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[Image 1: Department
of Defense Photo
(USMC) A 150856
USS Okinawa is
seen underway
with the 16 CH-53D
helicopters of
HMH-462 embarked.
Having just been
used for Operation
Eagle Pull on
12 April, the
helicopters underwent
maintenance and
repair while
at sea in preparation
for Operation
Frequent Wind.]

Page 141(The Bitter End)


appearance. Carrying numerous helicopters which had flown on board the carrier as it steamed past Okinawa, the Midway, both to observers in Subic and to its own crewmembers, looked unusual with its fixed-wing flight deck covered with rotary-wing aircraft. In order to move these MAG-36 helicopters from the Midway to the Hancock, which already had HMH-463 on board, deck space had to be found. To accomplish this, Hancock scm its fixed-wing contingent ashore. The planes flew from the ship to their new home, NAS Cubi Point, This evolution transformed, in looks at least, the Hancock from a carrier to a helicopter landing ship. With the embarkation of the 35d MAU, ARG Bravo stood ready ready to sail. Shortly before the completion of this transfer, the rest of ARG Bravo (the Du-buqiie, Durham, and Frederick) sailed into Subic, returning from a shortened evacuation stint off the coast of South Vietnam's northern provinces.


On 9 April, the MAB staff, 35d MAU, and ARG Bravo (Hancock, Durham, Frederick, and Dubuque) departed Subic Bay for Vung Tau, Republic of Vietnam. At this time, the helicopter squadron on the Hancock, HMH-463, and the one on Dubuque, HMM-165, were placed under the operational control of 33d MAU. The following day. General Carey requested that HMH-463 be reassigned to 31st MAU to assist in Operation Eagle Pull. At the same instant this was done, Admiral Whitmire transferred operational control of the Hancock to ARG Alpha. With HMH-463 on board, the Hancock's new mission was to assist in the evacuation of Phnom Penh.



On 11 April, General Carey rendezvoused with Admiral Whitmire and the amphibious task force commander's flagship, the Blue Ridge. Finally, two weeks after 9th MAB's reactivation, General Carey caught up with his forward headquarters and merged it with the staff accompanying him. Carey and the full staff immediately began to plan and prepare for the evacuation of South Vietnam, initially called Operation Talon Vise. However, within a week the secret name would be reported "compromised," forcing the assignment of a new codename, Frequent Wind.45


Having been alerted on 6 April to react to the new contingency in Southeast Asia, the second BLT of the MAB, BLT 3/9, still at Camp Fuji, Japan, moved from there overland to the Naval Air Facility, Atsugi. In At-sugi, BLT 3/9 boarded Marine KC-130s for a two-hour flight to Okinawa. Once on Okinawa, the Marines embarked in the ships of Amphibious Squadron 5, which had just arrived from California. Aware that his normally assigned shipping was either already off the coast of South Vietnam or preparing to head there, this otherwise cumbersome method of "getting to the action" did much to assuage the land-locked, marooned feeling of BLT 3/9's commander. Lieutenant Colonel Robert E. Loehe.


The movement was accomplished in its entirety by using aircraft from Lieutenant Colonel Jerry L. Shel-ton's Marine Aerial Refueling Squadron (VMGR) 152. The entire evolution was completed in less than 72 hours. Due to cargo configuration and weight limitations, the amphibian tractor and tank platoons were








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