Marine Aircraft Group 24 (MAG-24) was activated on 1 March 1942 at Marine Corps Air Station Ewa on Oahu, Hawaii. During World War II, MAG-24 saw extensive action throughout the Pacific theater, most notably in the campaigns to liberate the Philippines. Following the war, MAG-24 was deployed as part of III Amphibious Corps to Peiping in Northern China to take part in the occupation that lasted from October 1945 until April 1947. In April 1947, MAG-24 was relocated to Guam. In 1949, MAG-24 moved to Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, North Carolina where it remained for the next twenty years.
In April 1968, MAG-24 relocated back to the Pacific in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii where it became the Marine Corps’ largest and only permanent composite Marine Aircraft Group. Starting in 1978, the MAG provided both fixed and rotary wing squadrons for six-month unit deployments to the Western Pacific. From 1 October 1986 through 30 September 1994, MAG-24 served as the Aviation Combat Element for the 1st Marine Expeditionary Brigade.
From August through December 1990, squadrons and personnel from MAG-24 deployed to Southwest Asia to support Operations DESERT SHIELD and DESERT STORM. Following combat operations, the returning MAG-24 squadrons participated in the Bangladesh relief operation Operation SEA ANGEL.
In the early 2000’s MAG-24 squadrons deployed to Marine Corps Air Stations Iwakuni and Futenma, Japan in support of the Unit Deployment Program (UDP) and 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (31st MEU) Aviation Combat Element (ACE). The three squadrons traveled the Pacific participating in exercises in Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Philippines, Korea, and Thailand.
In September 2004 a detachment of CH-53Ds from HMH-363 and HMH-463 chopped to HMM-265 to provide the 31st MEU ACE with heavy lift capability. This MEU detachment marked the return of the CH-53D to combat operations in the Middle East. The squadron forward deployed to Al Asad Airbase in the Al Anbar Province of Iraq in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM (OIF).
Beginning in 2006, MAG-24 began sourcing a complete squadron deployment to Al Asad Airbase, Iraq in support of OIF. HMH-463 began what became a seven-month deployment rotation to Iraq for all MAG-24 squadrons that lasted over three years. In 2009, HMH-362 upgraded 11 CH-53D’s to the T64-GE-416 engines and transitioned from the flat sands of Iraq to the mountainous, rocky deserts of Afghanistan to begin support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM(OEF). MAG-24 heavy lift squadrons were in constant OIF/OEF combat rotations from 2006 through 2012.
MAG-24 is presently experiencing an exciting period of growth and transition that started in 2011 with HMH-463’s last OEF deployment ending September 2011. At the conclusion of HMH-463’s tour they completely transitioned all of their aircraft to the CH-53E from the CH-53D. HMH-363 would continue the transition of MAG-24 upon its return from combat operations in March of 2012, when they were re-designated Marine Medium Tilt-Rotor Squadron 363 (VMM-363) and moved to MAG-16 in Miramar, CA.
In the summer of 2012, the entire USMC inventory of active duty CH-53D "Sea Stallions" was retired with the exception of the aircraft forward deployed to Afghanistan with the “Ugly Angels” of HMH-362. Upon completion of that deployment in the Fall of 2012, HMH-362 was deactivated and the remaining aircraft were retired.
The summer of 2012, also marked another historic occasion; MAG-24 becoming a composite MAG with the arrival of Marine Light/Attack Helicopter Squadron 367 (HMLA-367) from Camp Pendleton and the stand up of Marine Wing Support Detachment 24. This process will continue through FY17, with the addition of Marine Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Squadron 3 (VMU-3 in FY 14, and VMM's 268 and 363 in FY17. Upon completion of this period of transition, MAG-24 strength will be one HMH, one HMLA, one VMU, two VMM's a Marine Wing Support Company, and a Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron.
MAG-24 conducts operations and exercises throughout the Pacific. Regular support is provided to the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit and Marine Rotational Force Darwin. within the Hawaiian island chain, MAG-24 supports 3d Marine Regiment and exercises like Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC).
In March 2015, MAG-24 was approved for its current nickname "Pacific Eagles". The genesis for this nickname was the 15th February 2002 unit insignia which shows the following: blue, which represents the Pacific Ocean; the Hawaii island chain; the gold wings with Eagle, Globe, and Anchor which represents Marine Aviation; the Roman numeral I which signifies the MAG is part of 1st MAW. The nickname "Pacific Eagles" remind us of both our legacy and our current mission. The eagle represents our great nation which deploys MAG-24 with its talons wherever needed, and the term Pacific highlights MAG-24's illustrious history during the World War II Pacific Campaign.