March 1, 1964: Deployment to Marine Corps Base, Twenty-nine Palms, to participate in Exercise Winter Night, returning to MCAF Santa Ana, March 9, 1964.
March 20: Major Warren H. Gustafson checked in to the squadron and was handed the job of Executive Officer thus completing the billets for the top three jobs (commanding and executive officers, and first sergeant) in HMM-365.
May 10, 1964: Deployment to MCAF Yuma for training, returning to MCAF Santa Ana, May 16, 1964.
May 24, 1964: Deployment to Camp Pendleton, California, to participate in Exercise Pine Tree until May 28, 1964.
June 15, 1964: Carrier Qualifications aboard the USS Iwo Jima until June 19, 1964.
August 4, 1964: Destroyer USS Turner Joy is attacked by North Vietnamese patrol boats in the Tonkin Gulf.
August 7, 1964: The U.S. Congress passes the Tonkin Gulf Resolution.
AUGUST 24, 1964: Briefing by our Executive Officer, Major Warren Gustafson, on where we are going. [mckee].
Lieutenant Colonel Joseph Koler, Jr., commanded Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 365 during its entire tour of duty in Vietnam. Entering the Marine Corps in 1943 as an infantry officer, he saw duty in China after WWII. In Korea, he landed with the First Marine Division at Inchon and fought in the frozen hills of Chosin. His duty assignments after leaving Vietnam included Deputy J-3, Commander in Chief, Europe; Commanding General, 1st Marine Brigade; Commanding General, First Marine Aircraft Wing; Deputy Commander, Fleet Marine Force, Pacific; Commanding General, III Marine Amphibious Force; and Commanding General, Marine Corps Air Bases, West, at MCAS El Toro. Koler retired from the Marine Corps with the rank of Major General.8/26/64: Lieutentant Colonel Joe Koler, Commanding Officer of HMM-365, talked to us about the Far East and communism. [mckee]
There were the pilots, skilled in the operation of every type of aircraft that the Marine Corps had in its inventory. Flying was their business, and they could do it well whether they flew the supersonic F8U Crusaders or the loitering OE Bird Dog. The older ones had flown Hellcats in dogfights with Japanese Zeros and Kamikazes over Okinawa. They had laid napalm on the scarred slopes of Reno, Vegas, and Carson City in Korea, flying so low, so close to the grunts on the ground, that their F4U Corsairs often came back from their close air support mission with their bellies singed. The younger ones, the lieutenants - they could jump from their UH-34D helicopter and into an F4H Phantom jet fighter and fly them equally well. They were good and they walked with a swagger that showed that they knew it.
The senior NC0s, staff sergeants, gunnery, master, and first - the backbone of the Marine Corps, bearers of the Legend. Bloodied in battle, tested in adversity, Hell held no surprise for them.
The sergeants and corporals - not a plane on the pad that they could not get to fly. They didn't need aeronautical engineering degrees to do it. They knew what worked and they did it. They knew equally well the mechanisms of the M-60 machinegun and how to employ its rapid fire with lethal effect.
Lance corporals, PFCs, and privates - we too knew what we were doing. Not having the experience perhaps, but we had the confidence that comes only when you knew you were the very best. And we knew we could do anything, especially when we were given the task of upholding a hundred and eighty-some years of unblemished tradition.
Koler talked in a calm and almost hushed voice. This deployment to the Far East was routine business for those who chose this way of life. Every man in the room had volunteered to be part of this unit and to go where it was ordered - into harm's way. [delrosario]
8/27/64: Found out that there will be only two planes to take us over. One leaves Sunday and the other Tuesday. Went to sickbay to get yellow fever shots. [mckee].
8/29/64: Administrative and operational control of HMM-365 is transfered from Marine Aircraft Group 36 (MAG-36), Third Marine Aircraft Wing (3rd MAW), to MAG-16, 1st MAW.
8/30/64: Left Marine Corps Air Station El Toro, California at 0900 hours and arrived at Travis Air Force Base, California at 1030. Change in plans. Going directly to Okinawa instead of Hawaii. Left Travis at 1900 and arrived at Kadena AFB, Okinawa 0300. [mckee].
I took her hand and held her close and kissed her tenderly,
and as the band struck up the call, the wind played with her hair
- then I turned and left her standing there.
Oh yes, we're burning bridges to those years we left behind.
We're burning all the cobwebs in the dungeons of our mind.
The letters, and the poems, and the haunting melodies
-we'll burn them with our painful memories.
HMM-365 moved into its temporary base. While at Futema the squadron will undergo extensive training to polish up on the tactics and skills that will be needed for combat operations in Vietnam. [delrosario]
SEPTEMBER 5, 1964: I was on a working party assigned to clean M3 submachineguns (nicknamed "grease guns"). We will be using them in Vietnam. At work today we were told about a search and rescue team (SAR) we will have to get started before going to Vietnam. Its primary mission is to help retrieve pilots and crew members of planes that crash. I know I promised my father I wouldn't volunteer for anything but I put myself in the pilots' and crewmembers' position, of which a lot of them are friends of mine. If my plane was shot down I would want someone to come and try to help me. We will have a lot of schooling, training and conditioning so we will be ready for anything. I hope my father will forgive me, because I volunteered, but I will feel better knowing I at least tried to help my friends. There are about twenty-five of us on the team. There is also about 100 men, myself included, who volunteered as gunners in the copters. [winkel]
9/9/64: Captain Adnah Frain was out on a RAL (Rough Area Landing) this morning and tore off a landing wheel and ripped the strut. The crash crew and an amubulance was ready for Yankee Mike 13 when it was coming in. Mattresses were piled up so that the strut without the wheel could sit on them when the copter landed, thereby providing support so the copter wouldn't turn over. The copter came in and hovered about 4 feet off the ground. They took a look at the damage and decided to pull the wheel off the plane while it hovered, put a different one on and then let it land. They pulled a wheel off Yankee Mike 6 and, when they were ready, Yankee Mike 13 came in again, hovered about 3 feet off the ground. They changed the wheel and the copter landed okay. Sergeant Maynard was the crew chief of Yankee Mike 13. [winkel]
The whole landing gear was changed in 3 minutes and 48 seconds. [mckee].