Helicopter UH-1H 68-15558

Information on U.S. Army helicopter UH-1H tail number 68-15558
The Army purchased this helicopter 0469
Total flight hours at this point: 00000358
Date: 09/27/1969 MIA-POW file reference number: 1493
Incident number: 69092727.KIA
Unit: 57 AHC
UTM grid coordinates: YB458318 (To see this location on a map, go to https://legallandconverter.com/p50.html and search on Grid Reference 48PYB458318)
Casualties = 01 KIA . .
Original source(s) and document(s) from which the incident was created or updated: Defense Intelligence Agency Reference Notes. Defense Intelligence Agency Helicopter Loss database. Also: 1493, Unit History ()
Summary: Shot down during string extraction mission in Laos.
Loss to Inventory

Crew Members:

REFNO Synopsis:
SYNOPSIS: PFC John N. Huntley was the door gunner aboard a UH1H helicopter from the 57th Aviation Company, 17th Aviation Group on an extraction mission in Laos. The helicopter was to extract a Special Forces Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol (LRRP) in Attopeu Province. As the helicopter was lifting from the extraction zone with four men attached by McGuire rigs, they were receiving heavy volumes of enemy fire. When the helicopter reached an altitude of 400 feet, gunfire hit the engine and the helicopter began falling. The pilots were able to slow the descent somewhat by autorotation, but survivors of the incident reported that after the helicopter was hit, it bounced, twisted and came to rest burning on its right side. The crew members lost consciousness and regain consciousness just as the pilot and copilot were dragging the apparently lifeless body of Huntley from beneath the helicopter. While they were doing this, they were knocked down by the explosion of the helicopter and had to stop their attempts to rescue the door gunner. Because of intense enemy activity, no further attempts were made to recover Huntley, and it was assumed that his body was consumed by the blazing aircraft. He was listed as Killed, Body not Recovered.

War Story:
The 57th AHC's unit history states 1LT Raymond Dell and WO David Rhodes were in the process of pulling a string extraction of a LRRP team. Four team members were teared off on 100 foot ropes waiting to be pulled clear of 70 foot trees. Hovering straight up so not to pull the team through the trees, the aircraft had to hover at least 170 feet AGL and 100 feet above the trees to give the men below on the strings a chance for survival. The aircraft then fell straight down into the trees and, after impact, it exploded and burned. The gunner, PFC John Huntley, was killed but the remainder of the crew received only minor cuts and bruises. The crew from another 57th aircraft landed and were quickly on the scene. After doing what they could for the members of the downed aircraft, they began to follow the ropes that were still attached to the wreckage. Three of the four LRRP team members were alive. LT Dell received the Silver Star for his quick reaction and saving as many lives as possible. The rest of the crew received the DFC, including those who assisted in the rescue. Editorís note: Since the WALL database does not show another American KIA with the same location details as Huntley, it is assumed that the LRRP killed was not an American.

This record was last updated on 05/25/1998

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Date posted on this site: 11/13/2023

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