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240th AHC aircraft Maddog 5156


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A few days ago I received an e-mail from a close friend who is the curator of the US Army Aviation Museum at Ft. Rucker, Al. He stated that he had a C-Mod Huey in storage that he wanted to restore to its original configuration for display in the armed helicopter collection at the museum. He did a historical search of the tail number and discovered that it had been assigned to the 240th Assault Helicopter Company in 1968-1969, he asked me if I was familiar with that aircraft.

 

I pulled out my log book from my first tour and low and behold I was flying ole 5156 in August and September 1968. On 16 August 1968 while flying 5156 we were involved in a fierce fire fight near Chu Chi. We had inserted a recon team from B Co, 51st LRRP's and about an hour after insertion they called saying they had been compromised and had a fire fight with several VC. We launched three slicks and two guns to make the extraction. I was fire team lead and as we approached the PZ I broke out ahead of the slicks and put down a prep along a Nippa Palm tree line along side the PZ where the team said the fire had come from. We received no return fire so I instructed the slicks to come in the PZ appeared cold. As the slicks landed all hell broke loose with fire coming from three sides of the PZ. The VC had held their fire until the slicks touched down. The slicks departed and the slick lead said that a couple of the team members fell off and were still in the PZ. I continued to make gun runs around the PZ in an attempt to keep the VC from getting to the men on the ground.

 

About this time WO1 (Ike) Eisenhour who was flying on another ash and trash mission over heard the chatter on the company net and called saying he was nearby and would attempt to pick up the men in the PZ. I informed him that the PZ was hot and that the first three slicks had received heavy fire and numerous hits. He said he would try anyway. As he landed in the PZ his aircraft came under intense fire. I was just breaking over his front from my gun run when I saw a VC jump up on the skid and shoot his AK directly into the cockpit killing Ike Instantly. The door gunner cut the VC in half with his 60 as the aircraft lifted off and started a climb out making a slow turn to the right then leveled out at about 1000 feet and headed directly towards a long dirt road that ran straight away from the PZ for about a mile. The aircraft started a slow decent and made a near perfect landing on the road skidding to a halt after about 50 yards. I landed behind him and ran up to his aircraft. I saw that he had been shot in the face and the back of his helmet had been blown off. I pulled the egress handles on the back of his seat to pull him out but found his hands were still frozen on the controls, I had to pry his hands from the cyclic and collective to get him out of the seat. Another ship had landed and was picking up his co-pilot, crew chief and gunner. The co-pilot was unconscious and the c/e and gunner were both badly wounded. I carried Ike to my aircraft and placed his body in the cargo bay and flew him to the hospital at Chu Chi. Talking to the c/e later he said he thought they would all die as the co-pilot got hit in the head going in and was unconscious throughout the whole ordeal and the pilot (Ike) was dead in the PZ. How the aircraft lifted off and made a near perfect landing was a mystery. All we could figure out was that when Ike got hit he jerked up on the collective and as the aircraft climbed out his muscles started to relax and eased the collective slowly down causing the aircraft to make a slow decent and by some miracle the aircraft was lined up with the dirt road where it ended up.

 

Ike was put in for the Medal of Honor for his actions on that day. It was later downgraded to a DSC.

The men in the PZ never made it out, and of the 4 240th slicks that landed in that PZ we had 3 killed and 7 wounded crew members. My aircraft received several hits one of which hit the mount on my left hand mini-gun which caused it to fall off somewhere in that PZ. Its probably still buried in the mud in that rice paddy.

 

I told the curator I would be honored if I could paint the Mad Dog logo on the battery cover as it was in 1968 and he agreed. I finished painting the battery cover last week and took it down to the museum to be placed back on ole 5156. Attached is a pic of the battery cover as it will be on 5156 when fully restored and a pic of 5156 in 1968.

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Maddog 5156 has been restored and is currently on display at the US Army Aviation Museum, Ft. Rucker, AL The dedication was filmed and is on the Museum face book site. Below is pic of the old girl just before they rolled it over to the main building.

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Looks good in the correct colors. How late was that tail in service? Did a guard unit use it into the 80s? I see it has that later boomerang shape whip antenna on the top left which I think it was a FM antenna? Id have to ask my father but I know he never flew Hueys with that type antenna between 68-73. I think it was added in the later 70s or early 80s. I have one of the last stubby Huey -10s from the early 80s that covers the C/M models.

 

Who were you with in the 101st? My father flew with A/158th and HHc 1st Bde (Avn Plt) 69-70 RVN at Camp Evans and Camp Eagle. Flew H models and the Loach. Who was or still is the curator at the Army Avn museum? I know a gentleman that I saw his name listed as such at one point recently that I lost contact with. Went by the name Mitch. Was a former AH-1 and AH-64 pilot. Same guy by chance?

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Looks good in the correct colors. How late was that tail in service? Did a guard unit use it into the 80s? I see it has that later boomerang shape whip antenna on the top left which I think it was a FM antenna? Id have to ask my father but I know he never flew Hueys with that type antenna between 68-73. I think it was added in the later 70s or early 80s. I have one of the last stubby Huey -10s from the early 80s that covers the C/M models.

 

Who were you with in the 101st? My father flew with A/158th and HHc 1st Bde (Avn Plt) 69-70 RVN at Camp Evans and Camp Eagle. Flew H models and the Loach. Who was or still is the curator at the Army Avn museum? I know a gentleman that I saw his name listed as such at one point recently that I lost contact with. Went by the name Mitch. Was a former AH-1 and AH-64 pilot. Same guy by chance?

 

Robert Mitchell was the curator now the director of the museum. I believe that 156 saw service with the guard after the war which would account for the whip antenna. I was with D-101, 101st Abn Div it was the cobra gun company for the division. We were based out of Phu Bai which was just a couple miles from Camp Eagle and Evans.

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That indeed is Mitch. If you still have his email address could you forward it to me via private message? I used to talk with him alot and hear funny stories from his flying days. I bought a bunch of ALSE related stuff from him for a few years. He has a complete pilot AH-1F instrument panel, was really nice.

 

What year(s) were you at Phu Bai? My father was at Evans May-Sept 69, and Eagle Sept 69-May 70. He once told me a story about a rocket attack they had one night at Eagle that took out a Cobra or 2. The Cobra area at Eagle was called El Toro Pad. I think I once looked up the unit they were with but cant recall, would have to look it up again. It might have been one of the 2/17th Cav snakes. I do have a pic from him of a pair of Cobras flying that might have been at Phi Bai.

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That indeed is Mitch. If you still have his email address could you forward it to me via private message? I used to talk with him alot and hear funny stories from his flying days. I bought a bunch of ALSE related stuff from him for a few years. He has a complete pilot AH-1F instrument panel, was really nice.

 

What year(s) were you at Phu Bai? My father was at Evans May-Sept 69, and Eagle Sept 69-May 70. He once told me a story about a rocket attack they had one night at Eagle that took out a Cobra or 2. The Cobra area at Eagle was called El Toro Pad. I think I once looked up the unit they were with but cant recall, would have to look it up again. It might have been one of the 2/17th Cav snakes. I do have a pic from him of a pair of Cobras flying that might have been at Phi Bai.

 

I was at Phu Bai in 71-72.

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