Doug R. Orahood, 1stLt. USMCR

I can't tell you what this site has meant to me because when I first arrived in California (HMMT-302) to transition to the CH-46 I roomed with Jerry "Weasel" White, Dennis J. "Denny" Reardon, and William P. "Bill" Higgins.  These three were nearing the completion of their transition training and left for Vietnam some weeks ahead of me.  I eventually arrived at Marble Mountain and was checking in at MAG-16 when the processing Sergeant asked which squadron I would like to be assigned to.  I gave the above names to the Sergeant whereupon he raised his head, looked me straight in the eye with a strange stare and said, "Lt. Reardon and Lt. Higgins aren't here anymore."  That was my first Welcome to Vietnam!!!!

I recall my feelings the night Maj. Gulledge and I picked up several dead "ROK Marines" in pitch black,  the sound of their comrades dragging them on the bird and dropping their bodies then running off . . . the hollow series of thumps as they ran in, dropped, ran off and when they had finished we departed the landing zone.   Charlie Provide, the crew chief, thought we had a hydraulic leak and we landed back at  maintenance, turned on the cabin white light to find blood, not hydraulic fluid, flowing solid on the deck in the aft cabin.  I believe that was the most surreal sight I recall from my tour.

Man is it great to read some names from the past, and think of what we did together and for each other.  I remember flying copilot with some of the veterans in country when I got there, late in 1969, and the pride they took in being "Foxes" and supporting the grunts.  Yes, supporting the grunts was job #1...always job#1.

Boy did they know how to make a new guy feel "NEW."  Hondo, Smiley. Jerry, Smokey, et. al. will always be the HACs to me and what great fun it was to be "harassed " by them...they were extremely good for being so old !!

What a surprise to read the crew chiefs names that pop up and recall what GREAT young men these fellows were and how hard they racked their butts for us as pilots and the Marines we served.!

Those "old" pilots fondly referred to me as "Baby San" and I was possibly the only 2nd Lt. to check into the squadron or be carded at the MMAF  Officers Club.

Keep your turns up...

1stLt. Doug R. Orahood's History Index

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