Helicopter AH-1G 67-15584


Information on U.S. Army helicopter AH-1G tail number 67-15584
The Army purchased this helicopter 0468
Total flight hours at this point: 00001203
Date: 09/16/1969
Incident number: 690916291ACD Accident case number: 690916291 Total loss or fatality Accident
Unit: A/3/17 CAV
The station for this helicopter was Di An in South Vietnam
Number killed in accident = 2 . . Injured = 0 . . Passengers = 0
costing 593230
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 CW2 DALEY ROBERT F KIA
P 1LT GOODLETT JOHN FLETCHER KIA


Accident Summary:

 THE SPECIFIC MISSION CONSISTED OF AN AERIAL CHECK POINT OPERATION. THE CREW OF THE AH-1G WENT TO THE FLIGHTLINE AT 0530 TO PERFORM THE FLIGHT READINESS INSPECTION. THE MORNING AND EARLY AFTERNOON CONSISTED OF ROUTINE OPERATIONS. OCCASIONALLY THE TEAM WAS GROUNDED BECAUSE OF SCATTERED SHOWERS IN THE AREA OF OPERATION. ABOUT 1430 HOURS, THE AERIAL CHECK POINT TEAM DEPARTED DIAN AND THE HUNTER-KILLER TEAM BEGAN A GENERAL VISUAL RECONNAISSANCE. A TROOP INSERTION FOLLOWED AT 1520 HOURS. AT APPROXIMATELY 1700 HOURS THE HUNTER-KILLER TEAM MOVED TO GRID XT 7808 AND AGAIN BEGAN A GENERAL VISUAL RECONNAISSANCE. BECAUSE OF THE LATENESS OF THE HOUR AND THE DETERIORATING WEATHER CONDITIONS, IT WAS DECIDED THAT TWO AMBUSH PATROLS WOULD BE INSERTED BEFORE BREAKING STATION. THE OH-6A HAD JUST MARKED A PROPOSED LANDING ZONE WHEN THE COBRA WAS OBSERVED TO INITIATE A NORMAL DIVE. JUST PRIOR TO GROUND CONTACT THE COBRA WAS OBSERVED TO HAVE APPROXIMATELY 45 OF LEFT BANK AND A NOSE LOW ATTITUDE. THE ENTIRE MANEUVER WAS BEGUN AT APPROXIMATELY 400-500 FEET AGL AND TERMINATED UPON GROUND CONTACT. THERE WAS NO APPARENT ATTEMPT TO PULL OUT. THE AIRCRAFT WAS NOT OBSERVED TO RECEIVE ANY GROUND FIRE. THERE WAS NO ENEMY CONTACT REPORTED IN THE AREA DURING THE DAY.\\


War Story:
I was a crewchief in the Lift Plt. of A/3/17 ACR. I flew approx. 9 months as such. In reviewing the records of some incidents I find what I believe may be an error in the record of the aircraft AH-1G, tail #67-15584. The record claims this accident happened quite later in the day of the incident. When this A/C crashed I was flying as crewchief on the C&C ship. The Cobra went into the ground just below us and to the left of my A/C. As I was flying left seat (crewchief) I saw everything. First I remember this as happening early in the morning. We did have overcast sky as it did eventually rain just after the crash. Our regular Lift flight took off to pickup troops (I believe ARVN) and top off fuel for a planned insersion. We as C&C ship flew to the proposed LZ with the Cobra in this incident. We had no other aircraft along with us at that time to my recollection. The Cobra was low level and we were high. When the Cobra struck the ground my pilot called the Mayday and we went down into the flooded overgrown rice paddy to search for survivors. My pilot got out first with only his sidearm for a weapon. The copilot stayed with the chopper. I then got out and accompanied the pilot armed with my 45 pistol. I located the remains of 1 body still strapped in part of the seat and laying underwater. My gunner, Nilo Balatbat (a Fillipino) came out about that time leaving only the copilot in our chopper which was still running. The second body was found also now. The reason I feel the record is not correct is because we were out there alone for some time. I don't recall any air cover from any of our choppers. Had there been a hunter-killer team we would have had a Loach on station then. It wasn't till after some time that the rest of our flight got out to us. The Loach(s) were first along with more Cobras. The Lift Plt. came out and dropped off our own aero-rifle Plt. to secure the crash scene. I know for a fact we had no air or ground cover up to that point. It did start to rain while we were on the ground wading in and around the crash site. I believe the fuel bladders had ruptured spilling JP-4 in the flooded paddy but there was no fire on impact. One of the Lift Plt. choppers brought out the body bags and they were loaded and placed on my chopper for return to graves registartion at DiAn. By the time we got back to their landing pad it was pouring and my chopper was low on fuel so I was ordered to stay with the body bags while they flew my chopper to POL and refueled. I had to wait at the pad with the 2 bags for the G/R personnel to come and unlock the building because as I remember it they were at breakfast chow yet. This is also why I say the incident happened early in the day. Eventually 2 men showed up and we loaded the bags on gurneys and took them inside. I was standing there when they unzipped both bags. I was given dry clothes by the 2 G/R people and a jeep came to pick me up and take me back to the company area. In the meantime my chopper was refueled and parked in the revetment and I believe the pilot then had to go to G/R to ID the bodies himself. In the report it places this incident later in the day but I recall this as being early since the G/R men were at breakfast if I'm correct. It also claims that the Cobra was part of a hunter-killer team. There was no hunter-killer team from what I recall. It was just the Cobra and us, the C&C ship. The other aircraft and troops did not arrive till a short time later. That I also remember as fact because I was extremely affraid of being down on the ground without cover and armed only with a 45 not knowing who or what brought the Cobra down to begin with. The area itself was vacated and there were clumps of vegetation and trees here and there along the old rice dikes. This could have provided ample cover for enemy troops. The rice paddy itself looked as if it was well overgrown and had not been cultivated or cared for for quite some time. At the time I also submitted an official written report as to what I had seen for the accident record. This may be on file somewhere yet. I was there on the scene and I did know both pilots of this Cobra through Unit and flight line affiliation. Thanks for your time. Listed below is my name and e-mail address. Tom Runkle (tom6869@aol.com) CE. A/3/17 69-70 RVN

This record was last updated on 05/06/2002


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