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9/28/64: HMM-365 Advance Party consisting of 7 officers and 28 enlisted men depart Okinawa and arrive at DaNang Air Base, Vietnam.


Marine Aircraft Group 16
1st Marine Aircraft Wing, Aircraft, FMF, Pacific
c/o FPO, San Francisco, California 96601

                                17 Sep 1964

From:  Commanding Officer
To:    Major W. H. GUSTAFSON 037xxx USMC
       Capt M. J. BARKOVICH 072xxx USMC
       Capt R. P. CONNOLLY 073xxx USMC
       1stLt B. C. MARTIN 082xxx USMC
       1stlt R. R. BENDER 086xxx USMC
Via:   Commanding Officer, Marine Medium Helicopter
       Squadron 365

Subj:  Temporary additional duty; authorization for

1.  On or about 25 September 1964, you are authorized to
proceed to a Classified Site in Viet Nam, for a period
of about seven (7) days in connection with Marine Corps

2.  Upon completion of the above temporary additional duty,
you will return to your present station and resume your
regular duties.

3.  Travel via government aircraft is directed.  Class III
priority certified.

4.  These orders are issued with the understanding that
no expense to the government for travel and/or per diem
is authorized in the execution of these orders.  If you
do not desire to execute these orders without expense to
the government for travel and/or per diem, this authorization
is revoked.

                                 Rxxxx A. Mxxxxxx

Copy to:  S-1/Adj
          Individuals concerned (10)

Corporal David Kelly, 1965 9/29/64: We fired the M-60 machineguns from the helicopters today. We would take turns firing 100 rounds at flares in the water. Corporal Kelly was firing from the crew chief side when Lance Corporal Cooper fell off balance when the chopper turned suddenly and bumped into Kelly. Kelly couldn't get his finger off the trigger fast enough and rounds from his machinegun hit the strut. They flew Yankee Mike 4 back and again they had to change struts while the chopper hovered a few feet off the deck. [winkel]

Got issued a pretty colored flight suit and our rifles. [mckee]

OCTOBER 1, 1964: Today the Combat Recovery Team (CRT) practiced rappelling from a hovering helicopter. This mountaineering technique of using a rope and snaplink (carabiner) to lower oneself from a height, but adapted to be used from a helicopter, was taught to the team by First Sergeant Howard Force, a former reconnaissance Marine.

L/Cpl Marty Winkel with his M-14 rifle covers while L/Cpl Enrique del Rosario rappels from an HMM-365 UH-34D The reason that the CRT practiced this technique is to allow Marines to debark the helicopter without the aircraft having to make an actual landing. In jungle or hilly terrain where adequate landing sites cannot be found but the tactical situation necessitated the insertion of Marines and their equipment in that location, this technique would be used. A 1/4-inch nylon rope is wrapped around the rappeller's waist and crotch and the snaplink attached to it, forming what is known as a "Swiss seat". Next, a 9/16-inch greenline twisted nylon rope that is anchored onto a hardspot on the helicopter, up over the hoist strut, run twice through the snaplink, then dangled down to the ground seventy-five to one-hundred feet below. The principle of this technique is to use the friction of the twists running through the snaplink, applied or released by the rappeller's gloved right hand, to allow for a safe descent from the helicopter. The pilot of the aircraft held it in hover at 75 to 100 feet above the ground while all the team members descended in turn. Using this technique one can not only lower himself safely but can do so carrying all of his equipment, weapon, ammunition, and additional gear and supplies which can sometimes weigh up to 80 lbs.

PFC Watson, 1965     Today one of the Marines, Private First Class Watson, lost his right hand grip on the rope and fell about 50 feet, hit the ground hard, and was almost knocked out. I guess the fall knocked his brain loose because he went up for his second jump and did it again from a higher altitude. Later, when the shock of the hard landing finally hit him, Watson got sent to sick bay and got a shot of morphine.

The rest of the afternoon the CRT had classes on demolitions. [delrosario]

    October 4, 1964: Martin Luther King, Jr., an American Negro, is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for leading non-violent protests against racial inequality in the United States.

10/6/64: Got news that I would be leaving for Vietnam on "B" Flight. 1stSgt Howard Force lectured on weapons. [mckee]

    Going to Vietnam was known as "going south". We were not to say "Vietnam" as our destination, instead we refered to it as "south" because it was south of Okinawa. This was done supposedly to keep eavesdroppers from knowing our military destination.


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Enrique del Rosario