Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 265
VMM-265 Logo
1st Marine Aircraft Wing
Okinawa, Japan

Who We Are

The mission of VMM-265 is to provide Assault Support transport of combat troops, supplies and equipment during expeditionary, joint or combined operations. Be prepared for short-notice, worldwide employment in support of Marine Air-Ground Task Force operations.


VMM-265 Leaders

Commanding Officer
Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 265

Lieutenant Colonel Stefanski currently serves as the Commanding Officer for Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 265.

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Executive Officer
Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 265

Major Joshua Culver assumed duties as the Executive Officer of Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 265 in October 2023.

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Senior Enlisted Leader
Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 265

Sergeant Major Enrique De Anda assumed his post as the Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 265 Command Senior Enlisted Leader in December 2023.

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Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 265
Marine Aircraft Group 36
UNIT 37239
FPO AP 96372-7239


Uniformed Readiness Coordinator
Capt Konner Lamb

DSN: 315-636-7666

MAG-36 Deployment Readiness

Clinton Battles
DSN: 315-636-2216 


USA: 011-81-98-911-5111 (dial tone) 736-7666

Housing Information
Family Team Building Okinawa
Family Team Building Hawaii
Family Team Building Iwakuni
Military OneSource

Dear Inbound Dragon Family:

Congratulations on your assignment to VMM-265! Our squadron has a proud and storied tradition within the Marine Corps field of aviation. The first CH-46 "Phrogs" entered service in the USMC in this squadron more than sixty years ago, and now we have the honor of having the very first MV-22 Ospreys to serve operationally in the Far East! Dragons do it first, and better, than anyone else!

My name is Kevin Lathrop, and I am your Family Readiness Officer. My primary objective is to make our Commanding Officer's vision of the UPFRP (Unit/Personal & Family Readiness Program) a reality. The program is based on four tenets or principles: Official Communication, Information & Referral, Readiness & Deployment Support, and Volunteer Management. Please contact me with any questions or concerns that you may have about your upcoming assignment here with VMM-265.

**Marines, help me help your spouse! A significant number of spouses coming to this squadron have commented that they would have liked to have been in the "email loop" concerning happenings here at the squadron and on-island, prior to their arrival date. Please reply to this message with your spouse's email and I will gladly add them to the distro list. It can only help in making your family's transition to Okinawa more of a success.

I would like to briefly list some items that are common concerns for families coming to Okinawa, and links to their respective agencies on island.

**Important Note: It is imperative that you receive your Area Clearance from your parent command ASAP after receiving orders to VMM-265! If you are experiencing problems with obtaining this document, please contact me and I will put you in touch with someone that can expedite the process. The Area Clearance is one of the most important documents for families PCSing to Okinawa.

Welcome to Okinawa
Marine Corps Base Camp Smedley D. Butler

Sponsor: You should have a sponsor assigned to you. They are tasked with assisting you in making arrangements for your arrival on Okinawa. If you have not been assigned a sponsor, notify me immediately. Or, if you think that your sponsor is not adequately meeting your individual needs, let me know. We want your transition to VMM-265 to be as seamless and painless as possible.

Housing application

Spouses: Education and Employment:

There are a multitude of educational opportunities on Okinawa, ranging from technical certifications, associate degree programs, to graduate level programs. Tuition rates are fair, classes are smaller than most universities, and courses are usually compressed or accelerated to allow for rapid completion. Both in-class and online options are available in most cases. Information on post-secondary education options, scholarship and financial aid opportunities.

Educational options web-based tool(Need to Update)
scholarship and financial aid tool(Need to Update)
MCCS Education Office

There are also plenty of employment prospects for dependents. The main employers are: Marine Corps Base (CHRO or GS), Marine Corps Community Services (MCCS), AAFES, and there is also a litany of independent entrepreneurs and vendors.

MCCS jobs
Department of the Navy Civilian Human Resources
Federal job listings
18 FSS NAF Human Resources

Children: education and activities:

Department of Defense Dependent Schools (DoDDS) Okinawa provides an excellent learning environment for your young pupil. Most educators are veteran teachers with graduate degrees and multiple fields of certification. Classes are smaller compared to the stateside average. At some point, every student is "the new kid," allowing for a sense of camaraderie and commonality. Problems like drugs and violence, which can be destructive distractions for youths, are minimal or non-existent compared to CONUS locations. Although the schools are smaller, there are many extra-curricular activities to participate in.


Soccer moms rejoice! If the school doesn't sponsor it, likely there is a recreational league or activity that your child may participate in. Every summer, college students are brought from the states to staff summer camps at the various Marine Corps bases.

Starting point for school information
School Liaison Officer (Valuable local office dedicated to resolving your education transition to Okinawa)
MCCS Teen Centers
MCCS Youth Centers
MCCS Youth Sports
MCCS Skate Parks

Moving to Okinawa:

Pets: It is possible to bring your pets with you, but be aware that the procedure is more involved than in the past, and may be costly. The biggest hurdle is the 180 day rabies quarantine requirement. There is a two pet limit to most base housing, and there are many pet-friendly towers located on Camps Courtney, Foster, and Kinser. If you decide to add a pet to your family while stationed here, please do so ONLY if you have the intention of taking that pet with you when you leave. There are too many abandoned pets. **The current USMC restriction on Pitbull, Rottweiler, and wolf-hybrid breeds is in effect on all MCBJ housing areas. Please see the links for more information.

Animal Quarantine Service Japan
Kadena AB Traveling with Pets
Importing pets guidelines
US Army Japan District Veterinary
Okinawa American Animal Rescue Society

Vehicles: Due to restrictions, rarely do personnel bring vehicles to Okinawa. Quality, dependable, used vehicles are plentiful throughout Okinawa and Japan. In fact, it is rare even for locals to purchase new cars. Average cost for a used car or van is usually around $2000 - $4000. Generally, if you spend more, you get more. There are some expenses that you will have to budget for though.


JCI: Japanese Compulsory Inspection. Every vehicle goes through a rigorous safety inspection every two years (every year for some large trucks). Average cost is between $600 - $1000. Cars bought at local dealerships are generally sold with a new inspection, cars purchased from SOFA personnel will vary. Be aware of when it expires.

Annual road tax: Every May, a fee must be paid to the Japanese gov't. The cost is relative to the size of the vehicle, ranging from approximately $30 - $300.

Timing belt: The majority of vehicles have timing belts, which are scheduled to be replaced every 100,000 kms. The average cost for this maintenance is from $600 - $900. Before buying the vehicle, find out when it is due to be replaced. Usually, if the job has been done, there will be a sticker located somewhere on the timing belt cover stating the odometer reading when it was performed. If this belt breaks, 99% of the time it kills the engine, requiring complete replacement, which can run upwards of $1500.

OtherPrevious owner maintenance. Prior to purchase, do a visual inspection of the engine oil, coolant, and transmission fluid. Be leery of: if the oil is very low, and/or caked onto the dipstick; if the coolant looks like mud, rusty, and if there is evidence of coolant stain in the engine bay from an overheat issue; the transmission fluid should have a reddish tint, and feel slippery to the touch. If it resembles old oil, it may indicate a problem. If any of these issues arise, it may be a lemon in the near future. **repairs on foreign brands (Ford, Chevy, BMW, etc) in Japan WILL be expensive.


Additional Relocation Information: Take a moment to thoroughly review the permanent change of station orders to ensure awareness and understanding of all applicable entitlements to include current household goods weight restrictions and allowances, military pay and allowances, local housing policies, Government of Japan pet importation regulations, and additional information as may be necessary on a case-by-case basis.


Other various:

An online, local yard sale. Check it out, it's very useful.
Okinawa Hai, Everything you want to know about the island is here.
Total Okinawa, Another site like okinawahai above
Okinawa Living the magazine put out by MCCS
A series of guides for those new to the island…a MUST read!

Island Newspapers:

Japan Update
The Okinawa Times
The Pacific Stars and Stripes

Administrative Websites:

MCB Butler
United States Marine Corps units
USNH Okinawa
Commander Fleet Activities Okinawa
Okinawa Traffic Management Office
Kadena Air Base

Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 265 (HMM-265) was activated 30 Sep 1962 at Marine Corps Air Facility New River, NC as part of Marine Aircraft Group (MAG) 26, 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing.  The Dragons deployed to Memphis, TN shortly thereafter in support of the Mississippi Crisis, a critical moment in the Civil Rights movement.  Upon returning, HMM-265 began a series of deployments testing new helicopter tactics.  The culmination of these exercises was HMM-265’s demonstration of vertical envelopment at the 1964 New York World’s Fair.  In June 1964, HMM-265 became the first Marine Corps squadron to transition from the Sikorsky UH-34 Seahorse to the Boeing Vertol CH-46 Sea Knight.

In April of 1966, HMM-265 departed Norfolk Naval Base aboard USS Boxer with twenty-two CH-46A aircraft for service in the Republic of Vietnam.  On 22 May 1966, the squadron arrived at Da Nang Harbor.  The Dragons off-loaded and took up residence at Marble Mountain Air Facility, and were assigned to MAG 16, 1st MAW.  On a daily basis HMM-265 supported Marine operations in I Corps with Heliborne Assault, Raid, Casualty Evacuation (CASEVAC), Resupply, Emergency Extract, Recon Insert / Extract, Search and Rescue (SAR), Tactical Recovery of Aircraft and Personnel (TRAP), and other missions.  In July 1966, HMM-265 saw its first large operation, OPERATION HASTINGS. 

In July 1967, HMM-265 became the Special Landing Force (SLF) helicopter squadron embarked aboard Seventh Fleet Amphibious Ready Group ship USS Tripoli, and later USS Iwo Jima.  As the SLF squadron, HMM-265 crews conducted heliborne search and destroy missions against the Viet Cong along the coast.  During this time, five major operations were conducted including BEAR CHAIN/FREMONT, BEACON GUIDE, KANGAROO KICK, BEACON GATE, and OPERATION COCHISE.  Throughout the Dragons 1966 – 1969 tour in the Republic of Vietnam, heroic actions of aircrews and individual acts of heroism were commonplace.  Ultimately, HMM-265 would lose twenty-seven pilots, crew chiefs and gunners to enemy fire.

On 10 October 1969, HMM-265 was relocated to Okinawa, and subsequently relocated to Santa Ana, California and assigned to MAG 56.  On 13 November 1970, HMM-265 was deactivated.

On 1 September 1977, HMM-265 was reactivated at MCAS Kanehoe Bay and assigned to MAG 24 under 1st Marine Expeditionary Brigade.  For seven consecutive years after reactivation, HMM-265 deployed to the Western Pacific (WESTPAC) participating in major amphibious exercises.  During their third WESTPAC deployment while aboard USS Tarawa, HMM-265(REIN) became the first to integrate AV-8B Harrier aircraft.

In February 1985, HMM-265 became the first MAG 24 squadron to participate in the Unit Deployment Program (UDP) to Okinawa, Japan. 

In December 1990, the Dragons deployed aboard USS Tripoli to the Persian Gulf in support of Operation DESERT SHIELD.  In January 1991, HMM-265 embarked USS Tarawa and supported Operation DESERT STORM.  While returning, the Dragons diverted to Bangladesh for Humanitarian Assistance Disaster Relief (HADR) efforts during Operation SEA ANGEL.  In June 1991, HMM-265 returned to Kanehoe Bay and resumed its role as a UDP squadron.

In July of 1992, HMM-265 was the first Marine helicopter squadron to return to Cambodia since 1975 in support of Joint Task Force Full Accounting.  In September, after returning to Hawaii, the Dragons supported post-Typhoon Iniki humanitarian relief operations.  In July, HMM-265 returned to Okinawa and immediately sent a detachment to Korea in support of combined operations.  In September of 1993, the squadron participated in Fuji Warrior out of Yokota AB, Japan and conducted simultaneous operations in the Republic of the Philippines aboard USS Dubuque.

HMM-265 returned to Kanehoe Bay in January 1994.  During their last year in Hawaii, the squadron embarked aboard USS Essex and supported 1st Battalion, 3rd Marines in the Pohakuloa Training Area.  In January 1995, the Dragons left Hawaii to begin their final six months in the UDP cycle.  In July, MCAS Futenma, Okinawa became their permanent duty station.

During 1995, the Dragons became the Aviation Combat Element (ACE) for 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) Special Operations Capable (SOC).  The squadron completed three cycles with 31st MEU (SOC) conducting numerous exercises aboard USS Belleau Wood, USS Dubuque, and USS New Orleans including a deployment to Vladivostok, Russia for Exercise Cooperation from the Sea.  In August 1997, the Dragons deployed to Pohang, Republic of Korea for Ulchi Focus Lens.  In December 1997, the Dragons participated in Exercise Beachcrest on Okinawa. 

In November 1998, after assuming 31st MEU ACE, HMM-265 (REIN) was ordered to respond to tensions in the Persian Gulf.  The Dragons supported Operations DESERT FOX, SUDDEN STORM, and ANVIL II in defense of Kuwait.  In September 1999, HMM-265 was called to support International Forces East Timor during humanitarian efforts.

HMM-265 joined 31st MEU as its ACE again during January 2001.  In October, 31st MEU / CPR 11 steamed to East Timor aboard USS Essex.  The ACE again provided critical humanitarian assistance in East Timor. 

In Spring 2004, 31st MEU deployed for training exercises with South Korea and the Republic of the Philippines.  In August, the Dragons headed to the Persian Gulf for training in Kuwait.  Upon arrival in theater, they were further tasked with supporting I Marine Expeditionary Force during Operation IRAQI FREEDOM II.

The Dragons again became 31st MEU’s ACE in July 2006.  During Fall 2006, they completed exercises in the Republic of the Philippines and provided air and ground support for the visit of the President of the United States to Jakarta, Indonesia.  The Dragons deployed to Australia for Exercise Talisman Sabre in May 2007, and completed the Fall and Spring cycles with deployments to the Republic of the Philippines for the Philippine Bilateral Exercise (PHIBLEX) and Talon Vision 2007, Republic of Korea for Korean Incremental Training Program (KITP) 2007, Balikatan 2008, and the Kingdom of Cambodia for Civil/Military Operations.  HMM-265 (REIN) finished the Spring cycle with a deployment to the Kingdom of Thailand for Exercise Cobra Gold in May 2008 and Operation CARING RESPONSE off of the coast of Myanmar in June 2008.

During Fall 2008 through Spring 2009, HMM-265 deployed with MAG 36 in support of Exercises Talon Vision, the Republic of the Philippines; Cobra Gold, Thailand; and Key Resolve, Korea.  The Dragons also supported Exercises Ryukyu Warrior and Yama Sakura on Okinawa.

In August 2009, HMM-265(REIN) rejoined 31st MEU.  On short notice, the Dragons were called to support Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) operations in the Republic of the Philippines in the aftermath of a typhoon.  Mid-execution, during a subsequent typhoon in the Republic of the Philippines, 31st MEU reconfigured and the Dragons sent a Heavy Lift detachment to Indonesia to conduct simultaneous HADR operations for earthquake victims.  Upon completion of these relief efforts, the Dragons executed exercises PHIBLEX 10 and KITP 2010.  In Spring 2010, the Dragons  participated in Exercises Cobra Gold 2010 in Thailand, and Balikatan 10 in the Republic of the Philippines. 

That summer, HMM-265 separated from 31st MEU and returned to Okinawa as a core squadron.  The squadron continued training and preparation for the Philippine Bilateral Exercise (PHIBLEX) 2011.  Mid-way through the Exercise, a typhoon in the Pacific once again called the squadron to action.  The Dragons postponed training to execute HADR in northern Luzon in the Philippines.  The squadron conducted CASEVAC and moved over 42,000 pounds of supplies to several devastated areas.

After the completion of PHIBLEX and the follow-on HADR operation, the Dragons re-embarked to Japan and made a quick turn-around to provide air support to the President of the United States during his tour of Asia in November, 2010.

HMM-265 began 2011 with preparations for Cobra Gold in the Kingdom of Thailand while looking forward to rejoining 31st MEU in the Spring.

The Dragons tradition of excellence has been recognized by the Marine Corps Aviation Association as the Commandant’s Squadron of the Year for 1992, 1999, 2000, and 2009, and with the Chief of Naval Operations Safety Award for the years 1978, 1979, 1984, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, and 2010.

SAPR Victim Advocate
Capt Jeffrey Boyle

DSN: 315-636-7679
SAPR Victim Advocate
SSgt Sophia Gatto
DSN: 315-636-3977


Local SAPR Resources


24/7 Sexual Assault Support Line
645-HOPE (4673)

Commercial: 011-81-611-736-3033
DSN: 315-636-3033





Sergeant Major 636-2105 Ready Room 636-3033
Family Readiness Officer

     636-2881    080-2703-9029





Adjutant 636-3011






OpsO 636-3856
    Maint Control



1st Marine Aircraft Wing