June ’66 Command Chronology
(Selected significant events)

1 – 7 June:  USS Princeton (LPH-5) remained in port at Subic Bay.  Squadron aircraft flew daily passenger, administrative and liaison flights to Manila, NAS Sangley Point, Baguio and Clark AFB.  Several squadron aircraft were utilized in various training missions conducted jointly with the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment.  Squadron pilot training was conducted simultaneously and as a result the squadron was able to designate five new aircraft commanders.

8 June:  Squadron aircraft were flown aboard the ship from NAS Cubi Point in preparation for the ship’s departure for the Republic of Vietnam.

9 – 15 June:  USS Princeton sailed from Subic Bay the morning of 9 June at 0800.  Upon arriving off the coast of Qui Nhon, the ship assumed a normal cruise action which carried it between Qui Nohn and Chu Lai.  Administrative/liaison flights were conducted between the ship and shore to Chu Lai, Da Nang, Qui Nhon and Nha Trang.  One aircraft departing Qui Nhon developed engine trouble and aborted the trip to the ship.  A Maintenance crew was sent ashore, remained there overnight, and repaired the aircraft.

16 - 17 June:  The Princeton anchored in Cam Ranh Bay.  Squadron aircraft conducted several liaison and administrative flights to Nha Trang and Cam Ranh Bay AFB.  The squadron was joined by three UH-1E aircraft from VNO-6 assigned for augmentation during the forthcoming Operation Deckhouse I.  The anticipated use of the UH-1Es would include TAC (A), liaison, and reconnaissance missions.

18 June:  Operation Deckhouse I commenced at 0600 when India and Kilo Companies 3/5 assaulted Red Beach (CQ105790).  At 0630 twenty two squadron aircraft lifted Lima Company and elements of H&S Company from the LPH-5 to landing zone Crowe (CQ061793).  Two more aircraft were utilized for maintenance and SAR duty during the initial lift and the maintenance aircraft made a leaflet drop in the objective area during the lift.  A detachment of UH-1E aircraft from VMO-6 consisting of one slick and two gunships supported the squadron by providing TAC (A) and close air support.  The squadron aircraft encountered no enemy activity, but the supporting UH-1Es received small arms fire from an area just south of the landing zone (CQ059784).  Attack aircraft from the USS Constellation suppressed the fire.
     Later in the morning, eighteen aircraft were utilized to lift Mike Company 3/5 from the LPH-5 to LZ Robin (CQ060793).  Two UH-1Es provided armed escort during the lift with fixed wing air cover provided by the USS Constellation.
     After the initial troop lifts the squadron’s aircraft remained fully utilized the remainder of the day flying; missions in support of 7 Marines WIA, relocating 252 troops/passengers, and providing supplies to the Marines in the field from the LPH-5 amounting to 21,575 lbs.
     One aircraft sustained damage to a landing gear while landing (CQ095798) and the pilot elected to shut down for repairs.  The surrounding terrain features made repair on the spot impractical and it was decided to lift the aircraft to Qui Nhon with an Army CH-47.  With the assistance of maintenance personnel from the squadron, the CH-47 extracted the disabled aircraft successfully and flew it to Qui Nhon but, while attempting to lower it to the ground dropped it from a altitude of approximately ten feet.  As a result it was damaged to such an extent that O&R repair will be necessary.
     Another aircraft returning to the LPH-5 after a resupply mission was forced to make an autorotative landing in the sea due to engine failure.  The aircraft sank immediately and was lost but the crew escaped without injury.  They were rescued by helicopter and flown to the LPH-5.

19 June:  Support for Operation Deckhouse I utilized the squadron’s aircraft to; evacuate 10 Marine and 2 VC casualties, transport 50 VC prisoners, transport 109 troops/passengers and deliver 31,265 pounds of cargo to the troops in the field.  Three aircraft reported fire incidents; none caused serious battle damage and none of the crew members were injured.

20 June:  The squadron supported Operation Deckhouse I by medically evacuating 9 U.S. Marines, and 6 Vietnamese civilians.  Other passengers or troops carried were 96 U.S., 2 Vietnamese civilians, 38 refugees, and 121 suspected Viet Cong prisoners.  Additionally, 38,150 pounds of cargo was delivered in support of the troops in the field.  A two hour airborne radio relay mission in support of Gilmore Six was also flown.

21 June:  A section of aircraft transporting one passenger from the battalion command post to CQ088775 aborted the mission when they received fire and the copilot of the second aircraft was incapacitated due to a severe bullet wound in his left arm and shoulder.  He was immediately flown to the LPH-5 for medical attention.  Four additionally aircraft received fire without serious battle damage and there were no further crew casualties.  The other statistics for the day were; Medical evacuations of U.S. Marines 5 and Vietnamese civilians 1 and two Viet Cong wounded, passengers/troops hauled 64, Vietnamese civilians transported 19.  Two aerial reconnaissance missions were flown and the squadron hauled 46,250 lbs. of supplies to the field.

22 June:  Eight aircraft accompanied by two VMO-6 escort aircraft lifted elements of Kilo Company 3/5 from the battalion command post to CQ055806 and sixty troops of Lima Company from CQ015770 to BQ 988788.  Another eight aircraft retracted Kilo Company from CQ054805 and brought separate elements to LZ Robin and the BLT CP.
     Two aircraft responded to an emergency resupply of 2,000 pounds from the LPH-5 and the retraction of a nine man reconnaissance team by two other squadron aircraft.  Intense small arms fire was encountered on both missions with two aircraft receiving battle damage.  Two VMO-6 gunships were called to the scene to suppress the enemy fire.
     Squadron aircraft were used in support of VMO-6.  One mission for one aircraft was to chase a UH-1E assigned the mission of TAC (A) on an aerial reconnaissance flight over grid square BQ9979 and a Naval Gunfire Support mission to grid squares CQ1062, CQ1061, and CQ0962.  Another aircraft escorted a UH-1E on a night AO-illumination/aerial reconnaissance flight of an area in the vicinity of CQ107774.
     Other statistics for the day were; 16 U.S. medical evacuations, passengers/troops hauled 34, Vietnamese civilian transported one, and 7 suspected Viet Cong prisoners transported.  The squadron also conducted one aerial propaganda broadcast mission.  Several aircraft received fire without suffering battle damage.

23 June:  The squadron’s support missions accomplished; 4 U.S. Medical evacuations, transported 170 U.S. passengers/troops and 5 suspected Viet Cong prisoners and one Vietnamese civilian.  Total cargo supplied to the troops amounted to 36,220 pounds.  No fire incidents were reported.

24 June:  Eight aircraft departed the LPH-5 for a troop lift of 242 men of Mike Company 3/5 (CQ986784) to coordinates CQ998817.  The LZ at the destination could accommodate but one aircraft and was situated in a saddle at 1,000 feet MSL.  The entire lift was completed in one hour and ten minutes and involved a total of 47 helo-teams.  In addition to numerous mention of water resupply missions, the squadron also hauled; 5 U.S. am one Viet Cong medical evacuees, and 12,250 pounds of cargo.  Two flights received fire without sustaining battle damage and another aircraft engaged in an airborne propaganda broadcast mission.

25 June:  Four aircraft lifted Howtars from LZ Robin (CQ061793) to CQ082780.  A total of 196 troops and 35,290 pounds of cargo were carried in 66 tasks which took three hours to complete.
     Eight aircraft performed a tactical lift of Lima Company 3/5 (BQ997797) to BQ990834 in order to conduct a new sweep and clear of this area.  On the flight 4 VC with weapons were spotted escaping on foot down a trail at BQ985830, the aircraft fired at them but no hits could be confirmed.  The first four aircraft of the flight returned to lift a separated platoon of Lima Company (BQ997783) to the new LZ BQ990834).  The lift took 2.5 hours.
     In addition to the above tasks, the squadron supported BLT 3/5 with; one U.S. and one ARVN medical evacuations, hauled an additional three passengers and supplied the troops with 6,100 pounds of cargo.

26 June:  Operation Deckhouse I being in its final stage resulted in the following support; One U.S. Medical evacuation, relocation of 229 troops/passengers and delivery of 7,150 pounds of cargo.

27 June:  Four aircraft flew to Qui Nhon and returned with 18,867 pounds of C-rations and 750 pounds of hand grenades.
     At 1200 the Special Landing Force was placed under Operational Control of the CG I First Field Forces, Vietnam.  Operation Deck House I was terminated and the Marine units ashore were directed to operate in conjunction with elements of the 1st Air Calvary and the 101st Airborne Division on Operation Nathan Hale.  Hmm-364 continued to fly in support of the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines.
     Two aircraft were involved in a night medevac mission from the LPH-5 to CQ030746.  Because there was no suitable landing zone available the night pick up was accomplished by hoist.  The flare aircraft was employed and flares were dropped while the helicopter executed a 20 foot hover over the zone.  The injured Marine was lifted aboard by utilizing the ‘stokes’ litter.  Small arms fire was reported in the area but no hits were received by the aircraft.
     Recapping the remaining support missions provides; medical evacuation of two U.S. and 2 ARVN troops, transportation of 35 troops/passengers, delivery of an additional 20,950 pounds of cargo which included 1,800 pounds of captured VC rice, and they also supplied the Naval Shore party and 105mm Howitzer battery Foxtrot (Reinf), 2/11 at CQ087791.

28 June:  At 0615 an extraction of Mike Company 3/5 commenced and 226 troops were lifted to the USS Princeton for a hot meal and a shower and were then returned to the objective area.  Lima Company and a mortar battery of the 12th Marines were also provide with a hot meal and shower aboard the USS Princeton involving a round trip for an additional 357 Marines.  (The remainder of the Command Chronology for 28 June is unreadable.)

29 June:  (This portion of the Command Chronology is also unreadable.)

30 June:  Squadron aircraft accomplished; 4 medevacs one of which was a Vietnamese civilian, hauled 182 troops/passengers, delivered 30,650 pounds of cargo and conducted an aerial propaganda broadcast mission over five different grid squares.

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