This past weekend we returned from the Celebration of Life of my friend and fellow Marine, Tim Bastyr. Tim joined HMM 265 as we boarded the USS Boxer and departed for Vietnam. He was an avionics technician and soon became an aerial gunner.
We flew together several times but the one mission with him I remember the most was one that he was not on the aircrew list. We were picking up a bunch of ARVNs who were on their boot camp graduation patrol. We picked them up at a point to the west of Danang Air Base and returned them to Marble Mountain Air Facility. The third time into the zone the last of the patrol of ARVNs boarded my helicopter and one of the last to board was this huge Marine in war paint, battle dress, and probably a few pounds of mud and dirt. I say huge because as you remember the average ARVN was probably 5’ tall and Tim was 6’3”. He had been assigned to go on this patrol and carry a locator beacon to test the ability of the helicopters to locate the LZ using this beacon.
The trip back to Marble Mt. was the memorable part as Col. Corn was flying and then was wounded in the leg after a few rounds came into the cockpit. The ride got very interesting for a minute or so as he let go of the controls as we were cruising at about 300 AGL under the approach path for Danang.
Years later HMM 265 started having reunions. Tim got involved with the reunions and he was part of the team that put together the By-Laws and got the HMM 265 Veterans Association incorporated. More years later I found myself as the new President of the Association. Tim was my savior. If I had a question about the Association, Tim knew the answer. If I needed assistance in proof-reading a communication, Tim was my editor. If we needed someone to be the point of contact with a hotel or restaurant for a reunion function, Tim was the man.
At his celebration of Life I found out why. After coming home, and graduation from college, Tim spent 30 years working for Johnson Controls, primarily as a project manager building nuclear power plants. It seems organization was just part of his life.
Our Association has lost a very capable man in Tim. I have lost a good friend.
Semper Fi, Timothy M. Bastyr!