Letter from a Korean War VMO-6 Squadron Member

VMO-6 Memorial Fund,

My name is Jim Westendorf. I believe that I am one of the few remaining members of the original contingent of VMO-6 members who went ashore at Pusan, S. Korea, 2 August 1950, serving as a helicopter mechanic, plane captain, and crew chief, previously of HMX-1, ('49-'50), Quantico, VA. As is known, VMO-6, a contingent of the 1st Provisional Marine Brigade, in which we then joined the first conflict of the Korean War, known as the Battle of the Pusan Perimeter. I was a member of VMO-6 throughout the first year of the Korean War, participating in the Inchon landing, the capture of Seoul (twice), thence on to the Wonson landing and the main airfield at Yonpo in October 1950, up to, and including the battle of the Chosin Reservoir, and operating out of the airstrip at Hagaru-ri and Koto-ri.

During the first year of the Korean conflict, we of VMO-6 operated the WWII Stinson light, fixed wing single engine OY-2 and the Sikorsky Observation type helicopter, the HO3S-1. In late December of 1950, we received our first Bell Helicopters, the HTL-3 and 4. VMO-6 is the very first U.S. Marine Corps helicopter squadron to introduce the helicopter into actual combat.

After the first and second spring offensive, early in the spring of 1951, I rotated home in May 1951 (having been promoted to the rank of corporal).

I and a few of my remaining fellow squadron mates will be pleased and gratified to know that the old VMO-6 squadron members.....both of the Korean War and those that participated in the war in Vietnam....up til the time this venerable old squadron had been decommissioned....but not to exclude those latter day rotor-head members of our present day, brother helicopter squadrons and serving members, all Pop-a-Smoke, yet serving afield, including family members and friends....have formed a committee and established a fund, in which we wish to contribute to elicit and collect contributions in which to complete the design, build, and erect in a suitable place....a monument in respect and honor of all members of VMO-6 from the time of its commissioning in 1920 to the time of its decommissioning in 1977.....who have given that last full measure of sacrifice for their country, their God, and their Corps.

Jim “Wes” Westendorf

Many thanks and a big OOORAH! to Jim Westendorf for the following photos:
(Any and all comments to help build on photos up will be appreciated. Please email to dbushlow@me.com and put "VMO-6" in the subject line. Thanks. db)
From the November 2014 issue of Popasmoke.com magazine.

The following are submissions from Wes when the site was being built. We are grateful for the memories he shared. db