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VN War helicopter stories

Started by sighgone , Nov 17 2012 06:33 PM

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#1 sighgone

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 06:33 PM

Whenever I see a VN War helicopter displayed on a pedestal outdoors or view another inside a museum I'm always wondering about the stories left unsaid, undocumented, unrecorded about these birds. I'd much rather have the participants dictate their memories for posterity versus the government or academia speaking for the vets. Also, the war at home after the veterans returned from Nam is another huge story mostly
seen only in terms of sensationalism by the media but generally lacking in realism & authenticity. Also, why can't a script be found in Hollywood that showcases the helicopter & crew from the VN War years?

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  • F-8 Hammerhead 68-15054 Big Springs, TX.JPG


#2 Awheeler

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 09:16 PM

Can this thread have stories from non-veteran members who have read or heard them? If so.. Oh man I have some cool ones to share...

#3 namvet

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Posted 21 November 2012 - 07:38 AM

Hanoi also has a collection of US hardware. its a tourist attaction. also N Korea still has the USS Pueblo which was captured on January 23, 1968. its a tourist attraction to.

#4 sighgone

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Posted 21 November 2012 - 10:04 AM

There's no time like the present to share anecdotes & stories here by vet and non-vets alike. According to my records "THE SILKEN SNARL" former Army CH-47A 66-00086 languishes in the War Remnants Museum in HCMC.

#5 ikar

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 07:02 PM

You wqnt a story about a helicopter? Here's one:

When I was in the 388th S.P.S. at Korat we went with a guy from intel to do a night recon and observation flight of the surrounding area. We carried a couple starlight scopes and were looking for signs of gun runners and other problem children. I had the seat next to the side door on our H-43 across from the mechanic who sat next to the jungle penetrator. As luck would have it my microphone didn't work but at least I could hear what was going on. We were circling the base a while waiting until the sun went down before we headed too far out. I was taking some photos of the base when I spotted a smoke trail below us that seemed to be turning. I looked and saw a fighter starting to climb in our direction. I had to kick the foot of the mechanic who looked like he was sleeping and pointed out the trail. He promptly swung his mic into place and a few seconds later we dropped down near the ground.
After a minute or two of some low level dirt skimming we went back up and started to head off base. Eventually the sun went down and we started looking for our gun runners. I noticed a large thunder cloud in the distance and remembered that if it started to rain we would have to land immediately, and we weren't armed.
As we flew along with the intel guy kneeling out the open side door one of the pilots asked to try a starlight. He was given one which played with for a few minutes until he pointed it at the thundercloud and a bolt of lightning and a flahs of light lit the sky. He yelled as the light was amplified into his eye and he almost dropped the scope out of the door.

Shortly after that we spotted a couple cars transferring weapons to some other vehicles. Intel made some notes and we headed off.

We flew on for a little bit when a bright light from the ground flashed past the cockpit lighting the whole interior. We immediately banked away and all our exterior lights went out.

We were heading away from the area when it occured to the pilot that the guy on the groung hwo just tried to blind him and make the aircraft crash had only one light while he had three. He turned around ahd went back looking for our victum. When we got close and I swear we were lower, he turned on our becons. Immediately the light came on again and started to sweep towards us. The pilot hit his switches and the whole area went bright white. I lost the enemy light in the glare and we shut down our lights and climbed out of the area. There was some chatter over the intercom about what just happened when the pilot said he had an idea. We started cruising the area until he spotted one of the vehicles we had spotted earlier. The pilot said "Watch this." I looked over his shoulder as we started to get lower and then watched as the tops of the trees got higher. Finally we were skimming only maybe 20 feet over the dirt road and closing on the vehicle. When we were really close he hit the switches again and the whole area went blindingly white. The vehicle went off the road and into the trees. At the speeds they drive over there, someone wasn't going to have a good night.

The pilot shut off his lights and clombed out of the area as fast as he could and we headed back to base. On the way our mechanic said "F__k the King and Queen" The pilot gave instructions to throw him overboard before a local fighter found us and shot us down. On the way back we had just one more surprise waiting for us as sparks startes to come from our right rotor pylon and we made our best speed back.

For those who don't know this aircraft, here's a picture of one of Korat's:

http://i213.photobucket.com/albums/cc4/ikar_photos/scan0081.jpg
http://i213.photobucket.com/albums/cc4/ikar_photos/ikar_photos%202/scan0212.jpg
http://i213.photobucket.com/albums/cc4/ikar_photos/ikar_photos%202/scan0210.jpg

Here's some of the shots I took :

http://i213.photobucket.com/albums/cc4/ikar_photos/ikar_photos%202/scan0233.jpg
http://i213.photobucket.com/albums/cc4/ikar_photos/ikar_photos%202/scan0234.jpg
http://i213.photobucket.com/albums/cc4/ikar_photos/Air%20Force%20Security%20Police/scan0052.jpg
http://i213.photobucket.com/albums/cc4/ikar_photos/Air%20Force%20Security%20Police/scan0054.jpg
http://i213.photobucket.com/albums/cc4/ikar_photos/Air%20Force%20Security%20Police/scan0038-2.jpg
http://i213.photobucket.com/albums/cc4/ikar_photos/Air%20Force%20Security%20Police/scan0039-2.jpg
http://i213.photobucket.com/albums/cc4/ikar_photos/Air%20Force%20Security%20Police/scan0055.jpg

#6 namvet

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Posted 27 December 2012 - 06:06 AM

Two UH-1 Huey helicopters resting on the fantail of the New Jersey (BB-62) during her service in December 1968 off Vietnam.

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#7 hueytaxi

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 10:59 PM

I tried to land a huey on the fantail of a destroyer returning some observers to their shops off the coast of Vietnam. Can't be done. I hovered crosswind with one skid on the desk the the main rotor inches away from the aft bulkhead observation platform. Those watching never realized the danger we all were in. Luckily as the weight shifted during unloading and the tossing ship. we departed without incident. At some point while I hovered uneasily, a radio call invited us to shut down and join the Captain in the galley. I'm sure I relayed through my copilot our regrets. Hopefully he used better language.

Roger

#8 sighgone

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 09:12 AM

Aptly described Roger, thanks for sharing the story. JB

#9 hueytaxi

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 02:55 PM

Huey pilots war stories get better and longer following an evening sitting around a crowded bar. Heck, a lot of our stories originated there.

I will share a most interesting time though. No combat action happened, no gunfire and beautiful views. In late Feb or very early Mar of 1970, the US and ARVN forces readied along the Cambodian border. I was in a recently deployed Kiowa OH-58A (civilian version was the JetRanger). there were less than a dozen in country and I think mine was the first in our AO (IIFF). Flying the Artiller DepCo, we entered Cambodia early to register artillery points and observe road structure t likely fire support bases yet to be built. Without knowing the capeability of enemy anti aircraft weapons much of this flight time was extremely fast and low level. The vast open rice growing plain was dotted with small hamlets surrounded in trees. Beautiful unmarked country. We often flew over troops marching along the dirt roads. Uniformed soldiers in green, black or khake and all well armed. We would exchange waves and often were close enough that we could have recognized each other later. I don't know which force they belonged with and they did not recognize my little helicopter. One morning the Colonel pointed out an airstrike about 10 miles away at the base of a set of hills. The hills meant we were too far inside the country (about 40 miles) and the jets appeared to be older Mig 15's. I don't know who had Migs other than the NVA so it was a hasty departure. This event was in the area designated the Parrot's Beak.

#10 hueytaxi

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 08:11 PM

Another short note from '67. At dusk we would often do a perimeter sweep from the air with a flight of four Hueys. This was to stop the local bad guys from setting up rockets or mortars while still light. Sometimes we would deploy troops as we did on this occasion. This evening I led the flight and we picked up ARVN soldiers when a Scout helicopter thought we had movement in the brush outside the wire. He dropped smoke and our two gunships raked the area with fire. I couldn't allow our starboard door gunner to fire as were almost on the edge of the LZ. At touchdown, red smoke filled the cockpit and the chief yelled one of our smoke grenades had gone off. Knowing he would take care of it, I told my copilot to depart. He sat frozen staring straight ahead as I took over and pulled pitch. About that time the Chief yelled we had a American advisor wounded and in trouble. As I was on the edge of rthe LZ, I turned the flight over to Yellow 2 and headed for the Med pad calling ahead. As the advisor was extracted I felt the worst. He was bleeding heavily from the side of his neck even under compression. Then I noticed we had blood everywhere whipped by the wind inside the cabin. We sat on the pad a moment as the copilot realized what was happening and pointed at his windscreen........we had a bullet hole that passed between us. About then the Chief plugged back in to the intercom and told us the smoke grenade had detonated because a round had passed through it. We alll learned a lot that evening and Wally went on to become a fine combat pilot. A couple months later I pickied up a Captain with a fresh scar on his neck. Of course I asked and it was the one and the same former passenger.

Here are two images, the first the entry point which just missed the Chief and the second the exit.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v23/hueytaxi/1967%20Vietnam/PICT0016_zpsd256aa70.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v23/hueytaxi/1967%20Vietnam/PICT0002_zps709d4dbd.jpg

Edited by hueytaxi, 31 January 2013 - 08:15 PM.



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