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Flying Tigers Welcome New Commander

3 Aug 2009 | Lance Cpl. Michael A. Bianco

Lt. Col. Douglas Schueler relinquished command of Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 262 Reinforced (HMM-262 REIN), 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), to Lt. Col. John Mee during a change of command ceremony, aboard the forward-deployed amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2), July 28.

            Schueler was awarded a Meritorious Service Medal for his leadership and dedication to the Flying Tigers.

            According to Mee’s biography, he entered the Marine Corps through the Platoon Leader’s Course program and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in February 1990. Upon graduation of The Basic School in October of the same year, the Chicago native reported to Naval Flight Training in Pensacola, Fl. There he was designated as a naval aviator and in late 1992 reported to Marine Helicopter Training Squadron 301 (HMT-301) for training and designation as a CH-46E Sea Knight helicopter pilot.      

From April 1993 to June 1997 Mee was assigned to HMM-166. During his time as a “Sea Elk”, he served as the flight equipment officer, aviation safety officer, and weapons and tactics instructor. While with the squadron, he was attached to the 15th MEU and deployed aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Tripoli (LPH-10) in 1994. In 1996, while attached to the 11th MEU, the Northern Illinois University graduate deployed aboard the forward-deployed amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2). During these deployments Mee participated in military exercises in Africa, the Persian Gulf and Australia.

While assigned to Marine Corps Air Station New River, N.C. as an instructor pilot with HMT-204, Mee earned his Masters degree in Business Administration from Boston University.

In 1999, as the operations officer for HMT-164, he was tasked with helping the unit perform at an outstanding level as the new CH-46E training squadron. While with the unit, Mee was promoted to the rank of major in October of 1999.

Mee reported to I Marine Expeditionary Force ( I MEF) as the Special Operations Training Group (SOTG) air officer in May 2000. During his time with I MEF, he also helped in the implementation of the Individual Passenger Helicopter Air Breathing Device (IPHABD).

During his time with HMM-364, as the S-4 officer, he was part of a groundbreaking deployment to Korea via Russian built AN-124 aircrafts. In 2002, while participating in combat operations at Ali Al Salem, Kuwait in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF), Mee served as the aircraft maintenance officer for the unit. In December of 2003 he took command as the executive officer for the “Purple Foxes”.

Mee reported to Marine Forces Pacific Command in June 2004 and assumed the duties of the South Asia desk officer for Policy and International Affairs, G-5. In January 2005 he deployed to Sri Lanka in support of Operation UNIFIED ASSISTANCE. After returning from the deployment a year later, Mee became the Australia, Japan and South Asia desk officer. He was promoted to his current rank in September 2005.

The III Marine Air Wing (MAW) served as Mee’s next unit. In August 2007 he reported to III MAW and worked in G-3 flight operations. He served as the flight operations officer until July 2008 when he deployed in support of OIF. Mee returned from deployment in February 2009 and now assumes his current billet as commanding officer for HMM-262 REIN.

Mee said he is excited about his new assignment and hopes to add to its success.

“I have high expectations of the unit and will be expecting a lot out of the Marines, but I know they are a good group who can handle the pressure,” Mee said.

Mee’s personal awards include the Meritorious Service Medal, Strike and Flight Air Medal with numeral six, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with two gold stars and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal.

MEU Marines and sailors are currently retrograding back to Okinawa, Japan after completing their role in Exercise Talisman Saber 2009(TS ’09). TS ’09 is a biennial training activity designed to train Australian and U.S. forces in planning and conducting combined task force operations which will help improve combat readiness and interoperability.

31st Marine Expeditionary Unit