'Ugly Angels' Squadron Gather For Touching Reunion Years After Vietnam War

Mike Schneider hosted a gathering of the Ugly Angels, a group of men who served on the UH-34 Choctaw in Vietnam. Fifty years later, the Ugly Angels Squadron is still around, but with a slightly different aircraft. 

Monday, October 9th 2023, 5:37 pm



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A special reunion took place in Inola this weekend, connecting Marines with veterans who walked in their boots decades ago.

With a force that nearly blew us away, a pair of V-22 Ospreys touched down in front of Mike Schneider's hangar in Inola.

"Other than my kids being born, that's probably the biggest thing that has ever happened to this area," said Schneider.

He’s hosting a gathering of the Ugly Angels, a group of men who served on the UH-34 Choctaw in Vietnam. Fifty years later, the Ugly Angels Squadron is still around, but with a slightly different aircraft. 

In a long shot - Schneider invited the current squadron to the reunion.

"I never dreamt that they were going to even consider showing up," he said. 

"I've never seen it before, so it's all new to me," said Veteran Michael Kell.

For as much as this group of veterans loves exploring this modern marvel...

"I love it. I wish I could fly it," said veteran Ed Street.

They are much more interested in connecting with the young Marines who fly them.

"It's like walking into a piece of history. It's awesome," said Marine Captain Trent Taylor.

The 45 Marines flew all the way from their base in California to be here.

Commanding Officer Justin Sing said this helps his squadron reconnect with its roots.

"When I said we have an opportunity to go meet these folks, are ya'll interested? They said absolutely, and I wanna learn more about that, and I want to learn about it from the folks who lived it," said Sing.

Veteran Norm LaFountain was eager to share his stories with a new generation of Marines.

"I'm just overwhelmed with pride," he said.

For Norm, a big part of reunions like this is to share the stories of the men who never made it back home.

"A dozen times in my life this has happened, a kid will walk up to me at a reunion and ask if I knew his dad, and I would be decimated if I didn't be able to tell that kid something, so that's what embedded in me," said LaFountain. 

It's an emotional day for many of the people here as a brotherhood of Marines watch an old warbird lift off over the aircraft that's carrying its legacy.

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