AL Taqaddum, Iraq
One night shortly after the Purple Foxes arrived in
Iraq on their fourth deployment, and during the turn over period of accepting
all the assets and the mission previously conducted by the Red Dragons
of HMM-268, a very unusual radio call was made from the flight line to
The Purple Foxes that discovered the fox were from the ordnance shop and were in the process of arming PF-00 for the next day's missions. Corporal Robert Caudill had his camera close by and took this picture.
LtCol. Mark "Pigpen" Schrecker confirms, "The story is absolutely true. After taking the picture the Marines exited PF-00, went around and tapped on the chin bubble to encourage the fox to run out of the aircraft, which he did just as Marines have done since the CH-46 was first flown by the squadron in 1967. There have been a few sightings since but none in the aircraft. Apparently this desert fox heard the Purple Foxes were in town and just dropped by to say hello."
When Col. Gene Brady, USMC (Ret) and former CO heard about the fox he stated, "That fox wanted to fly as copilot in my aircraft." Col. Brady was referring to the fact that during a visit to the squadron's flight line in 2003 he found that PF-00, "double nuts" as he calls it, bore the same bureau number as an aircraft he had flown on many missions during his tour with the squadron in the 68-69 time frame.
Sgt. Hayden Garcia said, "To all of us 364 Marines, we consider it a good omen as we begin our fourth deployment." Two additional photographic omens of good fortune caught by camera are:
HMM-364's flight line Ky Ha, Vietnam 1965
Overshadowing what will always be considered the painful combat loss of seventy one Marines and Navy Corpsmen who made the supreme sacrifice while serving HMM-364 from Operation Dominic II (the Johnston Island atmospheric nuclear test series) throughout the squadron's Vietnam involvement from 1964 and ending in 1971, to the current hostilities in Iraq - the squadron has been blessed with many good omens, superior judgment, documented as well as untold acts of heroism and good fortune that has led to the mantle of "The world famous Purple Foxes."
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