Helicopter UH-1C 66-00661


Information on U.S. Army helicopter UH-1C tail number 66-00661
The Army purchased this helicopter 1166
Total flight hours at this point: 00001726
Date: 02/21/1969
Incident number: 690221091ACD Accident case number: 690221091 Total loss or fatality Accident
Unit: 116 AHC
The station for this helicopter was Cu Chi in South Vietnam
UTM grid coordinates: XT383254
Number killed in accident = 4 . . Injured = 0 . . Passengers = 0
costing 510415
Original source(s) and document(s) from which the incident was created or updated: Defense Intelligence Agency Helicopter Loss database. Army Aviation Safety Center database. Also: OPERA (Operations Report. )
Loss to Inventory

Crew Members:
AC CPT ROSE HARRY QUINCY KIA
P WO1 POLAK PETER PAUL KIA
CE SP5 WILSHER EVERETT NELSON KIA
G SP4 SCOTT WILLIAM BLAKE KIA


Accident Summary:

 THE AIRCRAFT INVOLVED WAS FLYING AS LEAD SHIP IN A HEAVY FIRE TEAM, IT WAS ARMED WITH ^XM-156^MULTIPLE ARMAMENT MOUNTS AND ^XM-159^ NINETEEN POUND ROCKET PODS. THE PODS WERE LOADED WITH A TOTAL OF ^28 2.75 INCH. FFAR WITH 17 POUND^ WARHEADS AND VT FUSES. THE FIRE TEAM HAD BEEN OPERATING WEST OF ^TAY NINH, RVN^, IN SUPPORT OF TROOP CARRIER ^UH-1D^AIRCRAFT MAKING COMBAT ASSAULTS. UPON COMPLETION OF THE ASSAULTS, THE HEAVY FIRE TEAM DEPARTED THE ^TAY NINH^ AREA FOR THEIR HOME BASE AT ^CU CHI, RVN^. THEIR ROUTE WAS VIA MSR'S AS IS STANDARD PRACTICE. AS THE LEAD SHIP PASSED THE NORTHERN EDGE OF THE VILLAGE OF ^GO DA HA, RVN^, MEMBERS OF THE CREWS OF THE NUMBERS 2 AND 3 SHIPS SAW SOMETHING FLY FROM THE AIRCRAFT. THE OBJECT WAS DESCRIBED AS BEING APPROXIMATELY FOUR FEET LONG AND WAS BELIEVED TO BE A TAIL ROTOR BLADE. THE SHIP STARTED A SLOW YAWING MOVEMENT TO THE RIGHT AND PITCHED INTO A STEEP DIVE, ESTIMATED TO BE APPROXIMATELY 80 DEGREES NOSE DOWN. SIMULTANEOUSLY, THE TAIL BOOM ON THE SHIP BEGAN TO SEPARATE ON THE LEFT SIDE, FOLDING SLOWLY TO THE RIGHT. THE TAIL BOOM CONTINUED TO FAIL UNTIL IT COMPLETELY SEPARATED FROM THE AIRCRAFT AT APPROXIMATELY 100 FEET ALTITUDE AND JUST PRIOR TO IMPACT. THE AIRCRAFT THEN IMPACTED IN AN ESTIMATED 80 DEGREE NOSE DOWN ATTITUDE AND A SLIGHT ROLL TO THE RIGHT. THE AIRCRAFT WAS SEEN TO EXPLODE AT THE TOPS OF TREES AT THE CRASH SITE, EXPLODING IN FLAMES BEFORE FINAL IMPACT. THE TREES WERE APPROXIMATELY 50 FEET IN HEIGHT. THE CRASH SITE WAS IN A SMALL HOUSING COMPLEX. ONE THATCHED SHELTER WAS DESTROYED BY FLAMES AND ANOTHER SHELTER IN CLOSE PROXIMITY TO THE POINT OF IMPACT WAS EXTENSIVELY DAMAGED. THERE WERE NO CIVILIAN CASUALTIES. A FORCE ^OF VIETNAMESE REGIONAL FORCES^ SECURED THE AREA APPROXIMATELY ONE AND ONE-HALF MINUTES AFTER THE CRASH.\\


War Story:
The following recollection of incidents and events of that day in regard to the loss of AC, UH1C 66-00661 and crew listed above follows. The morning of 690221 the 187th AHC who was in support of infantry units contacted 269th CAB and requested a Smoke Ship from the 116th AHC to cover final extractions. Ground units had been in and out of contact all day. Cdr. 116th AHC elected to send a flight of 10 UH1D lift aircraft, a heavy fire team of Stinger gun ships and I volunteered to fly the Smoke Ship. I departed Cu Chi immediately and proceeded to the area of the LZ where I was briefed by the Crusaders C&C (187th AHC) The ground elements felt that they had been followed back to the PZ area and during the first extraction of infantry the flight had received automatic gunfire on lift off from the West and North of the PZ. The Rat Pack returned fire and several aircraft received hits. The 187th Smoke aircraft flying between the friendly troops in the PZ and the enemy fire received many hits and followed the Crusaders and Rat Pack back to Tay Ninh to rearm and refuel and check for combat damage. Subsequently the Rat Pack Smoke Ship was grounded due to combat damage. This event precipitated the request by the C&C for a Smoke Ship from the 269th CAB. On arrival in the AO, the C&C briefed me that he had 20 more sticks (2 Lifts of 10) in the PZ, and of the enemy fire received during the first extraction. The Crusaders had not arrived back to the AO, and the Hornets were still enroute. The decision was made to bring the Hornets in for the next extraction as they reported the RP first. The Hornets, were directed to orbit the RP while the Stinger Heavy fire team, led by Jack Rose and Crew proceeded to the LZ area. Stinger Lead, was briefed by the Crusaders C&C and myself as to the events prior to his arrival. We planned a route for me to fly which would provide the best obscuration for the lift element w/o obscuring the PZ w/ smoke, shifted the arty to the North West, and brought the Hornets in Stagger Trail Right w/ full outside door gun suppression. Jack Rose picked up a position aprox, 500 meters in front and below Hornet Lead in order to be able to identify the LZ to Hornet Lead and mark the touchdown point with smoke. The 2 remaining gun ships took positions to the right/rear side of the flight in order to be able to suppress the likely enemy positions during the approach, and along the egress route from the PZ. During the Hornet extraction there was moderate fire received on short final, and during lift off from the PZ by the Lift elements. I had received many hits during that extraction which is not unusual due to the mission of the smoke ship. As the Hornets departed the PZ area, the Stingers returned to the PZ and expended ordinance on identified enemy positions and then departed for Cu Chi. In the meantime I escorted the Final extraction elements of the Crusader flight and received ground fire again. As the Crusaders departed for their DZ I was released by the C&C and started my solo flight back to CC. After climbing up to aprox. 500 feet I switched my radios back to Hornet frequencies just in time to hear Jacks flight call for artillery clearance from a position near Gau De Hau Bridge. After the flight received clearance to CC, I called Stinger Lead " 96 this is 99, I'm about 5 mikes behind ya, how about giving me an orbit so I can catch up, I've taken a few hits but it shouldn't be a problem" As soon as I un keyed my mike, I think it was Paul Buksar called me back and said that 96 just crashed. For someone to suggest that the crew of that aircraft died as a result of anything but hostile fire is ludicrous, several aircraft of the 187th AHC were not able to return to the fight which was the reason the 116th was called in to augment in the first place. The second lift conducted by the 116th received an equal amount of enemy fire as did the final extraction. Time has taken it's toll as to a more detailed explanation of events. The only reason I retain the memory I do is because of the lost of one of our crews. Patrick J Ronan USA Ret

This record was last updated on 03/29/2003


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