Oct. '65 - Command Chronology
(Extracts from the MAG-36 Command Chronology)
8 Nov. 1965
Narrative of Significant Events

The 1st of October saw Marine Aircraft Group 36 dug in to stay at Ky Ha Airfield.  Rain for the first few days of October hampered camp construction but flying continued at an accelerated pace.  The sun shone through on 7 October and on 8 October the Seabees once again began to grade and started laying matting on Helo Mat #2.  Beautiful weather continued and by month's end almost one half of the aluminum matting was in place.  Six hardback G.P. tents were erected on the southeastern end of Mat #2 to be used as maintenance and office spaces.  MAG-36 was inspected by LtGen. V. H. Krulak on 10 October and the General cut the ribbon dedicating the new mess hall.  The mess hall was named "Frye Hall" in honor of Sgt. A. Frye who was killed while serving with HMM-365.

SSgt. R. E. Womack was KIA by enemy ground fire on 11 October while serving as load master for HMM-364.  The aircraft was operating in the vicinity of BS610990.

General Westmoreland and party visited the Ky Ha enclave on 20 October and seemed quite pleased with the progress made by MAG-36 since its arrival.

Base Services began hardbacking tents in the permanent camp area.  At month's end the enlisted contonment area is 80% complete with 32 strongbacked tent frames completed, only 13 of which are covered due to lack of tentage.

Organizational Data


Lucas, W. R.
Hatch, R. D.
Needham, M. J.

Sequential Listing of Significant Events

1 Oct:  Eighteen HMM-364 aircraft and flight crews were placed in a standby status for a strike/troop lift in support of the 7th Marines on Operation Quick Draw.  The strike was delayed until 2 Oct.  No other flights were scheduled this date.

2 Oct:  Seventeen HMM-364 aircraft participated in the strike/troop lift scheduled for 1 Oct.  The strike was made at BS562952 and was designated as Operation Quick Draw.

3 Oct:  Eighteen HMM-364 aircraft again supported the 7th Marines for the final strike/troop lift in Operation Quick Draw.  The lift was from BT538226 to BS520951.

4 Oct:  Fourteen HMM-364 aircraft retracted the 7th Marines involved in Operation Quick Draw.  One aircraft, YK-14, on SAR duty in support of MAG-12 received small arms fire in the vicinity of BS561298.  Five hits were received and no personal injuries were sustained.

5 Oct:  Four HMM-364 aircraft completed a troop lift for the 7th Marines from BT537027 to BT455042.  Four aircraft completed a retraction of a 7th Marine patrol from BS429933 to BT537027, and a reconnaissance flight for the 4th Marines of the TAOR was conducted.  Base Services erected a temporary Chapel utilizing a hospital ward tent.  The new trash dump was also opened.

6 Oct:  Four (4) HMM-364 aircraft departed Ky Ha for an unscheduled troop retraction in support of the 7th Marines.  The flight received intense ground fire coming out of the LZ (BS 544915), and the lead aircraft, YK-4, commanded by Maj. M. J. Needham with seven Marine troops aboard, was forced down at coordinates BS 524997 when a round punctured an oil line.  After making a safe landing, Maj. Needham ordered the Marines in the troop compartment to set up a perimeter defense around the aircraft until repairs could be made to the aircraft.  A maintenance aircraft was flown in to repair the downed aircraft (Click for the recovery story).  In 2 1/2 hours all repairs were made in the rice paddy and the aircraft was flown back to Ky Ha.  Another aircraft in the flight received four hits, but in spite of the damage, the aircraft commander, 1stLt. B. G. Beck, was able to fly the plane to Ky Ha.  There were no injuries to any personnel aboard the two aircraft.

The Post Office GP tent was erected by Base Services and was functioning by 1400.  The initial temporary mess hall was closed and movement of all facilities and supplies to the newly completed wooden mess hall structure commenced.

7 Oct:  HMM-364 committed two aircraft to act as maintenance and SAR aircraft for HMM-362 on an emergency night strike/troop lift west of Chu Lai (BT434084), which was conducted with the use of flares.

8 Oct:  HMM-364 participated in a resupply of ARVN outposts.  Rice, the major commodity, and other foodstuffs were carried from Quang Tin to various scattered westerly outposts.  A two aircraft troop lift was completed in support of the 7th Marines from BT568032 to BS675985.  Seventeen VC prisoners were ferried for the 4th Marines from BT556052 to BS599922.

9 Oct:  A four aircraft troop retraction was flown in support of the 4th Marines from BT308705 to BT532009, by HMM-364.  Two aircraft completed a troop lit and resupply for the 2nd Army Division at Quang Ngai to BS805382.

10 Oct:  HMM-364 flew support for the 4th, 7th and 3rd Marines, ARVN forces, MAG-36 and III MAF providing normal supply and administrative flights.  These flights were of a routine nature.  The squadron alternated with HMM-362 throughout the month in support of MAG-12 by providing two SAR aircraft at Chu Lai strip.

11 Oct:  Eleven HMM-364 aircraft departed Ky Ha for an ARVN strike/troop lift out of Quang Ngai, however, the mission was aborted due to weather.  As the flight was returning to Ky Ha, the lead aircraft was hit by ground fire at the southern extremity of the TAOR, in the vicinity of BS610990.  One round struck and killed SSgt. Womack, who was riding as Loadmaster in the troop compartment.  This was the first casualty of the current deployment which began on 10 August 1965.  Inclement weather caused most of the scheduled missions to be canceled, however, a two aircraft resupply flight launched at dusk to BT488098.  The lead aircraft encountered small arms fire in the vicinity of the landing zone.

12 Oct:  Fifteen HMM-364 aircraft, supported by a flight of six UH-1E gun ships from VMO-6, were launched to Quang Ngai in support of the ARVN strike/troop lift which was originally scheduled for 11 October. Upon approaching the insert LZ south of Quang Ngai, near the village of Phu Khurong (BS602480), the lead gun ships encountered light automatic weapon fire and immediately returned the fire with rockets and machine guns.  Due to the extensive suppressive fire being delivered by the Hueys, a safe landing was afforded the UH-34Ds.

13 Oct:  Two HMM-364 aircraft transported ten wounded ARVNs from Hiep Duc to "B" Med (BT533114).

14 Oct:  Two HMM-364 aircraft hauled six tons of captured VC rice from BT378042 to LZ Wildcat (BT449969) in support of the 4th Marines.

15 Oct:  HMM-364 lifted a 4th Marine reconnaissance platoon from LX Quail (BT559049) and inserted them at BT449969.

16 Oct:  HMM-364 launched a sixteen aircraft flight to Quang Ngai for an ARVN strike/troop lift.  The mission was aborted due to bad weather and all aircraft returned to Ky Ha.

17 Oct:  Six HMM-364 aircraft were launched on an emergency retraction of a trapped reconnaissance platoon at coordinates BS430995.  The platoon was located at the bottom of a deep valley with 1,000 foot hills surrounding the area.  Inclement weather had prevented their retraction for two days.  Lack of food coupled with VC sniper fire had resulted in a rather disconcerting situation for the ground Marines.  Maj. R. D. Hatch was the designated flight leader and after careful consideration made the decision to launch the flight.  In an attempt to retract the platoon, he lead the aircraft through heavy rain showers, into the cloud shrouded canyon where the beleaguered platoon waited.  After landing, the flight was forced to remain on the ground in a highly exposed position while the Marines made their way across the rice paddies to the aircraft.  On leaving the landing zone, one aircraft attracted small arms but was not hit.  All aircraft returned safely to Ky Ha despite adverse weather conditions.

18 Oct:  Eight HMM-364 aircraft participated in a strike/troop lift by the 3rd Marines.  Four aircraft transported supplies from Quang Ngai to surrounding ARVN outposts.  Two aircraft were fired on, but received no hits.

19 Oct:  Two HMM-364 aircraft were dispatched with squadron personnel to Qui Nhon for liaison with the 52nd Army Air Battalion concerning a joint Marine, Army and ARNAV strike.  The aircraft remained at Qui Nhon.

20 Oct:  Seventeen HMM-364 aircraft plus six aircraft and crews from HMM-362 departed Ky Ha or Qui Nhon to join the two aircraft launched the previous day.  All aircraft refueled at Qui Nhon, then proceeded to Phu Cat and remained overnight.

Temporary tower constructed and operated by TAD personnel from MATCU-68. (View of Tower)

21 Oct:  After a detailed briefing by the 52nd Army Air Battalion at Phu Cat, nineteen HMM-364 aircraft plus six HMM-362 aircraft flew from Phu Cat to the staging area at Bong Son.  The first wave of ARVN troops were loaded aboard, however, low ceilings and marginal visibility and heavy rain showers caused the joint strike to be canceled.  The twenty five aircraft unloaded the troops and proceeded to Qui Nhon via Phu Cat where they remained overnight on a stand by status.

22 Oct:  Twenty five HMM-364 aircraft remained at Qui Nohn in an on-call standby status.  Continued poor weather during the day prevented the planned strike/troop lift from taking place.  At approximately 1700 the joint strike was canceled.

23 Oct:  All aircraft returned from Qui Nohn to Ky Ha without further incident.

24 Oct:  HMM-364 flew support for the 4th, 7th and 3rd Marines, ARVN forces, MAG-36 and III MAF providing normal supply and administrative flights.  These flights were of a routine nature.  The squadron alternated with HMM-362 throughout the month in support of MAG-12 by providing two SAR aircraft at Chu Lai strip.

25 Oct:  Eight HMM-364 aircraft participated in an ARVIN resupply flight from Quang Tin to Hiep Duc.

26 Oct:  Eight HMM-364 aircraft were flown on a joint strike/troop lift with HMM-362 in support of the 4th Marines to coordinates BS489898.  In addition, our helicopters lifted 157 Vietnamese civilians from BT506894 to Binh Son.  These aircraft encountered mortar and small arms fire in the pickup zone (BT506894), however, no damage was sustained by any aircraft.

MABS-36 electricians installed field lighting utilizing modified high intensity runway lights.

27 Oct:  Twelve HMM-364 aircraft, along with HMM-362, took part in a strike/troop lift in support of the 7th Marines.  The strike was flown from coordinates BS510095 to BT530025 and BS550875.  Four aircraft were hit by small arms fire in the supposedly secure pickup zone (BS510095). Corporal Gary Dowell, the gunner in YK-6, was fatally wounded as a result of this fire.  Fourteen aircraft, later in the day, retracted all of the troops involved in the operation along with 15 Vietnamese civilians.

28 Oct:  Eleven HMM-364 aircraft flew a strike/troop lift in support of ARVN forces from Quang Ngai to BS703375, BS765464 and BS703398.  Four aircraft on a reconnaissance platoon insertion for the 4th Marines encountered heavy ground fire when a reconnaissance officer in the lead aircraft directed the pilot to land in the wrong landing zone (BT405055).  All aircraft waved off and no damage was received by any of the aircraft.  The reconnaissance platoon insertion was then made at BT404047 without incident.

29 Oct:  HMM-364 supported the 4th Marines with fifteen aircraft in Operation Tiger Claw.  This strike/troop lift was made to BT345074 and BT366054.  Upon completion of this flight, all fifteen aircraft flew to the Tam Ky airstrip for an ARVN strike/troop lift to BT330113.  Both missions were accomplished without mishap.

30 Oct:  Seven HMM-364 aircraft together with HMM-362 retracted al the troops involved from BT345074 in Operation Tiger Claw.  Eight aircraft lifted 51,000 pounds of ARVN suppliers from Quang Tin to Hiep Duc.

Special notes of interest

A very significant fact worth noting was the heavy ground fire received by squadrons retracting troops during the last two weeks of October.  When these same troops were inserted into the zone very little, if any, fire was received.  It may be a new tactic being employed by the VC.

It may also be noted that TAFDS had dispensed 203,000 gallons of fuel during the period covered.  This was all "hot" refueling.

It might be noted that Ky Ha Airfield has yet to be attacked.  This can be attributed to the excellent perimeter defense set up by Captain T. Jensen and his platoon.  This by no means takes away from the excellent 4th Marine's defenses.  MAG-36 has been called upon time and time again to furnish platoons to back up the MAG-12 area at Chu Lai.

A Westmont Terminal Navigation Beacon is in use at Ky Ha.  This is a medium frequency homing beacon originally issued to MAG-36 as a test item.  It provides navigational guidance at night and during inclement weather.

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