Take me back to the Oral History landing page.


Robert Tyler - Vietnam War

Robert (Bob) Tyler dropped out of college in 1967 and joined the Marines with dreams of flying. His plans were initially derailed, but he eventually earned both a Lieutenant's commission and his wings. By late 1970 he was flying a CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter over South Vietnam, with his unit based at Marble Mountain near Da Nang. Over the next 27 years Tyler made the Marines his life, moving the family frequently as he progressed from challenge to challenge. Tours included command of a KC-130 Hercules squadron, and an assignment at Marine Corps Headquarters during the First Iraq War. Tyler retired from the Marines as a full Colonel (with a Ph.D. in Psychology), in 1997.

Interview Links

Feature Excerpt

The collapse of South Vietnam

Abstract

Interview Session 01 (Audio)

Marine Corps Boot Camp and Aviation Training

Interview Session 02 (Audio)

Vietnam War tour flying CH-46 helicopters with Marines

Interview Session 03 (Audio)

Reflections on service in Vietnam, return home and career through 1975

Interview Session 04 (Audio)

Military career as a Marine Corps naval aviator from 1975 to 1997

Transcript


Photos

Caption

Robert at approximately six months with his mother, Betty McClaughry, taken while they were living in Waukegan, Illinois in 1948.

Where:

Waukegan, Illinois

When:

1948

Ownership:

May be restricted. Patrons desiring to use this photograph should contact the ALPL Audio-Visual Curator.

Caption

The standard Marine Corps photo of Robert Tyler during his Boot Camp in 1967, which he took in San Diego, California, Marine Corps Recruit Depot.

Where:

San Diego, California

When:

1967

Ownership:

This image is considered to be in the public domain.

Caption

A proud Marine recruit Robert Tyler marches in his Boot Camp graduation ceremony, in the San Diego, California, Marine Corps Recruit Depot in early 1968.

Where:

San Diego, California

When:

1968

Ownership:

This image is considered to be in the public domain.

Caption

Private Robert and Mrs. Carol Tyler on their wedding day in March, 1968 in Paris, Illinois.

Where:

Paris, Illinois

When:

1968

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

In February, 1969 Carol Tyler pinned on Bob’s 2nd Lieutenant bars during his commissioning ceremony at Quantico, Virginia. She sported twin black eyes from a mishap with a door at Eastern Illinois University.

Where:

Quantico, Virginia

When:

1969

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Carol Tyler pins on First Lieutenant Robert Tyler’s silver wings during his graduation from the Army’s helicopter flight school at Hunter-Stewart Army Air Field in Savannah, Georgia in April, 1970.

Where:

Savannah, Georgia

When:

April, 1970

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

First Lieutenant Robert Tyler heads for an Ozark Airlines flight from the Coles County Airport in 1970, the first leg of his trip to South Vietnam.

Where:

Coles County Airport

When:

1970

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

First Lieutenant Tyler did a short stop-over at Okinawa in October 1970 while en route to South Vietnam. He is standing outside his BOQ (bachelor officer quarters).

Where:

Okinawa

When:

October 1970

Ownership:

Narrator's photo

Caption

Members of HMM-262’s CH-46 maintenance crew are removing a forward rotor blade in preparation for forward transmission repairs at Marble Mountain Airfield in 1970. The maintenance crews were crucial to the unit’s success.

Where:

Marble Mountain Airfield

When:

1970

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Marble Mountain as it appeared from the air in 1970. 1st Lt Tyler flew out of the Marble Mountain Airfield, which is in the background. Marble Mountain was on the outskirts of Da Nang, South Vietnam.

Where:

South Vietnam

When:

1970

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Officer country at the Marble Mountain Airfield, with two pilots from HMM-262, First Lieutenant Tyler’s unit. Each Quonset hut housed eight officers.

Where:

South Vietnam

When:

Unknown

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

First Lieutenant Tyler takes a break outside his BOQ in officer country at Marble Mountain in 1970. Marine and Navy flight suits have no rank insignia other than the name badge.

Where:

Marble Mountain

When:

1970

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Missy Ba, Bob Tyler’s house girl who helped maintain Tyler’s quarters, as well as doing his laundry. These women were under contract with the military, in order to boost the local economy.

Where:

Unknown

When:

Unknown

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Two members of an attack helicopter squadron stationed at Marble Mountain (call sign Scarface), relax during an evening barbeque and jam session in officer country in 1971.

Where:

Marble Mountain

When:

1971

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

A Marine infantryman radio operator talks to Tyler’s co-pilot while they are ‘in the zone’ (on the ground) during a resupply mission somewhere in I Corps, circa 1971.

Where:

Unknown

When:

1971

Ownership:

Narrator's photo

Caption

A HMM-262 fly-over of the First Marine Aircraft Wing’s headquarters in Da Nang commemorating one hundred percent aircraft availability in early 1971, to prove to the general that it could be done.

Where:

Da Nang

When:

Early 1971

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

The remnants a CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter following seizure of the forward transmission and de-syncing of the rotor systems. The helicopter crashed in front of the officer’s club at Marble Mountain in the spring of 1971.

Where:

Marble Mountain

When:

1971

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

A CH-46 Sea Knight flying at dawn somewhere north of Da Nang, with the North China Sea in the background.

Where:

Unknown

When:

Unknown

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

The Marines were visited frequently by USO shows. This group in 1971 hailed from Australia, and gave the Marines a reason to take some time off from flying.

Where:

Unknown

When:

1971

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

A silhouette of a saxophone player during a USO show at Marble Mountain in 1971. Tyler was experimenting with a new camera when he took this picture. Everyone, says Tyler, had to buy a high speed camera.

Where:

Marble Mountain

When:

1971

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Carol (Albrecht) Tyler in 1971, while a student at Eastern Illinois University. Her husband Bob was serving in Vietnam at the time.

Where:

Unknown

When:

1971

Ownership:

This image is considered to be in the public domain.

Caption

Vietnamese children scatter as a helicopter approaches a Vietnamese village in the I Corps sector northwest of Da Nang. They were bringing medical and construction personnel in preparation for a county fair in 1971.

Where:

Northwest of Da Nang

When:

1971

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

First Lieutenant Tyler at the controls of a CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter while flying a mission somewhere over central South Vietnam circa 1971.

Where:

South Vietnam

When:

1971

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron (HMM) 262 deployed as a unit to Hawaii in May of 1971. The unit was stationed at Kaneohe Bay on Oahu. After two years of flying, Tyler was able to include this caption: 10,000 accident free hours, 12 May, 1973.

Where:

Hawaii

When:

1971

Ownership:

This image is considered to be in the public domain.

Caption

A headshot of Robert Tyler from page nine of the 1970-1971 Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 262 edition of the Chatterbox while he served in South Vietnam.

Where:

South Vietnam

When:

1970-1971

Ownership:

This image is considered to be in the public domain.

Caption

A photo from page forty-one of the 1970-1971 Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 262 edition of the Chatterbox during the unit’s service in South Vietnam.

Where:

South Vietnam

When:

1970-1971

Ownership:

This image is considered to be in the public domain.

Caption

Moments before he boards the ‘Freedom Bird’ back to the United States at the military airport at Da Nang, First Lieutenant Tyler takes one last photo to commemorate his time in South Vietnam.

Where:

Da Nang

When:

Unknown

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

A TA-4J jet trainer aircraft from VT-7. Captain Tyler trained on these in 1976 and became qualified in jets while at Naval Air Station Meridian, Mississippi. He was also carrier qualified at the same time on the USS Lexington.

Where:

Mississippi

When:

1976

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

A KC-130 from VMGR-152 (Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron) at Fatema, Okinawa lands on a Johnson Atoll, west of the Hawaiian Islands in 1977. The U.S. used the atoll to store and destroy chemical weapons.

Where:

Fatema, Okinawa

When:

1977

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

The family portrait taken in 1987 while Tyler was stationed at Naval Air Systems Command in Washington, D.C. From left to right are Rob, Suzanne, Carol and Lieutenant Colonel Robert Tyler.

Where:

Washington, D.C.

When:

1987

Ownership:

May be restricted. Patrons desiring to use this photograph should contact the ALPL Audio-Visual Curator.

Caption

Lieutenant Colonel Robert Tyler assumes command of VMGRT-253 (KC-130 Training Squadron) from LTC Wallace Miller in July 1987 while at Marine Corps Air Station at Cherry Point, North Carolina.

Where:

Cherry Point, North Carolina

When:

1987

Ownership:

This image is considered to be in the public domain.

Caption

A flight of KC-130 Hercules refuelers from VMGRT-253 conducting formation training somewhere over North Carolina in 1988 when Lieutenant Colonel Tyler commanded the squadron, call sign Titans.

Where:

North Carolina

When:

1988

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Suzanne and Rob Tyler, (Bob and Carol’s daughter and son) during Rob’s graduation from the Citadel in Charleston, S.C. in 1990. Rob later became an army warrant officer and helicopter pilot who deployed to both Iraq and Afghanistan during his career.

Where:

Charleston, South Carolina

When:

1990

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Colonel Robert Tyler took this official photo in 1993 for his personnel files while he was stationed in Orlando, Florida.

Where:

Orlando, Florida

When:

1993

Ownership:

This image is considered to be in the public domain.

Caption

Robert Tyler received his Ph.D. in applied psychology from the University of Central Florida in 1997 during his last active duty assignment in the Marine Corps.

Where:

Unknown

When:

1997

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo



Social Links