Helicopter UH-34D 149325


Information on U.S. Marine Corps helicopter UH-34D tail number 149325
Date: 10/26/1967
Incident number: 67102616.KIA
Unit: HMM-363
This was a Combat incident. This helicopter was LOSS TO INVENTORY
This was a Rescue and Recovery mission for Medical Evacuation
While on Landing Zone this helicopter was Landing at 0010 feet and 040 knots.
The station for this helicopter was Quang Tri in South Vietnam
Count of hits was not possible because the helicopter burned or exploded.
The helicopter was hit in the Aft area
Systems damaged were: PERSONNEL, TAIL ROTOR
Casualties = 02 KIA, 02 WIA . .
The helicopter Crashed. Aircraft Destroyed.
Both mission and flight capability were terminated.
Burned
Original source(s) and document(s) from which the incident was created or updated: Defense Intelligence Agency Helicopter Loss database. Survivability/Vulnerability Information Analysis Center Helicopter database. Also: OPERA, NSC (Naval Safety Center. Operations Report. )
Loss to Inventory

Crew Members:
P CPT BENNETT RONALD DAVID KIA
CP 2LT SHARPLESS VERNON J RES
G CPL CLEM EDWARD KIA
CE LCP CONES HOWARD J RES


War Story:
The official USMC history states that Co F, 2d Bn, 4th Marines had taken casualties from an NVA mortar barrage and requested a medevac. When CPT Bennett from HMM-363 attempted to land his UH-34D within the perimeter, those on the ground waved him off because of intense enemy fire. As he pulled away, enemy fire hit the rear of the helicopter, separating the tail pylon. They crashed, rolled and began burning about 150 meters outside the Marine position. Bennett and Clem died. Sharpless and Cones, both seriously injured, managed to crawl out of the wreckage. A second HMM-363 ship, piloted by CPT Frank T. Grassi, tried to land to pick up the survivors but could not. Enemy fire hit Grassi in the leg and arm, damaged the helicopter, and wounded one of the gunners and the Navy corpsman. They made a forced landing at Strong Point C-2. CPT James E. Murphy, the 2d Bn's air liaison officer, saw where Bennett went down and with his radio on his back, crawled out to the wreck, moving past NVA soldiers in his path. He found the two survivors but there was no way he could get them back to the Marine position. Fortunately, the NVA either did not know the 3 men were there or did not care. Murphy could hear NVA soldiers nearby and could see movement. With the aid of a FAC in an O-1C overhead, Murphy called in air strikes. Eventually he directed a Marine A-4 to deliver a line of smoke while a UH-1C from the US Army 190th AHC landed and rescued the three Marines. Enemy fire hit this aircraft twice and its pilot was wounded in the arm. They too made a forced landing at Strong Point C-2.

The following is from Frank Grassi

Just a few comments on the article of the " war story ". First of all I was the section leader for the medivac with Ron as my wingman. We were not briefed on the severity of the situation on leaving Da Nang. In fact I was told the wounded were the result of sniper fire. On arriving in the zone the Marines filled my helo to capacity with wounded. While I was in the zone we started getting emergency calls from another company area. Ron wanted to go to do the extraction in that area. I told him to wait until I was airborne and could observe the op. When I saw what happened to him and his crew, I took my wounded to the med center, unloaded and flew back to the site to coordinate with the ground on the situation. I was told that there may be survivors and I made the decision to go in. Basically the rest of the commentary is correct. I worked with Marion F Sturkey, the author of the book " Bonnie-Sue a Marine Corps Helicopter Squadron in Vietnam " and told him of the event. His writing is similar to your story, from where it came, I have no clue. I also wrote him and related that the writing was incorrect. I don't expect changes to be made, just letting you know the facts.

From: Frank T Grassi

This record was last updated on 09/12/2013


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