|For more detailed information relating to the United States Navy and the United States Marine
Corps air operations during the Korean War, pick up a copy of Thomas E. Doll's book
USN/USMC Over Korea published by Squadron Signal Publications.
Tandvig was interviewed by the author for this book and is mentioned numerous times throughout
the book, relating stories of incidents he was involved in, as well as depicting numerous
photographs from Tandvig's personal photos.
|Major Sherman Melvin "Red" Tandvig
USN, USMC, US Army - WWII and Korean War
|Above, several photographs show the unique number of dogtags issued to Tandvig throughout his military
career. The dogtags represent Tandvig's military service in the United States Navy, the United States Marine
Corps and the United States Army. The dogtags span Tandvig's entire military career.
|Members of HMR-161 in the Officer's Club in Pajuri, Korea in July of 1953. Standing
left to right is: Larry Charlton, Bob Renner, Connie Appledorn, Herman Moore, Bob
Graves, Herb Hough, Neil MacKinnon, Ray Hudson, Harry Hawkins, Bob
Montgomery, "Doc" Christiansen, Guy Davidson, Sherman "Red" Tandvig and Joe
Thurman. The front row: Harry Tofte, Jim Hunt, Col. Owen A. Chambers, Lt. Col.
John H. King Jr., Tony Soite, Owen Brainard, Dewey Turner and Ray Silvers.
(The above information was obtained from the book: USN/USMC Over Korea by
Thomas E. Doll.)
|Above: Tandvig sitting in the cockpit of an HRS-2 of
HMR-161 at Kimpo. The photograph was taken just prior to
one of the delegation flights for the peace talks occurring at
Panmunjom in North Korean held territory.
|Right, two of the original era Korean War
patches in Tandvig's grouping. The
grouping also contains numerous original
era squadron and service patches
associated with Tandvig's military career.
|This page displays items in my private collection related to Major Sherman M. "Red" Tandvig. Tandvig's spectacular
career includes service time in both WWII and Korea, and service with the United States Navy, the United States
Marine Corps and the United States Army.
Tandvig began his career enlisting in the US Navy's V-5 program on September 11, 1942. Tandvig graduated from
flight school with a promotion to 2nd Lt. on March 11, 1944 in the United States Marine Corps Reserve. He remained
on active duty until February 27, 1946. Between February 27, 1946 and May 21, 1951, Tandvig would serve the
standard two weeks of active duty time along with correspondence courses via the mail to maintain his proficiencies
within the USMCR. On May 21, 1951, Tandvig was recalled to active duty, assigned to MAG 25, VMR-253 in El Toro,
Calif. flying mainly R5C-1 aircraft.
On April 25, 1952, Tandvig reported to HTU-1 (Helicopter Training Unit 1) at NAS Ellyson Field. Flying Bell HTL-4's and
5's, Tandvig would complete his helicopter training on June 10, 1952, then being assigned to HMR-163 At MCAF
Tandvig served with HMR-163 until May 13,1953, when he was assigned to HMR-161 for deployment to Korea.
Tandvig's time with HMR-161 would find him at the controls of the HRS-1 and 2 models of helicopters. On September
26, 1953, Tandvig was transferred to VMR-253 then stationed in Japan. On March 10, 1954, Tandvig was again back
flying with HMR-161 where he remained until June 1, 1954. On June 10, 1954, Tandvig returned to the United States
and left active duty status. The next few years would find Tandvig serving his two occasional weeks of service and
correspondence courses to maintain his qualifications.
|Above, numerous photographs showing various items from Tandvig's grouping. To the left is Tandvig's
three flight log books which cover his entire military career, along with two additional sets of his wings. The
center photograph shows Tandvig's Marine Corps Association lighter, while the right photograph shows
one of Tandvig's original WWII era USN silk scarf, acting as a the background for two of his original issue
|Left: Captain Sherman "Red" Tandvig and Captain Harold
"Hal" Knowles ready to leave MCAF Tustin for the first ever
helicopter traffic control for the Rose Parade in Pasadena, Ca.,
on December 31, 1952.
|Mr. Tandvig was a proud member of the Grandpaw Pettibone
Squadron, Garden Grove, California. For more information relating to
this terrific association, click on the banner above.
| Tandvig would continue his relationship with the United States Marine Corps Reserve until July 1, 1965, when he was transferred to Retired Reserve status. On November 19, 1968, Tandvig
received an Honorable Discharge from the USMC. On November 20, 1968, Tandvig was appointed CWO-2 in the California Army National Guard. He would proudly serve with the CANG until
retiring from the United States Army on August 27, 1980.
During his time as a United States military aviator, Tandvig would fly a large assortment of fixed wing aircraft and helicopters including: N2S-3 and N2S-4 Kadet, SNB-1, SNB-2, SNB-3, SNB-5,
R5C-1, R4D-1, JRB-4, R4D-6, SNJ-5, R4Q-1, HRS-1, HRS-2, HRS-3, HTL-4, HO35-1, HTE-2, HUP-2, L-19, L-20, HUS-1, Bell 300 and the Bell 296.
| An interesting footnote to Tandvig's career was his
assignment during the 1952/1953 Rose Parade in Pasadena,
California. Tandvig, who was serving with HMR-163 at the
time, was assigned to fly the Chief of Police of the Pasadena
Police Department over the 1952 Rose Parade. This would be
the first ever use of a helicopter to provide traffic control for the
Tandvig's USMC helicopter was fitted with specialized radio
equipment to allow the military aviators and the Chief of Police
to successfully communicate with Pasadena Police officers on
the ground. Tandvig flew in support of the Rose Parade on
December 30th and 31st, 1952, and January 1, 1953, as noted
in his flight log. For these flights, Tandvig flew HRS-2
helicopters, BuNo #130150 and #130165.
| HMR-161 activated on January 15, 1951 at Marine Corps Air Station El Toro, California. Activated as a Marine Helicopter Transport Squadron, the squadron moved a month later to Marine
Corps Air Facility, Santa Ana, California to train in their new mounts, the Sikorsky HRS-1 helicopter. At the time, with few exceptions, the majority of the pilots in the squadron had served as
fixed wing fighter pilots during WWII. In August 1951, the squadron deployed to Korea and was attached to the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing where it operated in the central and the western fronts,
transporting troops and supplies.
HMR-161 and its pilots and crew served with terrific distinction and dedication during the Korean War, becoming the first ever Marine Corps transport helicopter squadron, ultimately pioneering
the successful use of the helicopter in a combat arena. The number of accomplishments and "firsts" by HMR-161 could not appropriately be listed here, ultimately needing a well detailed book
to list all the accomplishments. During the Korean War, HMR-161 accumulated 16,538 hours of flight time, flying approximately 18,607 sorties. HMR-161 is credited with transporting over 60,000
troops and 7.5 million pounds of cargo. Following combat operations, HMR-161 would go on to participate in the defense of the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) from July 1953 to March 1955.
It was during Tandvig's service time with HMR-161 that he would find himself as one of the pilots ferrying the peace delegation members to the peace talks occurring at Panmunjom in North
Korean held territory. Tandvig's flight logs show that he participated in at least eight flights to the peace talks. Tandvig recorded each of these historic flights into his log book in red ink, rather
than the standard black ink, possibly realizing the unique situation he was finding himself in at the time. (See below for a scan showing several of these entries.)
| This page is dedicated to Maj. "Red" Tandvig, the members of HMR-161 and the other Korean
War veterans from all branches of service. This page is also dedicated to my father who
faithfully served in the United States Army during the Korean War. It may be often referred to
as the "Forgotten War", but the men and women who served during this time will never be
forgotten. Thank you for your service.
|Above, photographs of the three actual helicopters flown by Tandvig during the peace delegation talks, as shown in red in the above log book page. From left to right
the aircraft are: BuNo. 129043, BuNo. 127790 and BuNo. 127840. The three photographs above are used with the grateful permission of www.hrs-helicopter.com.
Thank you Craig.
| Tandvig's United States Marine Corps certificate of
satisfactory service for his military service during
WWII. This certificate is hand signed by General
Alexander Archie "A.A." Vandegrift.
|Left: Tandvig's personnel file containing paperwork dated from WWII
through the Korean war. Also displayed are two sets of Tandvig's wings, a
larger wing for a plaque, and an original Korean war era pair of Navy flight
gloves, unused and found neatly folded away in the pocket of one of his
|AN-J3a flight jacket, manufactured by Burjac Sportswear Inc. The jacket on the left is Tandvig's pre-1951
government issue G-1 flight jacket, manufactured by A. Pritzker & Sons Inc.