LtCol. Louis A. Gulling's Staff Car
By Robert B. Steinberg, former Sgt. USMC

I recall that Lou Gulling assumed command of the squadron as a Major.  I believe he had come to us from HMMT-301.  He was promoted to LtCol. shortly after arriving.

He was always well liked by the enlisted, as best as I can remember.  I think we became more fond of him the closer we came to deploying, and realized that he'd soon be leading us into combat.  One little anecdote that might illustrate how we felt about LtCol. Gulling concerns a coordinated effort to provide him with his own staff car once we arrived in-country.  Lts. Vinny DeMaria and Jimmy Durr scrounged up an old Studebaker Lark and brought it over to Hangar 2.  There, I used the resources of the metal shop paint locker to apply a full coat of Field Green paint to it.  The lieutenants were pleased with the results, and we were all laughing about how cool it would be for our CO to have his own staff car to tool around our base with.  The only problem was how to get it aboard the LPH-8 Valley Forge, docked at Long Beach.

The car was driven up to the six-bys parked in front of the barracks that were ready to transport us to Long Beach, where it provided a huge morale boost and a good laugh. DeMaria and Durr managed to pose for a couple of photos before driving it to dockside at the Valley Forge.

The squids on the Valley Forge didn't have a sense of humor, so we weren't able to convince them to put it on board for us.  The Studebaker remained on the dock, and we sailed for WestPac.

1stLt. Jimmy Durr is standing in front of 1stLt. Victor G. "Vinny" DeMaria. DeMaria is waving at the camera. Lt. Durr is wearing a leather "Snoopy cover" (WWII-vintage aviator's cap) borrowed from one of the enlisted types. (A number of  us had cleaned out a local Army-Navy surplus store's entire inventory a few weeks earlier, and we wore them to the local bars when on liberty). The enlisted person standing at the tail gate of the six-by is Sgt. Richard Enterline, a crew chief (but at that time I believe an assistant section leader).

From left,  Lt. "Vinny" DeMaria; LCpl. Artur Mark Slagle (metal shop), Lt. Jimmy Durr, and Sgt. Richard Enterline (crew chief/flight line).


LtCol. Gulling departed for WestPac with the initial contingent at the beginning of Nov '67 (initially flying UH-34s with HMM-263 at Phu Bai until the rest of the squadron and his CH-46s arrived on 27 NOV 67).  It's not known if LtCol. Gulling new of his troops efforts to supply him with wheels.

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