I entered this unit while it was at the Camp Pendleton Air Strip in California around July 1st, 1965. I and another Marine, Pvt Cloie Parsons, had been together since Parris Island and Camp Geiger, North Carolina. Both had gone home after training, and now our duty to the country called. We were ready to start our jobs in the Marine Corps and was reporting into our first assignment. That was VMO-6! Our orders called for each of us to report to El Toro, California. The first problem in our new job was a major one, even before we checked in. VMO-6 was not at MCAF ElToro, California.
Not to worry, our squadron, VMO-6, had a slick taxi. And one was close by, right then. The driver was none other than LtCol Robert J. Zitnik, the Commanding Officer of VMO-6. Alone, he swooped down out of the sky like a hawk, slowed and made his way in a hovering taxi to where we were, landed, picked us up, gently turned the UH1-E helicopter and made his way slowly back to the flight pattern and slowly began to move forward, picking up speed, climbing higher and higher.
My first duty station and I had the commanding officer have to pick me up and transport me from one place my orders said to go to, to the right place. I quickly learned my unit was a helicopter unit. I also learned it was nice to fly in smaller aircraft too, enjoying my ride with my Commanding Officer at the control helms. I would learn all about this kind of helicopter, this unit, and some of the Marines within the unit in time. I was with VMO-6 for about six weeks and then learned we would be moving, the whole squadron, out of America. We all knew where we would be generally going..........South Vietnam. And that is where we went.