Information on U.S. Army helicopter UH-1C tail number 66-15015
The Army purchased this helicopter 0267
Total flight hours at this point: 00000882
Date: 11/27/1968 MIA-POW file reference number: 1331
Incident number: 68112710.KIA
Unit: 118 AHC
This was a Combat incident. This helicopter was LOSS TO INVENTORY
This was a Recon mission for Armed Escort , Other Aircraft.
While Enroute this helicopter was Unknown at UNK feet and UNK knots.
UTM grid coordinates: XT238290
Helicopter took 1 hits from:
Small Arms/Automatic Weapons; Gun launched non-explosive ballistic projectiles less than 20 mm in size. (7.62MM)
causing a Fire.
Systems damaged were: PERSONNEL
Casualties = 01 KIA, 02 DOI, 01 I . .
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: 1331, OPERA, UH1P3, 33202, Dave Evans (Operations Report. )
Summary: Shot down and crashed during gun run on village near Cambodian border while covering ARVNs.
Loss to Inventory
AC WO1 ALEXANDER NICHOLAS RICHAR KIA
CE SP5 SIMPSON WILLIAM JAMES KIA
P WO1 LAROCQUE LESLIE HOWARD KIA
G GURNSEY EARL F POW
The 118th AHC was doing a CA for an ARVN unit to the west of Tay Ninh about 1K or so from the border. We had ten slicks, four guns, a C&C and a smoke ship - all from the 118th. The 118th was based at Bien Hoa. This was mid-morning and the first lift into the LZ. I believe we picked up the ARVNs at their base. The tactical area was a village either on or near the border, then a rice paddy area about a 400 to 500 yards wide, then a single tree line, and another rice paddy area that was the LZ. All ten slicks landed at the same time in this dry rice paddy, unloaded and departed. I can't remember details about the LZ prep, only that we departed and shut down at our staging area. I don't recall that we took fire during the CA or if we went in full suppression or just normal rules. The C&C remained and at least one, maybe both, gun teams. The UH-1C with WO Alexander as AC and WO Larocque as CP and SP5 Simpson as CE and SP4 Gurnsey as gunner was shot down by what I was told a 51 cal firing from the village. I believe they were making a gun run on the village at the time. They crashed about 300 yards from the village in the first rice paddy area. We learned the ship was down by listening on the radios. Fire from both the ARVNs and the VC intensified after the crash as both sides tried to control the ship. About mid-day someone saw that a smoke grenade was popped near the ship, so we believed that someone was alive there and wanted to land near it. The C&C wouldn't let us - saying the area wasn't secure, they were still taking heavy fire from the village, and we wouldn't risk another ship and crew. When the ARVN advance stalled and very late in the day, we were able to insert an American Infantry unit. This was in the 25th Inf Div's AO, so most likely they were from that unit. I was involved in this insertion but didn't get a real good look at the crash site. We went back, shut-down and went back to listening to the radios. The GIs quickly fought their way to the gunship about six hours after they had gone down. The VC broke contact in the face of the GIs. I believe the GIs found the bodies of the two pilots and CE but the gunner was not found. I don't remember if we pulled the ARVNs out that night or not, but I believe the Americans stayed there to secure the crash site. Not long after dark, we returned to Bien Hoa knowing that we had lost three KIA. A few days later we learned that Gurnsey had been captured, was held in Cambodia, and that he was badly injured. I left Vietnam on the 15th of January and distinctly recall knowing that Gurnsey had been repatriated by the Cambodian government. About two years later, I met up with George Burchett who stayed with the 118th at least nine months after I left. He told me that Gurnsey never recovered from his injuries and had died in the States about six months after his repatriation. Submitted by Dave Evans at the VHCMA Reunion 6/25/99. I was Rock's roomate in Vietnam and was also flying on that day. C & C refused to let us go in, but my crew and I attempted once and the fire was to heavy. Later "Pinapple" as we called him was found in Cambodia and we were told the US State Dept traded "farm equip" with the Cambodians and got him back. It has been awhile but I belive there was a news story on him after we got him back. PS I and co-pilot recieved company level punishment for the attempt after 6 "C&C" denied the attempt. "CWO Weld", firstname.lastname@example.org
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