Helicopter UH-34D 148771


Information on U.S. Marine Corps helicopter UH-34D tail number 148771
Date: 05/08/1967
Incident number: 67050810.KIA
Unit: HMM-263
The station for this helicopter was Quang Nam in South Vietnam
Original source(s) and document(s) from which the incident was created or updated: Defense Intelligence Agency Helicopter Loss database. Also: OPERA (Operations Report. )
Loss to Inventory

Crew Members:
P CPT CHESNUTT JEFFERSON CLIFFO KIA
P 1LT BAKER JON DOUGLAS KIA
C LCP GUKICH MICHAEL MARTIN KIA
C CPL VANASSE PHILIP RICHARD KIA


War Story:
In May of 67, I was a Hospital Corpsman with W-2/12 attached to BLT 1/3. HMM-263 was attached to the LPH that BLT 1/3 was embarked upon. To the best of my recollection, we were operating on the ground in country one morning early in May, Id estimate around 0700, when the choppers began arriving in an LZ adjacent to my location. One of the first was 148771 piloted by Capt. Jefferson Chesnutt and Lt. Jon Baker and crewed by CPL Phillip Vanasse and L/CPL Michael Gukich. As the chopper lifted off, I observed him rise to about 50/75 feet and hover. Almost instantly another UH-34D came from the right side of 148771 and very suddenly dipped and passed under the hovering chopper. Unfortunately the tail rotor struck 148771 as it passed underneath cutting 148771 in two. The striking chopper made what I would call a hard landing about 100 yards past the point of impact. I dont believe there were any casualties among the crew of the striking chopper. 148771 was not so lucky, the impact violently spun the chopper in a 360 circle ejecting CPL Vanasse who apparently died upon impact with the ground. For a moment 148771 seemed to bounce a little in the air and then began to rotate with the movement on the main rotor and descended to the ground. Upon contact with the ground, the chopper rolled over on its side and burst into a fire ball. I had the unpleasant task of assisting in the recovery of CPL Vanasse as well as the remainder of the crew who perished inside the chopper. I have no idea of the outcome of any investigation into this incident. Not a pleasant tale, but that is the way I recall it 40 years later. From: Mike Mallach

This record was last updated on 08/08/2007


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Date posted on this site: 09/23/2017


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