Squadron Members, Family & Friends,

Since the October 2023 Pensacola Reunion, a number of actions have been completed and others are in the works. I'm sure you would be interested in this information.  

First, some good news from fellow squadron member Thom "Sundown" Leonard. As you may recall, he lost everything he owned including his jeep and condo in the August 2023 Maui fires. He escaped by jumping over a retaining wall into the bay and was rescued by firemen and the Coast Guard. Recently, he sent an update with news of buying a used 2018 Mini Cooper, getting some reimbursement funds for his losses from FEMA, and staying for now at Hyatt thanks to the Red Cross. For those who donated to his GoFundMe sponsored by a relative to get Thom back on his feet, he expressed his sincere appreciation and gratitude. He requested and Art Friend responded by sending him two large squadron decals for his Mini Cooper. He would appreciate hearing from his squadron friends at phone number 808-661-0681 or email sundown262@msn.com.

If you haven't heard, the 2024 Pop-a-Smoke reunion will be in Arlington, VA on 31 July thru 4 August. Details are on their website at ttps://www.popasmoke.com/. If you haven't been to the National Marine Corps Museum, Semper Fidelis Memorial Park to see the VMO-6 Memorial, or national monuments in the DC area this would be a perfect opportunity to do so. An email will be sent in a month or so with information on our support/participation.

Additional Pensacola Reunion pictures are posted on our website at https://vmo6memorial.homestead.com/. Click on the "Reunion AAR Photos page 1" box for an array of pics. Dave Bushlow, our webmaster, has additional pictures he is working on posting so periodically check the website for more photos. Also, if you haven't spent much time on our website, you would be surprised at how much information can be found about the squadron, assigned aircraft, stories from squadron members, and a pot load of old and current pictures including those taken in Korea.

I think Stuart Beeney, Bird 18 leader, never sleeps. Besides working full time, taking care of his family, maintaining daily Facebook updates, planning 2024 Bird 18 displays, and corresponding with me and other squadron members, he is upgrading and recasting the Bird 18 website and he wants your input. Specifically, this is his request:

"I'm looking for comments about the Bird 18 project from Squadron members, sort of like a review. It helps to give the project veteran approval. If any member would like their thoughts or comments about us added to our website could they please send it to me directly at stuart.beeney@btinternet.com. We are also looking for good clear photos of members of VMO-6 while they were in Vietnam. It doesn't have to be funny or serious, it can be anywhere as long as it's a good clear photo of them in Vietnam. The photos will be used on our website therefore they will be in the public domain so by sending the photo they are giving their permission for it to be used publicly."

In addition, please provide him ideas on improvements to the Bird 18 website. What do you think is missing to make it more comprehensive?

Unbelievable, but Stuart has a new project. It is what I call "Icing on the Cake." In his own words and actions, this is from him:


Over the past six weeks or so I've been working on creating a VMO-6 YouTube Channel. The idea is to have a central point for all VMO-6 and related film footage. And to preserve it for future generations to enjoy and learn from and for members of the squadron to watch and remember the good times. At the moment there's 36 videos of personal footage filmed by Veterans such as Bobby Thatcher, Rick Ault, David Maestrini and Danny McBride as well as external film of VMO-6 and interviews with Veterans. There is also a sprinkling of Bird 18 videos and photos all brought together in one place. Some of the newer videos I will be posting on Facebook in the future for everyone to enjoy.

I believe this is another first for any Marine squadron to have their own dedicated YouTube Channel. A huge THANK YOU must go to Jerry Gonzalez for all his help and talent with this project. He's one of life's real good guys and has helped make a big difference with the channel.

We are currently working on more footage sent to me from Robert Tricarico, BGen John Arick and Dennis Perkins as well as other videos I've recently found. If anyone knows of appropriate VMO-6 related videos or has original film they would like me to add to the channel for everyone to enjoy please contact me. It doesn't matter if it's still on super 8 film, VHS or any other format it can be converted no problem.

I hope you enjoy the channel, just click on the link and tell your friends all about it.


Semper Fi
Stuart Beeney, Bird 18 "

Hope you are excited and pleased with the actions Stuart has taken. I know I am. He is not only preserving the legacy of the squadron but expanding the knowledge of VMO-6 to people who know little of our distinguished accomplishments and history.

Semper Fidelis,

Ed Kufeldt
Update:   10 Jan 2024  15:00