Helicopter UH-1D 66-16284

Information on U.S. Army helicopter UH-1D tail number 66-16284
The Army purchased this helicopter 0467
Total flight hours at this point: 00000485
Date: 03/28/1969
Incident number: 69032888.KIA
Unit: C/101 AVN 101 ABN
South Vietnam
UTM grid coordinates: YC567816 (To see this location on a map, go to https://legallandconverter.com/p50.html and search on Grid Reference 48QYC567816)
Casualties = 03 KIA . .
Original source(s) and document(s) from which the incident was created or updated: Defense Intelligence Agency Helicopter Loss database. Also: OPERA (Operations Report. )
Loss to Inventory

Crew Members:

War Story:
I had just returned from R&R in Hawaii and was back in the saddle on the 28th and like Dick said we were returning from a morning CA when a call came through that said the 158th needed assistance. Since I was short on monthly flying time I volunteered to assist them and McClain told the flight that he would take the mission and that we were to return to home base. Later that day he was shot down and killed along with Eric Pulliam and Ronald Ricciardo. We had the only funeral for them a few days later and that was the last of the five people killed during my tour. I was lucky enough to be in the Honor Guard for the guys.

Now for some more info on the three fellows; LT McClain was a good platoon leader and had the respect of the platoon members. He was a card player and even cashed a few of my checks so I would have some spending money. I don't remember flying with him but I may have. I thought LT McClain was from Georgia but I am not sure these many years later. LT Pullian had recently signed into the company and was there for the move from LZ Sally to Phu Bia. His total time in the company was less than one month and I never had a chance to fly with him or even get to know him.

SP-4 Ricciadro was from Deer Park, NY. He always had a smile and was following in Ed McMann's foot steps by saying "Hereeees Johnny" when we flew together. He was always spicing up the day like that. He told me that he was seriously thinking about extending his tour so he could get into flight school because he enjoyed flying so much. He was a great person to be around.

I have no photos of them, just memories of 36 years ago but I would suggest that you contact Bob Crow's crew chief to see if he has any photos. I don't have that gentleman's name or address but I believe Dick does.

From: John H Forslund, Black Widow 48, RVN 68-69

"I might be able to shed some light on this incident. I apologize that my memory is no longer as sharp as it was, I don't remember the A/C number. I do remember the aircraft as I was assigned to it. Actually I had flown down to the repair facility at Cu Chi from Camp Eagle during March of 1969 to pick this rebuilt helicopter up and fly it back to Camp Eagle and C Company 101st Avn Bn. The helicopter had been a 1st Cav aircraft damaged in a mortar attack and had been repaired at Cu Chi and returned to service with C Company. As I remember on the flight back to Camp Eagle we encountered some electrical problems with the radios, also the helicopter had a lateral vibration in the rotor system.

I was a CW2 in 2nd platoon C Company, my call sign Black Widow 44. Ron Ricciardo was my crewchief, Wilofard McClain was my platoon leader and Eric Pulliam was new to the Company. In fact, he had just been in the Company for approximately 2 weeks before he was killed. Here is the story as I remember it. On 2/28/69, because I had flown 130 hour in 30 days, that meant a mandantory day off. 1LT McClain was assigned to my aircraft on that day and 1LT Pulliam was his copilot. SP4 Ricciardo was the crew chief and I can't recall the gunners name. The aircraft mission was to recon particular mountainous terrain in or near the Ashau Valley. While flying low and slow over the tree tops in the mission area, they were taken under fire. SP4 Ricciardo was said to have taken an RPG in the chest which resulted in the helicopter crashing. As the helicopter was going down, the gunner jumped out of the helicopter at near treetop level, breaking bones when he hit the ground. 1LT McClain and 1LT Pulliam were both killed in the crash. The gunner was not found for several hours, but was later rescued and medivaced to a hospital where he survived." From: Eric Penttila.

This record was last updated on 08/18/2005

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Date posted on this site: 11/13/2023

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