Helicopter UH-1C 66-15162

Information on U.S. Army helicopter UH-1C tail number 66-15162
The Army purchased this helicopter 0667
Total flight hours at this point: 00000830
Date: 05/12/1969
Incident number: 69051289.KIA
Unit: 174 AHC
South Vietnam
UTM grid coordinates: BS758353
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:
SP5 Dennis Schmidt was crew chief on a UH-1C helicopter Shark gunship (No. 66-15162) and was killed when the helicopter crashed and rolled down a hill as the crew attempted to snatch an enemy flag from a pole in the ground. It was booby-trapped and was detonated as the helicopter hovered over it. ---- Mark Lightner was an NCO with the 174th at the time, worked with the 452nd Sig. Det. and flew a bit with the Dolphins in 1968, and was NCOIC of the electric shop and ran the recovery crew in 1969. Mark recalls this: Dennis was a crew chief for the Sharks, and during a combat operation one of the crew members of his gunship spotted an NVA or VC flag on a long pole. The gunship descended to get the flag. When the crew member reached down and pulled the flag out of the ground, an explosive charge detonated. The gunship crashed and Schmidt was burned extensively. He was flown state-side to a burn center, where he apparently died. ---- J.C. Pennington (Shark 4 in 1969) had this to say: Schmidt’s crash happened while I was there. Bill Cooper was the Aircraft Commander. I don't remember who the copilot was. In fact, and I hate to admit this, I didn't know SP5 Schmidt had died. I just knew that everyone was medevaced out. Once that happened you rarely heard what the result was. As a matter of fact, Cooper was my roommate--a really good guy and a complete clown. He saw the NVA flag on a little knoll just west of Highway 1 and, as I recall, just south of Quang Ngai city. In other words, we were really surprised that an NVA flag would be in our "backyard" in broad daylight. Cooper got down to damn-near a hover so the crewman could snag the flag. Apparently there was a command-detonated 500-pound bomb under the flag. Also, it appears a VC or NVA soldier with a battery was waiting, touched off the wire, and BOOM! The tailboom was blown off the ship and the crew compartment just rolled down the hill, beating itself to death with the rotor blades. I was on standby when we heard about it and went over to the aid station when they brought the guys in. Cooper's face looked like hell after bouncing off the rocket sight about 40 times. He had a broken nose and jaw as I recall, plus a broken arm or shoulder. I think maybe the forth crewman (door gunner) was DeWitt. Not sure about that. Can't for the life of me remember who the copilot was. (Sources: Mark Lightner and J.C. Pennington, January 1997).

This record was last updated on 02/02/2010

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Date posted on this site: 05/26/2019

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