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During the Vietnam War from 1962 to 1975, helicopter crews were able to locate their fellow Marines on the ground by asking them to "pop a smoke" in the landing zone . The brightly colored smoke grenade identified the ground unit location, and provided landing zone wind information to the pilot. The primary Mission of our Association is to maintain the camaraderie of the Marine combat helicopter/tilt-rotor flight crews and support personnel who served together. Those direct support personnel importantly include Corpsmen and Flight Surgeons. Our biannual reunion offers all our members an opportunity to renew, in person, the bonds formed with squadron mates and other Marines with whom they served or supported in combat. The "POP A SMOKE" in our logo signifies a location to muster or an "LZ" where these great reunions are held.
This organization, previously known as the USMC/Vietnam Helicopter Association, is now known as the USMC/Combat Helicopter Association with REGULAR or ASSOCIATE MEMBERSHIPs available. Through our organization's newsletter "POPASMOKE", and the popasmoke.com website, we are establishing and maintaining contact with all former and current Marine helicopter/tilt-rotor crews, including pilots, crew-chiefs, gunners, air observers, maintenance, corpsmen (USN), flight surgeons (USN), chaplains (USN) and all other support personnel.
Every two years (during even years), we get together in a different region of the country to have a reunion. Our numbers are growing, with 5700+ current and former members. We're glad you found us. Feel free to join us, or just stop in at www.popasmoke.com often to "check things out". We have an e-mail MAILING LIST which is free (sign yourself up online).
REGULAR MEMBERSHIP is available for all those who have served in combat with a helicopter or tilt-rotor squadron. There is a LIFER DUES program available for REGULAR and ASSOCIATE MEMBERS.
An ASSOCIATE ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP is available for those not directly qualified as REGULAR MEMBERS, but who have an interest in Marine helicopter/tilt-rotor operations. This entitles the holder to all the rights and privileges of a full member as long as the dues are paid annually. This ASSOCIATE ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP now includes military historians, writers, and authors.
The USMC/Combat Helicopter Association, in conjunction with the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation, has established four scholarships. Applications and submittal info are available from the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation. We are also in the process of establishing a fifth scholarship in the name of Cpl Ernesto "Gooie" Gomez. Donations appreciated.
Active Duty: free membership is currently available.
The Board of Directors,
USMC/Combat Helicopter Association
SAEPE EXPERTUS, SEMPER FIDELIS, FRATRES AETERNI
"Often Tested, Always Faithful, Brothers Forever"
16001 Prestwick CT
Montclair, VA. 22025
102 Bimini CT
Panama City Beach, FL. 32413