Information on U.S. Army helicopter OH-13S tail number 63-13668
Incident number: 0D667ACD Accident case number: 0D667 Total Loss Accident
Unit: C/1/9 CAV 1 CAV
This was a Combat incident. This helicopter was LOSS TO INVENTORY
This was a Recon mission for Armed Recon
While On Target this helicopter was Attacking at UNK feet and UNK knots.
Count of hits was not possible because the helicopter burned or exploded.
Small Arms/Automatic Weapons; Gun launched non-explosive ballistic projectiles less than 20 mm in size. (7.62MM)
Systems damaged were: PERSONNEL
Casualties = 01 DOI, 01 INJ . . Number killed in accident = 1 . . Injured = 1 . . Passengers = 0
The helicopter Crashed. Aircraft Destroyed.
Both mission and flight capability were terminated.
Original source(s) and document(s) from which the incident was created or updated: Defense Intelligence Agency Helicopter Loss database. Army Aviation Safety Center database. Survivability/Vulnerability Information Analysis Center Helicopter database. Also: OPERA, LNNF, CRAFX, CASRP, Bob Young (Operations Report. Lindenmuth New Format Data Base. Crash Facts Message. Casualty Report. )
Summary: Shot down while screening the flank of an infantry battalion moving to an ambush site.
Loss to Inventory
P O2 YOUNG ROBERT S WIA
OB PFC GEIS WILLIAM CHARLES KIA
Like so many of us, I could only continue with my life by completely locking away my Vietnam memories somewhere in my mind. I finally quit working about 2 years ago. Now I have the time and energy to find my memories. The first task I gave myself was to find my observer's family and offer all the information that they wanted to hear. But I couldn't remember his name. I found the wall web site and looked for someone who died on or near 27 Jan 66. This was during my first tour with the C/1/9th Cav. Ernie Lamb also gave me a hand identifying him on the wall and the tail number of our helicopter. I could remember the last 3 of the tail number because I flew it in the States and in Vietnam. From the wall we determined his home town. I made a lot of name, address and email address searches for the family name, Geis. I tried his home town and I tried Chicago and I couldn't get any hits. I then ran across a type of metro search of the Chicago metro areas. Bingo, I got back 6 hits. I send an email to the six addresses asking if they knew the William Geis that died in Vietnam in 1966. I got a reply from John Geis, William's bother, asking how he could help me. We exchanged several emails and finally established that we were who we said we were. We were both kind of leery of the internet hoaxes. We finally met for a day here in Clarksville. He was very much interested in everything I had and knew. He asked me to tell him everything. Down and dirty. Told him how we were shot down in the middle of the NVA. We rolled, end over end, several times and came to rest upside down. I was hanging from in my shoulder harness and William under the wreckage. We had beat out a clearing in elephant grass about 10 feet tall. I finally got my seat belt opened and I fell onto my head. Our helmets were off. Everything in the cockpit was scattered everywhere. As I crawled out of the wreckage there was something shinning on the ground. It was my cigarette lighter. I pick it up and put it in my pocket. I could hear the AK-47s fire and I could hear the Vietnamese talking. I couldn't see them through the tall grass. I couldn't get William out because everything was on top of him. I thought I could try to escape and leave my observer or I could stay with the aircraft and my observer. I remember in my search and rescue missions that I had always wished the crew had stayed with the aircraft. It seems we could always find the aircraft but not the crew. I remember hearing and seeing the bullets tearing through the grass and the dirt. To this day, I clearly remember the two thoughts that went through my mind. "Well, Lou, you are going to find out what it's like to be a widow. I'm not giving up, come get me you son of bitches." I pulled out my 38, cocked it, and pointed it to the noise in the grass. By now my scout team wingman had called for help and was laying down some good covering fire into the grass on each side of me. Prior to the shoot down, I had called and told the infantry battalion commander that I had found a good ambush site and that I was going to recon by fire to see if we received any return fire. The infantry battalion was making a sweep of a valley and my scout team was covering his flank. Well, we got return fire alright! Later, I learned that the infantry battalion made a running assault to the position. I guess I was a couple of football fields from them across a stream and the tall grass. By the way, this was at Bong Son, after the Ia Drang battle, Nov 65. The brigade commander's Huey appeared overheard. As I looked up at it, I saw a cartoon type of action. Holes were magically appearing along the tail boom and cabin. There would be a puff of dust as the hole appeared. With all the noise I could not hear the bullets being fired or hitting the side of the Huey. The crew was motioning for me to get on the skid and into the helicopter. I keep shaking my head and pointing to my observer. The next thing I knew something had me by the back of my shirt pulling me up into the helicopter. My wing man and the other action kept the enemy off the crash and the infantry got there quick enough to prevent the enemy from getting to William. I got to see William in the hospital the next morning before he died that night. He was all beat up. Black and blue and swollen. I did not recognize him. John had always wondered what happened to William and to the remainder of the helicopter crew. William arrived in country in Dec 65 and died Jan 66. I was training him to be a scout. He was good. Very quite, hard working and quick to catch on. He was selected from the new infantry replacements to be a scout. John told me that William was stationed in Europe and volunteered for Vietnam. John showed me family photos of William and his family as they were growing up. John named his son for William after his death. John's son looks like William. John and William's father had died when William was very young and John was a father to William. John Geis invited me to his home, this August, to meet the family and William's bothers, sisters, uncles and aunts. He wants me to share all I know with them. I've given them photos of our helicopter before and after the crash. This is working out well for us. I'm not sure all these type of contacts or reunions with family members turn out this good. I've gone through the guilt of me surviving and coming home when William and the others didn't come home. No one is better off after serving in Vietnam. We all lost something. Some lost all. Robert 'Bob' S. Young written in an email dated 05/25/1999
This record was last updated on 08/25/2001
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Date posted on this site: 05/16/2021
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