Information on U.S. Army helicopter UH-1H tail number 66-16952
The Army purchased this helicopter 1067
Total flight hours at this point: 00000364
Incident number: 68040404.KIA
Unit: HHC/2 BDE 1 CAV
UTM grid coordinates: XD898402
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
AC WO1 PHEARS RONALD GENE KIA
P WO1 MORAN JOE MICHAEL KIA
CE SP5 BAXTER TERRY LEE KIA
G PFC THOMAS CHARLIE BERNARD KIA
Passengers and/or other participants:
LTC RUNKLE ROBERT LESLIE, AR, PP, KIA
CPT PETERS DAVID ARTHUR, AR, OB, KIA
CPT LYTTLE JOSEPH, AR, PX, RES
BACKGROUND: Operation Pegasus was directed at lifting the siege of the Marine combat base at Khe Sanh in western Quang Tri Province. The 1st Cavalry Division was tasked with conducting the operation, and CG 1st Cav received operational control of the 1st Marines, the 26th Marines, and the ARVN 3rd Airborne Task Force as well as holding command over his own divisional forces. The operational plan involved thrusts along Highway 9 from Ca Lu, east of Khe Sanh, and air assaults by three battalions of the 2nd Brigade, 1st Cav Division, on the high ground north and south of Hwy 9. The command helo for a 1/5 Cav troop insertion on 4 April came from HHC, 2nd Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division. Six men are known to have been aboard UH-1H tail number 66-16952 and to have died when it was shot down: WO1 Ronald Gene Phears, pilot, HHC, 2nd Bde WO1 Joe Michael Moran, copilot, HHC, 2nd Bde SP5 Terry Lee Baxter, crew chief, HHC, 2nd Bde PFC Charlie Bernard Thomas, gunner, HHC, 2nd Bde LTC Robert Leslie Runkle, Commanding Officer, 1/5th Cav CPT David Arthur Peters, Forward Observer, C Btry, 1st Bn, 77th Arty COMMENT RECEIVED from AL JOHNSON: "Joe Lyttle was C Company commander (1/5 Cav) the summer and fall of 67. Then he served on LTC Runkle's Bn staff untill the day Runkle was killed. Lyttle was selected by Runkle to replace a wounded Co CO (Capt Robert M Nawrosky, who died of wounds 7-6-1968) and he was on the flight that was shot down with Runkle. Lyttle survived the crash, but was partly under the helicopter. The NVA executed all others, including Runkle, but thought Lyttle was dead. He was later rescued but was permanently paralyzed from the waist down. Lyttle worked many years at Warm Springs, GA as a supervisor in rehab with other paralyzed persons, but left there last fall to retire to Virginia knowing that he was terminal with cancer." From Ken Davis, June 2005.
This record was last updated on 10/20/2011
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Date posted on this site: 05/26/2019
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