Helicopter AH-1G 68-17039


Information on U.S. Army helicopter AH-1G tail number 68-17039
The Army purchased this helicopter 0969
Total flight hours at this point: 00000154
Date: 01/27/1970
Incident number: 700127291ACD Accident case number: 700127291 Total loss or fatality Accident
Unit: 235 AVN
The station for this helicopter was Can-Tho in South Vietnam
Number killed in accident = 2 . . Injured = 0 . . Passengers = 0
costing 502882
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 WO1 CARROLL WESLEY WOMBLE III KIA
P 1LT LEIGHTON THEODORE RICHARD KIA


Accident Summary:

 A. A LIGHT FIRE TEAM OF AH-1G COBRAS LED BY WO1 WEESLEY W. CARROLL UNDER THE CONTROL OF A COMMAND AND CONTROL UH-1 COMMANDED BY CPT ROGERS, WAS ENGAGED IN A NIGHT MISSION FORM CA MAU INTO THE U MINH FOREST. IMMEDIATELY AFTER TAKE-OFF WO1 CARROLL MADE CONTACT WITH CA MAU RADAR FOR VECTORS TO THE TARGET AREA AND WAS GIVEN A BLANKET CLEARANCE TO FIRE ALONG A MAJOR CANAL RUNNING NORTHWEST TO SOUTHEAST WHERE MANY LIGHTS AND INFRA-RED SIGHTINGS HAD BEEN REPORTED.\\ B. THE TEAM BEGAN THEIR OPERATION IN THE NORTHWEST CORNER OF THE FREE FIRE AREA. THEY WERE TO STRIKE TARGETS ALONG THE CANAL WORKING THEIR WAY DOWN TOWARD THE SOUTHEAST. THE TEAM HAD MADE STRIKES ON TWO TARGETS PRIOR TO THE ONE ENGAGED WHEN THE ACCIDENT OCCURRED.\\ C. AFTER THE FIRST TWO STRIKES, THE TEAM WAS PROCEEDING SOUTHEAST ALONG THE CANAL WHEN THEY OBSERVED SEVERAL BRIGHT FIRES NEAR COORDINATES WR014351. WO1 CARROLL BROKE LEFT AND COMMENCED A GUN RUN ON THESE TARGETS. THE WING MAN STATED THAT WO1 CARROLLFAILED TO MAKE A BREAK AT THE BOTTOM OF THE RUN AND CRASHED INTO DENSE TREES. THE AIRCRAFT EXPLODED ON IMPACT.\\ D. THE COMMAND AND CONTROL AIRCRAFT IMMEDIATELY DROPPED FLARES AND DESCENDED ABOVE THE WRECKAGE, ORBITING FOR SOMTEIME. THE WING MAN AND STANDBY TEAM OF AH-1G'S FROM THE CA MAU REMAINED OVER THE CRASH SITE AND REPORTED NO SIGNS OF LIFE AROUND THE WRECKAGE.\\


War Story:
CW2 Carroll was the Aircraft Commander, and 1Lt Leighton was the Pilot/Gunner. The action was in the U Minh Forest on the western edge of the fourth corps area. This was a large triple canopy jungle area with a wet floor. Some of the palms were over 200 feet tall.. The mission was a night Phantom III. That was the 235ths daily bread. Phantom III Night was a counter interdiction mission which involved a series of OV-1s, a ground based Aerial Surveillance Radar (ASR), and a Cobra fire team deployed near the area, operating off of a dike line with a connex of surplus, fuel bladder and pump. Wesley had been on R&R a week or so earlier and was sleeping in all day and flying all night. Platoon in the 235th rotated between two night Phantom III interdiction areas and a daytime Phantom III which work selected target areas chosen by the RVN Province S-2. (We often joked about being the enforcement branch for the province tax collector.) The Mohawks from the 244th would check in with the ASR and enter the interdiction free fire zone and either use their Slide Looking Radar to mark target or their Infrared sensors. Mark Target were passed to the ASR site for plotting. The Cobras would come up as the OV-1 began to work the area and upon finding either movers or hot spots the cobras would proceed to use flechett 2.75" rockets to wipe out an area about 800 meters by 600 meters with about five darts in every square foot covered. It was quite effective in stop interdiction through the selected areas.. Wesley was working this area but he had a cloud layer bottoming between 1000 and 1200 feet AGL (MSL one and the same in the most of the delta). Our normal procedure was to start at 1500 feet and break off after about 30 seconds of firing. Apparently he started low and ended low and caught one of those tall palms. Cobra comes apart badly. Later on the Flight Surgeons discovered the we were developing narcolepsy from forcing our selfs to sleep through the day. It built up things in our blood which caused our reactions and thinking to slow. Wesley is survived by two daughters. Ted was the gunner because we had a policy that newbies fly 90days in the front seat and go through in country qualifications before they get into the back seat. Ted was a new RLO who hadn't been there two months. Therefore, he was most likely logged as P. I know that Wes was in the back and Ted in the front. If it was deemed an accident I would have to do the investigation. This was ruled a combat lose. So I only got the evidence after the fact not on site. I had trained Wes in the 235th and brought him along to be AC and flight lead. From: Greg Jenkins , June 2002. My name is Ronald Keith Carroll, and my mother Rhonda Smith Carroll and I are the only survivors of my father Wesley. He had no daughters. Secondly, my father had yet to go on R&R when the crash happened. He was scheduled for R&R about 7-10 days from the date of the crash. From: Ron Carroll The following added on 2 June 2017: “ sorry about the R&R information. I left the company in November to become the battalion assist operations office (AS-3) and AH-1G accident investigation officer as required. I was not allowed to investigate the crash site because it was declared combat loss. Wes was training in my front seat months earlier when we were on another Night P-III mission on the ‘tram’ free fire interdiction area in the northwest corner of the Delta. That night we had no C&C ship so we prosecuted targets in a timed pattern off the canals. While I was watching the clock over intently to time firings, I noticed the rocket motor noise was increasing louder. Then we flew through the water slash form one of the rockets. The altimeter said zero, and shortly thereafter about 2,000 feet. I said to Wes why didn’t you call out the altitude when you saw it getting low. He said I thought it was another one of your special tactics. After a brief but spirited discussion, I told him any time we are below 500 feet at night we had better have our landing light on because that is what we would be doing.” I guess he never passed that on to Ted. As for the daughters that’s what I recall he told me around the many times siting out there is the dark eating C rations waiting for the Mohawks to show up. Sorry for any misrepresentation. Another correction the ‘I had 165’ should read ‘He had 165’ From: Greg Jenkins

This record was last updated on 06/02/2017


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Date posted on this site: 09/23/2017


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