Announcement

Collapse

Terms of Use Agreement

1. You agree, through your use of these public Forums, not to post any material which is unlawful, libelous, defamatory, obscene, vulgar, sexually orientated, abusive, hateful, harassing, threatening, harmful, invasive of privacy or publicity rights, inflammatory or otherwise objectionable. You also agree not to post any copyrighted material unless the copyright is owned by you. You further agree not to use these public Forums for advertising or other commercial enterprise purposes. Any questions directed to, or concerning the administration of this website, will be sent to admin@popasmoke.com and not posted to the public Forums.

2. All postings express the views of the author, and neither the administrators nor POPASMOKE will be held responsible for the content of any postings submitted by the Members or anyone else. The administrators of these Forums reserve the right to remove, edit, move or close any postings for any reason. Members who make postings on the Forums which are not in accordance with the Terms of Use Agreement, risk having their posting privileges withdrawn.
See more
See less

Some history regarding HMM-263/VMM-263 call sign "Gopher"

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Some history regarding HMM-263/VMM-263 call sign "Gopher"

    WHO CHOSE “GOPHER” AS A CALLSIGN AND WHY?

    WE DID, BUT FOR GOOD REASON…

    HMM-263’s A/C 16, +/-1969 VMM-263’s A/C 16 Today

    Respectfully Submitted by Capt Jonathan “Bruiser” Brandt, VMM-263(REIN) 12 Aug 2011

    The following are pieces of our squadron’s history regarding the name Gopher [Broke]:

    HMR-263 was formed in 1952 flying the HO-55. After several airframe changes, they deployed to Vietnam flying the UH-34 in 1965. At the end of 1967 the squadron went back to CA and transitioned to the CH-46 before redeploying to Vietnam as HMM-263 at the start of 1969. It was during that period flying the CH-46D from 1968-1971 in Vietnam when the squadron’s nickname and motto was “Gopher Broke.” The exact origins of how that came about aren’t exactly clear, but the phrase became an unofficial patch, which VMM-263 re-created last year as a tribute to our past.

    The play-on-words have a substantial meaning particularly when tied to the events surrounding the crew of “Blood, Sweat, and Tears” – the name of aircraft 16 in HMM-263 when deployed to Marble Mountain, Vietnam. It was on that aircraft on January 31, 1970 where the actions of the crew, and in particular the young Private First Class Mike Clausen, went down in the history books by living up to their namesake; doing whatever it takes to get the job done. On a MEDEVAC mission into a minefield, crew chief PFC Clausen guided the aircraft to multiple landings in craters blown out by detonated mines (areas therefore known to be cleared) and then, against the orders of his aircraft commander but feeling he had to do it in order to help fellow Marines, left the aircraft six consecutive times to assist in retrieving the dead and wounded amidst the mines. For these efforts, he became the only enlisted aircrewman in Vietnam to be awarded the Medal of Honor. The citation is of course easy to find and the story written about the event is titled “Gopher Broke: The Story of Blood, Sweat, and Tears.”

    We numbered an aircraft 16 and as the picture depicts (onboard the USS BATAAN, as photographed just today), painted it as a memorial to that event and crew.

    Interestingly, that same CH-46 continued to fly in active service until it was damaged during a hard landing in Iraq in 2004. It now resides at the Carolinas Aviation Museum in Charlotte.

    Our core squadron’s name also hails from the same time period: HMM-263 was originally named the Thunder Eagles but it was during this time in Vietnam that the name morphed into Thunder Chickens. Squadron lore has it that “Eagle” was lost in translation and ended up as “Chicken”, and it stuck. A squadron commanding officer in the 1990s thought it didn’t sound good enough and went back to the Thunder Eagles, but upon change of command that was promptly corrected, in deference to those who served before us, and we have remained – proudly, I might add – the Thunder Chickens ever since.

    In summary: Because of our squadron’s history, a handful of V-22 Captains were not ashamed to choose “Gopher” from the list of possible callsigns for this AO.

  • #2
    Re: Some history regarding HMM-263/VMM-263 call sign "Gopher"

    In Vietnam in 1970 the squadron call sign was: PEACH BUSH
    Other squadrons in MAG-16:
    HML-167: COMPRISE
    HML-367: SCARFACE
    HMM-161: CATTLE CALL
    HMM-262: CHATTER BOX
    HMM-364: SWIFT
    HMH-463: DIMMER

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Some history regarding HMM-263/VMM-263 call sign "Gopher"

      The call sign during the first RVN deployment was "Power Glide".

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Some history regarding HMM-263/VMM-263 call sign "Gopher"

        "Power Glide" was used entirely when I was with the squadron in '66-'67. We were flying
        H-34's during that time frame. From what I understand it remained "Power Glide" until they returned with the H-46 in 1969.

        S/F Gary Alls
        HMM-263 '66-'67

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Some history regarding HMM-263/VMM-263 call sign "Gopher"

          Looks like Gunny Fresina got it right when they restored the old gal!! The "Gopher Broke" decal on the forward and aft pylon say "HMM-263 Gopher Broke", from 1970...
          Attached Files
          Semper Fidelis
          Joe


          Phu Bai tower:
          YW-11 for Phu Bai DASC-
          Remember, These are "A" models!
          YW-11 BuNo-151939
          '65 Model CH-46A

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Some history regarding HMM-263/VMM-263 call sign "Gopher"

            Just to add, Powerglide was used as Gary said with two small additions. While on the USS Okinawa { Apr '67- Jun '67} as SLF Alpha, during the first two strikes off the boat into country, the powers that be said we should use Safety Zone for one and Wall Panel for the other. Sorry, don't remember in which order the callsigns were used. The reason given was so the "bad guys" wouldn't know who was striking from the sea and it would confuse them. During the second op, the grunts were calling for Safety Panel and Wall Zone as well as correct one and even using " Helicopter in the sky". XO, Maj. Shanahan, said at pilot's briefing, " Bleep this bleeping bleep" [ Maj Shanahan had a certain flair for expression- if you knew him, you already know], " The only people we are confusing are our own troops. We are Powerglide, we are using Powerglide, we WANT the bad guys to know who we are and we are back." End to alternate callsigns.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Some history regarding HMM-263/VMM-263 call sign "Gopher"

              Originally posted by Joe Hanner View Post
              Just to add, Powerglide was used as Gary said with two small additions. While on the USS Okinawa { Apr '67- Jun '67} as SLF Alpha, during the first two strikes off the boat into country, the powers that be said we should use Safety Zone for one and Wall Panel for the other. Sorry, don't remember in which order the callsigns were used. The reason given was so the "bad guys" wouldn't know who was striking from the sea and it would confuse them. During the second op, the grunts were calling for Safety Panel and Wall Zone as well as correct one and even using " Helicopter in the sky". XO, Maj. Shanahan, said at pilot's briefing, " Bleep this bleeping bleep" [ Maj Shanahan had a certain flair for expression- if you knew him, you already know], " The only people we are confusing are our own troops. We are Powerglide, we are using Powerglide, we WANT the bad guys to know who we are and we are back." End to alternate callsigns.
              Way to GO there JOE! "Helicopter From the Sky" Now that made me Laugh,because thats the TRUTH. Not funny to the Marines on the ground ,if'en they had loss their Radio operator or sometimes MORE > So it was a short Laugh on my part.

              Comment

              Working...
              X