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Author Topic: Another old war story  (Read 9351 times)

HueyPilotVN

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Another old war story
« on: June 25, 2015, 08:30:48 PM »
Now first off if these stories are not considered appropriate for this Forum please just let me know.  None of my stories are upsetting or even very negative.

I have either forgotten the bad stories or choose not to tell them.

This is a long post and I apologies for that but it is a true story


Now do not start thinking that I am going to write you guys a bedtime story every night. I do not have that many stories, at least not true stories.

I am going to tell a story that I think is one of my most vivid memories of my time in Viet Nam.

I spent most all of my time in Viet Nam flying for the Senior Advisor or his replacement. These were all single ship missions to support whatever he or his staff needed. My usual day would start out by flying south from Vinh Long to Can Tho where his headquarters was located. We would land in a Soccer Field next to his base and pick him and his staff up. We would then fly northwest and across two large rivers to Cao Lahn, where we would pick up his Vietnamese counterpart, General Hahn, (who we referred to in private as “The Warlord of Cao Lahn”).

The picture below is of the monument pad in Cao Lahn where we would pick up General Hanh

These two could not have been more different. The SA Hassinger was one of the best Officers and more important, one of the best individuals that I have ever known. He would always look out for the crew. He made sure we got food and transportation and whatever we needed. He also treated us with respect and would often tell us stories on our long trips flying across the Delta. His parents were in the Diplomatic Corp and he grew up in southeast Asia.

General Hahn lived up to his nickname. He was a modern day version of a Feudal War Lord. The best example of his arrogance was that he would usually urinate in the street before getting into the Huey. He totally ignored anyone in his presence as if they were not there. Enough said about him.

The Huey that we used to support the mission was a specially equipped Huey. It had a large square radio console mounted in the middle of the aircraft just between and centered behind the two pilot seats. It had just about every kind of radio available and two or three FM radios so that they could talk to different forces on the ground at the same time. We even had a HF radio that requires a long zig zag antenna down the tail boom of the aircraft. He could probably have called back to the world and talked to his wife, well almost.

This Huey was the cleanest Huey in existence. It had so many coats of wax that it had to be the best looking aircraft in the Army. The last three numbers on the tail were 777. Our standard in the Headquarters Troop of the 7th of the 1st Cav was to use our squadron call sign of Blackhawk as our radio call sign along with the last three numbers of our aircraft. When flying this Huey I was known as “Blackhawk triple Seven, (777).

That should be enough information to set the background. On the day of this story we picked up both of them and headed out west towards our old unlucky area around Chi Lang. I just realized how unlucky that area was. Most of the bad things that happened to me happened out there in the boonies.

In Viet Nam it was normal for us to try to fly above 1500 feet if we could. The main reason was because small arms fire was usually not effective above that altitude. By small arms I mean AK-47s, M-14s or M-16s. They fired 7.62 or 5.56mm rounds and we were mostly out of range for them. I usually flew at 2,000 to 2,500 feet to be safer and because in the summer it was much cooler at altitude.

On this particular day we had eight Americans, a full fuel load, a heavy radio console and a hot day with a high density altitude that had a negative effect on our lift ability. We were flying along at what I called the Fat, Dumb, and Happy mode. Now no professional aviator is ever really in that mode, but we were relaxed. Even so the two things every helicopter pilot has to always do.  They are to know which way the wind is blowing and where am I going if I lose my engine.

You guessed it, the audio alarm went off in my flight helmet and the center warning light console lit up like the Las Vegas Strip. We had an engine failure. The first thing that you have to do in an engine failure is to lower the collective and reduce the pitch in the main rotor blades. This helps preserve the momentum of the main rotor blades and can even allow the speed of the blades to increase slightly by making sharp turns. I then turned the knob on the radio to the emergency guard frequency, The Cyclic control, (like a big joystick in front of you) has a trigger for your pointing finger. One detent is for intercom and the second click is for transmitting on the radio that is active.

MAYDAY…MAYDAY…MAYDAY…THIS IS BLACKHAWK TRIPLE SEVEN….WE HAVE AN ENGINE FAILURE…. FIVE MILES NORTHEAST OF CHI LANG……CODE ABOARD…...

Every word was an octave higher than the previous word. I think I sucked the entire cushion of my seat up inside me. The most important word in that mayday call was CODE ABOARD. That statement signified that we had at least a General aboard the aircraft. I wanted every aircraft within radio range to hear that. It would get everybody headed in our direction and I wanted every hero I could find to come get us.

On the way down I checked the rotor and it was in the green. (OK). I had my landing field picked out and I did a quick “S” turn to line up into the wind. I was committed to the site and felt pretty good about our chances to autorotate into the field. In autorotation you use the stored momentum of the main rotor to create a cushion at the bottom on your fall to stop your downward speed. I flared the aircraft to kill off the forward speed and waited till the correct time to pull the pitch and use my cushion to soften the landing. I pulled the pitch and the aircraft kept descending quickly. The timing was just right, the problem was that we were way overweight. With the eight Americans, the full fuel tank, the radio console and the hot day we had too much weight to fully cushion the landing. As we hit the skids spread out like an ice skater doing the splits and the bottom of the Huey touched the ground. The main rotor flexed down in the back and cut off the tail boom and tail rotor. We slid a foot or two and created a little dust cloud. As the dust settled I looked out in front of us. In the tree line there was this seven foot, bald headed, sumo wrestling, Ghengis Kahn looking Chinese fellow looking back at me. I blinked and he was gone.

Everyone was OK.  Nobody got as much as a scratch except for my knee. The troops jumped out and set up a security perimeter. On the way down I did have other aircraft responding to my Mayday call. I had been a little busy and did not have much of a conversation with them during the crash. Within a few minutes we had a regular parade of aircraft circling above us and jockying for position to determine who would pick us up.

I had a couple of duties that I had to do before getting on the rescue Huey. I had to either destroy or remove the KY-28 crypto box in the nose of the Huey. This looked like a modern day USB stick about the size of a loaf of bread. Upon removing it all the pins reset to eliminate the daily code. I also made sure as the Aircraft commander that everyone on the Huey was accounted for and on the other Hueys. I grabbed my 12 gauge shotgun from my seat back, my bag of shells, and my 35mm camera and turned to walk to the other Huey. I patted the nose of my old Huey. In collapsing the way it did it adsorbed the impact and saved everyone.

As I got on the rescue Huey, I sat on the floor and let my legs hang out over the skids. I picked up my camera and shot about four pictures as we lifted off. Forty years ago cameras did not have auto focus or auto exposure. Those four pictures were so over exposed that I could barely make the Huey out.

As we circled the wreck, a Chinook came into view. A Chinook is the large dual rotor helicopter that can carry a Huey under itself on a sling. They rigged my Huey and lifted it and carried it back to our base.

The return of the Huey was very fortunate for me. Whenever anyone crashes, the first thing that is considered is Pilot Error. Did I turn off the fuel, did I run out of fuel, did I do anything wrong.

Upon inspection, the cause of the engine failure was proven to be from a single 51 caliber round entering the front intake of the turbine and hitting the compressor blades. The compressor blades spin at a very high RPM and literally destroys itself if out of balance.
In addition they determined that because of all the extra weight and the fact that nobody got hurt that it was an attaboy, or a good crash.

The thanks from the Senior Advisor was enough of a reward for me, but they ended up giving all our crew members awards. My Crew Chief and Door Gunner got the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry, my Co Pilot got a Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with a Bronze Star, and I got a Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with a Silver Star. Does that make me Gallant or what.
« Last Edit: June 25, 2015, 08:36:27 PM by HueyPilotVN »
Bill Waugh
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Larry N.

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Re: Another old war story
« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2015, 08:49:51 PM »
Thanks for sharing that, Bill.

You said: "It had so many coats of wax that it had to be the best looking aircraft in the Army." How much weight did that add?  ;D :o ::)

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HueyPilotVN

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Re: Another old war story
« Reply #2 on: June 25, 2015, 08:57:08 PM »
Not nearly as much weight as the Vietnamese General Hahn.  He did not miss many meals.
Bill Waugh
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bucks2

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Re: Another old war story
« Reply #3 on: June 25, 2015, 09:25:10 PM »
Thanks for the stories Bill.

Ken

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Re: Another old war story
« Reply #4 on: June 25, 2015, 11:19:32 PM »
Awesome story Bill,  thank you for your service. Living through those trying times is quite an accomplishment. Glad you were with us to tell the story. 
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Roadhappy

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Re: Another old war story
« Reply #5 on: June 26, 2015, 12:49:28 AM »
Wow, Thank you for your service.  We will never know the half of what our boys went through over there.  Glad you're here to tell your stories.

Robin
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Molaker

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Re: Another old war story
« Reply #6 on: June 26, 2015, 01:02:29 AM »
Geeze!  Good story.  My only claim to fame was patching A6 Intruder radar and "stuff".  Being out on Yankee Station on the USS Kittyhawk didn't place us in much of harm's way unless you count a few Olongapo City liberties.  We managed to play a lot of double-deck Pinochle, though, if that counts for anything.  Thanks for your service, Bill.  Glad you are around tell about it.
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blw2

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Re: Another old war story
« Reply #7 on: June 26, 2015, 08:27:34 AM »
Thanks for the story Bill!

I've gotta admit, when I saw the title of this thread I was happy to see another story.  I appreciate your sharing it, and I enjoy reading this stuff.  Way better than any fiction could ever be.

As i mentioned to you in another thread, about all I read is military autobiographies and memoirs.  It started a bunch of years ago when i went to see Chuck Yeager and Bud Anderson's "talk" at Oshkosh.  I have never been much of a reader, save from text books in school, and later text books related to my hobbies, general aviation flying, SCUBA, etc....
Anyway, after I heard General Yeager and Col Anderson speak about their WW2 experiences, and their later test flying, I went and bought their books. I've been hooked ever since.  I found my genre.

When i started having trouble finding those written by WW2 pilots, I read some by navigators, bombardiers, etc.... and later opened up to other periods both war and peacetime.... and ground stuff, submarines, etc... too.  I've found a couple good reads about helicopter pilots from your era, but not many.... one I picked up at an Airventure book signing called "Scarface 42".

Anyway Bill, you're a good writer, and I appreciate you sharing these stories.

You could expand this story a bit and have a great foundation for a chapter..... and maybe even a title for your book!...."Blackhawk Triple Seven"

Regardless, thanks for your service Bill.
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HueyPilotVN

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Re: Another old war story
« Reply #8 on: June 27, 2015, 10:27:32 PM »

Here is another story for you guys.

If these stories are allowed I will just keep adding them to this thread from time to time


The Tale of Jimmy Little Rat


During the time I spent in Viet Nam I carried most everything that you can imagine. I mostly carried V.I.P.s, but I also carried replacement troops, ammo, C-Rations, water, big containers of hot food for Thanksgiving and Christmas, prisoners, refugees, wounded, dead, Miss America and two runner up States, and a refrigerator from the PX in Saigon to name a few.

I flew all single ship missions so I got to land in some of the strangest places, little villages, Special Forces base camps, an observation post on the top of a mountain overlooking the border, and some places that did not existed officially.

One day we landed in a small out of the way village and two little Vietnamese boys came up to me and wanted to sell me a puppy.

(First picture below)

First off, I am a sucker for a little puppy. The thing that really convinced me was the thought that if I did not buy this puppy, he might end up in a stew pot.


So begins the tale of Jimmy Little Rat the Flying Wonder Dog.

(second picture below)


Jimmy loved to fly. He would beat us out to the Huey in the morning and stand with his two front paws on the front of the skid and wait to be picked up and put in the aircraft. He wore a harness with a clip on cord and would ride happily under my seat in the front right of the Helicopter.

We gave him the last name of Little Rat so that we could officially log his flight time in the log book. We had several American Indians that were within our flight crews. They all serve as some of the best soldiers over there. One of our crew had the last name of White-Buffalo, so we thought Little-Rat was a good name for Jimmy.

There is a medal that is awarded to flight crews in combat situations that dates back from World War Two. When bomber crews would complete their 25th mission they were rotated and were given the Air Medal. In Viet Nam the troops were awarded the Air Medal after 25 to 50 hours of Combat Air Time.

Jimmy Little Rat soon qualified for his Air Medal. The Company Clerk wrote it up and Jimmy got it.

Jimmy used to attend all the gatherings in our hooch, although he just like me did not like beer.

(third picture below)


As I recall Jimmy also once received an Article 15 for refusing to salute and for pissing on some ones boot.


Now like all good tales, this one does have some drama.

One day while not flying, Jimmy got run over by a Duce and a Half Truck. It broke his left hip. We rushed around and got the Medical team. The Flight Surgeon got his buddy the Orthopedic Surgeon and the Anesthesiologist and we carried Jimmy to a waiting jeep. We sped to the main gate to take Jimmy to the civilian hospital in downtown Vihn Long where they had an Operating Room.

The MP’s at the main gate would not let us take Jimmy off base. He had been off base almost daily during his entire life, but never thru the gate. We did not bother to even try to argue the point. We turned around and quickly grabbed a Huey from the flight line and MediVacced Jimmy. The hospital was just off the east end of our runway, so it was take off and immediately land on the roof of the hospital.

The surgeons rushed Jimmy into surgery to pin his hip. They had to estimate his anesthesia based on his weight. They had never worked on such a small trooper but they fixed him up and put a cast on his left leg and half his body.

As they later tried to bring him back on base….You guessed it. They were refused entry with our buddy. We went back to the flight line for a second MediVac from the hospital to the base.

After taking a leisurely vacation, Jimmy fully recovered and was awarded a Purple Heart

I was sent home early and went from the war to the Freedom Bird in one day. I was told that our Crew Chief was able to take Jimmy Little Rat back to the world, specifically California.

I am not sure if that was true of just what the wanted me to believe. That was forty five years ago so I am sure that Jimmy Little Rat is flying around somewhere now.

I never realized it before, but I just zoomed in on one of my old pictures and you can see Jimmy under my seat in the next picture.

(Picture below)


That’s my Story and I am sticking to it.

« Last Edit: June 27, 2015, 10:58:07 PM by HueyPilotVN »
Bill Waugh
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Re: Another old war story
« Reply #9 on: June 27, 2015, 11:10:19 PM »
Great story Bill! Super cute pup, and it's amazing the things we do for our furry friends. Love the pics too.
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Re: Another old war story
« Reply #10 on: June 28, 2015, 06:20:34 AM »
Nice story, Bill -- I can see why you quickly became attached to Jimmy.
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blw2

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Re: Another old war story
« Reply #11 on: June 28, 2015, 06:41:57 AM »
great story! Thanks!!!

What a riot about flying him out and in when a jeep just wouldn't do!

I wonder, did the surgeons and such think that he was some sort of trained and official military war dog or something?.... or was everyone in the loop on his real rank?
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HueyPilotVN

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Re: Another old war story
« Reply #12 on: June 28, 2015, 08:34:42 AM »
Brad,

One of the positive things about Viet Nam was that it was not a spit shine - follow every rule to the letter kind of place.

I had lots of friends and more importantly Jimmy had lots of friends.  He was not an official mascot, but he was a regular fixture and an unofficial part of our crew.

In Viet Nam we often had the ability to just gets things done and to do the right thing.  I guess we always do have that option.

Through my life I have alway been fortunate to work in situations where that has also applied.  I have been involved it five seperate start up companies.  In a start up situation you have lots of discretion in solving problems and fixing situations with the right and morally correct solution.  Later as the company matures the Bean Counters, (Accountants) tend to do a cost benefit analysis instead of just doing the right thing.

Fortunately we had very few Bean Counters in the war that I was part of.
Bill Waugh
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HueyPilotVN

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Re: Another old war story
« Reply #13 on: June 28, 2015, 08:53:42 AM »
To illustrate that there were some positive and satisfying missions accomplished over there, Here is another short story.


Not all war stories are related to bad memories. This one is one of my favorite memories of Viet Nam and though it has only been told a few times to close freinds during the last 45 years, I think it is time to tell it.

There was a Vietnamese doctor that grew up in a very respected family in one of the provinces of South Viet Nam. His father and older brothers were also Physicians. They had all been educated and trained in Medical School in Paris. France is closely associated with colonial Viet Nam and it was once known as French Indo China. There are and have been strong ties between the two countries.

This Physician was a Hemotologist (worked with blood diseases). While in Paris he met and married a French woman and they had six children together. His name was Captain Tu, in vietnamese a captain is called "Di We". He spent almost ten years in Paris where his father and brothers were practicing medicine. Just prior to qualifying for citizenship at ten years residence in France, Captain Tu was conscripted into the South Vietnamese Army as a Physician. He spent several years operating a Hemotology lab in the western part of the Delta.

I met him several times as he would pass thru the base where I was stationed in "Vinh Long" in the center of the Delta. He would make trips back to his home province and old family home. He was selling family assets and converting the vietnamese Piasters to American Greenbacks. I met him thru our Flight Surgeon who was a friend of his.

Captain Tu had managed over the years to send his three oldest children to live with their Grandparents and Uncles in Paris and to go to school there. His obligation in the Vietnamese Army continued to be extended.

Captain Tu, his wife and their three youngest children lived in "Long Swin" for years until he got a transfer to a different assignment.

One bright sunny morning a Huey picked up Dr Tu and his family and took off to the east into the morning sun, flew across the big river and out of sight. Shortly thereafter the Huey turned to the left and flew to the NorthWest up across the green rice paddies of the Delta. About an hour later the Huey crossed over an imaginary red line and continued Northwest. At a spot on a map where Highway One intersected a small village the Huey landed. An ancient French Citrogen car was waiting with a Buddist Monk as the driver in his safron and orange robes. Doctor Tu shook hands and he and his family got into the small car and continued NorthWest to "Phnom Pen" where they had tickets on a French airliner to Paris.

That was almost forty five years ago. I have never heard or seen Dr Tu since and he would be in his eighties or older by now. I like to think of him with his reunited extended family living all these years together. The Huey turned south and dodged around palm trees until we returned across the red line on the map where upon we climbed to altitude and rejoined the war.

I flew lots of interesting single ship missions during the two tours I spent over there, but I do believe that this was my most productive mission flown.

Sorry for the long post. That's my story and I am sticking to it.....and I think the statute of limitations has expired.
Bill Waugh
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mariekie4

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Re: Another old war story
« Reply #14 on: June 28, 2015, 10:33:39 AM »
You are quite the wordsmith! Write a book.........I for one will read it.
If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn't thinking.       George S. Patton.


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HueyPilotVN

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Re: Another old war story
« Reply #15 on: June 28, 2015, 10:43:47 AM »
Thank You.

I am saving the stories to post here one at a time.

I am not really interested in the commercial part of writing a book, But I do enjoy sharing the stories,

I especially like to tell the stories that are a little different than a typical "War Story"

I spent yesterday writing about seven stories to hold in reserve and to post in a way that they are not too long for a typical Forum thread.
Bill Waugh
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Larry N.

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Re: Another old war story
« Reply #16 on: June 28, 2015, 12:58:21 PM »
Quote
I especially like to tell the stories that are a little different than a typical "War Story"

And we sure enjoy them, too. Thanks,
Larry and Mary Ann N.
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Wi1dBill

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Re: Another old war story
« Reply #17 on: June 28, 2015, 07:33:42 PM »
Bill, 
Enjoyed reading your stories  and remembering you telling them in person out at Quartzite this past January.   The wife enjoy the ride through the dessert and up the mountain to the mine.   Thanks for the for sharing the power.   Don't know what was going on...everything worked fine when we got back to Casa Grande.
Maybe, my RV didn't like the dessert. 

If you ever get to NW Ohio let me know...I have a spot for you at private campground


WildBill

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Re: Another old war story
« Reply #18 on: June 28, 2015, 11:51:10 PM »
Bill Waugh, I'm enjoying your war stories.  They are unique!  Thanks for sharing them.

ArdraF
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HueyPilotVN

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Re: Another old war story
« Reply #19 on: June 29, 2015, 01:33:32 AM »
Here is another short one.


This story in keeping with my theme of positive stories is neither gory nor depressing. It is mostly interesting from a technical standpoint. I think that it will be appropriate for us guys in the Forum because most of us are interested in how things work from a technical standpoint.

First, A little background on one of the reasons a helicopter requires a tail rotor. A helicopter is an amazing assortment of mechanical parts spinning, twirling, oscillating, and rotating in different directions. You might think that Mr. Sikorsky’s real name was Rube Goldberg.

The main rotor that creates lift by pushing air down also has the effect of creating a twisting motion on the body of the helicopter. If we did not have a way of canceling this force a helicopter would spin in the opposite direction as the main rotor turned. You may have seen video of a helicopter crashing when they lose a tail rotor. They start pivoting and quickly lose control and usually hit something with the main rotor and roll up in a crash.

I had a tail rotor failure one day as we were returning to Vinh Long, our base. What many people do not know is that it is possible to land with a tail rotor failure if you are lucky and if the tail rotor fails in the right kind of conditions. A Huey does have a large surface area that is covered with a metal skin. This somewhat aerodynamic surface can help keep the aircraft pointing straight if you are flying at a high enough speed. At a hover, a tail rotor failure will result in an aircraft spinning like a top. Adding power just makes it worse. At speed the loss of a tail rotor usually does not have enough force to overcome the wind pushing against the covered body of a Huey. The problem is that when you lose airspeed and come to a hover, you cannot control the aircraft.

The solution is that you can actually fly a Huey in a method that is similar to an airplane. If you push the control forward, it will descend and pick up airspeed. If you pull back it will slow and climb or at least reduce the rate of descent. By leaving the control that adds power to the main rotor alone you can reduce the effect of changing torque.

The way to survive a tail rotor failure is to find the longest, smoothest runway around and fly the Huey into the ground like a fixed wing airplane. You can trust me on this one. That is exactly what I did. I lined up on the runway and flew as shallow of an approach as I could. I very slowly lost altitude while keeping my speed up as high as I could. When the skids touched down I kept slowly reducing the power and putting more weight on the skids. Eventually the Huey came to a sliding stop. I had to sacrifice the skids, but saved the Huey and us.

Again, without pictures it is not as good of a story. Here are a few pictures showing the replacement of the skids that were worn down.

A different aircraft, but I like this close up.

The second and third pictures are of the actual aircraft tail number 453 that I flew sometimes.

I also once had a hydraulics failure and used the same procedure to get it on the ground.  You cannot hover without the assistance of the hydraulic system.


« Last Edit: June 29, 2015, 02:10:53 AM by HueyPilotVN »
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DonTom

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Re: Another old war story
« Reply #20 on: June 29, 2015, 03:03:03 AM »
Here is another short one.
Thanks for your stories. And welcome home! I like the war stories where nobody gets hurt and I have one of my own.

I was in the infantry, Army 11B.    B-3-8,  4Th Infantry Division. 1969/70.

This is  one of my favorite Vietnam war stories which happened to a guy in my squad in the Central Highland Jungles somewhere around An Khe.

We hump to a hilltop a few clicks away, but we get there later than usual to set up. It's getting dark.

We set up the perimeter, dig our foxholes and such.

Tony, a guy in my squad goes out to set up the claymore. Remember, now somewhat darker. He puts down his M16 to put in the blasting cap. At this point, he is sitting much like a Vietnamese would.

Out of the thick jungle, from nowhere it seems, a NVA troop quietly comes out of the thick jungle and puts his arm around Tony and starts speaking Vietnamese, mistaking him for his own NVA buddy.

Tony jumps up, kicks the NVA troop in the ***s, grabs his AK47 and tries to figure out how to fire it (we had no training that I can recall on AK 47's). The AK47 was on safety. Much different than on a M16. The NVA yelled and  went running without his AK47. Tony finally got a round off, but missed, as the NVA was long gone by that time.

Then after all the chaos is over (there is always chaos in an infantry company for a while when an unexpected small arms  round is fired off close by), Tony comes back into the perimeter with his M-16 in one hand and the AK47 in the other.

I wonder if he has nightmares these days. It didn't even happen to me and I cannot forget his experience.

-Don-  SSF, CA
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Re: Another old war story
« Reply #21 on: June 29, 2015, 03:16:52 AM »
Don,

Thanks and Welcome home yourself.

11Bravo was the real army.  We were just the taxi drivers.

I was hoping that some of you guys would add your stories.  I hope that more will add thiers.

Strange things happen in the fog of war.  I imagine the NVA guy had his own nightmares and caught some grief for losing his AK.
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Re: Another old war story
« Reply #22 on: June 29, 2015, 04:08:35 AM »
Don,

Thanks and Welcome home yourself.

11Bravo was the real army.  We were just the taxi drivers.

I was hoping that some of you guys would add your stories.  I hope that more will add thiers.

Strange things happen in the fog of war.  I imagine the NVA guy had his own nightmares and caught some grief for losing his AK.
Well, thanks for the support. They taught us that all other MOSs in the army only have one purpose--to support the infantry.

Yeah, that NVA might have had some difficult explaining to do.

I once caught  some grief from losing my helmet. We had to jump between two cliffs several feet apart(kinda hard to explain).  My helmet then fell off and went down between these two cliffs. Long ways down. I think it must  still be rolling down hill :) .

Anyway, when we got back to the An Khe basecamp, I got another helmet, but they took it out of my pay.

The problem was that there was no combat that day.

The lost equipment form asks how lost:

1. Lost during combat (means the army pays).
2. Lost through neglect (means I pay).

No other questions.

IIRC, they took $45.00 out of my monthly pay for that one month  in 1969.

-Don-  SSF, CA
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Re: Another old war story
« Reply #23 on: June 29, 2015, 05:07:13 PM »
Bill,

The "great person" you are comes through in your war stories.  I respect you more and more as I read your stories.  Thanks for sharing!

JerryF
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Re: Another old war story
« Reply #24 on: June 29, 2015, 08:19:05 PM »
Here is another one and I would be more than happy if someone else wants to add thiers.


Another old war story
________________________________________
I have been known to tell a few stories about long ago and far away in Sunny South Viet Nam. This is another of them. This story is true; of course I might say that anyway.

I was very fortunate to either not have as many bad experiences as most or maybe I just forgot all of them. This is not a bad memory, not particularly funny either, but it might be interesting to read.

During the two tours I spent doing the same job in the Delta; I came to recognize the places where we would usually get fired upon from. I tried to avoid these places. One of them unfortunately was an outpost in the far western part of the Delta which I had to resupply on several occasions. These were single ship missions and we did not have any gunship cover.

The first picture below is a picture of Chi Lang, south of Moc Hoa and west of the Mekong River. The actual camp was farther west and was a Special Forces camp that had the typical triangular shape and was smaller than this one.


Whenever we would shoot a normal approach to this location we would almost always get shot at. We developed two ways to avoid coming under fire. The first way was to come in right off the deck and actually fly under the tops of the trees. We would keep our main rotor above the branches and leaves and allow the body of the Huey to hang below the level of the trees to avoid being seen in the sky.
   

When we got to the camp we would pop up slightly and lay the Huey on its side like a motorcycle and kill all our forward speed and then just sit it down inside the perimeter.


The second way to get to the camp without drawing fire was to perform a maneuver that was never taught in flight school. We developed this technique among ourselves and had to be very careful doing it because of the danger and consequences of not doing it right.

A normal rate of descent for a landing is 500 feet per minute. This kind of hanging in the air descent would draw fire. We would approach the camp at an altitude of about 2,500 feet. Normally, small arms fire such as an AK-47 was not effective above 1,500 feet.

 A 51 cal round was effective, but that is another story.

 We would reduce our airspeed and literally come to a hover at 2,500 feet directly over our landing site. I would then lay the aircraft on its side and fall out of the sky. We would fall like a brick as the main rotor sliced thru the air and did not provide any lift falling sideways. One side of the Huey was facing the ground and the other side faces only the sky. I would fly a 360 degree circle slowly nosing the cyclic control forward to gradually fly into air that would gradually provide some lift.

If done properly I would arrive at the end of a very fast descent at the same time as I completed the 360 turn and at the same time that I regained enough lift to cancel out the descent.

If I was too soon recovering I would end up a couple hundred feet in the air as a sitting duck. Worse yet, if I did not recover in time I would have flown into the ground at a deadly rate. Needless to say we never did that.

The crew always knew what we were doing. The passengers might or might not know. If they did not know what we were doing they certainly got interested in a hurry.

That's my story and I am sticking to it.
__________________
« Last Edit: June 29, 2015, 08:22:32 PM by HueyPilotVN »
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Re: Another old war story
« Reply #25 on: June 29, 2015, 08:31:28 PM »
Another good story, but something is wrong with your images.

My bad...I guess.  I exited the thread and went back and they opened okay.
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Re: Another old war story
« Reply #26 on: June 29, 2015, 08:33:41 PM »
I was editing them as they were out of order, look again and thanks.
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Re: Another old war story
« Reply #27 on: June 29, 2015, 08:58:30 PM »



Another old war story
________________________________________
This story is about the same base camp as the previous story so I thought I would share them together. This one is still true but I will soon run out of the true ones and might have to start adlibbing. I did make up some stories when my two sons were very young. They were some whoppers. At the end of a whopper story I would finish with "and then I died". They would say "Ah Dad" and jump up, but I had them up until then.

This story involves those same two high ranking passengers as the time that I was shot down, (The Senior Advisor to IV Corp and his counterpart a Vietnamese General). I spent almost all of my two tours flying these guys or their replacements around. I actually enjoyed flying them because if something happened to us we would get everyone’s attention. Everyone wants to rescue a General or two and collect a hero badge.

We started that day by picking up General Hahn, (the warlord of Cao Lahn), at the monument pad in Cao Lahn where he had a compound with about 100 troops to guard him at home.

We were going to spend the day doing a sweep of the Delta to visit a few of the Special Forces A team bases, (also called Snake Eaters). The first base camp we were going to was out in the far west side of the Delta. This base was a triangle shaped fort in the middle of nowhere. It has a small village and two medium sized hills on either side. The camp was fortified with rings of wire and claymore mines. A claymore mine is a square plate about the size of a dinner plate. It has a side that says "This side toward the enemy" and they stake it into the ground facing out. It is activated by a trip wire or a detonator.

We landed at this base camp outside of the wire in a field and shut down while the Brass and their staff went into the small village for a meeting.

As we were waiting for them to return, one of the Special Forces team members came out and was talking with us, (the crew). Our Huey was facing with our tail boom toward the base camp perimeter. We heard a loud explosion near the perimeter between us and the camp. We all looked over there and saw smoke and mud flying up in the air. I thought it was a claymore going off. Sometimes a rat can set off the trip wire.

As we were staring at the perimeter we saw the trail from a B-40 rocket coming down from the hill to our left. It hit between the first explosion and our Huey in a direct line. I was facing the base, my crew chief was standing to my right, the door gunner was to my left, and the Special Forces Sargent was in front of me. The shrapnel from the rocket hit the other three and completely missed me. They were not badly wounded but were peppered with small metal bits. The Sargent went running for the base camp. We looked at each other and then jumped under the Huey between the skids with the aircraft over us. We then realized that the two rockets were in a straight line and we were in the correct position for number three to hit. It also dawned on us that we were sitting directly under 1400 pounds of JP-4 jet fuel. As strange as it seems I was struck with an odd thought which I voiced. "Me and my ******* extension. I had just recently extended for my second tour in Viet Nam and otherwise would have been home or as we called it "Back in the World"

As we started to crawl out and run for the tree line we came under automatic weapons fire from that very tree line. Our only choice left was to crank up the Huey and get out of dodge. We jumped into our seats; Hit the fuel switch, battery and the minimum switches needed to crank the turbine. If you have never heard a Huey start up, it is a slow buildup of the RPM in the engine that eventually starts the rotor turning. As soon as we had enough rotor speed to get off the ground, I nosed it over and tore out a wire fence on my skids getting out of there. We called the guys on the ground in the village. We circled around and picked them up on the other side of the village.

The first safe place to land was at a refueling and rearming point at Chi Lang. We made it there and landed and shut down to inspect the Huey. It had over 50 holes in the tail boom.

I guess that Charlie only had 2 of the B-40 rockets on that hill. He sure got my attention.

That's my story and I am sticking to it.
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Re: Another old war story
« Reply #28 on: June 29, 2015, 11:23:09 PM »
I'll bet flying with you was a real heart thumper at times - and I don't mean from the enemy!  I assume the two generals both survived your flights because you did....

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Re: Another old war story
« Reply #29 on: June 30, 2015, 07:10:13 AM »
I'm telling you Bill.  Write a book, your memoirs.

A lot of these guys will get a co-author, or professional writer, to help them research and pull it together.

You've mentioned a few times about not having enough stories..... but I'll bet with 2 tours you do.  I often get the impression that these co-authors will help in doing a lot of research, tracking down an interviewing other folks that were there, looking at old military records, etc.... that would all serve to expand your memory and expand the stories!
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Re: Another old war story
« Reply #30 on: June 30, 2015, 09:58:11 AM »
Now get with the program and start your book.  ;) Or do you really want us to beg?  ::)

Normally war stories are not my thing, however the way you describe this is in such a positive and interesting manner. You sure have a captive audience on this forum.
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HueyPilotVN

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Re: Another old war story
« Reply #31 on: June 30, 2015, 10:11:10 AM »
Thank you both for the encouragement.

I really am not interested on making any money from a book.

I think that more and more people are reading online as opposed to buying and holding a traditional book.

I will expand the stories and what I really hope would happen would be for others with stories that they want to share would take the oppurtunity to tell some of thier stories.  I kind of regard my telling of stories to be a sharing experience and I think it might help some of us old vets to remember and reinforce the good memories, the funny memories, and whatever other memories that you want to share.

What we did was not dishonorable and it is good for us to be able to take pride in telling them even if it is 45 years later.

« Last Edit: June 30, 2015, 10:14:44 AM by HueyPilotVN »
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Re: Another old war story
« Reply #32 on: June 30, 2015, 12:32:03 PM »
Here is a very short story


This story is about a part of the war that most people never heard about.


In Viet Nam we used Military Payment Certificates, (MPC). We were paid in MPC, we used it in the same manner as regular US currency. We gambled with it, used it at the PX, used it to buy money orders to send home, and for any other thing that we needed money for.


Unfortunately this system could be manipulated to make money by trading on the difference between the value of MPC’s and regular “Greenback dollars”, or regular U.S. Currency in the local economy.


The way that this was done was by obtaining Greenbacks by sending home a money order to the states. The person back home would cash the money order and put the cash in an envelope and send it back to Viet Nam. US Currency was much more valuable than MPC in the local economy and it could be sold for double the cash amount in MPC.


Every time this was done the seller of greenbacks would double his money. They would then repeat the process.

This problem led to two procedures to attempt to catch the people who were doing this.

The first was the introduction of a MACV “credit card”. This card had to be presented anytime a money order was purchased. If someone was sending home more money than could be accounted for by his income then he was investigated.


The second procedure was much more complicated. With no advanced warning, all the bases were shut down and all the MPC in circulation was collected and converted to a new series.

I was the “Currency Conversion Officer” for our unit during one of these episodes while I was in Viet Nam.


The procedure was to stop all traffic in or out of the base. I then collected from each of our troops all the MPC that they had and gave them a receipt for the amount of MPC turned in.

At the end of collecting from everyone in our unit, I took the briefcase full of script and turned it in for replacement with the new and different MPC.

I then redistributed it to the troops.


During this process the locals would be desperate to get their MPC traded in for the new currency. The day after the conversion the old MPC was worthless.

The following pictures are not MPC but they are pictures of Viet Cong money. Notice how the first side shows the VC capturing an armored car.


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Re: Another old war story
« Reply #33 on: June 30, 2015, 04:42:31 PM »
Thank you both for the encouragement.

I really am not interested on making any money from a book.

I think that more and more people are reading online as opposed to buying and holding a traditional book.

I will expand the stories and what I really hope would happen would be for others with stories that they want to share would take the oppurtunity to tell some of thier stories.  I kind of regard my telling of stories to be a sharing experience and I think it might help some of us old vets to remember and reinforce the good memories, the funny memories, and whatever other memories that you want to share.

What we did was not dishonorable and it is good for us to be able to take pride in telling them even if it is 45 years later.

Yeah, that's kinda the reason I'm encouraging writing a book...... I have no thought or idea if you would ever make money or not..... but no biggie, I enjoy reading your stories this way too!

Thanks
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Re: Another old war story
« Reply #34 on: June 30, 2015, 05:08:15 PM »
Maybe write the book,  and donate the proceeds to a worthy cause of your choice. I do enjoy reading your stories as I usually don't hear NamVets talk about too much.
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Re: Another old war story
« Reply #35 on: June 30, 2015, 05:26:13 PM »
Your story about the MPC reminded me of the same thing we did in Japan.  Worked OK but you had to be careful about the money orders as you indicated.
Jim
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HueyPilotVN

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Re: Another old war story
« Reply #36 on: June 30, 2015, 05:42:00 PM »


In keeping with the theme of telling positive stories, I would like to tell you about my first roommate in Viet Nam. His first name is Ben and I will change his last name to Stein because I am not sure about the Statute of Limitations.

Ben was our Unit Scrounger. He was also a Huey Pilot, but his contribution, and it was a great contribution, was to keep us supplied with spare parts and necessary equipment.

There is a picture of Ben below:

Ben's job was the redistribution of supplies between Units in Viet Nam. In other word he was a horse trader for parts to keep us flying. Ben had a couple of Conex containers full of trading inventory. Just about anything you needed Ben had. He had pallets of paint, cases of steaks, and if someone left a jeep unattended he probably would have that also. Now as far as I know Ben used his requisitioning skills for the good of our unit and did not personally benefit from his reallocations, (trades).

Ben had his own personal Huey and he would leave in the morning and return later with all kind of goodies.

Ben was the only person I knew in Viet Nam that got the Wall Street Journal delivered every day.

A few years ago I attended the 7/1 Cav reunion in Tampa. While talking to the fellow that was our Squadron Safety Officer I was told that on one occasion Ben was letting a customer...err another supply person fly his huey at a hover. This other fellow hit something and damaged the Huey. The Huey was repaired and nobody ever heard a word about that while I was in Viet Nam. Ben was a valuable asset to our unit and did his part in the war in the best way he could.

I have never heard from Ben in the last 40+ years but I am sure that Ben was very successful in his business career after Viet Nam.

That’s my story and I am sticking to it.
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Re: Another old war story
« Reply #37 on: June 30, 2015, 07:23:23 PM »
That is funny. I served with the Canadian forces, we had a guy like Ben who was extremely useful. We took good care of him too. ;D
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Re: Another old war story
« Reply #38 on: June 30, 2015, 08:01:48 PM »
Ben was very good at his job.

About 6 months later I got a different room mate.

Here is a story about him.

It is a kind of funny story and I have told it to others maybe I can make it even funnier the second time. Most old war stories get better every time you tell them, at least mine do.

I did two tours in Viet Nam and most of the time my room mate was Michael Phillips. Mike was from Billings, Montana. We took our two adjacent rooms and created the best Officer Quarters at Vinh Long. We had a double room with a Bar, Entertainment Center, desks, and even a slot machine that we sto.....rescued from Dong Tam when the 9th Infantry went home.

Here is a picture of Mike followed by our BOQ


Now I have mentioned Mike for a couple of reasons. For over 35 years I tried to find out what happened to Mike after Viet Nam. A few years ago as I was attending a reunion of the 7/1 Air Cav in Tampa I found out that Mike had contacted the organization and I got his phone number from the membership comittee. I called and found out that Mike lived just west of Houston. Mike has spent most of his career working for Phillips Oil Company. I made the trip to see him. We had a great time, swapped pictures from Viet Nam and told stories.

Oh yes, He also told me that after I left, some Captain kicked him out of the party hooch and took it over.

The following is a story that Mike swears is true, but I do not remember it.

We were both in the Headquarters Troop and we got all kinds of different missions and request from the Squadron Commander. Anything that was out of the ordinary was usually given to us to do. According to Mike we were asked to develop a "Smoke Ship" to be used to cover combat assaults by laying down a smoke screen to hide the slicks as they unloaded or loaded troops in an LZ (landing Zone).

Again according to Mike, we supervised the mounting of a tank under the center canvas seat, installed a pump, lines, and nozzles to spray hydraulic oil into the exhaust of the turbine engine.

Now this is the part that is absolutely Mike's recollection and not mine.

We fired up the Huey in a revetment (protected parking space) and got it warmed up. Mike turned to me and said "Where should we go to test this thing out?". Again according to him, I shrugged and said "Heck, lets just let her rip right here" and flipped the switch.

This is a revetment:

A Huge, billowing cloud of smoke engulfed us and started moving downwind enveloping the entire flight line. Surely I would have remembered that. I did leave Viet Nam on a flight a few days later, but I am sure that was purely coincidental.

Every fire truck on the base decended upon us to put out what they thought was a fire

The crew chiefs and door gunners from every ship that was down wind of us spent a week cleaning a film of oil off thier aircraft.

That is Mike's story and he is sticking to it.

Here is a shot of a smoke ship in action, you can see how effective it was.



I thought I would add a few comments about Mike Phillips.

Mike would never eat fruit cocktail. One day I asked him why. He said that when he was a kid, (like we were not still kids then), he had taken a big jar of marischeno cherries and drained the liquid. He then filled the jar with some clear vodka. He got sick as a dog from eating them and could not even look at cherries after that.

The most dangerous thing that Mike ever did in Viet Nam was the following

One day when he was off from flying, he went downtown off the base to Vihn Long. He bought a huge stuffed Cobra, the snake..not the gunship. He brought it back to the hooch and sat it in the middle of the main room facing the door. It sat up about 2 feet high and was in the striking position. We usually came in well after dark from flying. That night I opened the door. switched on the light and just about had a heart attack on the spot. Probably why I had my open heart surgery a few years back. Next time I see him I am gonna box his ears....

The last tale about him is that Mike was mentioned in the book that Col David C. Hackworth wrote. Both Mike and I used to fly him around on occasion. Well I take it that they both went down in a huey one day and Hackworth wanted to thank Mike by putting him in the book. It must have happened after I left because I do not remember it happening, course sometimes I do not remember a lot of things.
__________________

Edit:  Looking at the pictures of our Hooch reminded me of two other things.

I had a extension cable for the headphones and I used to listen to music as I fell asleep.

One morning as I went out to the flight line they guys asked me where I was the night before.  It happened that our base camp had been mortored the night before and everyone spent the night in the bunkers except me.

The second memory relates to the TV in out hooch.  We had one channel AFVN (Armed Forces Viet Nam).  However the strange things was that we were next to the TOC (Tactical Operations Center) that was in a bunker.  They were transmitting on an FM radio with a encription device on it.  Clear as a bell over our Television audio came the call.  "Blackhawk 6 this is Blackhawk 4 SECURE, over".  That was supposed to mean that it was a secure transmission.  I wonder how many vietnamese downtown were listening in.


« Last Edit: June 30, 2015, 08:34:16 PM by HueyPilotVN »
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Re: Another old war story
« Reply #39 on: July 01, 2015, 07:42:37 AM »
Mmmm... nice hooch. And thanks for the stories -- neat.
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Re: Another old war story
« Reply #40 on: July 05, 2015, 11:08:52 AM »
Too funny Bill! Enjoying your stories. Glad you are writing the "G" rated versions as well. I know that war is hell and filled with horrors, but your stories also put the humanity back into it.  And since many of the participants are just young guys finding a way to survive, we can all relate.  Good show.
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Re: Another old war story
« Reply #41 on: July 10, 2015, 09:35:47 AM »
I was in Vietnam in 1968 - 1969 and back again in 1970 - 1971 and was a 67N which was a helicopter crew chief / door gunner.   I spent 18 months in lift platoon working with infantry, dog trackers and C-75 Rangers.  Also spent 6 months (67V)scout crew chief and door gunner doing recon and hunter killer missons.   I logged over 1500 hours in Vietnam.  Retired from the Army at 20 years 16 days as 67W aircraft tech inspector. 
« Last Edit: July 10, 2015, 09:45:20 AM by CWSWine »
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Re: Another old war story
« Reply #42 on: July 10, 2015, 11:33:08 AM »
Dennis,

You guys were the tip of the spear.

I spent many hours circling in the air condition comfort of higher altitude while you guys picked a fight and stirred the pot.  You fellows in a Loach would get them to shoot at you and then you would throw smoke and scoot away while the Cobras would roll in.

We had a saying that I am sure you have heard before.  "Eyes of an Eagle, Heart of a Lion and Balls of a Scout"

I am sure that you have many war stories that you could tell, but most of them are not necessarily the warm and fuzzy kind.

Thank you Sir
Bill Waugh
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Re: Another old war story
« Reply #43 on: July 20, 2015, 04:28:47 AM »
Cannot sleep, another story, still true but running out of the true ones.

During the two tours I spent in Viet Nam I had the same job at the same unit and base. I was in the Headquarters and Headquarters Troop of the 7th Armored Squadron of the 1st Cav. We were a separate Cav Squadron based in the Delta. There were only about ten of us aviators in the HHT and we all flew mostly single ship missions. One of the support missions we flew was to provide a Huey for the Senior Advisor of IV Corp, (four corp). Early on I got this mission a lot and after crashing with the SA on board and all walking away uninjured, I pretty well had it full time. The best commendation that I got in Viet Nam was listening to the outgoing SA telling his replacement on the intercom that I was definetly the pilot that he should request to fly him on his tour. We were flying to Saigon for the outgoing SA to go home.

There was however one mission that I did not enjoy.

To set the stage let me say that this was back in the early days of the Army implementing the Airmobile Concept. Helicopters were being used to quickly reposition troops and perform new types of missions.

The Army had lots of middle to senior field commanders that did not have much experience with helicopters, how they operated, their limitations, and advantages.

The Army developed a "Short Course" to introduce them to flying helicopters. These Officers were taught to fly but were not professional aviators as they did not have the full course or the time in flight school.

We, who flew everyday would jokenly call a day with blue skies and unlimited visability "Field Grade Flying Weather".

I offer this background because my least favorite mission was to fly with our Squadron Commanding Officer, a Lt Colonel whom shall not be identified by name to protect the guilty.

His normal mission was to fly out to the area of operation and watch any ongoing mission by circling above the action and then return to base. He never flew these missions on a Thursday because we all took our malaria pill on Wednesday and it took 24 hours to get over the sh...diareha (SP).

Anyway, sorry about the long background.

One early morning I was assigned to fly with him. We got to the aircraft and I started the pre-flight and then the startup procedure. I noticed as I was cranking the turbine that the CO was on the FM radio talking with the TOC, Tactical Operations Center in the command bunker. I got the Huey up to operating RPM and was calling the tower for clearence to hover to the active runway.

I should also mention that though I was only 20 and very much the junior officer to the CO, I was the Aircraft Commander and in charge while in the air. Of course that does not mean much when you get back on the ground.

As I got the Huey light on the skids the CO grabbed the controls and pulled pitch to raise us to a two foot hover.  He then nosed it over and headed for the runway.


At this point I did not have permission to hover to the active runway. To cover for his jumping the gun I asked the tower for takeoff permission.

As we neared the runway the CO made a high speed banking turn to the east and took off.

At this point we had two problems, we did not have permission to take off and much worse, we were taking off to the east and everyone else was landing to the west. This was kinda like entering the freeway going the wrong way.

I quickly took the controls and said " I have it", which is universally used to signal taking over the controls. In this case it actually meant "Let go of the stick you IDIOT". Of course I did not really say that.

I did another quick banking turn to the right and flew low level over the parked aircraft, maintenance building, guard towers and concertina wire perimeter. My goal was to get out of Dodge and stay out of everyone's way. We then climbed to altitude and continued without a word said between as he slowly figured out what had happened. He was not called on this incident, no one outranked him to call him on it.
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Re: Another old war story
« Reply #44 on: July 20, 2015, 09:01:49 AM »

To set the stage let me say that this was back in the early days of the Army implementing the Airmobile Concept. Helicopters were being used to quickly reposition troops and perform new types of missions.


Thanks for sharing another enjoyable story.  I'm glad you got that sorted and apparently didn't get called on it yourself by the screwball CO!

What timeframe did you serve over there?

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catblaster

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Re: Another old war story
« Reply #45 on: July 20, 2015, 01:12:12 PM »
"A Huge, billowing cloud of smoke engulfed us and started moving downwind enveloping the entire flight line. Surely I would have remembered that. I did leave Viet Nam on a flight a few days later, but I am sure that was purely coincidental.

Every fire truck on the base decended upon us to put out what they thought was a fire

The crew chiefs and door gunners from every ship that was down wind of us spent a week cleaning a film of oil off thier aircraft."





We had an M88 recovery vehicle blow a turbo while in a parade at Ft Riley. This was in celebration of the 1st Infantry coming home from Nam. That column of smoke covered the entire parade field, the press, visitors and Secretary of Defense and lingered for what seemed like forever. .....Hated parades...
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HueyPilotVN

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Re: Another old war story
« Reply #46 on: September 21, 2016, 01:47:56 AM »
Brad,

Sorry for not responding sooner but I have not revisited this thread for a long time.

I arrived in Sunny South Vietnam on July 4th 1969, around the time of the moon landing.  I left Viet Nam about 18 months later around Christmas of 1970.

It was a very strange set of circumstances that surrounded my leaving then. 

I originally joined the Army specifically to become a helicopter pilot with a four year commitment in the summer of 1968.  I spent a year completing basic and then flight school. 

I then spent my first year tour in Viet Nam.  I extended for the second tour because my younger brother was a marine with only about a year and a half left on his commitment in the marines.  I was told that if I extended for another tour that he would not be sent to Viet Nam.  I felt it was much safer to be flying Hueys than to be on the ground or in the jungle or rice paddies.

Now the really strange part.  At the end of 1970 the Army came out with the strangest order.  "Any second tour aviator in Viet Nam could be released immeadiately from active duty.  I went from having over six months left to being what we called "A Short Timer" overnight.

I got a Huey and had buddies in two Cobras fly escort on either side of me to Saigon and was out of the country the next day.

My four year obligation was fulfilled in two and a half years.  I remained an officer in the reserves but never had to spend a day doing any reserve duty.

A short few days later I was "Back in the World" as we called it.

For the next twenty years we did not advertise that we were vets although I never felt that we did anything dishonerable or unpatriotic.

Sorry for the rambling and long overdue answer to your question about when I was there.
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Re: Another old war story
« Reply #47 on: January 26, 2017, 12:45:01 PM »
Bill
I just finished reading "Hornet 33".  He mentioned your squadron as a sister squadron a few times (though somewhat derogatorily because of how your hueys were so clean...)
That guy experienced some bad stuff over there and this was written I think as a way for him to unload a bit.  Bad PTSD stuff.... but I'm glad I read it, help to gain a bit more understanding....  I was thinking of you a good bit while reading.
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Derby6

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Re: Another old war story
« Reply #48 on: January 26, 2017, 03:58:57 PM »
For the next twenty years we did not advertise that we were vets although I never felt that we did anything dishonerable or unpatriotic.

Because you didn't do anything dishonorable or unpatriotic.  Quite the opposite IMHO.

My generation, myself included, have been treated as hero's, thanked repeatedly, etc all because of EVERY VIETNAM VET.
Thanks you for your sacrifices.....
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Re: Another old war story
« Reply #49 on: January 28, 2017, 05:32:10 AM »
Bill,
Thanks for your stories...and your service.  I spent a year at Ubon, Thailand as a crew chief on F-4s.  Since I didn't get there until '73 after the bombing stopped, all my best stories mostly involve drinking and hookers...not exactly the stuff for a family safe forum.

The one story about the smoke ship made me laugh out loud, though.  Anyone who's done any mechanics knows the effect of pouring small amounts of transmission fluid down an intake to clean carbon off the top of the pistons and can picture that cloud rolling down the flight line.
In fact I did that very thing in the barracks parking lot at Luke AFB in Phoenix in 1975.  I guess I was lucky it was Sunday.  Only got 2 firetrucks and the SP's.  There was some talk of an Article 15, but I don't think they could figure out what to charge me with and I was short anyway.
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Re: Another old war story
« Reply #50 on: January 28, 2017, 08:07:00 AM »

For the next twenty years we did not advertise that we were vets although I never felt that we did anything dishonerable or unpatriotic.


I remember a time when flying home on leave from San Fran, never a hotbed of patriotic fervor, to Chicago.  We were required to fly in uniform to receive the military stand-by rate. The lady and her child next to me requested and moved because she didn't want her child next to one of those baby killers.
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Re: Another old war story
« Reply #51 on: January 28, 2017, 10:04:34 AM »
Bill I just happened on this thread today and really enjoyed reading every story and every response.  I thank you for your service and continue to enjoy your posts to the forum. 
     Not to horn in but I would like to just add a little humorous helicopter story.  From 1962 to 1967 I was a Minuteman Missile Combat Crew member stationed in South Dakota at Ellsworth AFB.  Our missile sites were dispersed over an area about the size of Maryland and while our main mode of transportation was automobile we used helicopters for the sites that were farthest out from the base - some over 100 miles. 
     At the time - 1963, the H-19 was the chopper we used to transport missile crews and personnel around the complex. The H-19 was at the end of its service life soon to be replaced by Hueys, UH1F models.  I am not a pilot but know that, in the case of the H-19, air temperature affected the lift capability of the chopper and I assume this is true of any chopper.
     Anyway, on one of our early trips to a missile launch control center near Phillip, South Dakota we landed at a small helicopter pad just outside the fence of the control center. This particular control center (Delta 1) had only been turned over to the Air Force from Boeing for a few weeks and it was  a very hot day in July.  We relieved the off going crew  in the underground control center and they boarded the helicopter for return to base. Also on board in addition to the pilot were three or four security guards also returning to base.  As I was later told, the chopper lifted off very sluggishly and never seemed to gain much altitude before putting down again. The humorous part of the story is the the chopper made a perfect landing in the sewage lagoon just outside the fence of the site.  The thankful part of the story is that since the missile control center had only been open a short time the lagoon was not fully covered with it's deposits and the pilot managed to only put one skid in the goo and the other on still dry land - all exited safely..LOL
     The H-19s that we were using seemed to have problems with chips detectors. At least 3 times we were forced to land on the open prairies of South Dakota when the Chips Detector light came on.  That involved waiting for another chopper to rescue us and leave behind a mechanic to repair the problem.  I saw a couple of years later where somebody had bought an old H-19 and made a RV out of it - that must have been interesting.
     When the UH1Fs finally arrived they were like Cadillacs compared to the H-19s.  When I completed my initial missile launch crew tour in 1967 I was positive I would be going to Vietnam because my secondary AFSC was as a Supply Officer.  I questioned a friend at Officer Assignments and was told that I would NEVER be going to Vietnam because, as a Minuteman missile launch crew member, I had knowledge of the national war plan.  That was news to me but not very disheartening to be honest.  I finished my 20 years in the Air Force in 1981 and 19 of those years were in the missile operations and maintenance career fields.
     As a sort of footnote to this story the Launch Control Center (Delta 1) where this story happened is the only one left in South Dakota. The sites were all destroyed as a result of the treaty with the Russians except for one control center and one missile site (Delta 9). These two sites are today run by the National Park Service as historic sites and open to the public for tour. The visitor center is located at mile marker 131 on Interstate 90 in Western South Dakota.  I hope to make it back there one day as my crew was the first crew to accept that particular flight of missiles from the Boeing Company in early July 1963.  Just google Minuteman National Historic Site for a link to the site.
 
     Once again, I really enjoyed your stories and, a bit late, I would encourage you put them in a book. 

Bill
« Last Edit: January 28, 2017, 10:11:44 AM by Bill N »
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Re: Another old war story
« Reply #52 on: January 28, 2017, 01:04:59 PM »
Thanks for the story, Bill. Interesting...

Quote
I am not a pilot but know that, in the case of the H-19, air temperature affected the lift capability of the chopper and I assume this is true of any chopper.

That's true for any aircraft, rotary OR fixed wing. We call it density altitude, basically because the warmer air is less dense, thus is equivalent to the density under standard conditions at a higher altitude.
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Re: Another old war story
« Reply #53 on: January 28, 2017, 04:28:45 PM »
Thanks for the story, Bill. Interesting...

That's true for any aircraft, rotary OR fixed wing. We call it density altitude, basically because the warmer air is less dense, thus is equivalent to the density under standard conditions at a higher altitude.

Thanks Larry - that probably why baseballs fly out of stadiums on hot days at a high rate.  LOL
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HueyPilotVN

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Re: Another old war story
« Reply #54 on: January 29, 2017, 01:45:32 AM »
I guess I have at least one more story.

I do not think that I have ever posted this story online and only told it a few times.

I may be a little more philosophical telling this story as an old man of 67 looking back 47 years.

This story is about the stupidity, racial prejudice and bigotry, of two fellows that almost caused my death.

Here is a little background to set up the story.

In Viet Nam, most junior officers were given extra jobs beyond their primary job.  In a previous story, I mentioned being currency control officer for the conversion of MPC (Military Payment Certificates).

Well after a year in country and getting a promotion, I was given an additional job as a Maintenance Test Pilot.  This kind of test pilot is nothing like being an Experimental Test Pilot like Chuck Yeager.

The job of a maintenance test pilot requires doing a very methodical series of procedures and tests designed to ensure that an aircraft is safe after performing repairs or maintenance.  Much of the job is reviewing the documentation and log books.  After looking at what was done to the aircraft, a through preflight inspection is performed, and then a maintenance test flight.  These test flights were done to certify that the aircraft was safe and could be released for missions.

There were three of us that were certified to do test flights in my troop.

We had a Huey coming out of maintenance for several repairs, including repairs and replacement of the hydraulic push / pull tubes that control the tilting of the main rotor blade.

One of the test pilots was a Southern Caucasian Captain who was prejudiced and he was scheduled to fly this Huey as it came out of maintenance.

He asked me to take this test flight at the last minute.

I went over the logs, looked at what was done per the logs, and started my preflight inspection.

I would normally not look at something like engine or transmission work, but would expect that the aircraft mechanics did their job properly.

The normal procedure is that the aircraft mechanic would sign off on their work followed by a Tech Inspector that would inspect and then sign off separately.

I think that sometimes we have this Guardian Angel that sits on our shoulder and whispers in our ear.


The push / pull tubes are in front of the transmission and behind a panel where the canvas center seat is in the cabin of a Huey.

I would normally never ask for the panel to be pulled to inspect the control linkage tubes.  This time I did.

The control tubes are connected to a hydraulic servo with a bolt with a hole in the end of it, a castle nut, and safety wire.  This setup looks just like the spindle and nut on a wheel bearing that uses a cotter pin to secure it.

On aircraft, we use safety wire instead of cotter pins and they are installed with specific twists and turns to make sure that the nut does not come off.

The control tubes did not have any safety wires.  The castle nuts were missing and the bolts were pulled out till only a few threads were engaged.

If I had flown this aircraft, it would have completely lost control of the main rotor blade and crashed as soon as even one of the bolts fell out.  The catastrophic crash would most likely never have disclosed the cause because of the location of the failed components.

The final signature on the log book for this repair was that of a Technical Inspector who was African American and who had no problems with me but did have an ongoing dispute with the assigned test pilot for the flight.

I left Viet Nam shortly after this happened and I do not know the outcome of the case.

Most people do not know that many of the deaths in Viet Nam were from causes other than the Viet Cong and NVA enemy.   
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Re: Another old war story
« Reply #55 on: January 29, 2017, 09:31:00 AM »
Most people do not know that many of the deaths in Viet Nam were from causes other than the Viet Cong and NVA enemy.

I can't tell of how many times I heard of this from a couple of Army friends who served in Vietnam.  Didn't they call it 'fragging' or something to that effect Bill?  Vietnam was not the finest hour for some of our drafted ground troops but most others did their duty and even gave their lives for a suspect cause.  Today's vets and active duty troops are given the utmost of respect and I am so happy to see that in my lifetime.

Bill
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Re: Another old war story
« Reply #56 on: January 29, 2017, 10:17:32 AM »
That's sad to hear Bill, but I know it's factual. Unfortunately there is still an element of racism in the military, and in law enforcement, as much as it pains me to admit it. And although I was not in the military, after 25 years in LE, many of our members were current and past military, and the old opinions surface from time to time.  The roots of racism run deep and some folks refuse to let it go. I am glad your guardian angel was on the job that day. I am grateful for your service, and the stories that remind us of how important it is to remember that time in our history.
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Re: Another old war story
« Reply #57 on: January 29, 2017, 10:49:15 AM »
That's sad to hear Bill, but I know it's factual. Unfortunately there is still an element of racism in the military, and in law enforcement, as much as it pains me to admit it. And although I was not in the military, after 25 years in LE, many of our members were current and past military, and the old opinions surface from time to time.  The roots of racism run deep and some folks refuse to let it go. I am glad your guardian angel was on the job that day. I am grateful for your service, and the stories that remind us of how important it is to remember that time in our history.
There's racism and then there's just plain old ignorance.  Racism is usually easily detected and is frequently accompanied by some form of violence, physical or otherwise.  Ignorance is far more difficult to expose, yet in this day, can be just as devastating as physical racism.  The ignorant form of racism is what most of us suffer from or rather cause others to suffer from.  It doesn't have to be skin color related, either.  How many of you have heard and laughed at "polack" jokes in the 50's (How many polacks does it take to change a light bulb)?  Innocent enough, but ignorant of (and insensitive to) the pain or discomfort the words can convey.  I grew up before the era of "political correctness", as did most of you.  I still have to watch myself to prevent old training and upbringing from slipping out.  Political correctness is not something we should "poo poo", but something we should practice.  And, it does take practice.  Otherwise, the ignorance tends to rise to the top. <stepping down off soapbox>
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Punomatic

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Re: Another old war story
« Reply #58 on: January 29, 2017, 04:35:59 PM »
...Political correctness is not something we should "poo poo", but something we should practice.  And, it does take practice.  Otherwise, the ignorance tends to rise to the top. <stepping down off soapbox>
I respectfully disagree with your assessment of political correctness, Molaker. I do agree that we should practice sensitivity, but I would encourage you to read the history of political correctness. This is not just a "nice practice;" it is a movement designed to enslave. Unfortunately, academia these days is mostly controlled by adherents to the insidious philosophy behind "political correctness."
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HueyPilotVN

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Re: Another old war story
« Reply #59 on: January 29, 2017, 04:40:03 PM »
Sorry if I started a political discussion here.  That was not my intent.  Just part of the story.

Again I encourage anyone to jump in with their Old War Story.

For me it is kind of like therapy.
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John From Detroit

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Re: Another old war story
« Reply #60 on: January 29, 2017, 06:44:19 PM »
Punomatic.. Well in your case I do agree PUNS are often Pollitically incorrect. However it never hurts to be polite to others, To not cause them needless pain.

For example.. If I speak of a "Bitch" Odds are it is one like Isis (Innafree's Isis, and AKC Registered Grand Champion Siberian Husky Bitch)  DOG, denotes a MALE did you know that.

But many,, Well they use that term differently....

(it was fun when Isis won her first Blue... Her master posted the win, including the class, and one of my co-workers went ballistic over the class name (Bitch pupplies six months to 1 year).)

But though I do agree there are some conditions where... Well you got to say what has to be said. But for the most part.. Better to be polite.

I might add Isis is well named, She is one beautiful Canine.
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Re: Another old war story
« Reply #61 on: January 30, 2017, 07:25:58 AM »
Well I must say the thread has evolved from an old thread with some great chopper 'war stories' to the derivation of canine names with a bit of PC inserted. What a brew huh? LOL.  But, for Bill, thank you very  much for those stories and keep them coming as you recall them. I am sure all of us military vets could drop in a story or two about their experiences and I would hate to see them devolve into something not intended. The term 'racism' is used too frequently these days. Reminds me of the old story about yelling fire in a crowded theater and yelling wolf too often.  I won't go further with that but as this thread hits it's six year anniversary I hope we can continue it on a positive note.

Bill (the missileman, not the Huey pilot. lol)
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blw2

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Re: Another old war story
« Reply #62 on: January 30, 2017, 12:35:40 PM »
Sorry if I started a political discussion here.  That was not my intent.  Just part of the story.

Again I encourage anyone to jump in with their Old War Story.

For me it is kind of like therapy.

Yeah, I'm quite sure that was the reason for the author to write that Hornet 33 book I mentioned before.   
He had a fragging story too, for what it's worth....

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DonTom

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Re: Another old war story
« Reply #63 on: February 15, 2017, 01:43:29 PM »
I can't tell of how many times I heard of this from a couple of Army friends who served in Vietnam.  Didn't they call it 'fragging' or something to that effect Bill?  Vietnam was not the finest hour for some of our drafted ground troops but most others did their duty and even gave their lives for a suspect cause.  Today's vets and active duty troops are given the utmost of respect and I am so happy to see that in my lifetime.

Bill
"Fragging" was a very small part of it. War is a very dangerous business. Many accidents, "Friendly fire" and such. We had 13 killed and twice that wounded in my own infantry (11B)  company (Army B-3-8 4h Inf, Div, 1969-70) in a few seconds from one of our own heavy artillery rounds. That was our largest accident during the year, there were several others.

In fact, the accident rate in Vietnam was quite close to the combat KIA rate. Perhaps not unusual in any war.

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