Helicopter OH-58A 68-16785


Information on U.S. Army helicopter OH-58A tail number 68-16785
The Army purchased this helicopter 1269
Total flight hours at this point: 00000001
Date: 03/27/1970
Incident number: 70032727.KIA
Unit: 520 TC BN
This was a Combat incident. This helicopter was LOSS TO INVENTORY
This was a Recon mission for Unarmed Recon
While on Landing Zone this helicopter was Unknown at UNK feet and UNK knots.
South Vietnam
UTM grid coordinates: YD293345
Helicopter took 2 hits from:
Small Arms/Automatic Weapons; Gun launched non-explosive ballistic projectiles less than 20 mm in size. (7.62MM)
The helicopter was hit in the Cockpit
Systems damaged were: PERSONNEL
Casualties = 02 KIA . .
The helicopter Crashed. Aircraft Destroyed.
Both mission and flight capability were terminated.
Destroyed by friendly forces
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: OPERA, LNNF, JSIDR, JSIDR, CRAFX, FM386, CASRP (Operations Report. Lindenmuth New Format Data Base. Joint Services Incident Damage Report. Crash Facts Message. Casualty Report. )
Loss to Inventory

Crew Members:
P WO1 QUICK RALPH RICHARD JR KIA
OB LTC BENOSKI JOSEPH JR KIA


War Story:
I was the XO of B Btry 1/39 FA located on FSB Barbara, I Corps during this incident. The LTC flying with WO Quick was my BNCO. The events as I saw them that day follows:

On 3/27/70, B Btry ( two 8" howitzers and two 175 mm guns) 1/39th FA were doing normal fire missions and gun maintenance. The road leading to FSB Barbara had a single purpose, it connected the FSB with the coast. We thought the only personnel using this road was our unit and our BN supply tail. WO Quick flew our BNCO onto FSB Barbara in the afternoon for the CO's routine inspection circuit. While he was on our pad a team of gun ships appeared over the north side of the road about 500 meters away and in the valley. I do not know why the gun ships were in the area because we had no reports of concentrations of NVA below FSB Barbara. What I do know is that the cobras did not have a LOH with them which we noted was unusual and they appeared interested in an area a couple of hundred meters north of the road. WO Quick on the FSB Barbara pad received a call from the gun ships saying that their LOH was held up and asked if WO Quick would go in for a closer look and drop smoke if they saw anything. He evidently agreed because the BNCO came over to me and relayed the gun ships request that we hold any fires to our north. The BNCO and WO Quick then departed our pad and immediately began several low passes. I could see a thin string of smoke come out of the trees and the gun ships rolled in and worked the area over. WO Quick and my BNCO returned to FSB Barbara and I met them at the pad. The BNCO shouted to me that he needed a M-79 and ammo from us as he could see NVA moving on the ground and wanted to "get some". He asked if I wanted to go along and my battery commander, who had come up, intervened and told him I could not be spared if we received heavy calls for fire for our battery. I gave the BNCO my RTO's M-79 and sent a soldier to the ammo bunker for rounds. While he was away, the BNCO told me that he had been shooting at NVA with his .45 cal pistol during their previous passes. The soldier returned with the ammo. WO Quick and the BNCO left the pad and started making low passes again. I did not see any additional smoke popped nor evidence of the M-79 being fired from our vantage point on the FSB. WO Quick made about 2-3 passes and then we saw tracers coming up near/through the aircraft and it immediately "stopped in the trees", in other words it crashed quickly. We observed no explosion nor fire. We tried calling the aircraft from our FDC, but there was no contact. When the 101st Airmobile Div rear heard that an artillery LTC had been shot down with radio codes books and maps the rescue effort built quickly. A LOH arrived piloted by WO Russ Brown and took over doing the scouting for the gun ships. It was now late afternoon. We could not fire our howitzers/guns in support because the incident happened just below our FSB and below the minimum range for the guns, so we watched. A Huey medevac was sent in and shot up. It limped off and over a ridge. Next came a "Jolly Green" AF helicopter. For a few seconds there was a tremendous exchange of tracer fire between the ground NVA .51 cal machine gun and the heavy machine guns on the chopper. Then that chopper too turned and went over the ridge. TAC air and gun ships were now working out on the ground. We heard that the gun ships spotted movement that might have been an American, but were weary of being sucked in. I thought I saw the Blues being inserted in the failing light. It was reported to us that they could not reach the crash site and went into a NDP for the night. The next day it was reported to us that the Blues found the aircraft and bodies.

After the incident: About a week after the incident, an ARVN infantry unit without an American adviser was sweeping the road near our FSB and ran into heavy resistance. We lowered our tubes and fire minimum charge for several hours using delay and quick fuses on many bunkers. It was so close that I could adjust the rounds onto different bunkers using binos from our FSB. As a result of this action it was determined and reported to us that the NVA had a large concentration in bunkers on both sides of the road and had been there for many months. The reason they did not hit our FSB, it is speculated, is that they were using the road at night to run troops and supplies to the coast, 10 miles away and did not want to lose that ability by fighting there.

1Lt Richard Kreutzer (USAR retired) B Btry 1/39th FA FSB Barbara, I Corps South Vietnam

This record was last updated on 01/18/2010


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