Vietnam Cruise Book 


In the beginning, God created the heavens, the earth, and HMH-361 evolved.

     On 10 June 1968 HMH-361 was formed. LTCOL M.J. Needham received the colors of Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron Three Six One which recently returned from a distinguished and honorable tour in the Republic of Vietnam and the squadron was re-designated" Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 361

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The old "UH-34D" The new "CH-53A"

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Click here for Specifications on the Marine Corps CH-53 Helicopters

CH-53A     CH-53 D

From it's creation HMH-361 excelled in accomplishing her mission of forming a working, living squadron.

     On 7 December 1968, LTCOL K.W. Andrus assumed the duties as
Commanding Officer of HMH-361.

Change of Command
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Our Squadron Sign In Vietnam

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     During the following months a demanding and exacting training program was conducted for pilots and flight crews in preparation for a combat tour in South Vietnam.

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We worked inside And we worked outside

     In April of 1969 the second marine aircraft wing administration and material predeployment inspection was held. Due to the many hours of combined efforts HMH-361 was able to gather all of it's "Sierra" and put it in one "Bravo" to the satisfaction of the 2nd maw commanding general. HMH361 was awarded the commanding general's trophy as the most outstanding squadron of the more than thirty competing squadrons in the Second marine aircraft wing. We even outshone the "Zoomies" and were the best conditioned set of young marines in the wing as we were number one in the grueling PFT, thanks to that miracle juice from the land of the sky blue waters.

We really humped the load:

     After several suspense filled months the squadron was finally assigned a date for deployment to the Republic of Vietnam . All the pilots and crews had qualified in their respective areas of combat preparedness. This preparation included the Herculean task of getting eighteen of the most sophisticated and complex aircraft in the marine corps inventory ready for the cross-country flight from MCAS, New River, North Carolina, to NAS North Island, California, for boarding upon the USS NEW ORLEANS for transportation to that popular Asian country of sunshine and excitement.

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     Below are some candid photos of our pilots, crews, and maintenance personnel in the flurry of preparedness.

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HMH 361 Squadron Photos
     On 25 July, three officers of HMH-361 flew to RVN as an advance party. It was a very difficult job for the C.O. to choose from all the volunteers to make up the advance party but finally three brave souls were chosen, shackled, and sent.

     On 29 July, our embark officer, affectionately called "Lighting" loaded 92,574 pounds of logistical gear and stuff aboard three air force C -141 I's for ferry to RVN from North Carolina. This feat was a first for the marine corps as a method of deployment and "Lightning's" estimate of weight was off only 343 lightweight pounds.

     Upon arrival at North Island, California, the majority of the officers and men of HMH 361 flew to the Republic of Viet Nam on 29 July leaving a sad and depressed contingent of twelve officers and sixty enlisted men to escort our aircraft on the perilous voyage across the wide Pacific. Stopping for ship's stores in out of the way ports like Honolulu and Okinawa on the proud ship USS NEW ORLEANS.

     The trip was a perilous journey and the men of HMH-361 devoted themselves entirely to getting "snapped in" to the traditional navy way of life and to all those neat naval customs. Below is a picture of the
"dirty dozen" as they exemplify the marine efforts to get squared away like our naval counterparts.
pointer.gif (352 bytes)  361 Reunion 98 Photo's at Pensacola 
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A Veterans Tribute | Al's Message Forum CH-53 Specs. | Flying Tigers History

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