Information on U.S. Marine Corps helicopter UH-1E tail number 154763
Date: 06/08/1967 MIA-POW file reference number: 0726
Incident number: 67060811.KIA
UTM grid coordinates: XD763476
Original source(s) and document(s) from which the incident was created or updated: Defense Intelligence Agency Reference Notes. Defense Intelligence Agency Helicopter Loss database. Also: 0726 ()
Loss to Inventory
P 1LT MYERS DAVID GEPHART BNR
CP CPT BARCLAY BOYD L RES
Khe Sanh was cloudy that June day of 1967, which gave some relief from the ever-present energysucking heat. Khe Sanh's altitude did provide some cool nights, and sleeping bags had been put to use the night before. Captain Boyd L. Barclay, USMC, had experienced a relatively sleepless night. Sound sleep was impossible because of the possibility of mortar attacks and the constant problem of the rats. Once the lights were turned out, rats would climb up the sides of the hooch and run across the rafters above the sleeping Marines. Lying in a mummy sleeping bag and having a rat fall on top of you was not exactly conducive to a good night's sleep. That morning, the two gunship crews from VMO-3 had already flown support for a recon insert near the Vietnamese-Laotian border. They returned to Khe Sanh for the first hot chow ever served there - sauerkraut and wieners. After lunch, the officers were presented with a roll of oilcloth by one of their men, the ever-present scrounger. The oilcloth was then nailed to the rafters covering the sleeping area so that the rats could not fall on the sleeping officers again. After finishing the hot chow, the air operations officer walked into their quarters and asked if they could get back into the air as soon as possible. A Marine company was making a sweep through the area near Hill 881 and Hill 861, where a previous company had been severely hit the day before. The clouds, he said, were too low for a fixed wing support effort. Both crews immediately agreed and headed for their helicopters. Laughter and horseplay ceased as they walked by the morgue. There were two rows of body bags waiting to be flown out, a result of the previous day's action. The scene starkly reminded them of their own vulnerability. Over target, the two gunship crews checked in with the company commander. After popping smoke to show his location, the ground troop commander requested that they check out the tree line north of his troops. Dave, who was the command pilot of Barclay's gunship, exclaimed, "I think I saw something in that tree line! Let's make a gun run and I'll notify our section leader to follow us down!" On the second pass over the tree line, the airship came under heavy anti-aircraft fire. A siren began to scream and the red warning light pulsated. It sounded as if the helicopter was coming apart and the engine had been knocked out. The next burst of fire blew through the cockpit and knocked Barclay's hand into his face - but as he looked, he saw no hand there! There was only bone and blood. He said, "I'm hit!" Reaching across his armored vest, he tried to find the pressure point on his biceps above the bloody stump. Then he heard, "I'm dead! I'm dead!" Looking to his right, he saw Dave's arms dangling at his side and his head slumped on his chest. Barclay knew his survival was now up to him alone. Since the ship was pulling up, he had to get the collective down to initiate auto-rotation. He began to use his stub as a battering ram to get the collective down. Once it was as far down as he could jam it with his stub, he braced the collective with his left knee to keep it there. All this time he was guiding the helicopter into some trees near a clearing. Without his left hand he was unable to execute a normal auto-rotation. The ship went into the trees. The airship shuddered as the rotors sliced through treetops. Then, like a huge disabled beast, the ship hit the ground in a swirl of dirt and foliage. In addition, the chopper rolled to a skidding stop on its left side. Barclay unstrapped himself with his functioning hand and crawled out through the starboard door. Both gunners were squatting on the ground in a daze of disbelief. Barclay shouted, "Get a tourniquet and put it on my arm!" One of the gunners jumped up to retrieve the tail rotor tie down and wrapped it around Barclay's mangled arm. Glancing at the disabled aircraft, Barclay cried out, "We have to get him out!" He took two steps toward the chopper before falling into a heap. His leg was broken. Peering into the cockpit, one of the gunners shouted, "He's dead, sir! They're shooting at us!" Barclay grabbed the survival radio to try to talk to his section leader, circling above. His ears were ringing so loudly that he could not hear to transmit. He handed the radio to one of the gunners. "Tell them my arm is blown off, my leg is broken, and our pilot is dead! Tell them we need a H-46 and hoist to get us out!" "There's no H-46 available, sir! They want us on top of the mountain for the pick-up!" Each of the gunners clutched Barclay by his flight suit and began the laborious task of pulling him up the side of the mountain. The mountainside was so steep that the crewmen were on their hands and knees, with the injured Barclay helping in any way he could by pushing off with his one good leg. All of this time he could not bring himself to look at his mangled stump. But now, he felt something tug at his injured arm. He looked down and saw his hand still dangling by about an inch of skin at the thumb. The bloody mess was wrapped around a bush branch. As he untangled the mangled arm, he was amazed to see that although the tourniquet had slipped off, very little blood was still coming out of his arm. The exhausted trio crested the top of the mountain and watched the H-34 set down in the clearing where they lay. It would be reported later that the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) had control of the downed chopper within five minutes. A reaction platoon later tried to get to the aircraft, but was beaten back by intense enemy fire. When they were back at Khe Sanh at the aid station, the attending doctor lifted up Boyd's arm. With one snip of the scissors, the rest of his hand was gone forever. Barclay's trip "stateside" started at Charlie Med at Phu Bai, not 50 meters away from where his squadron was quartered. He remembers regaining consciousness from surgery to see one of his pilot friends standing at the foot of his bed. Asked if he needed anything, Barclay croaked out a request for a coke. Propped up on his right side, hel felt half of the warm coke go down, hit his stomach, and immediately come back up along with the lunch of wieners and sauerkraut, spraying all over the wounded Marine in the next bed. From Phu Bai, it was on to Da Nang where a Purple Heart was pinned to his pillow by an unidentified Marine general. The Silver Star would be awarded later for his valor and heroism in bringing the disabled airship down with the loss of only one life. Medical treatment in Japan, Travis Air Force Base Hospital, and Oak Knoll Naval Hospital in Oakland would follow with more operations and endless hours of physical therapy. Those long days and weeks gave Captain Barclay ample opportunity for private reflection and the reliving of many memories. He had grown up in Oklahoma City, an only child. High school days were filled with football, track, baseball, and an occasional date or two. There was the wonderful memory of playing as a 160-pound outside linebacker on the football team that was the Oklahoma State runner-up champion. There were more memories: graduation from Oklahoma State University and a commission in the United States Marine Corps, platoon leaders' school at Quantico, and the crazy set of circumstances that had him end up in artillery instead of the coveted aviation school. He remembered February 14th, 1964, his "bad luck day" while attending basic school. On that day he got a "Dear John" from his girl back at "good old OSU," had a "serious disagreement" with a Marine captain, wrecked his car, and received hastily cut orders for artillery school - all on one bleak and black St. Valentine’s day! There were also the memories of his first Vietman tour early in 1965 as a fire support coordinator with Bravo Battery, 1st Battalion of the 12th Marines, and with the 2nd Battalion of the 3rd Marines. Then there was the recollection of reapplying and getting accepted for flight school for those great 16 months in Pensacola! After the few months at Camp Pendleton with VMO-5, there was the return to Vietnam with VMO-3, with the primary responsibility of working with Special Forces missions in Laos. And then the reality of the present began to sink in. There were months of hospital time with the many surgeries and endless hours of PT that "Captain Hook," as he was affectionately called by his wardmates, would endure. He recalled one incident that would forever stick in his memory: About noon I had just finished another session of PT, when in wheels this 19 year old Navy corpsman who had lost both legs, an arm, and an eye approached. I mean, this kid just lit up the room with his outstanding never-say-die attitude! He joked about what he would do when he was released from the Navy. He laughed about how a cripple like him seeking employment on the outside could qualify for jobs nobody else could do. What an inspiration he was to everyone around him!" As Captain Barclay returned to his quarters that day, the noon news was on the local Oakland TV station. The lead story was about an anti-war demonstration at the University of California at Berkeley. The college students who were a part of this particular anti-war group were receiving an engraved plaque, which had been sent from Hanoi through Cuba and signed by Ho Chi Minh himself. The students were marching through the streets carrying North Vietnamese and Viet Cong flags and cheering the speaker for his anti-war pronouncements. Barclay, who had just spent time with that young Navy corpsman, who was so badly wounded, wondered about the irony of it all. Did these protesters really have a clue about anything? Did they really know (or care) about the bravery and sacrifice of other young people their age? It was a bitter pill to swallow then - and it still is now.* EDITOR's Note: Barclay was medically retired on January 1, 1968. He began his professional career soon after his discharge and for 30 years has owned and operated his own Barclay Insurance Company, associated with the New York Life Insurance Company. He married his wife, Judy, 30 years ago and they have two children. Rob 29, is a business major planning a career in medicine, as is Rob's wife Kerri, already a physician. Daughter Emily is 25 and an aspiring movie director/producer who already has several films to her credit. Judy and Emily are both members of the Ladies' Auxiliary. National Commander Barclay has gone through the department chairs in his home state of Oklahoma. He is the past legislative chairman of the Oklahoma Veterans Council and is currently co-chairman of Senator Jim Inhofe's Oklahoma Veterans Task Force. He has served as the National Junior Vice and National Senior Vice Commander of our Order, and is now National Commander. Patriot Commander Barclay, may your tour of duty as our national leader be one of great success and accomplishment! Semper Fi! Pat Loughren, Contributing for the Purple Heart Magazine.
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