MARINE OBSERVATION SQUADRON SIX (VMO-6)
A BRIEF INTRODUCTION
Marine Observation Squadron Six antecedents reach back to the 1920 activation of Flight E, 3d Air Squadron at Quantico, Virginia. At that time, its aircraft inventory consisted of six biplanes and the sole mission of the squadron was observation, the gathering of battlefield intelligence. During the period immediately preceding its introduction into Southeast Asia in September 1965, the squadron acquired the new UH-1E (Huey) helicopter and it took on the additional missions of utility transport, armed escort, and close-in fire support. In August 1965, the squadron left its home at Camp Pendleton, California aboard the U.S.S. Princeton, bound for Ky Ha and the new helicopter base near the Marine Corps jet base at Chu Lai in the Republic of Viet Nam.
By late September, VMO-6 was operatioin in support of both South Viet Nam and U.S. Marine ground units. The squadron's main tasks were acting as gunship escorts for transport helicopters and maintaining a 24-hour medical evacuation alert. Occasionally, the VMO-6 gunships would be called upon to strike enemy emplacements and troops, and the pilots would serve as airborne forward air controllers, directing fixed-wing aircraft in attacks on enemy targets. Another "popular" mission of the VMO-6 "Klondikers" was the emergency extraction of reconnaissance teams that had come under enemy fire and were in immediate danger of being overrun and annihilated. These missions frequently took place at night and under adverse weather conditions. One such mission occurred during the evening of January 30, 1967.