Fifty years ago units of MAG-36 deployed from MCAS Santa Ana aboard USS PRINCETON en route to Vietnam, flying ashore at Ky Ha on 1 September 1965. August 6-9, 2015 78 members of these deploying squadrons and 62 guests gathered in Long Beach, California on board RMS Queen Mary to celebrate and reminisce those long ago days. Members present for the reunion, dubbed LTA 2 RVN, represented HMM-362, HMM-363, HMM-364 and VMO-6.
Key organizers for the event were Walt Wise and Bob Steinberg (HMM-364) and Tom Rodriguez (HMM-363). VMM-363 flew two MV-22B Osprey to Los Alamitos Army Airfield on Thursday for static display. A Friday evening dinner in the Queen Mary's Windsor Salon hosted aircrews, commanding officer, LtCol Paul Kopacz and executive officer, Maj Chris Janecek, from VMM-364. The Friday evening banquet in the Windsor Salon featured Brigadier Gen Dave Shuter, USMCR (Ret) as the featured speaker. The Saturday night banquet in the Royal Salon, featured Major General William S. Gossell USMC (Ret) as the featured speaker. The reunion, like the operations in Vietnam 50 years ago, called upon the cooperative efforts of all those involved to carry out the mission and attendees saw to it that the hospitality suite was properly manned at all hours and brought the reunion to its successful conclusion.
We are now gearing up for the next Popasmoke Reunion in Jacksonville, FL, August 26-29, 2016.