Unit Details

VMO-6 (Marine Observation Squadron 6)

 

MAW = Division

MAG = Regiment

Sq = Battalion

  


VMO-6 (Marine Observation Squadron 6) 14 July 1950

 

1st Battalion

CO 

Rank Name From To Status
Maj Vincent J. Gottschalk

XO

Rank Name From To Status

S-1 Personnel

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S-2 Intelligence

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S-3 Plan sand Operations

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S-4 Logistics

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Headquarters and Headquarters Company

Headquarters and Headquarters Company

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1st Platoon

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2nd Platoon

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3rd Platoon

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A Company

A Company
CO 1.
XO 1.
1st Platoon

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2nd Platoon

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3rd Platoon

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B Company

B Company

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1st Platoon

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2nd Platoon

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3rd Platoon

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C Company

C Company

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1st Platoon

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2nd Platoon

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3rd Platoon

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4th Platoon

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D Weapons Company

D Weapons Company

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1st Platoon

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2nd Platoon

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3rd Platoon

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4th Platoon

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Medical Detachment

Medical Detachment

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1st Platoon

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2nd Platoon

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3rd Platoon

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Service Company

Service Company

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1st Platoon

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2nd Platoon

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3rd Platoon

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VMO-6
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Jump to: navigation, search
Marine Observation Squadron 6

VMO-6 insignia
Active
December 1, 1920 – June 30, 1933
November 20, 1944 - January 1, 1977
Country United States
Branch USMC
Type Observation
Role Artillery spotting
Aerial reconnaissance
Garrison/HQ Inactive
Nickname "Tomcats"
"Cherry Six"
"Klondike"
"Seaworthy"
Tail Code WB
Engagements Banana Wars
* Occupation of Nicaragua
World War II
* Battle of Okinawa
Korean War
* Battle of Pusan Perimeter
* Battle of Inch'ŏn
* Battle of Chosin Reservoir
Vietnam War
* Battle of Khe Sahn
* Operation Dewey Canyon


Commanders
Notable
commanders Earl E. Anderson


Marine Observation Squadron 6 (VMO-6) was an observation squadron of the United States Marine Corps which saw extensive action during the Battle of Okinawa in World War II and the Korean War and Vietnam War. The squadron would become the first Marine Corps helicopter squadron to participate in combat operations when they participated in the Battle of Pusan Perimeter in August 1950.[1] They were deactivated on January 1, 1977.



 History


 Early years


Flight E, 3d Air Squadron was activated December 1, 1920 at Marine Corps Air Station Quantico, Virginia. The name of the squadron changed to Division 1, VF-1M on August 24, 1922 and again to Division 1, VO-3M on September 1, 1925.[2] In 1927 they were re-designated Marine Observation Squadron 6 (VO-6M). In 1928, while flying the Curtiss F8C-1 Falcon they deployed aboard the USS Saratoga from which they fought the Sandinistas in Nicaragua. During this time the Squadron also flew the Atlantic TA-1 and TA-2. In 1928 they returned to MCB Quantico where they took up the role of doing flight demonstrations for new officers at The Basic School.


Curtiss O2C-1s flown by VO-6M in the early 1930s.


During the 1930s VO-6M flew the Vought Vought 02U-1 and the Curtiss F8C-5 Helldiver. Calling themselves the "Helldivers", in 1932 they were representing the Marine Corps at major events such as the Canadian Air Pageant and the US National Air Races in Cleveland, Ohio.[3] During this time the Marines took on the mission of defending advanced naval bases and the Commandant of the Marine Corps recommended a light bombing squadron be activated in 1934. This required the deactivation of an observation squadron so VMO-6 was deactivated on June 30, 1933.


 World War II


The squadron was reactivated on November 20, 1944 at MCB Quantico flying the OY-1 aircraft. They were then transferred to Marine Corps Air Station Camp Pendleton, California where they began training for future combat operations with the 6th Marine Division.[4] In January 1945, the squadron departed for Guadalcanal as part of the 15th Marines, the artillery regiment of the 6th Marine Division.


On April 1, 1945, VMO-6 came ashore during the Battle of Okinawa and commenced operations from Yomitan Airstrip. VMO-6 flew its OY-1 aircraft on a variety of missions, including artillery spotting, message pickups, photo reconnaissance and medical evacuations in litter equipped OY-ones. In July 1945, the squadron departed for Agaña, Guam where it remained until the end of the war.[4] In October 1945, VMO-6 was deployed to Tientsin, China to participate in the occupation and because of the increase in communist activity. The squadron served in a variety of liaison roles and flew very dangerous missions often under intense ground fire from the communist forces. They finally left China on January 3, 1947 and returned to MCB Pendleton.[5]


 Korean War


Navy Corpsmen help carry a wounded man from a VMO-6 HO3S-1 helicopter to a hospital in Korea in October 1950. VMO-6 L-19s during the winter 1951/52 in Korea


In August 1950, HO3S-1 helicopters and pilots from HMX-1 at MCAF Quantico, Virginia joined the squadron"s eight OY-2 Sentinels and VMO-6 departed the United States in July 1950 as part of Marine Aircraft Group 33.[6]

August2, 1950

They arrived in Jinhae,Korea on August 2[7] and immediately began to fly during the Battle of Pusan Perimeter becoming the first helicopter squadron in the Marine Corps to participate in combat operations[8]

August 7. 1950 1200

The Brigade Air Section then turned the mission over to VMO-6. Every 5-gallon water can owned by the squadron was donated, and the more maneuverable OY-2’s were able to drop them within the confined perimeter.

Unhappily, the containers burst upon striking the ground, so that the parched hill defenders were able to salvage only a few mouthfuls of water apiece.

Sergeant Macy reacted with vigor. With Cahill’s permission, he organized a few volunteers into a patrol to search for water. Descending the perilous southeastern slope under fire, the little group struck out for the village of Taep'yong-ni, located along the base of 342’s eastern spur and facing Hill 99 across the valley.

 

The OY-1's were flown as convoy escorts for the 1st Marine Brigade in addition to observation and reconnaissance missions. They proved so successful that it became regular procedure to have an OY over the brigade at all times during daylight hours.[9] In August 1950 the squadron, carried its first medevac and these missions became routine for VMO-6 pilots and crewmen.

November 27, 195

On November 27, 1950, Chinese encircled the 1st Marine Division at the Battle of Chosin Reservoir. For the first four days of the battle, until an expeditionary airfield was completed at Hagaru-ri on December 1, helicopters from VMO-6 were the only aircraft able to evacuate the wounded taking 152 injured south to Hungnam. The next ten days would see them evacuate a further 538 aided by modified TBM Avengers that belonged to the Division.[10] During the Korean War, the squadron flew 7,067 wounded Marines to safety. After the signing of the Korean Armistice Agreement the squadron returned to MCB Camp Pendleton in June 1955. In 1951, the squadron replaced the HO3S-1 with the HTL-4.[11]


 Vietnam War


In 1964 a new aircraft the squadron received it first UH-1E Iroquois. In August 1965 VMO-6 departed as part of Marine Aircraft Group 36 on board the USS Princeton for Vietnam. On September 1, 1965 the squadron began operating from Chu Lai. After training by the Army, the Hueys were converted to primarily a gunship role and the majority of the H-1's missions were providing close air support to infantry and recon units. They participated in the following operations while operating from there: Quang Ngai, Double Eagle, Blue Marlin, Duc Pho. While providing support to Marines at the Battle of Hill 488 on the night of 15 June, 1966, the squadron's new commanding officer, Major William J. Goodsell, was killed when his UH-1E was shot down.[12][13] In October 1967 the squadron moved to just south of Huế to Phu Bai. A month later another move took them to Quảng Trị Air Base. July 1968 saw the squadron get its first fixed wing aircraft since World War II when they took possession of a few Cessna O1C Birddogs that were used for directing air strikes.[14] These were followed in October 1968 when the first contingent of six OV-10A Broncos joined VMO-6 at Marble Mountain Air Facility.[15] They began operating within 18 hours of joining the squadron at Quảng Trị. The squadron flew in support of Marines at Khe Sanh, Con Thien, Lao Bảo, Dong Ha, Gio Linh, The Rockpile, Vandegrift Combat Base, the Ben Hai and LZ Argon. They flew in support of the following operations: Maine Craig, Apache Snow, Scotland II, Montana Mauler, Napoleon-Saline, Lancaster II, Rice, Kentucky, Dawson River, Purple Martin, Idaho Canyon and many more. Their biggest action came during Operation Dewey Canyon from January 22 - March 18, 1969 where the Marine sought to engage Communist forces near the Laotian border. All three of the squadrons aircraft were involved with the Hueys providing gun support for 3rd Force Recon, escorting insertion, extraction, supply and MEDEVAC missions and the two fixed wing squadrons doing aerial reconnaissance, artillery spotting and forward air controlling from the air.[16]


 Final years


In October 1969 VMO-6 departed South Vietnam for its new home at Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, Okinawa. From there they participated in exercises from such places as Cubi Point in the Philippines, Atsugi, Japan; Taegu, Korea; and the Republic of China.
The squadron was deactivated on January 1, 1977.


 Notable members


Stephen W. Pless - recipient of the Medal of Honor
Ed McMahon - co-host The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson
John Beal - composer


 Unit awards