HOK assigned to VMO-6  - a historical overview

 

 

 

MARINES     VMO-6    May 1956 - April 1965
MAG-36 ,   1st Marine Division
MCAS Camp Pendleton , CA
 
May 1956

During the first week in May 1956 VMO-6 started receiving the new Kaman HOK-1 aircraft  (#1)

Oct 1956

On 09 October 1956 carrier qualifications were flown on board the USS "Badoeng Strait"  with the HOK  (#1)

1957Early in 1957 VMO-6 participated in "Operation Ski Jump" , a large amphibious operation on the west coast (#1)
June 1957

From 03 June to 11 June 1957 VMO-6 flew combat support missions for the 1st Marine Division during "Operation Quickstep" (#1)

April 1958

On 02 April 1958 five HOK aircraft were working with the transport submarine USS "Perch" (APSS 313) and flew 75 combat-loaded Marines of Company C, 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, from the submarine's deck to the beach at Camp Pendleton.

Feb 1959

From 02 to 10 February 1959, the 9th Marine Provisional Brigade participated in Phiblex 12-59, a large-scale amphibious assault on "agressor held" beaches at Camp Pendleton. VMO-6 helicopters were used for liaison, observation and medical evacuation (#1)

March 1959

At the end of March 1959 the 1st Reconnaissance Batalion, located at Camp Pendleton, moved by truck convoy to Twentynine Palms and began a desert training exercise. Two HOKs from VMO-6 worked with the battalion throughout the exercise to refine methods of air resupply, while OE-1's from the squadron practiced aerial photography and observation (#1)

1960

In 1960 a cadre system was established by which VMO-6 trained new pilots and ground crews for duty with VVMO-2 on Okinawa. After the personnel were trained they were pooled into a rotational draft from which three increments were sent overseas yearly. It usually worked out that being assigned to VMO-6 meant spending about a year with the squadron at Camp Pendleton and another year on Okinawa with VMO-2. Throughout 1960, VMO-6 remained at the Camp Pendleton Auxiliary Landing Field, where the squadron averaged about 900 flying hours each month. VMO-6 maintained a medical evacuation helicopter and crew on constant alert. (#1)

Nov 1960

In November 1960, Capt. Richard E. Skinner evacuated an injured Marine from the rugged, fog-bound hills near Case Springs on Camp Pendleton's northern border. Capt. Skinner and his crew chief, Sgt Charles R. Hern skillfully maneuvered their HOK helicopter through thick fog at tree-top level to rescue the injured Marine. For this rescue Capt Skinner received a Kaman "Scroll of Honor" (#1)

Apr 1961

From 03 Apr to 08 June 1961 Operation Greenlight was held , off Southern California. With their HOK helicopters and OE-1 light observation aircraft, the pilots and observers of VMO-6 gained valuable training by providing aerial reconnaissance and photographic support (#1)

Apr 1961

On 30 April 1961, Capt Richard E. Skinner and Sgt Hern again teamed up and rescued two injured civilians whose light plane crashed in the desert 60 miles east of Twentynine Palms. Capt Skinner had to fly 162 miles to reach the injured party, making a 5-minute fuel stop enroute. After reaching the crash site, the injured men were loaded on board the HOK and flown to the Twentynine Palms hospital for medical aid. (#1)

May 1961

On 10 May 1961 VMO-6 completed one year and more than 10,000 accident-free flying hours.  (#1)

15 Aug 1961

On 15 August 1961 two VMO-6 aircraft, an OE and an HOK crashed and burned at the mouth of Horno Canyon. The HOK had lost power and crashed, and the OE, while attempting to render assistance, made a tight turn in the canyon, lost control and crashed. (#1) (Ragay :  BuNo. 139973)

Oct 1961

On 02 October 1961 the squadron participated in Operation Sandstorm, held at Twentynine Palms (#1)

Jan 1962

VMO-6 helicopters and OE aircraft  participated in an exercise "Snowflex 1-62", from 16 January to 02 February 1962 (#1)

March 1962

A  VMO-6  HOK-1 (Ragay : BuNo. 138098)  passed the 2,000 flight-hour mark in March 1962, becoming the first aircraft of this type to obtain this goal.
The HOK-1 was accepted from the manufacturer at Bloomfield, Conn in July 1956. During the past five and one-half years it has twice seen service with VMO-6 at Camp Pendleton and with HMR-363, MCAS Santa Anna, CA. (MAG-36).  
The HOK-1 , used for reconnaissance and observation missions, will soon retrace the route it took in February 1959 - to the Navy's Overhaul and Repair Facility at Naval Air Station, Jacksonville, FL. (Kaman Rotor Tips April 1962 - p7 ; and RTips  Apr63 - p6)

April 1962

During 15-18 April 1962 VMO-6 pilots had the opportunity to play agressor in a 3 day guerrilla warfare problem run by the 2nd Battalion, 11th Marines.(#1)

Aug 1962On 03 August 1962  VMO-6 again  accumulated 10,000 accident-free flight hours from 18 Aug 1961 to 03 Aug 1962. The squadron, apart of MAG-36, flys HOK-l's and OE fixed-wing aircraft. The helicopters were flown for 4558 hours while the OE's totaled 5442. (#1 and Kaman Rotor Tips Dec 1962 - p6)
 Aug 1962From 16 August to 04 September 1962 eight HOK helicopters and four OE aircraft from VMO-6 provided air support to Marine reservists at Twentynine Palms during Operation Tiger (#1)
Sept 1962From 26-28 September 1962 a command post exercise was held by 1st Marine Division. HOK helicopters and OE aircraft were kept busy providing a courier service twice daily in addition to liaison, reconnassance and observation flights (#1)
 Oct 1962

 The 5th Marine Expeditionary Brigade (MEB) was activated because of the Cuban Missile Crisis and on 27 October it sailed for the Panama Canal. Passing through the canal on 05 November, the MEB sailed into Caribbean waters, where it became part of the 11 Marine Expeditionary Force. The VMO-6 detachment was on board the USS Iwo Jima (LHP 2). By 15 December the crisis had passed and the 5th MEB returned home. Two days later the VMO-6 detachment returned to Camp Pendleton. (#1)

Also HMM-361 "The Flying Tigers" were deployed for the Cuban Missile Crisis on 27 October on board the USS Iwo Jima. Two former VMO-6 OH-43D aircraft (139993 and 139998) were assigned to HMM-361 as of 25 Oct 62 and until 21 Dec 62, after which date the aircraft returned to VMO-6 (# Indiv.Aircraft History Cards).

 March 1963

On 06 March 1963 marines stormed ashore at Camp Pendleton's beaches during Operation Steel Gate. VMO-6 provided spotting for naval gunfire and artillery fire missions.

On 12 March Operation Desert Winds started at Twentynine Palms. VMO-6 provided OE spotter aircraft and HOK helicopter support until 17 March (#1)

 May 1964Operation Pine Tree was a large exercise in which VMO-6 participated from 22 to 28 May 1964. The 9th MEB boarded ships forming an amphibious task force and sailed from Del Mar and San Diego. (#1)
June 1964On 06 June 1964 VMO-6 held an open house (#1)
July 1964On 27 July 1964 VMO-6 received its first Bell UH-1E helicopter. By 30 December 1964, VMO-6 had retired the last of its OEs and had received 15 of the new UH-1Es. (#1)
Mar-April 1965The HOK 's which were still used by VMO-6 as late as March, were finally retired in April, and VMO-6 became a "pure" Huey squadron.
Assigned     aircraft :

129805  03 May 1956  -  10 Jul 1958  to  HMRC-363

129807  19 Sep 1956  -  30 Jun 1958  to  HMRC-363 , back  31 Mar 1960  -  04 Apr 1960  SOC

129825  14 Apr 1956  -  20 Jun 1958  , back  16 Mar 1962  -  03 Sep 1964  storage     :    "WB 13"     in storage  Oct73

129833  03 May 1956  -  30 Jun 1958  to  HMRC-363 

129834  03 May 1956  -  30 Jun 1958  to  HMRC-363 , back  31 Mar 1960  -  11 May 1960   SOC

129836  13 Jun 1956  -  30 Jun 1958  to  HMRC-363 , back  31 Mar 1960  -  07 Sep 1961   SOC     :     "WB 17"      Feb 1961

129838  17 Jul 1956  -  17 Sep 1958  to  HMRC-363 , back  15 Feb 1962  -  30 Jun 1964   O&R North Island  storage  :  "WB 14"   in storage  Oct73

129839  17 Jul 1956  -  08 Oct 1956  damage , w/o , SOC

129840  17 Jul 1956  -  03 Oct 1957    SOC 

138098  23 Aug 1956  -  17 Sep 1958  to  HMRC-363 , back  31 Mar 1960  -  16 Apr 1962  storage

138099  xx Aug 1956  -  30 Nov 1958  to  HMRC-363 , back  01 Jul 1960  -  01 Apr 1965  storage 

138100  19 Sep 1956  -  18 Mar 1958  to  HMRC-363 , back  17 Nov 1961  -  06 Apr 1964  O&R North Island  storage

139996  20 Jan 1958  -  26 Sep 1958  to  HMRC-363

139998  28 Jan 1958  -  17 Sep 1958  to  HMRC-363 , back  31 Mar 1960  -  25 Oct 1962 , to HMM-361 , back 21 Dec 1962  -  30 Oct 1964  storage

139999  15 Feb 1958  -  27 Oct 1958  to  HMRC-363 , back  31 Mar 1960  -  06 Jul 1960 , back xx May 1964  -  05 Jan 1965  storage

129804  31 Mar 1960  -  09 Feb 1961

129809  31 Mar 1960  -  18 Jul 1963  w/o , SOC

129823  31 Mar 1960  -  29 Dec 1961

139982  31 Mar 1960  -  10 May 1960 , back  19 May 1964  -  30 Oct 1964  storage     :    "WB 27"   (probably 1960)

129837  05 Jul 1960  -  17 Aug 1962

139974  23 Dec 1960  -  01 Apr 1965  storage     :      "WB 7"       (in storage 1965) 

138101  31 Dec 1960  -  22 Sep 1964

139973  14 Jan 1961  -  15 Aug 1961  w/o , SOC

129828  17 Feb 1961  -  25 Mar 1961        :       "WB 23"     1961

139988  30 Mar 1961  -  01 May 1963

140001  19 Sep 1961  -  09 Oct 1963

139995  30 Sep 1961  -  29 Aug 1963

129806  22 Dec 1961  -  30 Jun 1964  O&R North Island  storage

129803  30 Mar 1962  -  03 Sep 1964  storage       :     "WB 12"     in storage  Oct73

129810  30 Mar 1962  -  25 Sep 1963  w/o , SOC

129811  29 Apr 1962  -  23 Sep 1964   storage

139993  15 Sep 1962  -  25 Oct 1962  , to HMM-361  ,  back  21 Dec 1962  -  23 Sep 1964  storage

129813  02 Dec 1962  -  19 Feb 1965  storage

139975  06 Jan 1963  -  10 Mar 1965  storage

139977  15 Apr 1963  -  01 Apr 1965  storage     :      "WB 3"     in storage  Oct73

139981  04 Jun 1963  -  xx xx 19xx  storage       :      "WB 6"       (in storage)  

139971  06 Aug 1963  -  22 Sep 1964

139978  07 May 1964  -  05 Jan 1965  storage   

          139977    "WB 3"     in storage  Oct73

photo 139981     "WB 6"       (in storage)  
photo 139974     "WB 7"       (in storage 1965) 

          129803    "WB 12"     in storage  Oct73

          129825    "WB 13"     in storage  Oct73

          129838    "WB 14"     in storage  Oct73

photo 129836    "WB 17"      Feb 1961 

photo 129828    "WB 23"      1961

photo 139982     "WB 27"     USMC Photo A146811 (probably 1960)
photo 138098     "WB ?"       May 1961
photo                 "WB 16"     Oct 61

 

NOTES :   #1 : "A History of Marine Observation Squadron Six", History and Museum Division, HQ US Marine Corps, Washington, DC. , 1982

 

 

 

129828 WB23 1961 USNphoto H0607 viaMutza

HOK-1  129828 WB23  ,  1961  -  USN Photo H0607 , via W.Mutza 

 

129836 WB17 24Feb61 JohnHopton coll Mutza

HOK  129836 WB17 -  24 Feb 1961  -

photo by John Hopton,  coll. Mutza

 

 

OH43D WB21 VMO6 24Oct1958 KamanPho2757 viaTRita

HOK  WB21 VMO6   24 Oct 1958 -  Kaman Photo 2757,  

via A.D. Rita

 

 

OH43D WB15 VMO6 EBay auction

HOK  WB15  VMO- 6  - photo from EBay auction   

139981 WB6 MASDC USAFphoto viaMock

OH-43D  139981 WB6  VMO-6  in storage at MASDC  -  

USAFphoto via S.Mock

139974 MASDC 26Jun67 USAFPho via Keaveney

OH-43D  139974 in storage at MASDC  26 June 1967 -  

USAF Photo,  via Keaveney

OH43D WB9 Storage Tucson1969 Hilliard

OH-43D WB9  taken out of Storage , depot Allied Aircraft Sales, Tucson, AZ during 1969 - photo by D. Hilliard   ; the airframe was bought by Command Helicopters Inc., Medford, OR and was probably used for parts

 

 

last update 16/12/2016