Helicopter AH-1G 68-15190


Information on U.S. Marine Corps helicopter AH-1G tail number 68-15190
Date: 03/11/1970
Incident number: 70031122.KIA
Unit: HML-367
This was a Combat incident. This helicopter was LOSS TO INVENTORY
This was a Recon mission for Armed Escort
Unknown this helicopter was Unknown at 0800 feet and UNK knots.
Vietnam unspecified
The helicopter was hit in the Tail Section
Systems damaged were: PERSONNEL, TAIL ROTOR, STRUCTURE
Casualties = 01 DOI, 01 INJ . .
The helicopter Crashed. Aircraft Destroyed.
Both mission and flight capability were terminated.
Additional crash damage
Original source(s) and document(s) from which the incident was created or updated: Defense Intelligence Agency Helicopter Loss database. Survivability/Vulnerability Information Analysis Center Helicopter database. Also: NSC, OPERA (Naval Safety Center. Operations Report. )
Loss to Inventory

Crew Members:
CP 1LT GRACE DENNIS FREDERICK KIA
P CPT RIDER JAMES W


War Story:
On March 11, 1970 I was shot down in an AH-1G, West of An Hoa, near the "Tennis Courts" area, South of (I believe) Thong Duc. My co-pilot Dennis grace was killed. I was very seriously injured and unconscious most of the time I was on the ground. The only other person I remember in the gaggle that day was Dan Sharr, who was flying a UH-1E. From my confused memory, we lost a tail rotor pulling off from a gun run. I believe there was an air burst at our 7 or 8 o'clock right before the tail rotor went. We had a sudden shift of CG and started rotating wildly. I think we swapped ends once before I got the power off. We were low, over the jungle, in the mountains. We came out of the spin in a split S, almost upside down. The aircraft autorotated as advertised in a large right hand turn. I flared against a hillside and hit the trees. The next thing I remembered was coming to in the cockpit, thinking I was in my hootch back at Marble. My helmet was over my face. It had a large split in it, which I could see out of. I heard Vietnamese voices and saw a guy in a kakhi uniform with an AK-47 slung over his shoulder. I was pinned in my seat by the stupid bullet bouncer, which most of us did not wear in the back seat. I think it broke my jaw, left arm and ribs. I kept lapsing into unconsciousness and coming to. I could not get to my survival radio, which was in a survival vest under the bullet bouncer. I always wore my pistol in front of my crotch to protect the family jewels. I was able to get the pistol and fired it through the canopy at about 10 or 11 o'clock. I had some green star cluster rounds that Dan Sharr had given me when I was ALO for the First Marines, and out of 38 ammo. Someone started shaking me. It was a crew member from a hovering 46. He did not feel inclined to talk to me about the morphine syrette in my pocket, or the need for a tourniquet around my right leg, which felt like it was bleeding heavily. He dragged me out of the cockpit and headed me for the hoist and jungle penetrator. My right ankle bones (tibia and fibia) were broken, but I made it to the hoist. There seemed to be light sniper fire in the crash site. Going up the hoist I sustained some kind of wound to my right arm. The crew member recovered Dennis grace's body. We were at NSA hospital in minutes, where the catholic chaplain from MMAF administered last rites to both Dennis and me. I eventually got back on flight status. the only long term effects from the incident came from Hepatitis "C", probably contracted in one of the many blood transfusions i received. You can spot me at the reunions. I am the one with the diet soft drink in his hand, because my poor old liver has to avoid alcohol. Apparently whoever was around us on the deck cleaned our bodies off of all valuables such as rigs, watches, cameras, etc. I was med-evaced from NSA to Youkuska, and eventually to bethesda. Dennis' brother visited me in the hospital, and I eventually got to know his parents well. they are both deceased, but he still has a brother and sister in the Niagara Falls area. What I would like to do is find out what it looked like happened from anyone else who was in the air at the time. I think Walt Ledbetter might have been leading a 46 flight. I remember him kidding me years later about my high pitched voice when I made the May Day radio transmission. I would like to buy the CH-46 pilot and especially that crew member a drink at the next reunion! I would also be interested in seeing any accident investigation, incident report or other info, that is available. Maybe some of you researchers/authors have sit reps, after action reports, etc. that you've found. Any leads would be sincerely appreciated. semper Fi Jim Rider (Johnny Rifle) topsailgospel@juno.com

This record was last updated on 10/17/1998


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