It is with deep regret and sadness that I must report that the man who took us to Vietnam has returned to base. I was informed today by Brian (Moose) Rolfe that Herb Mendenhall passed away on May 16, 2013. A copy of the obituary is printed below.
Colonel Mendenhall was the Commanding Officer of HMM-265 from 1965 through 31 August 1966. He led us to Vietnam and through our first combat experiences. He earned the respect of all those he served with and was held in the highest esteem.
Herb served in the Pacific during World War II, Korea and Vietnam. I once had the opportunity of asking Herb what his most memorable assignment or command was. He replied that for a Marine aviator, it had to be as a squadron C.O., the commanding officer of HMM-265. However, he went on to say that his fondest memories were of flying transports off of Saipan during WWII. “Of course”, he said, “I met my wife on Saipan”. Herb’s spouse of seventy years, Zola, was a Navy nurse on Saipan. After the island was secured, the officers and nurses would have an occasional dance. Herb and his best friend, another Marine pilot, were invited to one of the dances. None of the nurses knew Herb, but they all wanted to meet Herb’s best friend. So, they went to the dance, Herb met Zola, and the rest is history. Who was the Marine aviator who was Herb’s best friend? None other than Tyrone Power. Our old C.O. beat out Tyrone Power!
Semper Fi !