Helicopter UH-1D 66-01027

Information on U.S. Army helicopter UH-1D tail number 66-01027
The Army purchased this helicopter 1266
Total flight hours at this point: 00000644
Date: 01/21/1968 MIA-POW file reference number: 1000
Incident number: 68012122.KIA
Unit: 282 AHC
This was a Combat incident. This helicopter was LOSS TO INVENTORY
for Air/land Assault , Hot Area.
While on Landing Zone this helicopter was on Take-Off at 0005 feet and 005 knots.
South Vietnam
UTM grid coordinates: XD860385 (To see this location on a map, go to https://legallandconverter.com/p50.html and search on Grid Reference 48QXD860385)
Helicopter took 1 hits from:
Explosive Weapon; Non-Artillery launched or static weapons containing explosive charges. (57MM RR)
causing an Explosion.
Casualties = 02 INJ, 01 DOI, 02 M . .
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 Reference Notes. Defense Intelligence Agency Helicopter Loss database. Survivability/Vulnerability Information Analysis Center Helicopter database. Also: 1000, LNNF, CASRP, FM232, JSIDR, Homecoming II Project 01, Unit H (Lindenmuth New Format Data Base. Joint Services Incident Damage Report. Casualty Report. )
Loss to Inventory

Crew Members:

Passengers and/or other participants:

REFNO Synopsis:
SYNOPSIS: On January 21, 1968, Captain Tommy C. Stiner, pilot; WO Gerald L. McKensey Jr., co-pilot; SSgt. Billy D. Hill, doorgunner (missing); and SP5 David H. Harrington, crewchief; were aboard the lead UH1D helicopter and PVT Jerry W. Elliott was the doorgunner on the following UH1D on a troop insertion mission. The two choppers were inserting ARVN troops at an old French fort approximately 1200 meters east of Khe Sanh. Also in the lead aircraft was LTC Semyo, senior advisor to the ARVN unit being inserted. As WO McKensey's aircraft touched down on the landing zone, NVA troops stood up all around the aircraft and began firing at the aircraft at almost point blank range. As soon as all the ARVN troops were off loaded, the aircraft lifted off. At approximately 8-10 feet off the ground, the aircraft was hit by either a 57mm recoilless rifle or a direct hit mortar fire, burst into flames and crashed. PVT Elliott, doorgunner and his crewchief were on another UH1D that landed approximately 50-60 feet from the crashed aircraft. LTC Semyo died while pinned under the aircraft. His body was subsequently recovered. The pilot, Stiner, exited the aircraft successfully, evaded capture and returned to friendly lines. Harrington was able to board one of the rescue aircraft that had landed in the LZ. Before leaving the vicinity, CPT Stiner was in a defensive position with WO McKensey. Stiner later reported that he witnessed McKensey being shot in the back of the head and killed. PVT Elliott and his crewchief exited their aircraft to assist survivors of the downed helicopter. In a matter of seconds, the crewchief returned to his aircraft and advised the pilot to take off immediately because of the highly intense hostile fire. The aircraft lifted off, leaving Elliott on the ground, circled and returned to the LZ, but could not locate PVT Elliott. Three days after the incident, a helicopter searched the area and observed a body in the tall elephant grass and small trees. By process of elimination, the pilot determined that the body was that of PVT Elliott. Two sets of remains were recovered from the crash site by an unidentified unit and were later positively identified as those of Semyo and McKensey. Hill was last seen by CPT Stiner, just prior to the aircraft being hit in the compartment in which Hill was manning his machine gun. Stiner stated that Hill was probably struck by the same volley of rounds that downed the aircraft as his machine gun was observed blown to pieces. Stiner searched the area before taking evasive action, but Hill could not be located.

War Story:
Prepared by First Lieutenant Thomas Prince

Approved by Valentino Panzitta, Major, IN Commanding

The second full year of operation for the 282nd Assault Helicopter Company saw many challenges for the men and machines of the company. Given the mission of supporting I Corps Headquarters, the I Corps Advisory effort and operations of the 1st and 2nd ARVN Divisions, the 282nd must be able to respond to the variations requested of it. Within the capabilities of the "Blackcats", supported by the armed "Alleycats", are combat assaults, medical evacuations, resupply, visual reconnaissance, command and control, firefly, armed escort, suppressive fire, close support or any other mission requested of them.

The Hue Section began 21 January with a resupply and medevac request from the Regional Headquarters at Houng Hoa which had sustained a ground attack the night before. A single ship was dispatched and picked up supplies and observer at La Vang airfield near Quang Tri enroute. On short final into the single- ship pad outside the Houng Hoa compound, the Crewchief, Maurice Seghetti, was hit by ground fire from the LZ while CWO Tom Pullen and WO Richard Gilmore took evasive action. The Senior Advisor for Quang Tri Province then administered first aid to Seghetti. While Pullen was enroute to the aid station at Quang Tri, Lt Bob Ford attempted to get the medevacs out of Houng Hoa but was also repulsed by heavy ground fire. Col Seymoe called for more ships from Da Nang, and a combat assault was quickly arranged from volunteers.

WO1 Gerald L. McKinsey, Jr (Mac to his friends) had returned to Da Nang to DEROS. He flew aircraft #036, Joe Sumner the crewchief, to Houng Hoa and then to Dong Ha for assistance from the Marine helicopter unit. For some reason, possibly other commitments, they were unable to do so. WO McKinsey waited there for the rest of the company to join them. After dropping off Seghetti and borrowing a young Marine to serve as door gunner CWO Pullen joined them.

Mr. McKinsey was familiar with the area so he changed seats with Maj. Rex putting Cap. Tom Stiner and Mr. McKinsey flying the lead ship in a flight of seven. Five ships carried Ruff-Puffs and two carried ammo and other supplies. Alleycats flew gun support. Intense ground fire around Houng Hoa forced them to divert south to an old French fort on a mountain top near Khe Sanh. As the flight landed, NVA regulars emerged from their hiding places and began firing at point blank range. The lead ship was hit on the right side, burst into flames (even the rotor blades were burning) and rolled over the embankment, landing on its side. Two ships landed and crewmembers tried to help the crew of Chalk One. Danny Williams exited his ship and went to help rescue Col Seymoe from the burning ship. Ground fire hit the butt of crewchief Heidi Atanian"s M-16 rifle and shot the microphone off his helmet so he got back in the aircraft. Gunner Jerry Elliott never returned to the ship. David Howington, crewchief of aircraft #027 which had crashed managed to get aboard before they took off due to intense enemy ground fire which hit one of the pilots. After receiving many hits the rescue ships were forced to leave the area. Severely damaged ships escaped the LZ and made emergency landings at Khe Sanh, Quang Tri and medevac'd the wounded to Dong Ha.

WO McKinsey survived the crash but was killed on the ground while providing covering fire for the rescue attempt. Col. Seymoe was killed in the crash. Sgt Billy D Hill, gunner of #027 and PFC Jerry W Elliot, gunner are listed MIA. Cpt. Tom Stiner and Sgt Danny Williams escaped from the area, evaded the NVA ground forces and walked to Khe Sanh where they were picked up the next day by a Hue Detachment ship.

This record was last updated on 12/06/2015

This information is available on CD-ROM.

Additional information is available on KIAs at http://www.coffeltdatabase.org

Please send additions or corrections to: The VHPA Webmaster Gary Roush.

KIA statistics

Return to the KIA name list

Return to the KIA panel date index

Date posted on this site: 11/13/2023

Copyright © 1998 - 2023 Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association