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IINN TTHHIISS IISSSSUUEE......An Unanticipated Engagement 08
Bucket List checkoff 13
Letters to the Editor 14
Hooks for sale 17
Landing on the Ho Chi Minh Trail; 18
Looking For 26
New Developments in Military Aviation 33
VHPA Chapter Activities 38
Welcome to the VHPA 44
2014 Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association. All rights reserved.Issue 32-04 ~ July/August 2014
The Newsletter of The Vietnam Helicopter Pilots AssociationThe Newsletter of The Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association
Welcome to our July & August 2014"Heavy Lift" edition of the VHPA Aviator
Welcome to our July & August 2014"Heavy Lift" edition of the VHPA Aviator
Page 2 The VHPA Aviator
PresidentVice PresidentPast PresidentSenior MemberMidterm MemberJunior MemberSecretary/TreasurerFounder
Bob HesselbeinUndetermined at press deadline
Bill Moon MullenJohn ShaferMike ScheuermanUndetermined at press deadline
John PowellLarry Clark
[email protected]@[email protected]
THE VHPA AVIATOR, THE OFFICIAL NEWSLETTER OF THE VIETNAM HELICOPTER PILOTS ASSOCIATION(ISSN 1930-5737) (USPS 001-497) is published six times yearly ~ January, March, May, July, September & November.
The VHPA is organized as a 501 (c ) (19) fraternal military organization and one copy of each newsletter is included in each of ourMembers Dues, yearly subscriptions to the Aviator are available to non-members for $36.00. Published by See David Adams, Enter-prises, LLC, 2900 Arbor Court, Round Rock, Texas, 78681 for the VHPA, headquartered at 2100 N. Highway 360, Suite 907, Grand
Prairie, TX 75050. Periodicals Publications postage paid at Round Rock, Texas and additional mailing points.POSTMASTER: Send address changes to VHPA HQ, 2100 N. Highway 360, Suite 907, Grand Prairie, TX 75050
E-mail i tems to The Aviator at: Av i a t o [email protected] . o r g
VHPAAviator Newsletter:[email protected]
VHPAWebSite:VHPA . o r g
VHPA Headquartersand Headquarter Staffcontact Information
VHPAOfficers, Members of the Executive Counciland National Committee Chairman - 2014-2015
Reunion Site Selection
VHPA Marketing &Fundraising
VHPA Calendar Project
David Adams, Editor/PublisherTom Kirk, Asst. Editor
John SorensenJack Salm, Asst. Chair
Mike Sloniker, ChairmanBob Hesselbein, Asst. Chair
Bob Smith, ChairmanBob Potvin, Asst. Chair
Mike Poindexter, Legal Advisor
Mike Sheuerman, Chairman
Gary Roush, Editor & ChairmanMike Law, Asst, ChairMike Law, ChairmanGary Roush, Asst. Chair
Bob Hesselbein, Chairman
Gary Roush, Editor & ChairmanMike Law, Asst, Chair
Moon Mullen, ChairmanBob Hesselbein, Asst. Chair
Tom Payne, ChairmanMike Sheuerman, Asst. Chair
John Shafer, Asst Chair
Moon Mullen, ChairmanJohn Shafer, Asst. Chair
Mike Law, ChairmanGary Roush, Asst. Chair
[email protected]@[email protected]@aol.com
[email protected]@[email protected]@[email protected]
AVIATOR PRIVACY STATEMENTThe VHPA Aviator contains member privacy information the VHPA considers proprietary and confidential.
This information, including but not limited to the VHPA Chapter list, shall not be used forcommercial solicitation purposes or for any correspondence related thereto without prior
written authorization from the VHPA president. Correspondence relating to commercial purposesor solicitations shall only be sent to the VHPA Officers, Committee Chairmen and/or Staff listed in this publication.
National Committee Chairmen and Committee Assistants
IImmppoorrttaanntt nneewwss ccoonncceerrnniinngg oouurrMMeemmbbeerrsshhiipp DDiirreeccttoorryy ccuutt--ooffff DDaatteeThe deadline for new information and changes for the
paper and CD membership directories is 15 August 2014.Please send changes and updates to HQ at [email protected] go online to https://directory.vhpa.org/ and make yourcontact information updates and changes before the cut-offdate. From the left side menu, select Update My Informa-tion to see what is currently onfile with the VHPA and thenmake any needed correctionsthere. The online membershipdirectory is updated weekly,but the paper and CD directo-ries are only updated rightbefore they are printed.If you want a paper or CDmembership directory for2014, please notify HQ by 1September of this year.There is an extra charge for these directo-ries and after September 1st, the price goes up because we donot print many extra copies and in fact, they may no longerbe available. This is particularly important for our LifeMembers as there are no personalized written reminder ofthese dates made to you from our HQ. As always, the directories will be printed in September andmailed in October. Any questions, please let me know.
GGaarryy RRoouusshhMMeemmbbeerrsshhiipp DDiirreeccttoorryy EEddiittoorr
Who would have guessed some forty-plus years ago when we were worryingabout RPM, torque, gunfire and a flickering master caution light that somedaywe would share an organization created to honor those very moments of highexcitement? One of the VHPA articles of incorporation states our mission is toenhance and accredit the cohesiveness, espirit de corps, and traditions ofvalor I interpret that to mean gathering, remembering and honoring our fel-low pilots and crewmen--the ones who were lions in the air, the ones who werecharacters on the ground, and those who kept us going regardless of the situation,good or bad.Although we are now decades past our combat experience in Southeast Asia,
the VHPA mission statement is sustained by unpaid volunteer members, individ-uals who do a great deal of the important grunt work required to keep our organi-zation energized and successful. They quietly work in the background, and we allbenefit from their labor on our behalf. They are superb!If you look at our new masthead on page three of this issue, you will see a dutyroster of our volunteers and their contact information, but the list is incomplete.As examples, VHPA members Robert Howard, Rick Couch and Larry Wintzroutinely augment the office staff at the Grand Prairie HQ and assist withadministrative functions; others, such as the members of the Ohio River LZChapter, made the superb, 31st Annual Reunion at Louisville a resounding suc-cess; and others members quietly step forward to staff other special projects.How many more years will we be able to sustain our level of participation is
uncertain, but each day brings us closer to our final checkride. We are remind-ed of that when we read the Aviators Taps section. It is not a cheery thought, butwe are beginning to age out, and it is a reality we must begin planning for withinour last man standing organization. We certainly dont need to establish thedeconstruction plan this month, but sometime in the next few years a seriousconversation will have to begin. In the meantime, the VHPA needs more members to join our band of volun-
teers. Many committees are operating without a copilot to take the controls ifsomething happens to the aircraft commander. We need redundancy to ensurethe VHPA mission is not interrupted. Now, despite your fathers advice toNever volunteer, son, you have in the past (to earn your wings) and you shouldconsider it now. I guarantee youll find the duties fulfilling.Amazing! Forty-some years since we shared the fire of combat, and still our
brotherhood remains bonded and strong! Who would have guessed wed surviveour time of combat, endure, and continue to enjoy the friendship of our com-rades-in-arms?
FFRROOMM TTHHEE SSTTAAFFFF AATT HHQQ!!We still have a few t-shirts left from R2013 in San Francis-co and R2011 in Orlando. If anyone is interested, call HQto see if we have your size available. Thank you so much to the members that have called or
sent in their changes to contact information! This assuresthat you do not miss any issues of your newsletter. If youhave not received an issue lately, give us a call to make sure wehave your correct address on file. If you move, please to let usknow your new address!Also, you can go on line to https://directory.vhpa.org andlog in with your member number, then set up a password oruse your social security number. Then on the left side will bea box with red lettering that says Other Services. UnderOther Services will be a box that says Update My Infor-mation. Click on this button and you can make updatesdirectly to your information.Please remember that the deadline to order paper or CDdirectories for 2014 is August 31. The directories will beshipped to you in October. You can place an order by callingHQ at 800-505-8472.As always, our goal is to make VHPA the best it can be foryou, the members! If there is anything that we can do tomake that happen, PLEASE LET US KNOW!
SShheerrrryy RRooddggeerrssVVHHPPAA OOffffiiccee MMaannaaggeerr
FFrroomm tthhee PPrreessiiddeenntt ooff tthhee VVHHPPAA --BBOOBB HHEESSSSEELLBBEEIINN
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The Pilot in Command that day was WO Ron Snider; I,WOWm E. Rob Roberts, was the co-pilot. Our crewchief that day was SP4 Mark Lennick and our DoorGunner was PFC Dave Haglund. We were flyingour 5th log (code for ash and trash) mission forthe day. This one was to Fire Base Eagle's Nest (asmall outpost onamountain-top, several thousandfeet high) that overlooked the entire A Shau Val-ley. As it turned out, the crash of Huey 17658occurred just as the battle for Hamburger Hill wascoming toaclose.Prior to this terrible day: all of our aircraft and flight
crewmembers had seenmany, many long and treacheroushours of flying Combat Assault Missions into and out of thearea of theBattle forHamburgerHill. On the 10th ofMay, 1969,we kickedoffOperationApache Snowwhichquickly changed into theBattle forHam-burgerHill. ByMay 31st, our flight crews from TheLancers of BCompa-ny, 158 Assault Helicopter Battalion, 101st Airborne Division were dogtired, having flown combat missions both day and night. The idea of thecrewrest reg.was just a figmentofour imagination.Captain Dan Martin was our Platoon Leader; he was an exceptional
Leader, both brave and competent. I learned a great deal fromhim. I believethathe is probably the reason I amalive today. Most of the crewshad rotatedinto Vietnam together from Ft. Carson Colorado in February of 1969. BCompany first set up in Da Nang then moved to Camp Evans, our base atthe start of the Battle forHamburger Hill. InApril and May of 1969,B Company had abunch of brand newPeter Pilots rotate in,one of which was yourstruly. I was assigned toCaptain Dan MartinsPlatoon; and I ended upflying mostly with himand Warrant OfficersDan Shea, Ron Snider,"Doc"Smith,EdSakenesandBenF. Sutton. I hadthe opportunity to learna great deal. I watchedwhat others were doingand I did as I was told.Those were the rules forusFNG's.On this particular day we departed Camp Sally just after noon on a rou-
tine resupply mission. The mission brief directed us to begin with a resup-ply drop to a Landing Zone in the vicinity of Dong Ap Bia (HamburgerHill itself) and then continue to EaglesNest. After radio contact was estab-lished with Eagles Nest, we requested they pop smoke , since there wereno Pathfinders or Ground Guides around to help us. The men (Infantrytroops from the 2ndBattalion of the 501st Infantry) did just that.Wewereable to determine that we needed to make our pinnacle approach into thewind, heading roughly south to southwest. We made our approach andcame to a 5 foot hover - when all of a sudden, out of the corner of my eye, Isaw the swirl of a object being blown into our aircraft by the rotor wash.The crash that followed started with a loud bang, immediately followed
by the complete loss of anti-torque control.The aircraft started a violent one hundred-eighty degree turn tothe left. The pilot did not cut the throttle, but immediatelyreduced the collective pitch to crash land the aircraft. The leftskid hit the ground first, then the right skid, the Hueyremainedupright and aircraft skidded to the right 2 or 3 feet.Then my right seat frame collapsed, the skids collapsed andthe crossmembersweredrivenup into thehardpoints of theairframe. Thebanghappenedwhen the short-shaft explodeddue to the sudden stoppage of the tail rotor. What caused theaccident? It seems that a poncho liner hadbeenblown into theair where the rotor wash carried it into the tail rotor and that's
whenall hell broke loose!Aswehit the groundand the aircraft came toahalt, I rememberpulling
the emergency door jettison handle, and running for safety. I thought, surelythe aircraft was going to catch fire and explode, but thank God, that didnt
happen. A momentlater I returned to theaircraft and assistedwith the shut down.The Huey was sobadly damaged it hadto be taken back tothe factory for a com-plete rebuild. All ofus aircrew wereMedevacd to theField Hospital at PhuBia. There were nomajor injuries amongany of us andwewereback flying the nextday.As an aside, if the
PIC had followed theEmergency Proce-
dures for a Tail Rotor Failure and chopped the throttle, we wouldhave most likely slammed into the Bunkers on top of that mountain;and continued over the side falling several thousand feet to the valleyfloorbelow. Wewouldcertainlyhave all beenkilled!Actually, thiswas the second time Ihad gonedown in the first thirtydays of flying with the Lancers. The first time was on a flight withCWOSnyder at the controls. Wewere at a high hover, (around one -hundred fifty feet) due to the tall trees, during a troop re-supply onHamburgerHill. Wecameunder fire anda roundhad struck the rotorhead. We flew the remainder of the mission and made it back to the
Valley Floor. After shutdown, we found that the mast bumping retainingstophadbeen shotoff - Just anotherdaywith theLancers !Forty years later I foundout that67-17658hadbeen rebuilt, servedwith sev-eralUSArmy stateside units andwas now sitting at theWarBirdMuseum inCapeCanaveral, Florida where it was beingmaintained in flying condition. Itook the opportunity to visit there one summer day, along with my father.The men of the War Bird Museum let me sit in her cockpit and the smellsbroughtbackevery feelingIhadonthatday inMay, so long, longago.....
E-Mail: [email protected]
The story of the last flight of Huey 67-17658by Wm E. Rob Roberts
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bbyy JJiimm CCaammeerroonnApril 27, 1969 about 8 AM our crew was assigned a defoliant mission
in the Da Nang area. I was the PP in my 2nd month in-country flying aUH-1D Huey from the 176th AHC (Minuteman), 14th Btn., Ameri-cal Div. We flew to the 3MAAF (aka the ROK Marines) base pad onthe beach at the Southern perimeter of Da Nang not far from the end ofthe runways. A US Sp4 directed the ROK Marines in loading a largetank in the cargo area with sprayers that extended a couple of feet pastthe Crew Chief and Gunner seats on each sideWe had spray pipewings!!This was my first and last time seeing the ROK Marines in action. A
Lt. used his boot like nobody I have ever seen to inspire his soldiers to getthe tank on and liquid into the tank. Boots work--it didn't take long. Wewould see this action every time we returned to refill the tank and wewere the only ones laughing. On the 2nd refill, we went to their ChowHall for cokes and got to meet Miss South Korea from the 1968 MissUniverse Pageant who was visiting her troops to boost morale. We gavethe usual how doyou do, nice tomeetcha, smile,smile, bow andwent back to work.
TThhee MMiissssiioonn:: Go to the area
near their WesternPerimeter whereCharlie was hidingand spray theGreen vegetation soit will turn brownin 48 hours, wewere told. Wehooked up with 2Cobras from the F/8Blue Ghosts and weled while they trailed to blow away the VC should we take fire. From thebeach, we got on the North end of the Tree/Jungle line that extended afew clicks inland and started our spray runs heading South and insidethe tree line and with each oval pass we worked toward the beach. TheDefoliant (Agent Orange) dropped like rain. We made several runs andrefills during the morning and heard a few AK pops, but could not iden-tify a target and drop a smoke, so the Cobras never got to do their thing.After a few, we were fed lunch, then went to Da Nang to refuel. Thebreak lasted a couple of hours. We loaded up for the first afternoon run and then the I will never for-
get this event happened. We started our first run that was now takingus to the edge of the jungle where it met a field with grass and some scat-tered trees. We were straight and level at 60 knots, at about 50' high asusual and the AC was in control while I was looking at the tree line, aswas the gunner who had a smoke grenade in his hand ready to mark atarget-- gunships trailing by one half click at altitude--SOP for this mis-sion.Suddenly there were people coming out of the jungleI had my hand
lightly on the cyclic mike and the gunner was yelling dinks in the open,when I pressed the button and yelled Cease Fire My pilots' eyes pickedup a camouflage helmet as I was about to direct the Cobras to go hot.The A/C spotted them at the same time and saw the platoon of the USMarines apparently on a scouting mission. He immediately did a hardleft turn and came around again to see 30 Marines smiling and waving atus as we passed by. I don't remember what the Cobra guys were saying
on the radio, but it was not real positive.We were SHOOK! Those Marines will never know how close they
came to friendly fire and a very bad day. We radioed HQ and reportedthe incident and ended the mission. I never heard about it again.I have a clear recollection of this experience and thank God for good
eyes and a slow trigger finger.
JJiimm CCaammeerroonnCCWW22,, 117766tthh AAHHCC
PS: I extended my tour inViet Nam to 18 monthsto get the early out andworked Southern I Corpsthe whole time withoutany other incident quitelike this one.
JJiimm CCaammeerroonn iinn VViieettnnaamm
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RROOKK ssoollddiieerrss ffiilllliinngg uupp tthhee sspprraayy ssyysstteemmssttaannkkss wwiitthh aaggeenntt oorraannggee..
George photographs a couple in his tour groupEvery year since 2008, Ive taken a group of 25 to the heart
of the Central Highlands of Vietnam. We tour Saigon first thenthe Mekong Delta. Three nights in Pleiku and one in Kontumallows us time for visits from Camp Enari to Ben Het includingMontagnard Villages and orphanages. We see Kontum,Dakto, Tan Canh, and much more. We drive the passes onthe way to the beach resorts of Quy Nhon and Nha Trang.Have lunch in An Khe. We will stop where you want and seewhat you came to see. This tour is about your return experi-ence. See the web site for detailed itinerary.
The tour starts in Saigon on Jan 22 and ends there Feb 3.The costs is $1620 per person/double occupancy, single sup-plement $575. Included is transportation on our 40 passengerA/C bus (with Wi-Fi), in-country flights, hotels, most meals,entrance fees, English speaking guide and lots more. Tourextensions to Delat and Angkor Wat are available. Not includ-ed is your roundtrip flight to Vietnam.
For full details and to register for this tour, go to our website at: www.Brothersforever.us or
contact me directly at 540-220-9266 (cell),800-248-1690 (office) or [email protected]
George DeSerres, CW4, RetFlight class 66-13,
Gun Pilot for 189th AHC and 117th AHC,Slick Pilot for the 189th AHC
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Blending espionage and modern submarine warfare in a thrilling debut from Commander (USN Retired) RICK CAMPBELL, who served four tours
Fans who are saddened by the demise of Tom Clancy will welcome Campbells debut.Publishers Weekly
I couldnt put it down. Compelling and thrilling, this bookis a must read.Jack Coughlin, bestselling author of Shooter
A fistfight of a thriller. A masterpiece. Dalton Fury, former Delta Force and bestselling author of Kill Bin Laden
Get Your Copy Today Wherever Books Are Sold rickcampbellauthor.com
Army Officer Candidate SchoolFort Knox, KY ~ 1965-1968
An OCS at Fort Knox All Class Reunionis scheduled for October 9-12, 2014
in Louisville, KY.
For more information about the reunion and the firstever book about OCS at Fort Knox during 1965-1968,Contact Doug at 970-206-0624or email [email protected]
The DistinguishedFlying Cross Society
ANNUALCONVENTION!September 21-25th, 2014
Sheraton Sand Key Resort,Clearwater Beach/St. Petersburg, Florida
For more information go to:WWW.DFCSOCIETY.ORG
or Call the Reunion BRAT at360-663-2521
or email:[email protected]
Activities planned include visits to the Armed ForcesMilitary Museum, Mac Dill AFB and Clearwater MarineAquarium. Our Hospitality Room is open throughout theGathering and this year, our formal closing dinner willespecially honor the DFC Recipients of the Korean War.
Page 8 The VHPA Aviator
The moment was complete lyunanticipated. We were surround-ed : two he l i copter p i lo t s and acrew ch i e f , one in f antr yman , aMarine captain and his Vietnamesecount e rp a r t . We were de ep inUncle Hos territory and surround-e d by doz ens o f ve t e r an Nor thV i e tname s e so l d i e r s who werecomfortable in jungle terrain andnighttime conditions. They knewexac t l y where we were , who wewere , and fu l l y under s tood ourlimited ability to defend ourselves.But it was not a place or time of
mor ta l combat ; i t wa s Saturdayevening , September 7, 2013 in theMoung Thanh Hotel dining room.We were f ive American veteransand one Vietnamese interpreter.Worn, and still wearing the shorts and t-shirts ofthe days long walk through the old French-Viet-namese battlefields of Dien Bien Phu, we foundourselves fully surrounded by older, well-dressedVietnamese gentlemen and their wives . Ourinte rpre t e r wa s d i s c re t e l y a sked i f we wereFrenchmen visiting the 1954 battlefield whereFrance surrendered over ten - thousand men tothe V iet Minh . The group became animatedwhen informed that we were American soldiers,returning to Vietnam for the first time since ourcombat tours some forty-plus years ago. Theywere also veterans, visiting Dien Bien Phu for amilitary reunion of their own; and asked us tojoin them.Theses surviving North Vietnamese soldiers
of the 324th Division, Peoples Army of VietNam (PAVN), had fought aga inst us : in I Corp from 1967 through TET, LAM SON 719and the DMZ battles of 1975. They had servedthroughout the years of the American War, andwe were the first Americans they had met outside of battle.Bridging the gap of 40 years, this weaponless reintroduc-
tion was an amazing reunion of smiles and respect . Itinc luded the shar ing of f ami ly p ic tures , and awkwardattempts to bridge the communication gap of unshared lan-guages. We old American veterans were quickly scatteredamong the tables of old Vietnamese soldiers while ourinterpreter strived to choreograph the many different con-versations.Frankly, the unplanned engagement shook me. After
meeting these fellow survivors of war, our enemies, I had to
excuse myself . I stepped out of the room to deal with astunning epiphany. Those I sought to destroy in 1972 fromthe cockpit of a heavily armed attack helicopter were equal-ly young , and desiring the same things for their future thatI wished for my own. The rea l ization was clear - theyfought to serve their country, just as we fought to serve ourown. I knew their conditions in the jungle were terrible.They fought without a chance of R & R or to return home,until their death or victory. Reflecting on the horror oftheir combat conditions, I was moved to tears by theirkindness and will ingness to not only overlook the war sdevastation but to celebrate survival with old opponents.
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As theevening pro-g ressed wejoined them ona long bus rideover bumpydir t roads toenjoy anevening ofnative Tai peo-ple s cu ltura ldances andexhibits. Strongrice moonshine,served by Tai women in traditional clothing , led to ablurry celebration that lasted very late into the night. Weparted reluctantly in the early hours of Sunday morningwith smiling nods and gentle handshakes in the Viet-namese manner, and the engagement came to an end.
Reflecting on my 2013 visit to Vietnam, I can reportthe devastated wartime landscapes I remembered are nowgone, recovered by fresh forest, farm fields and homes.My return to the former war zone revealed little to recognizebeyond the mountain skylines, rivers, rice paddies humidity andthe heat remembered in my daily thoughts. The recollections ofold, however, are now supplanted by fresh images and memoriesof a healing land and friendly, gracious people.
The greatest memory of my 2013 return, however, is not the
revisited jungles and fading battlefields of my combat days; it isthe unexpected meeting of former combatants who survived andjoined together in the Moung Thanh Hotel to prove old enemiescan remember and forgive.
BBoobb HHeesssseellbbeeiinnEE MMaaiill:: [email protected]@VVHHPPAA..oorrgg
Page 9 The VHPA Aviator
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BBoobb HHeesssseellbbeeiinn llooaaddiinngg rroocckkeettss iinn VViieettnnaamm,,aa ffeeww wweeeekkss aafftteerr hhiiss 2200tthh bbiirrtthhddaayy..
Page 10 The VHPA Aviator
In my 23 years in military aviation, I took many orientation rides.Naturally, I dont remember much about those rides with the excep-tion of one. That one happens to be my very first orientation ride.In January of 1970, I was assigned to D Troop 1/1 Cav, Chu LaiVietnam. I arrived at the unit along with two other pilots. We weretold that the commander was flying, and that he would welcome uslater in the day. In the meantime, we were taken to supply to drawour supplies and then shown to our hootches.Later that afternoon, we were summoned to the commanders
office. He welcomed us and explained the roll of the air cavalry. Heexplained that we would fly as a team and that there was always atleast one Loach for low level observation, one Cobra gunship forcover of the Loach or support of ground troops, and one Huey com-plete with a squad of Blues (Troop infantry) who performed detailedsearches or on occasion protection/recovery of a downed aircrew. Hetold us that he would like us to fly one week in each aircraft and thenwe could choose which platoon we wanted. He further explainedthat he would not require us to fly in Scouts, and that if we didchoose Scouts he didnt want us to fly Scouts for more than sixmonths. In flight school, we had been told that the average lifeexpectancy of a Scout pilot was six months, and I figured that the COhad pretty much confirmed that fact. I was married at the time andmy wife was eight months pregnant with our first child, so I reallydidnt want anything to do with Scouts. Unfortunately, I was num-ber three to pick what we were going to fly that first week and Scoutswere all that was left. During Tac-X in flight school, the instructorshad pounded into us that as newW-1s we were first going tohave to prove ourselves, and that initially we would beassigned the primary duty of monitoring the engineand transmission gauges when flying. I didnt feelthat saying that I didnt want to fly Scouts wouldreflect very well on me as a Newbie, so I reluctant-ly said Id try Scouts. After all, it would only befor a week, and what could happen in a week.I left the COs office and proceeded to the unit
lounge to meet the Scout Platoon leader, Cpt.LaFleur. When I entered the lounge I was greetedwith a cry of New Guy, and everyone raised theirdrinks. I looked around in amazement and noticedthis one guy at the bar who had this awesome handle-bar mustache. It didnt look regulation to me, but maybewe could get by with this kind of stuff in combat. The guybehind the bar explained the lounge payment system and asked mewhat he could get me. I ordered a drink and asked him to point outCpt. LaFleur. To my surprise, he pointed to the guy with the stash.I introduced myself and told Cpt. LaFleur that I would be flyingScouts my first week. Cpt. LaFleur first informed me that everyonecalled him Pepe, and that is would be OK to use his nicknamearound fellow crewmembers. He then asked me when I would beready to fly. Again, remembering Tac-X, I said, tomorrow. He saidhe was flying the next day and I could fly with him. He then pausedand said, Wait, you may not want to do that. Ive been shot downthe last three months between the 12th and 16th, and tomorrow isthe 12th. Damn that Tac-X. I told him again that I was ready to flyand would gladly fly with him.The next morning, Cpt. LaFleur met me at the flight-line and we
started with a map orientation of our area-of-operation (AO). Hepointed out two valleys and stated that this was where most of therockets that hit Chu Lai came from. They were appropriately called
the North and South Rocket Pockets. He also stated that our unithad a daily first-light and last-light mission, and that those missionswere normally flown in the Rocket Pockets. He further pointed outan area in the Southern Rocket Pocket called the Horse Shoe. Thename came from the fact that a river had a bend that resembled ahorse shoe. Pepe stated that this was a bad area and that this is wherehe had been shot down. I dont remember how many times he said it,but think it was more than once. After the map orientation, we werebriefed on our first-light mission. We were to perform a visual recon-
naissance (VR) in the Northern Rocket Pocket. Thank Godthat didnt include the Horse Shoe. With any luck, I
could avoid that area during my week in Scouts.We then proceeded to the flight line, and
Cpt. LaFleur showed me the preflight inspec-tion of an OH-6. He also briefed me on theAR-15 that I would be carrying as theobserver in the left seat. With that done,we climbed in along with the door gunnerRuss Elderbaum who sat behind Pepe.After securing ourselves, Pepe showed methe start-up procedures, established radiocontact with the Gunship and Huey, and wewere off. Immediately, I saw that we were fly-
ing at about 10 off the ground, and I felt like atarget-of-opportunity. While I was hoping that we
would eventually gain altitude, we never did. On theway to the VR area, Pepe was pointing out numerous land marks.
Once we were in the assigned area, we began slow right hand circlesso that Pepe could see and report findings, and the door gunner couldprovide evasive cover in case of enemy contact. I was in the left seat,and not only didnt I see what they were reporting, my ride was some-what like that of a merry-go-round. I was able to fight off the dizzi-ness, but I was becoming frustrated at not seeing anything that theywere reporting. Then we got a radio call from base operations statingthat there had been enemy activity in the Horse Shoe the nightbefore and that our mission was changed. We were enroute to theHorse Shoe. While I felt a sense of panic, I was comforted by thecool demeanor of Cpt. LaFleur. He was calmly pointing out newlandmarks and showed no concern about going into the Horseshoe.Upon arriving on station, we made several high speed passes so as
not to pose an easy target if enemy were still present. Seeing noenemy and taking no fire, we slowed down to perform a detailedVR. After a short while, Pepe came to a hover and started sliding
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sideways. He reported a trail with boot prints. As we progressed, thetrail came in view on my side. Finally I could see what he was report-ing, and I was just starting to feel a sense of accomplishment when allof a sudden there was a volley of automatic gun fire and plexiglassbegan flying everywhere. I looked forward to see what was going onand I was staring down the barrel of five or six enemy weapons thatwere ablaze and pointed directly at us. Pepe rather calmly reportedtaking fire and spun the aircraft around to put the tail towards theenemy. And then, as I heard the engine winding down, Pepe rathercalmly, said going down. How in the hell could this guy stay socalm with all that was happening? I looked down and saw that wewere headed for what I equated to a small Kansas farm pond. Later Ifound out it was a water filled Arc-Light bomb crater. We settledinto the water and the aircraft immediately rolled right. InstantlyPepe was under water and started flailing around. I could onlybelieve that he had been shot. As we were settling further in thewater, I analyzed that this water couldnt be that deep and that myside of the aircraft probably wouldnt go under. I purposely left myseat belt on to give me some leverage in lifting Pepe out. By this timeI could feel Pepe kicking me in the chest and shoulder and realizedthat he was diving instead of coming to the top of the water. I bentdown under water and struggled to get him turned around andpushed out through my door. As I got him part way out the door, thedoor gunner was outside the aircraft helping me wrestle him outbetween me and the door post. As we got him free, I suddenly real-ized that I had miscalculated, and that I was going under water too.As the water came up over my chin, I began struggling to get out. Ifound that I was pinned for some reason. I began to panic and strug-gled harder, but I still couldnt get free. I was going to drown. I tooka final breath before my head went under and continued trying tofree myself for a short while. Then I stopped as I realized it was fornaught. It became very dark under water, and when I could hold mybreath no longer and my lungs began to fill with water, I said a finalprayer asking God to take care of my wife and unborn child. Thiswas how my life was going to end. And then the strangest thing hap-pened. It got very bright, almost blinding light and I felt someonegently touch my shoulder and a quiet voice said one word, seatbelt.It dawned on me that I had purposely left my seat belt fastened forleverage. I used my last ounce of strength to unfasten the belt and getmy head above water. As I came up choking, other crewmembers saidthat I popped up out the aircraft like a Jack-in-the-Box. Once out, Ifound Pepe still gasping for air, but he stated that he hadnt beenshot. He said that he was struggling because he couldnt figure outwhich way was up.Fortunately, it turned out that the aircraft did not go completely
under. The left side of the belly and left skid were sticking out of the
water. I say fortunately, because it provided some cover from theenemy who were still firing at us in the water. We were sitting ducks.The Cobra came to a high hover over us and was firing on the enemy.We were hunkered down, standing on the right skid, and firing our.38s over our heads in the general direction of the enemy.Suddenly,the door gunner slid over the side of the aircraft and dove back inside.I assumed that he was going to try to get his M-60, but when he cameback up he had his arms full of FRAG grenades that he carried in theback of the aircraft. We started pulling pins and tossing FRAGs.Then we saw that the Huey on short final to extract us was making ago-around for some reason. I dont know if our grenades killed anyenemy, but they had managed to drive our rescue aircraft off. Thecrew later reported that they thought our FRAGs were some type ofheavy enemy fire. When we stopped throwing grenades, the Hueywas immediately hovering over the bomb crater and the Blues were atthe door waving us over. The enemy were still shooting and theHuey door gunners were returning fire. The whole time the Cobrawas still hovering and providing cover. It was apparent that everyonewas laying down their lives to try to save us. God bless the brother-hood, although as a Newbie I didnt understand that concept yet.The door gunner and I helped Pepe over to the aircraft and the Bluespulled him in. Then the door gunner and I grabbed the skid andwith the help of the Blues got inside the aircraft.As we lifted-off, I laid on the floor, and my mind began runningamuck. I tried to comprehend what had just happened, and I beganto shake severely. We were soaked, and it was quite cold with thewind blowing through the aircraft with the doors open. Actually, Imsure that more than anything, I was shaking from coming down froman adrenaline rush. Enroute back to the flight line, it was confirmedthat we had all made it out of the aircraft unharmed.Back at operations, we were met by the commander and what seemedlike the whole unit. Everyone was patting us on the back, and I gotribbed about getting my cherry broken on my first mission. TheCommander asked me what I thought of Loaches and if I wanted tocontinue flying Scouts. Damn that Tac-X, I again said yes. Thatevening we had a Battalion Hail and Farewell, and when the com-mander introduced me, he told the story of my first flight in Vietnamand stated that I told him that I wanted to continue flying Scouts.While I might have said that, I damn sure meant for the rest of theweek, not for good.AAFFTTEERRWWOORRDD ~~ One month after this incident, I was checked
out to fly scouts as the aircraft commander and was flying as part of aheavy team. We were diverted to perform a bomb damage assessment(BDA) of a suspected enemy base camp on the side of a mountain. Iapproached the area at a higher speed as Pepe had shown me. We sawa number of bunkers, but no enemy. As I reached the top of themountain and started to swing back down, I had a check-valve failureand settled through 75 trees on the side of a mountain. We sus-tained only minor injuries. After a frantic low-crawl to a small openarea, we made it out with the help of the other Loach pilot whopulled us out one at a time and took us down to a landing area largeenough for a Huey. Once again, the Cobras guarded over us with noconcern for their own safety. You gotta love the Air Cavalry conceptand teamwork. It looked like I was continuing Pepes string of goingdown between the 12th and 16th of each month. The followingmonth I went to the flight surgeon on the 11th and asked to begrounded. When I told him my story, he agreed that it made sense,and grounded me. On the 17th, I was placed back on flight status,and that seemed to break the streak. I flew Loaches the rest of mytour and although I took hits numerous times, I didnt crash again.So much for an only six-month life expectancy.
GGaarryy KKrreehhbbiieellEE--MMaaiill:: [email protected]@ccooxx..nneett
Page 11 The VHPA Aviator
CClloossee uupp pphhoottoo ooff tthhee lleefftt sseeaatt aarreeaa wwhheerree GGaarryy wwaass ff llyyiinngg tthhaatt ddaayy..WWhhiillee GGaarryy wwaass ttaakkiinngg tthheessee pphhoottooss,, aa uunniitt mmaaiinntteennaannccee mmaann,, nnoott kknnooww--iinngg wwhhoo GGaarryy wwaass,, ccoommmmeenntteedd ttoo hhiiss ffrriieennddss ""DDaammnn,, II ffeeeell ssoorrrryy ffoorr tthhaattgguuyy iinn tthhee lleefftt sseeaatt..""
Page 12 The VHPA Aviator
LLooookkiinngg FFoorr tthhiiss mmaann..Editors note: Out of the blue this week Chris Jensen sent methis remarkable photo in the hopes that one of our memberscould ID the pilotshown.
In his E-Mail, Chrissaid I was a motionpicture photographerwith the 221st SignalCompany in Vietnamand took this picturewith my personal cam-era at Khe Sanh earlyin 1971. Last month Iwas sorting throughmy old negativesbefore scanning themonto a CD when Ithought this pilot might like a copy of this photo.
So, if you can help me in this mission, please contact me atthe below E-mail address and well get the ball rolling!
Thanks, Chris Jensen, Bethlehem, NH
E-mail : [email protected]
Jim Crawford,Kevin Vislocky,Tommy Hickey,and Jeff Cartwrightcelebrating theloading of M-Model64-14179
Tom Egleston, Jim Crawford andTommy Hickey celebrate againafter M-Model 64-14179 is loaded
Paul E. BartlettVietnam Veteran Helicopter Pilot
413-329-0168 Cellwww.He l i P l a qu e . c om
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Complete with laser image options that include:Aircraft ~ Unit Patches ~ Photographs
Plaque insert options include: Medal Challenge Coins, Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Air Medal, Vietnam Veteran Coin and
all levels of Aviator and Crew Wings. Coin Inserts can be made removable
to expose engraved information on their back.Business
Ever wondered if you can still do that backflip off of the divingboard? How about hitting that curveball from your baseball playingdays? How about flying that trainer you flew in flight school? I have,and although the first two questions will remain unanswered, thepossibility of answering the third question just needed the place andthe opportunity. This past June, the planets lined up, and I foundmyself at the controls of what I thought to be the modern version ofthe venerable Mattel Messerschmitt, the Hughes TH-55A. It wasn'tthe aircraft I trained in (the H-23), but it was the aircraft I flew as aprimary IP for two years, in 1968-69, at Ft. Wolters.
Earlier thisyear, an out-of-the-blue phonecall from Bill"Moon" Mullen(the new VHPAPresident) set inmotion a series ofevents that led to another checkmark on my bucket list. I had recent-ly joined the VHPA, Bill had seen my name and address on the newmember list, noticed that I lived only 45 minutes away, and invitedme to meet him for lunch. We met, answered the prerequisite"Where were you, who were you with, and when were you there?"questions, and I apparently left him with a good enough impressionthat he invited me down to an annual fundraiser for his local airport.The "where's and when's" were listed on a flyer he gave me, and Inoticed that they were going to offer helicopter and airplane rides.That perked my interest and I contacted the airport to find out whowas going to conduct the helicopter rides. Hi-Tech Helicopters (atthe Pocono Mountains Municipal Airport) was the answer and Ifound out that they offered the gamut of helicopter flight trainingfrom private to CFI flight ratings. Hmmm, I thought, this is gettinginteresting. When I asked what kind of aircraft they flew, the answercame back, "its a Sikorsky Global S-300CBi". The time, place andopportunity had finally come together. A number of phone calls ande-mails ensued to coordinate schedules and I booked an hour'sworth of stick time for the end of June.
When the long awaited day finally arrived, my cousin (a helicopterFNG) and I drove down and met the instructor. We went throughthe basic info, and the instructor and I took off for a local area flight.It was a beautiful day for flying. We toured the area, flew a couple oftraffic patterns, and hovered for a few minutes. I had a great time,although I did question why a grizzled, 66 yr. old, veteran combathelicopter pilot would have allowed someone who looked like hehad just graduated from 8th grade take him up in any kind of air-craft. My senior bias had been very quickly allayed, by the instruc-tor's professionalism and personality. After 40 minutes we landedand I let him take my cousin up for his first ever helicopter flight, fortwenty minutes. In retrospect, I graded my own flight at about a C,maybe a C-. A little overcorrecting, a little late on the throttleadjustments, and a little too much time with my head in the cockpit.No pink slip, though. Not too bad after a 38 year hiatus, and mostimportantly, it was fun.
Now if I could just find a generous Huey Owner :)JJoohhnn ""PPeeppee"" LLaaDDuuee
BB&&DD//222277tthh AAHHBB,, 11sstt CCaavv DDiivv,, 11996666--11996677EE--MMaaiill:: [email protected]@yyaahhoooo..ccoomm
Page 13 The VHPA Aviator
BBuucckkeett LLiisstt CChheecckkmmaarrkkbbyy JJoohhnn ""PPeeppee"" LLaaDDuuee
TToo TThhee EEddiittoorr ooff tthhee VVHHPPAA AAvviiaattoorr,,In response to Ira McComics excellent story in our April-May issue
about landing a Cobra on a Barge. For me a similar experience did notcome with any previous instructions, let alone an experienced instructorpilot.One day, while staging out of Rach Gai during the wet season, fuel could
not be flown in to our refueling pad by our CH-47s. Our mission was run-ning a little long and I became concerned what we were going to do for gaswhen our C&C Bird came up with the brilliant idea for us to just fly out tothe barge where all the fuel was coming from anyway and what a mistakethat was. I should have known what was ahead when I contacted the bargeand told them what I wanted to do, but I didnt exactly know just wherethey were. Not a problem said the man on the radio, Just fly due west outinto the South China Sea and when we hear your rotor blades, well furtherdirect you in. About 20 stressful minutes later I saw a postage stampfloating in the water and heard that same radio man say were right onyour nose about one mile away, youre cleared to land on the port side. Of course I didnt have any idea what the port side meant, but to this day
I can recall his exact next words - When all of the Whiskeys gone, the Portis Left. What color is Port, Red. Meaning the red light is on the left side.Then, after having that damn barge bob and pitch for 3 or 4 minutes underme due to choppy seas, I finally committed to bottoming the pitch the nexttime it touched my skids; the landing was harrowing, scary and pitted mystomach. But at least I got some really needed fuel. When it came time fortakeoff with our 1,250 pounds of fresh fuel, we had more fun trying toclear the barbed wire fencing that surrounded the barges deck, but thats astory for another day. All in all, it was a truly memorable experience.
DDoonnnn MMiixxeerr WWiilliimmzziikk AAppaacchhee 3311,, GGuunn PPllaattoooonn,, AA TTrroooopp,, 77//11 AAiirr CCaavv
EE--MMaaiill:: [email protected]@ssbbccgglloobbaall..nneett
TToo tthhee EEddiittoorr ooff tthhee VVHHPPAA AAvviiaattoorr,, I closed my story (return to Vietnam, Issue 32-05 of the VHPA Aviator)
about the tour of Vietnam my wife, Sharon, and I enjoyed in 2012 with astatement about my desire to take our son Marcos back to Vietnam if theopportunity ever presented itself. Well the opportunity did open up againand in March 2014, Marcos and I traveled the 2014 version of our 2012tour itinerary. We again had an awesome adventure.Today I really dont want to send you another story about what we saw
and did but I did want the membership to know that on this tour, orga-nized by VHPA member George DeSerres under the auspices of his tourcompany Brothers Forever, we were offered plenty of free time for explor-ing on our own. Our group travels were unrestricted except for our visits tothe Jarai and Bahnar Montagnard villages which were first coordinatedwith the government. Im told that generally, Montagnard villages are gen-erally "Off Limits" without government approval. I can also report that the,free time, self directed touring in the cities we visited was pleasant, interest-ing and safe. Safe from crime that is, crossing the streets on foot is anothermatter.I want the Membership to also know that it will be my pleasure to
encourage and assist veterans interested in returning to Vietnam. Remem-ber that I really do not have a dog in the hunt in the Return to VietnamTour business and I will be glad to offer some neutral advice to anyonethinking about returning to Vietnam. Feel free to contact me at the belowe-mail address.
SStteepphheenn WWiilllleetttt,, GGhhoosstt RRiiddeerr [email protected]@ggmmaaiill..ccoomm
TToo tthhee EEddiittoorr ooff tthhee VVHHPPAA AAvviiaattoorr,,Because people are now able to manipulate photographic images with
digital computer programs, the graduating class at Hunter Army Airfieldon 18 November 1969 (Class 69-37) is the only graduating class photo-graph of that era where each graduating member can be identified on theactual photograph. For some reason the primary flight school photographs
taken at Fort Wolters has the name of each class member on each photo-graph, however each of the advanced flight school photographs at FortHunter are just unidentified aviators taken in a group photograph..Hopefully, someone in the membership could add the names to both the
ORWAC and WORWAC group photographs so every member of eachclass can be identified on the actual photograph. The time to tackle theseprojects is fast approaching the point where if it isn't performed soon, thephotographs will become just a collection of photographs with namelessfaces staring back at the viewer with all those aviators faces never identified!Interested in helping me? Contact
EErriicc BBrraayyEE--MMaaiill:: [email protected]@aalluummnnii..oogglleetthhoorrppee..eedduu
TToo tthhee EEddiittoorr ooff tthhee VVHHPPAA AAvviiaattoorrDavid, I didnt mean to clutter your inbox, but I wanted you to have a
chance to feel as good as I do about the contact I made with Kenny Kile,the man that sent us a Looking For. Information concerning the deathof SP4 John Terrence (Terry) Kile letter that that we ran in this last issue. I was really able to help Kenny learn a lot about the death of his little
brother and I was also able to provide several more leads to him aboutTerrys life in Vietnam with D Co, 227th AHB. I know this is exactly why the Looking for column exists, and I am sure
this was far from the only time when a request has produced positiveresults; but to me theres nothing quite like the satisfaction that comes fromhelping someone fill a hole in their life. I dearly love The Aviator andGarys database and the membership directory on the website. Thanks forall you do on behalf of the rest of us.
TToo tthhee EEddiittoorr ooff tthhee VVHHPPAA AAvviiaattoorr,, I received my copy of your newsletter today, what a great publication.
You guys do a nice job on it.Thank you very much, for both the copy of your newsletter and for pre-
senting my poem so nicely. I am grateful that Veterans will see it. It feelsvery special to me and I can't thank you enough. It feels like I won a prizefor my writing! I will treasure it always and I hope your readers enjoyed thepoem.
CCoonnnniiee BBoommsstteeaaddAAuutthhoorr ooff llaasstt iissssuueess SStteeeell HHoorrsseess ppooeemm
TToo tthhee EEddiittoorr ooff tthhee VVHHPPAA AAvviiaattoorr,, Greetings, and thank you for posting the note in your last news letter
about my wishing to preserve the history the 128th Tomahawks. I wantedyou to know that I have received a couple of e-mails concerning dispositionof the pictures from both former 128th members and also the U.S. ArmyAviation Museum at Ft. Rucker. (Kind'a ironic that they would be the firstto respond since they were the ones who suggested I contact you folks!)The Museum seemed genuinely interested in scanning them to theirarchives and returning the originals back to me. This is great news! There were more than just a few Officers and Enlistedthat were instrumental in making the transition from the beloved Huey tothe Blackhawk and they deserve to be recognized for their efforts or at thevery least acknowledged for being part of this brief period of 128th history.I don't know when the 128th was deactivated last, but I think it's impor-tant that it be remembered that the Tomahawks flew-on after VN with thesame dedication and camaraderie of our predecessors. (Albeit the onlyshots fired at us, as I recall, were "friendly fire" from our buddies in theROK Army!) I think we did the 128th proud! And I am equally humbleand proud to have played a minor role during this time.Again I thank you very much for your effort and time in posting the note
on the website and look forward to any future correspondence.VVeerryy bbeesstt rreeggaarrddss,,DDaavvee MMccDDaanniieell
LLEETTTTEERRSS TTOO TTHHEE EEDDIITTOORR
Page 14 The VHPA Aviator
Page 15 The VHPA Aviator
TToo tthhee EEddiittoorr ooff tthhee VVHHPPAA AAvviiaattoorrHere is a picture of four Vietnam Veteran helicopter
pilots who finally met up in Afghanistan - 45 years after thelast one left Vietnam, and while we are all still flying chop-
pers (and I'm don't mean Harleys, although at least one of usis still doing that also).
Since Vietnam, we've all gone through some variation ofthe typical ex-Vietnam helicopter pilot's gauntlet of flying:EMS, ENG, Corporate pilot, Airline pilot, Government con-tract pilot, offshore, Forest Service, National Guard, Variousforeign government jobs, etc.
Finding Vietnam Vets in Afghanistan is rare enough, butfinding four ex-Vietnam pilots at the same time and placewas certainly worth a remembrance photo, Pictured here are(LtoR): Fred Sistrunk (69-27), Ward Harris (66-3), WallyReder (69-41), and Chuck Robbins (66-23). At the time ofthis picture ( late summer of 2013), we were f lying Bel l -214ST's, and Sikorsky S-61's for AAR Airlift Group, shownat Forward Operating Base (FOB) Shindand in Afghanistan.
RReeggaarrddss,, CChhuucckk RRoobbbbiinnss
EE--MMaaiill:: [email protected]@eeaarrtthhlliinnkk..nneett
TThhee RRaazzoorrbbaacckkss of the 120th Assault Helicopter Com-pany (AHC) are celebrating their 50th year of continuousActive Duty Flight Operation with two special Reunionsthis fall and all Razorback crewmembers and support staffare invited to attend.Full details of the Reunions, commemorative T-Shirts
and a possible Gathering in Fort Carson are availablefrom Steve Bookout, 641-792-2941 or [email protected] Over Da Swamp reunion: 5, 6, & 7 SEP 14 at the Prince Conti Hotel in the
New Orleans French Quarter. Special room rates available. For further infor-mation, please contact:
BBooookkoouutt:: 664411--779922--22994411 oorr [email protected]@ppccppaarrttnneerr..nneett DDaaffffrroonnss:: 771199--442299--55221122 oorr [email protected]@hhoottmmaaiill..ccoomm
Ft. Rucker reunion: 11, 12, 13, & 14 SEP 14 at the Holiday Inn Express inEnterprise, Alabama. Special room rates available. MAJ Chad Paynes originaloil painting of a Razorbacks Light Fire Team will be presented to the AviationMuseum. For further information, please contact:SSttrriibblliinnggss:: 222299 992244--11776633 .. SSppaaiinnss:: 770066 220077--88335522 oorr 770066 225555--00221133
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oonn MMeemmoorriiaallDDaayy)) sshhoouullddhhaa vv ee rr ee aadd ::FFrraannkk MMaayyss ,,CCoonnddoorr 22 55((oonn lleefftt)) aannddJJoohhnn BBaarrrroonn,,CCoonnddoorr 22 77sshhaa rree aammiinnuuttee aatt tthheeff ll ii gg hhtt ll ii nneenneexx tt tt ooCC hh aa rr ll ii eeTT rr oo oo pp ssrr ee vv ee tt mm ee nn tt ssiinn PPhhuu BBaaii..
FFOORRTT CCAAMMPPBBEELLLL,, KKYY As the A Company, 1st Battalion, 160th SpecialOperations Aviation Regiment hangar began to fill with people, it was clear thiswasnt just another retirement ceremony. This ceremony had an even greater signifi-cance than most others. After all, CW5 Karl H. Maier and CW5 George BillyCook had more than 70-years of combined Army Service with more than 50 ofthose years spent as Night Stalkers.CW 5 Maier was the longest-
tenured Night Stalker in the160th SOAR (A). He had beenin the unit since 1986, with amajority of his time serving in thesame company. CW5 Cookwasnt too far behind, havingserved 24-years in the legendaryunit. Pretty much everythingyouve read in any book aboutthe 160th, Karl was a part of, saidone of the flight-leads who firstmet Maier 20 years ago. In 23years of Aviation service, I have notmet anyone with more profession-al military Aviation knowledgethan Karl Maier. Karl and Billyhave always been that mark on thewall that we have tried to achieve atthe professional level, he added.
I often talk about Karl, describing him as the hero who landed the LittleBird in the streets of Mogadishu to save the Ranger unit the ultimate expres-sion of courage in my book, said Maj. Gen. (P) Kevin W. Mangum, former160th SOAR commander and having just changed command as the AviationBranch Commander. And as the consummate and quiet professional and forover 20 years Karl successfully resisted telling his story to anybody who wouldask. Mangum closed his speech to the large audience attending the ceremonyby saying it was a sad, but very sweet and happy day. We always say that noone is so important that if you left today someone isnt going to be able to back-fill you. But Karl and Billy dont fall into that. Trying to replace them isgoing to be impossible.
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BByy SSttaaffff SSggtt.. TThhaaddddiiuuss SS.. DDaawwkkiinnss IIII,, UU..SS.. AArrmmyy SSppeecciiaallOOppeerraattiioonnss AAvviiaattiioonn CCoommmmaanndd || UUppddaatteedd YYeesstteerrddaayy
Page 16 The VHPA Aviator
VHPA Member Bill Hatounian is a 24-year mili-tary veteran and a retired Army Aviator, Heserved with the 1st Squadron, 4th United StatesCavalry in Vietnam and after active duty, he flewwith the 997th AHC of the Arizona Army NationalGuard. He has recently retired from being both apilot and a Lieutenant with the Phoenix PoliceDepartment and is enjoying retired life by writingbooks, being active and traveling with his wife.
TANK WITCHDoug Baker, a Vietnam War veteran and hisNat iona l Guard tank crew are whi skedthrough a warp in t ime and into anotherdimension. They have been summoned by ahag witch and find themselves in a medievalland, where they are unwittingly thrown intothe social conflicts of the kingdom.
THE AFGHAN DECEPTIONColonel Martin Daniels and the 4th UnitedStates Cavalry are inadvertently thrust into theworld of international politics and intrigue inthis historical fiction novel set in 1879. Therelationship between two colonels of cavalry,one American and one British, could foreveralter the fate of the British Empire.
All four of Bills Books,The Afgan Deception, Tank Witch,Causel Connection and Toltancina
are available at:www.MyNovelTales .com
The Cub Inn is a 5,000-square-foot logcabin that offers unique charm that blendsour love of aviation with the great outdoors.Located in Californias Sierra Nevada moun-tains just 25 miles from Yosemite NationalPark, our five guest rooms sleep either twoor four people, and they all feature a privatebath.Our guests start each day with a heartycountry breakfast and are also invited tojoin us in the living room each evening toenjoy a glass of wine and a light snack.The Cub Inn is the life-long dream of hus-band and wife team, Piper Cub owner andpilot Charleen Beam and VHPA Life Mem-ber Joe Riley.Full details and booking information
are available on our website:TheCubInn.com
Or call us at: 209-962-0403(land line) to book.
"Wild Fire toWild Flowers"-
Book nowfor summer!
Page 17 The VHPA Aviator
BByy RRoobbeerrtt FF.. CCuurrttiissRecently, while perusing Trade-a-Plane under Turbine Heli-
copters for sale, I saw a listing for two Boeing CH-47Ds. I wasamazed that the Army had finally taken seriously the idea firstmooted by then-CW2 Jim Scott and myself, then-CW2 Bob Cur-tis, back during the Vietnam War. In August 1971 Jim (Call signPlaytex 11) and I (Call sign Playtex 12) were both short-timers withC Company, 159th Assault Support Helicopter Battalion, 101stAviation Group, 101st Airborne Division (Air Mobile). (It justoccurred to me that one reason the War was so expensive was thecost of all the ink needed just type out the full name of the Division,never mind the cost of training the extra clerks it took to do theactual typing.)C Companys call sign, in those pre-politically correct days, was
the Playtex, motto, We give living support. Alas, as soon as thecompany was resurrected back at Fort Campbell in 1972 the namebecame Haulmark (Somehow the motto, When you care enoughto send the very best just doesnt have the same ring to it). InAugust 1971, Playtex was getting fewer missions and had lots ofnew aircraft commanders, so Jim and I, being short and all, weregiven Mortar Watch duty, which consisted of sitting in lawnchairs on the roof of the Officers Club every evening with a pair ofbinoculars and a cooler full of beer. As long as we were up there nomortar rounds came in, so it must have worked. During one session,we decided that the Army had entirely too many Chinooks and per-haps, if we could sell one or two, we could use some of the money tobuy First Class airline tickets from R of VN back to the US of A. Tohelp the process, we painted the sign shown below:
Of course, being good Warrant Officers, we could not resist a fewdigs at the RLOs (Real Live Officers), hence Captain Honest MelUtley, our CO, and Captain Chuck Quick Draw Magaw, ourXO, among others. We hung the sign on the wire by the entrance toLiftmaster Pad, our little runway and parking ramp. We had a goodlaugh over that. In the fullness of time, we both rotated back toCONUS and the sign was forgotten. So we thought.Flash forward to the 101st Reunion in 2004. It seems that Chuck
Quick Draw Magaw had taken the sign back to CONUS withhim when Playtex stood down. Alas, the huge bra that hung in theOfficers Club did not make the return trip. Chuck, of course, tookthe sign to the Reunion and proudly showed it to the attendees aswitnessed by the photo below:
So, my friends, we, Jim Scott and I, had the original idea to pedaloff a couple Chinooks to pick up a little extra coin. In that wethought of it, we think we should get about 10% (each) of whateverproceeds the folks at Redstone get from their garage (hangar?) sale.If you agree, please let Major General William T. (Tim) Crosby atPEO Aviation know. Im sure he would like to hear from each andevery one of you. Whether you agree or not, fly safe if you are stillflying, but flying or not, please live as long as you possibly can, justto annoy your children with your war stories (I am sure that, justlike mine, all of them are absolutely true).
RRoobbeerrtt FF.. CCuurrttiissEE--MMaaiill:: [email protected]@hhoottmmaaiill..ccoomm
PPhhoott oo CCoouurrttee ss yy oo ff JJ iimm SSccootttt
TThhee OOrriiggiinnaall 11997711 CChhiinnooookk SSaalleess TTeeaamm::
JJiimm SSccootttt ((LL)) aanndd BBoobb CCuurrttiiss ((RR))
PPhhoottoo CCoouurrtteessyy ooff JJiimm MMoorrrriiccaallOOnn tthhee wwiirree LLiiffttmmaasstteerr PPaadd
HOOKS FOR SALE or a Small Proposal for reducing the defense budget
PPhhoottoo CCoouurrtt ee ssyy oo ff CChhuucckk MMaaggaaww
SSiiggnn ooff tthhee ttiimmeess:: PPllaayytteexxss BBooeeiinngg TTeecchh RReepp
BBrryyaann SSccooffiieelldd ((LL)) aanndd CChhuucckk MMaaggaaww ((RR))
Page 18 The VHPA Aviator
bbyy SStteevvee SSuulllliivvaannThe 57th Assault Helicopter Company deployed from Ft. Bragg
N. C. to Kon Tum in the Central Highlands of RVN in October1967. Kon Tum was also the location of Forward Operating Base2, or Command and Control Central, (CCC), a Special Forces basefor the interdiction and intelligence gathering along the Ho ChiMinh Trail. Over the years the Special Forces missions werereferred to as: FOB, Prairie Fire (Laos) Daniel Boone (Cambodia),and also SOG forStudies and Observa-tion Group.
The 57th wasassigned to the 52ndAviation Battalionlocated thirty milessouth in Pleiku. The52nd Aviation Bat-talion Assault Heli-copter Companiesprovided helicoptersupport to FOB 2.Air Force GreenHornet UH1-Fmodels and the RVNKing Bee H-34s alsosupported the mis-sion. The King Beesand 57th helicoptersoften worked togeth-er. 57th slicks, nicknamed the Gladiators, and the Cougar gunships were frequently assigned the FOB mission because of the57th s proximity to FOB 2. In 1969 the 57th assumed the missionfull time. There were many memorable missions, but one that still remains
a vivid memory for many of us happened on 1 March, 1968 when a57th Gladiator slick landed on the Ho Chi Minh trail about 35nautical miles inside Laos. Although it was called a trail, where theslick landed was in fact, a well maintained, two-lane dirt road. TheNVA defenders in that area of the trail took their job seriously andwere usually effective. This area of the trail was not far from theinfamous Bra which was a distinctive two curves in the nearbyriver. The mission that day was to insert a Special Forces team near the
road so they could place a sensor to pinpoint truck traffic during thenight. This allowed for accurate targeting for B-52 Strikes. On the day prior to this memorable mission, we had been briefed
by a Special Forces sergeant on an insertion point. The team was tobe landed in an area called Hotel 9; a square or rectangular desig-nated block about 45 nautical miles west of Dak To, RVN (Hotel 9was one of many blocks that were Areas of Operations for SpecialForces teams. All of the 57th pilots winced, (a polite word used todescribe pilot disbelief and unhappiness), because Hotel 9 includeda major road intersection. Hotel 9 was a nasty area. It was teemingwith NVA who were determined to defend a critical road junction
area of the trail. The LZ was to be a small clearing near the trail.Shortly after the briefing we launched four slicks, and two UH-C
gunships (followed by two others thirty minutes later). As we head-ed west, we met up on the radio with a USAF O-2 forward air con-troller, known as a Covey, accompanied by a Special Forces con-troller, a Covey rider. Soon, two USAF A1-Es joined up in orbitoverhead. The gunships planned to fly low, once near the LZ. They would
verify the LZ and exam-ine the area. If the areaappeared clear, the slickwith the team was toquickly drop from alti-tude and fall in behindthe two gunships. Thegunships would providecover for the slick. Asexpected, we receivedheavy fire everywhere weturned. Finally, and withconsiderable reluctance,(and my whining as thelead gun) the SpecialForces controller abort-ed the mission.
That evening, theGladiator second pla-toon leader, Capt. JackKoshinsky, met with me
as the Cougar platoon leader to discuss the mission over an adultbeverage. Jack said that the next day we would have to go back andtry again. He thought that the best tactic would be to land right onthe road. The team would put the sensor in, and within a couple ofminutes he would return, land, grab the team and come home.This was to be one of those missions when you are really glad to goback into Viet Nam.
Although Jack was a superb pilot, a respected platoon leader,smart, courageous and a good friend, I told him that his plan wasincredibly stupid. I added that it would get us all killed. Neverthe-less, he said he thought it was the best option. He felt that it wouldspare us from repeatedly returning to Hotel 9 until the mission wasaccomplished; or until we ran into even worse trouble. The next morning, Jack talked to the commander of FOB2 and
convinced him that we should try to land the team right on theroad, rather than several clicks away from it. We were soon on ourway back to Hotel 9. The C-model gunships were heavy andunderpowered even with a partial load of ammo and 2/3 of fuelload. It was something you really noticed when leaving our launchsite at Dak To, - 2,000 MSL, and hot. We could not hover at thatdensity altitude and we were required to make running takeoffs.We wanted to avoid giving too much advance notice to the NVA,and we were too heavy to climb quickly. The gunships flew low-levelfrom Dak To, west to Hotel 9. As we closed with the LZ, we ziggedand zagged to confuse the NVA.
GGLLAADDIIAATTOORRSS OOFF TTHHEE 5577TTHH AAHHCCLLAANNDD OONN HHOO CCHHII MMIINNHH TTRRAAIILL
CCoouuggaarr GGuunn PPiilloottss ooff tthhee 5577tthh AAHHCC,, ((LLttooRR)):: SStteevvee SSuulllliivvaann,, DDeeaann SSmmiitthh,, JJiimm MMiittcchheellll,, aanndd JJeerrrryy FFoosstteerr..
According to Jacks plan, the A-1Es dropped several 250 poundbombs on or near a wide spot in the road just ahead of our arrival.Since we were low level, and not particularly interested in consultingour maps, the 0-2 Covey pilot vectored us toward the precise spot.Jack, flying a slick, with a small four man
team on board, dropped down from altitudeand got between the two gunships. The 0-2pilot did a great job vectoring us to the site.When we reached an open area on the HoChi Minh trail, the lead gun, which I wasflying, broke right and looked for NVA, andlistened for fire. This break also gave Jackthe clues he needed (we were mostly overdouble canopy jungle) to decelerate so thathe could land on the road without over-shooting it. We saw and heard nothing.Jack decelerated and touched down verybriefly. There was a big cloud of dust, theteam was off the helicopter, and Jack was onhis way back out.Jacks, crew chief, Henry Heberlein, recalls
the landing: As we were touching down Isaw three large bunkers along the edge of theroad. The bunkers were large enough toeach handle twenty NVA. There were twoheavy machine guns in each bunker withbarrels pointing up. There were fires withrice pots cooking, but there was still noNVA to be seen. I told Captain Ski to lookto his left NOW! He said This isntgood! Henry recallsthat the trail here wasa recently graded twolane dirt road.As the slick came
out of the LZ we pro-ceeded further west tomake a couple ofdummy drops, ostensi-bly, to fool or confusethe NVA. I recall see-ing the metal roof topsof the town of Atta-peau, Laos as we madeour wide circle to thewest, we also spookedflocks of large whitebirds nesting in thejungle canopy. Wefired a few burstsfrom the mini guns at the dummy drops to further distract theNVA.After only a couple of minutes, the SF team was back on the
radio calling for an extraction. We heard the sound of gunfirein the background. The 0-2 and two A1-Es were ready topounce and deliver very close supporting fire. Very close sup-porting fire means that the team was on one side of the roadand the A-1Es were strafing the other side. As the A-1Es begana strafing run, Jack went in just behind their stream of bullets.
The two gunships followed with suppressive fire. Jack landed on theroad for the second time coming back out without seeming to stop.Jack recalls that on the way out of Hotel 9 he had climbed to 3,000
feet when an NVA 23 mm cannon fired at him, fortunately, leadinghim a bit too far. Jack saw the tracers, rolledoff the throttle, entered autorotation, andavoided getting hit. The two gunships low-leveled home; because every time we triedto climb to altitude we received heavy fire.(This was in days before we all becameNOE qualified.)The crew chiefs and gunners all per-
formed in their usual magnificent way:looking, listening, clearing turns, andputting out effective suppressing fire.There was one bullet in the slicks rightcargo door that looked very much like a7.62 round with a trajectory from aboveand behind his helicopter. (Jack did ask forclose suppressing fire.)Mission accomplished! The 57th had
landed, and taken off, not once but twiceon the Ho Chi Minh Trail. FOB2 hadaccomplished their mission. FOB 2 sub-mitted Captain Jack Koshinsky for a Dis-tinguished Flying Cross; which he wasawarded.
SStteevvee SSuulllliivvaannEE--MMaaiill:: [email protected]@jjmmaa..ccoomm
AA hheeaavviillyy bboommbbeedd oouutt sseeccttiioonn ooff tthhee HHooCChhii MMiinnhh ""ttrraaiill"" iinn LLaaooss
Page 19 The VHPA Aviator
PPhhoottoo ooff GGllaaddiiaattoorr ppiilloott CCaapptt.. JJaacckk KKoosshhiinnsskkyy ttaakkeennsshhoorrttllyy aafftteerr aa rroocckkeett ttooookk oouutt hhiiss tteenntt..
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Page 20 The VHPA Aviator
bbyy MMiikkee BBrroowwnn
In May of this year, my wife Mary and Ispent a delightful weekend at the home ofMarco and Mary Beth Cordon in RoundRock, Texas . Mary and I are seasonale s capee s f rom the spr ing r a in s a t ourhome in western Washington State. Afterspending a couple of months in Houston,Marco sugge s t ed tha t we shou ld t akeadvantage of my presence in Texas bymeeting with Ernie Isbel l who was theCO of B Company, 229th AHB. It washis unit that we were supporting when wewere shot down by the SA-7. Ernie quick-ly agreed to the get-together, and he invit-ed the Ops Officer of B Company, RickBa r r e t t t o j o in u s . I i n v i t ed MikeSloniker who was Ops Officer of A Com-pany, 229th AHB. Mike is a long-time advocate andfriend of Blue Max. We all met on April 1, 2014. There were five of us
present, who had flown at An Loc, gathered in Ernie'soffice. Ernie set up a program in which he introducedall of us to about 15 people, including invited friendsand his of f ice s taf f . Ernie re lated his eyewitnessaccount of Marco's and my shoot-down. He thenpresented both Marco and I with detailed statues ofArmy aviators wearing the garb of our time. Finally,he invited Marco and me to speak of our experience. Icho s e t o r e ad the p a r t f r om my book , MIS -SILE!MISSILE!MISSILE!, the part which describesour shoot-down. This was followed by a Q&A period. It was a wonderful day. My heartfelt thanks go out
to both Marco and Ernie for all making the event allthat it was.
MMiikkee BBrroowwnn,, BBlluueemmaaxx 3366EE--MMaaiill:: [email protected]@wweesstt--ppooiinntt..oorrgg
TThhee ffiivvee AAnn LLoocc VVeetteerraannss ggaatthheerr iinn EErrnniiee IIssbbeellllss ooffffiiccee,, sshhoowwnn hheerree ((LLttooRR)) aarreeMMiikkee SSlloonniikkeerr,, RRiicckk BBaarrrreetttt ,, EErrnniiee II ssbbeellll ,, MMiikkee BBrroowwnn,, aanndd MMaarrccoo CCoorrddoonn..MMaarrccoo aanndd II aarree hhoollddiinngg tthhee ssttaattuueess wwhhiicchh EErrnniiee pprreesseenntteedd ttoo uuss..
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:DQW6RPH6WLFN7LPH" &DQ\RXVWLOOKRYHUWKLVWUDLQHU" &DOO8VIRUVSHFLDO9+3$0HPEHUUHGXFHGUDWH
Come Fly With Us!
Email: [email protected]
HHiissttoorryy ooff tthhee HHuueeyyThe first flight of the Huey was by Pilot, Floyd Carlson onOctober 22, 1956 in Fort Worth, Texas. UH-1 aircraft havetotaled more than 27,000,000+ flight hours since that firstflight.
Army UH-1's totaled 7,531,955 flight hours in the VietnamWar between October 1966 and the end of 1975. The HueyCobra (AH-1G) had 1,038,969 flight hours in Vietnam.
The Huey and the Cobra have more combat flight time thanany other aircraft in the history of warfare.
Bell Helicopter built 10,005 Hueys from 1956 to 1975. Ofthe 10,005 production Hueys, 9,216 went to the U.S. Army,127 to the U.S. Marine Corps, 79 to the U.S. Air Force and42 to the U.S. Navy. The rest went to other countries.
Today, there are only 113 B models, 9 E models, 12 F models,10 Training F Models, 1 HH-1K, 8 TH-1Ls, 14 UH-1L, 3 Mmodels, 1 P model, 5 civilian 205s and 547 UH-1Hs still fly-ing. In other words, there is just 723 Military-variant andflyable Huey models registered today.
The Huey remains a legend as the most successful rotorcraftin Aviation History.
There are specific tail numbers for the 11,827 total heli-copters that served in the Vietnam War from all branches ofthe service. 1,925 Hueys were lost in combat, while 1,380were lost in operational accidents. The high losses reflectedtheir heavy use rather than a fragility of the aircraft, with theheavy use leading to crew fatigue that contributed to the highaccident rate. Records indicate that 7,013 Hueys served inthe Vietnam War. Almost all of those were with