As the webmaster for the USMC/Combat Helicopter Association (POPASMOKE), I get to meet some awesome Marines and Corpsmen.
In the summer of 2000, during one of the reunions in San Diego, I had the honor of meeting Jim Farley. Jim was a Marine (UH-34D) crew chief in HMM-163. Famed photographer Larry Burrows accompanied Jim and his crew on a mission in Vietnam in 1965. The photos taken by Larry appeared in LIFE Magazine [APRIL 16, 1965].
During the incident on March 31, 1965 in which the Life story captured, Two Marine pilots from HMM-163 were killed in action.
The Marines of POPASMOKE were the subject of a documentary called “Vietnam’s Helicopter Heroes” which has aired multiple times on the Discovery Channel. The video was created by Debbie LaPensee for the Discovery Channel during our 1998 Reunion. The video contains many interviews with POPASMOKE members as well as in-country video footage shot by our members.
I do keep in touch with Jim, who is a POPASMOKE Life Member. He is one of the nicest guys you will ever meet. He is one of my heroes!
The video can be purchased from the POPASMOKE PX site.