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Hmm 362

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  • Hmm 362

    I've been in a discussion on when guns and rockets were first used with helicopters. I've searched the web and lots of articles but all I could find was that HMM 362 landed "in country" in April of '62 and had armament by August '62. There are some references to the "doggies" doing some research and experimentation into arming their choppers, but nothing definite.

    I'd like some specific info, if there is any, as to Marines vs Army as far as arming the first choppers.... who, when, and the development process. Can anyone help me? I posted this same question on and got referred to popasmoke. I just popped my smoke, now help out a grunt under fire, please.


  • #2
    Semper Fidelis

    George T. Curtis


    • #3
      There is a book "Marines and Helicopters 1962-1973", Library of Congress Card No. 76-600052, PCN190 003074 00. It has a chapter "Helicopters Shoot Back" that tells a good bit of the history of arming helos. I got a used copy through Amazon. They have a couple for sale now. One for under $16. I highly recommend this USMC book.


      • #4
        When HMM-163 replaced HMM-362 at Soc Trang at the end of July 1962, officially 1 August 1962, there was no mounted armament on the helicopters. We had the Daisy Grease-guns and some
        German Schmeizer machine guns from WWII. The Crew Chief and the Co-pilot were armed with one of these to provide cover for the aircraft. The rules of engagement were that we could only fire when we received fire. During August 1962, we received
        M-14's and M-60 machine guns. I have a newspaper picture giving SSgt Virgil Jones, metalsmith, credit for devising the mount that was used for the M-60 for the Crew Chief. The M-14 was too big for the Co-pilot to use in the cockpit, so we still used the Grease-guns and Schmeizers there. Sometime after HMM-163 rotated out of country, they installed a second M-60 in the rear window of the cabin on the left side.
        When I returned to Viet Nam in 1965 with HMM-161, we had two aircraft that had been outfitted with the Stinger kits-a rocket pod and two M-60's on a platform on each side of the aircraft. Fortunately, we transported UH-1's aboard ship with us to DaNang for VMO, so we did not have to use the Stingers, even though we had trained with them on Okinawa. When we made the landing at Chu Lai, I flew one of the Stinger aircraft, but without the rocket pods and machine guns.


        • #5
          HMM 162 replaced HMM 163 in Jan 1963. At that time the crew chief manned a M60 mounted in the door. The co-pilot carried an AR15 and there was no gunner , the responsibility for the left side of the aircraft was left up to the co-pilot. Sometime during our stay we mounted a heavy steel plate on the bottom of the engine to protect it, but it was too heavy. That"s the only protection we had other than the vest , and we sat on it most of the time!! The mounteing of two M60's must have come after our deployment.


          • #6
            First USMC Helicopter Gunships in Vietnam

            ---- Original Message -----
            From: Don Waunch
            To: Pop A Smoke

            Sent: Saturday, January 08, 2005 11:29 PM
            Subject: First USMC Helicopter Gunships in Vietnam

            Just read with interest the latest issue of Pop A Smoke re "First USMC Helicopter Gunships in Vietnam" on p. 14, and I have a few comments. While HMM-365 may have been the first armed UH-34 squadron to fly the Stinger, it was not ".....the only Marine helicopter unit to utilize a piston-powered helicopter as a gunship." We, in HMM-163, relieved HMM-365 in DaNang, and we flew the Stingers for months escorting our Yankee Papa flights up and down the coast from Quang Ngai to Quang Tri in 1965 until we were relieved to go aboard ship for our amphibious phase of combat.

            We had four Stingers flown by recently ornithopter-transitioned (circa 1963) fixed-wing fighter and attack jocks with itchy trigger fingers, long absent from hurtling ourselves on high toward the mud to blast away at trees in the open. We did our share of taking turns in our four gunships, and losing turns while bucking away on pull out from an over zealous run down the chute. Our stalwart HAC's were led by the skipper, Norm Ewers, and the rest of us were mainly company grade crazies like me (the Paunch), Ernie Young, Bennie Mann, Charlie Block, Vince Falzarano, Dale Uhlenhake, Buck Crowdis, et al.; Bruce Shirk, our token grunt S-2, who did a lot of belly time "observing", and, none other than Billy D. Reynolds, whose time it was to RTB after crunching into a Vietnamese farmer's backyard after scraping off a landing gear in the cemetery next door.

            We didn't have a squadron Stinger patch, but we did a lot of "patching" our birds, too. It was a great mission while it lasted 'cause the Army Fangs weren't always available, and the Cong were turning up the heat about that time of the war, just before the first ground Marines waded ashore on the beach.

            Appreciate it. S/F, Paunch
            Semper Fidelis

            George T. Curtis