. Col. Brandon S. Pope in a ceremony here, December 8, 2022.
Lt. Col. Clark took command of the squadron in December 2020 and successfully led the unit through numerous training events, a successful deployment as the Aviation Combat Element for Marine Rotational Force – Darwin 22.2, and the global COVID-19 pandemic. During her time in command, the squadron achieved 6,200 mishap-free flight hours covering 4,500 sorties while transporting over 6,800 passengers and 580,000 pounds of cargo in support of service-level initiatives.
“To be a successful squadron commander, you have to be good at three things. You have to be a good pilot, good at your ground job, and a good person,” said Col. Manlee J. Herrington, the commanding officer of Marine Aircraft Group 24. “In these terms, Lt. Col. Clark is all three. An incredible pilot, whose experience and leadership defines the culture and character of the squadron. Precision. Professionalism. And no fanfare.”
In her farewell remarks, Lt. Col. Clark thanks the members of the squadron for their hard work and dedication, and said that it had been an honor to serve as their commanding officer. “To the Marines of two sixty great, thank you for being here day in and day out,” she said. “Your dedication and support is the reason this squadron has become what it is today – one of the premier MV-22 squadrons of the Marine Corps.” Lt. Col. Clark also expressed her confidence in the leadership of Lt. Col. Pope, who she said would continue leading the squadron to success.
In closing remarks, Lt. Col. Pope expressed gratitude to Lt. Col. Clark for her leadership and guidance. “By every measurable metric, Vanessa developed a squadron of excellence, a culture of communication, greatness and leadership,” he said. “I’m humbled.”
Lt. Col. Pope inherits a squadron at the forefront of service-level experimentation initiatives, seeking to enhance the lethality of the 3d Marine Littoral Regiment and continue developing the Fleet Marine Force of the future.
VMM-268 “Red Dragons” are a U.S. Marine Corps MV-22 Osprey squadron based at Marine Corps Air Station Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii.
Maj. Jordan Fox
Communication Strategy and Operations Office
Marine Aircraft Group 24
1st Marine Aircraft Wing