Not really a 3/2 story, but adds a little flavor and opens up another window to explore. I need to find out more about the ‘Gunrunners’ helo squadron…
Anyway, it’s hard to remember, but in 2005 YouTube was still a startup and hardly anyone knew about it. But a few Marines from Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 26 (MALS-26), working out of Al-Qaim, put something together that made history… sort of.
Apparently, this was one of the first parody music vids on YouTube that went ‘viral’, so it became part of digital lore. Later, a YouTube ‘historian’ (who knew?) tracked it down and restored it to its rightful place.
They included their names at the end, so it was easy to find this article from marines.com, which of course is all serious and stuff (in contrast to the video).
“The birds support the ground guys. When they get the call the birds go out, and if we’re not building ordnance what are they going to shoot?” says SSgt Danny Rangel, the NCOIC, who will forever be known to the Interwebs as “The Count of Al-Qaim”.
So, there you have it. A little YouTube history, and a little Camp Al-Qaim history. And some new questions to explore.
Did Cobra attack helos operate directly out of AQ?
How many were stationed there?
How did the Marine Air Support system work in 3/2’s AO?
Update (10jan17): OK, already started finding info. Confirmed that AH-1W Super Cobras flew out of Camp Al-Qaim during Operation Matador and Spear.
They were part of Marine Light/Attack Helicopter Squadron 269 (HMLA 269) the “Gunrunners”, operating mainly out of Al-Asad. Still not sure if they kept birds at AQ all the time, or just rotated in and out as required to support big ops.
The caption mentions ‘Detachment Al-Qaim’, so maybe they had several helos bed down at AQ. See full article.
BTW, The photo here prob shows some of the MALS-26 guys uploading ordnance.