Helicopter UH-1C 66-15013

Information on U.S. Army helicopter UH-1C tail number 66-15013
The Army purchased this helicopter 0267
Total flight hours at this point: 00001173
Date: 01/28/1969
Incident number: 69012888.KIA
Unit: 114 AHC
This was a Combat incident. This helicopter was LOSS TO INVENTORY
for Close Air Support
While On Target this helicopter was Attacking at UNK feet and UNK knots.
UTM grid coordinates: WR347998 (To see this location on a map, go to https://legallandconverter.com/p50.html and search on Grid Reference 48PWR347998)
Helicopter took 1 hits from:
Systems damaged were: ENGINE, PERSONNEL
Casualties = 01 DOI . .
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 Helicopter Loss database. Survivability/Vulnerability Information Analysis Center Helicopter database. Also: OPERA, UH1P3, 02801, James Hague (Operations Report. )
Summary: Took hits during firing run, crashed hard and aircraft rolled on left side crushing CE. ARVNs helped roll A/C over to recover the body.
Loss to Inventory

Crew Members:

War Story:
I believe a 1LT or junior CPT was flying as AC this day. I was the CP. I seem to recall that we were supporting a troop insert but I am not certain as to our mission. I believe David Higgins was the AC and fire team leader on this mission. We were flying David's wing. Our gunship took hits during the firing run. I clearly remember that the mini-guns stopped firing and the engine had lost power by the time we were ready to pull out of the firing run. We crashed HARD and bounced back up into the air briefly before hitting some trees. The CE, SP4 Bolton, was on the left side of the aircraft and I was flying from the left seat. Bolton had been firing his M-60 free gun for suppressive fire. He may have disconnected his lap belt to fire under the aircraft as we made our break. This aircraft did not have monkey harnesses and both gunners held their M-60s in the laps (no bungee cords); hence the term 'free gun.' The aircraft came to rest on its left side. The windshield on my side was completely gone. My left hand was trapped between the smashed left pilot's door and the collective. The engine was still running and making a terrible noise. Without the burden of having to power the transmission, which had broken loose, the engine was now in a runaway condition. As I was trying to deal with all these things, I remember the other pilot yelling 'What happened?' I was glad to see that he wasn't seriously injured and yelled back that I needed a little help here! I was able to reach the electrical switches and he could turn the engine throttle, so we got the engine shut down. We struggled to get out of our seats and climbed out the left front windshield. At first I couldn't see Bolton but noticed the gunner, Joe Kowalczk, hanging by his lap belt inside the cargo area in a semi-conscious condition with his eyes bulging out. I climbed inside and made the mistake of getting under him when I released his belt, so he fell on me. Within a short time he returned to as normal as one can be after just crashing, he retrieved his gun and broke off several hundred rounds of mini-gun ammo. We could hear shots coming past us and figured out the general direction they were coming from. Kowalczk sent a hundred rounds or so back in that direction and we weren't seriously bothered with the fire again. I also remember watching our wing-ship firing in that general direction. After helping Kowalczk, I noticed Bolton's boot and part of his leg under the aircraft. I reached under as best I could and tried to find a pulse in his leg. There was none. About 30 minutes after we crashed some ARVN troops arrived. Of course no one spoke English! We managed to get them to help push and rolled which was left of the aircraft off Bolton. We recovered his body and not long after that one of our slicks returned for us. We flew Bolton to the morgue. I remember they wouldn't take our word for identification purposes - they need a commissioned officer to make the ID. This was just one more sad and distressing thing to add to an already very sad and EXTREMELY distressing day! As I recall, the rest of us were back flying in a day or so. Submitted to the VHPA by James Hague 28 April 2002.

This record was last updated on 04/30/2002

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Date posted on this site: 11/13/2023

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