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Helicopters Before Becoming a Marine

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  • Helicopters Before Becoming a Marine

    Long before the yellow footsteps I had a few brushes with Marine helicopters. Thought there might be some guys who remember these incidences.

    1. About 1955 I was out front of Kennie Weaver's house, now in Witness Protection I hear, at Pearl Harbor Base Housing across from the golf course. A Marine helicopter, H-19 I believe, landed on the course for a few minutes then left. The crew chief might have opened the clamshell doors for a quick look.

    2. Now it's 1962 and Kennie and I were firing his M-1 carbine with tracer rounds back in the hills behind Irvine. Kennie also had some TNT, 40 mm rounds, frags, etc since his dad was XO of Seal Beach Weapons Station but that's another story. As we were firing away an H-34 roared over the ridge above us and scared the crap out of us.

    3. Around 1965 was watching the 6:00 news when they showed an H-34 recovery mission in a rice paddy. The film was shot from the port side of another H-34 showing a downed bird. I think I remember the crew chief of the camera plane running from the right side of the frame, climbing up to the co-pilot position and then climbing back down. I sat there amazed at the courage it took to be a Marine and so scared I almost got physically ill.

    Started training as an H-34 gunner early 12/68 and flew a bunch before, during and after Dewey Canyon. Amazing what a little training can do.

    Wayne Stafford