Marine Corps aviation involvement in Vietnam began on Palm Sunday 1962, when a squadron of UH-34 helicopters landed at Soc Trang in the Delta. The squadron was Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 362 (HMM-362), commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Archie J. Clapp.
Three U. S. Army helicopter companies were already in Vietnam, and the Secretary of Defense had approved deployment of one more unit to Vietnam. The Marine Corps seized this opportunity to fly toward the sound of the drums and offered to send a squadron. They recommended Da Nang as the area of operations, since it was that area to which Marines were committed in various contingency plans. The Commander, United States Military Assistance Command, Vietnam (ComUSMACV), decreed, however, that the need at the moment was in the Delta since that Vietnamese Army corps area was the only one of the four corps areas in Vietnam that did not have any helicopter support.
Colonel John F. Carey was the commanding officer of the Marine task unit of which HMM-362 was a part. He arrived at Soc Trang on 9 April, and over the ensuing five days an element of Marine Air Base Squadron 16 (MABS.16) arrived aboard Marine KC-130 aircraft from the Marine Corps Air Facility at Futema, Okinawa. Squadron HMM-362, augmented by three 0-1 observation aircraft, embarked in the USS Princeton (LPH-5) at Okinawa and arrived off the Mekong Delta at dawn on Palm Sunday, 15 April. The squadron's helicopters completed unloading the unit's equipment and were ashore by late afternoon. The Marine task unit which was to be known as "Shufly" was established ashore.