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Honeymoon Helo
GREEN AND yellow smoke grenades heralded the arrival of the Honeymoon Helo at the Chu Lai airstrip. “Just Married” was conspicuously painted across the nose, and the crew ...

Honeymoon Helo

On July 13, 1968, Warrant Officer Don Sewell and Captain Patricia Mann were married at the Chu Lai base chapel in a rare military wedding held during the Vietnam War. He was a helicopter pilot with an air ambulance company, and she was a nurse with a field surgical hospital. Sewell commented, “Three days after I met her I knew we were going to be married.”

The administrative process for servicepeople getting married in a combat zone was not easy. The “request for marriage” took seven weeks to make its way up the chain of command, and the couple then had to go to Saigon for a civil ceremony. Sewell was almost at the end of his tour and so extended his time in country to coincide with hers. They at least got time off together for R&R and a brief honeymoon in Hong Kong.

Although the warrant officer was outranked by his wife, she said, “He will be the boss” of the family. “I wear the bars, but he wears the pants,” she said.


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