Helicopter CH-54A 64-14205


Information on U.S. Army helicopter CH-54A tail number 64-14205
Date: 04/19/1968 MIA-POW file reference number: 1132
Incident number: 68041910.KIA
Unit: 478TH AVN (HHC) CO
This was a Combat incident. This helicopter was LOSS TO INVENTORY
This was a Logistics Support mission for Resupply , Sling Loading.
While on Landing Zone this helicopter was Landing at UNK feet and UNK knots.
South Vietnam
UTM grid coordinates: YD255095
Helicopter took 1 hits from:
Explosive Weapon; Non-Artillery launched or static weapons containing explosive charges.
The helicopter was hit in the Cockpit causing an Explosion.
Systems damaged were: PERSONNEL
Casualties = 04 DOI . .
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 Reference Notes. Defense Intelligence Agency Helicopter Loss database. Survivability/Vulnerability Information Analysis Center Helicopter database. Also: 1132, LNOF, 00022, CRAFX, CASRP (Lindenmuth Old Format Data Base. Crash Facts Message. Casualty Report. )
Loss to Inventory

Crew Members:
CE SP6 SHAFER PHILIP RAYMOND BNR
FE MSG WERDEHOFF MICHAEL RAY BNR
AC MAJ LORD ARTHUR JAMES BNR
P CW4 MILLARD CHARLES WORTH BNR


REFNO Synopsis:
South Vietnam Philip R. Shafer Arthur J. Lord Charles W. Millard Michael R. Werdehoff (1132) On April 19, 1968, Specialist 4th Class Shafer was crew chief on a CH-54 helicopter carrying a bulldozer to Landing Zone Tiger located in the A Shau Valley, Thua Thien Province, South Vietnam. Other crew members included Captain Lord (aircraft commander), CW3 Willard (pilot), and Specialist 6th Class Werdehoff (flight engineer). Approximately 1.5 kilometers from the landing zone eyewitnesses reported an explosion in the cockpit of the helicopter which caught fire and crashed at the base of a cliff, exploding. There were no signs of survivors. The crew was initially reported missing in action and after the war was declared dead/body not recovered. Returning U.S. POWs were unable to provide any information on their fate.

Arthur J. Lord; Charles W. Millard; Philip R. Shafer; Michael R. Werdehoff (missing on CH54, coordinates YD255095-LZ Tiger) SYNOPSIS: On April 19, 1968 three Army helicopters were shot down in the A Shau Valley of South Vietnam. All three were making supply runs to Landing Zone Tiger in Quang Tri Province. Five men survived the three crashes, and nine men remain missing. The CH47A on which Douglas Blodgett was a crewman, William Dennis was flight engineer, and Jesus Gonzales was crewchief was resupplying ammunition at the LZ when it received small arms fire from the ground and crashed. The pilot and co-pilot were able to crawl away, but the rest of the crew was never found. They were declared Missing In Action. The CH47 on which Anthony Housh was flight engineer and Michael Wallace was crewchief was hit by 50 calibre and 37 mm ground fire on its approach to the LZ. Housh and Wallace jumped from the aircraft from an altitude of 50-100 feet above the jungle canopy. The others were rescued. No trace of Housh and Wallace was ever found. They were declared Missing In Action. The CH54 "Flying Crane" on which Arthur Lord was aircraft commander, Charles Millard pilot, Arthur J. Lord co-pilot, Michael Werdehoff flight engineer, and Philip Shafer crewchief was carrying a bulldozer into the recently resecured LZ Tiger when the aircraft was hit and crashed. All the crew were classified Missing In Action. Thorough searches for the 3 helicopters were not immediately possible because of the enemy situation. A refugee later reported that he had found the wreckage of two U.S. helicopters, one with 3 sets of skeletal remains, in Quang Tri Province. The U.S. Army believes this could correlate with any of the three helicopters lost on April 19, 1968, but no firm evidence has been secured that would reveal the fate of the nine missing servicemen.


War Story:
 Don't recall how many Cranes left Danang that morning. All cranes were overnighted there and we would have to take them to Red Beach at daylight for missions.Some of us lived on the airbase and some at Red Beach. Sometimes we would just solo the ship to Red Beach and turn it over to another crew. I was in 418 and picked up the CO, Major Richard Cardwell. As I recall he hadn't been on too many missions and wanted to see what Cp Evans was like. Little did he know. We were just sitting around drinking coffee and the Cav began to leave for the valley. We began to hear reports of fierce fighting and many downed aircraft. Arty personnel were put on LZ's but needed engineer equipment to prepare their firebase. We continued to sit around until close to noon and the word came down that a backhoe and a dozer was needed. Two cranes would go, however, there would be no gun ship support. None available. So off we went. I was flying 418 at the time. 205 loaded the bulldozer, not sure of the size or weight, but the Cav had some great little dozers that weighed about 13,000. Not sure about this one. The sky was very overcast. We climbed over the overcast and was vectored west then south. Radar at Evans said they "believed" they knew where to let us down and when we cleared just go left down the valley. The LZ was at the end of this range on a slender ridge or finger. 205 was leading. As soon as we dropped down the gunfire started and the cockpit chatter was noisy. The gunfire never stopped. Some of the tracers were great big, like a yellow bowling ball. I don't remember either I or the Major saying anything until we saw 205 overshoot the LZ and make a right turn for another approach behind us. Lucky for us that we sighted the the LZ further out than 205 did and their misfortune probably helped us make the approach. One of the crew members said that 205 was coming back but they were behind us a ways and then he said, Sir she's blown up. The CH47 that had crashed was still burning lying on the side of the hill right in our flight path. I made the LZ, and seems like an hour of hovering while the load was let down and released. Major Cardwell then grabbed the controls, said I've got it, and he could have it. You know the crane held the record for vertical climb but nothing could have kept up with us then. We climbed straight up until we got on top and then headed home. It was a silent trip back to Evans. In your post I think it mentions 205 crashed at the LZ. 205 was a few hundred feet up in the middle of the valley. Later in the week when it was clear we couldn't even see evidence of a crash. My flt records for that day show 2.8 hrs but that included time flown from Danang and back. After that day, took a couple days off but back in the valley on 22, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28 Apr and then into May. Do not remember the crew chiefs on 205. I know I flew with them but memory is gone. I believe the flight engineer on my ship quit after that flight. One humerous side note: The Cav as you know was in terrible shape for aircraft. One day we had more cranes available than the 228 BN had chinooks. The big boys asked the Marine Corps for help and a major led a flight of three CH53's to Evans. Boy did they look sharp. Clean pressed flight suits, all shaven, smelled good, the works. At the briefing, they were told where they would be flying and what they would be hauling. All was well until the Major asked where he could pick up his gun ships and what their freqs were. Ah, the bad news. No guns avail. The Marine Major said they didn't fly without guns and he left the briefing, gathered his crews and flew off. Someone said something that night because the next day he was back with his three 53's and they worked just like the rest of us and did a good job as I remember. They just needed an attitude adjustment. Does anyone else remember the Marines helping us for one day?? I still have my little green government memo book with lots of LZ's, coords, freqs, beacons, etc., just a lot of stuff. If anyone is interested. Sorry about the length of this. If anyone finds errors, please let me know because this is the bomm. Ted Jenkins tfjk@iswt.com 478th Avn Co 67-68

This record was last updated on 05/25/1998


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