Helicopter UH-1H 67-17400

Information on U.S. Army helicopter UH-1H tail number 67-17400
The Army purchased this helicopter 0468
Total flight hours at this point: 00000393
Date: 03/22/1969
Incident number: 69032280.KIA
Unit: A/4 AVN 4 INF
This was a Combat incident. This helicopter was LOSS TO INVENTORY
This was a Rescue and Recovery mission for Medical Evacuation
While in PickUp Zone this helicopter was on Take-Off at 0025 feet and 040 knots.
South Vietnam
UTM grid coordinates: ZA094716 (To see this location on a map, go to https://legallandconverter.com/p50.html and search on Grid Reference 48PZA094716)
Helicopter took 1 hits from:
Explosive Weapon; Non-Artillery launched or static weapons containing explosive charges. (B-40 RKT)
The helicopter was hit in the Main Rotor Blade System
Systems damaged were: MAIN ROTOR SYS, PERSONNEL
Casualties = 01 DOI, 03 INJ . .
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, LNNF, CASRP, CRAFX, JSIDR (Operations Report. Lindenmuth New Format Data Base. Joint Services Incident Damage Report. Crash Facts Message. Casualty Report. )
Loss to Inventory

Crew Members:

War Story:

It was March 22, 1969, we were doing "Ash & Trash" missions between Pleiku and Kontum in A Co's UH1H, 6717400. A/C Cpt George Shields; P/P 1Lt John Dennig; C/E Sp4 Alley Oakley Stephens; and gunner Sp4 Barry Wagner. I don't remember what time of day it was but it was hot out. We had been flying missions for quite a while and we were sitting on the pad loading cases of C-Rations for our next sortie. Over the radio frequency we were on we heard a call for emergency medavac from one of the units just to our north and west.

Cpt Shields told the crew in the back to kick off all the C-rats that we had to go. We took off and didn't have to go far or very high when we saw black smoke coming from something. We headed that way and found that the unit was a mech infantry unit from the division. As we approached we could see that they were in a defensive posture with most of the vehicles facing the tree line to the west, and every gun in sight was shooting into the woods, to include ours as we approached the LZ. Our LZ was actually "inside" the perimeter formed behind the APCs. As we were on a short approach we were waved off by one of the GIs in the LZ. We went around and on the second try we actually set our Huey down behind the APCs. At this point it didn't seem as though the Grunts were in a very big hurry so the CE, Alley O Stephens unhooked and went to hurry them up. When Stephens returned he came with wounded, 3 as I remember it, 2 on litters and 1 walking wounded. I remember turning around and looking at the soldier on the litter, he had his leg laying next to him! We were loaded up and it was time to go. Cpt Shields was at the controls and we headed up and out. I remember flying over an APC that was on fire with dead soldiers strewn about the top of it.

It was at this time that the Huey jerked violently and began to roll to the left, and we were going down! We hit on the left side and stayed that way until everything came to a stop. I remember reaching up to turn off the battery switch onlt to find the switch directly in front of me, on the CP side. To exit the AC all I did was unbuckle and walk out where the windshield should have been.

Shields and Wagner and I met off to the side of the AC and looked back to see soldiers coming out of the cargo area of the Huey. It was Stephens the CE in there helping the soldiers to get out and away from the AC. We all raced back to help him getting two of the three wounded out when the AC exploded into flames. We all looked back to see Stephens throw his arms over the edge of the AC. We reaced back and dragged Stephens away from the inferno. I clearly remember that all Stephens had left of his clothing was his underware and his boots, he had been burned severly.

We were in real trouble now. Aviation people on the ground with the infantry in a fire fight with a F$%%$##% 38! We need help. I went to the back of one of the APCs and tuned the FM radio into the frequency for our Gun Company (B Co) and called for help. I got an answer and I told the pilot I was talking to what our situation was. He said he'd be on the way to help. It seemed like hours before we heard and saw the gunships. I don't think I can ever remember seeing that many gunship in pattern to support the troops on the ground.

When the fire-fight was over I can remember seeing Huey after Huey coming in and leaving with wounded and dead soldiers. Everyone from the area was taken to the EVAC Hospital in Pleiku.

SP4 Alley Oakley Stephens died the next day due to his injuries when the AC exploded into flames. Stephens was not able to get 1 soldier out of the fire.

We found out later from the 1SGT that was on the ground with the unit that was ambushed that he saw a B40 rocket come out of the tree line and hit our Huey in the mast. He also told us that the 1 man that didn't make it out of the burning AC was the one who had lost a leg....

From: John Dennig

This record was last updated on 12/06/2011

This information is available on CD-ROM.

Additional information is available on KIAs at http://www.coffeltdatabase.org

Please send additions or corrections to: The VHPA Webmaster Gary Roush.

KIA statistics

Return to the KIA name list

Return to the KIA panel date index

Date posted on this site: 11/13/2023

Copyright © 1998 - 2023 Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association