Information on U.S. Army helicopter UH-1C tail number 66-15182
The Army purchased this helicopter 0767
Total flight hours at this point: 00002165
Incident number: 70070811.KIA
Unit: 117 AHC
UTM grid coordinates: YT984412
Casualties = 01 WIA, 03 KIA . . Number killed in accident = 0 . . Injured = 0 . . Passengers = 0
Original source(s) and document(s) from which the incident was created or updated: Defense Intelligence Agency Helicopter Loss database. Also: OPERA, Harold Schwaim (Operations Report. )
Summary: Weather trapped Dustoff and 2 gunship escort in a valley. All went IFR. This ship crashed into the side of a hill.
Loss to Inventory and Helicopter was not recovered
P WO1 THOMPSON DONALD BRUCE KIA
CE SP4 NETTLE WILLIAM LEROY KIA
G SP4 SPANGLER JOHN FLANAGAN KIA
AC WO1 BROWN DAVID B WIA
Don Thompson and Dave were both assigned to the Sidewinders (our Charlie model gunship platoon). Dave, Don and 1LT Harold Schwalm roomed in our GP medium tent since the Sidewinder tent was full up. As an additional duty(IES) I was the unit supply and property books officer and had the task of getting their personal effects off to their next of kin. I knew that Dave had survived the crash and know of the amazing survival story that he underwent to survive both the crash, his injuries, and a day and half in the jungle until he was found still crawling from the crash site. We were told that his survival was a miracle caused by the flipping of his ballistic chair on impact. The chair did a snap somersault, exiting the AC through the windscreen and green house and sustaining a batting by the main rotor (impact taken by the seat) which propelled Dave away from the AC and into the trees. The grunts found him pretty broken up, but still moving, a pretty good distance from the crash site after searching the area for about 36 hours. Upon recovery he went into a coma and there was much concern about the extent of his head injuries. From: Brian E. Dunloy at firstname.lastname@example.org March 2005. Normally we flew mostly FIREFLY missions at night. On this day, we were escorting a DUSTOFF ship into the mountains north and east of Vo Dat. I seem to recall that our slicks were staging at FBS. Our two gunships followed the DUSTOFF into this valley. The weather was marginal at best and eventually trapped us in the valley. The DUSTOFF started out of the valley and we followed. All of us went IFR. I believe I was following Brown's ship. We came out of the clouds and so did the DUSTOFF ship, but Thompson's and Brown's ship did not. As I remember those events, it was some time before another pilot named Brown from another unit found the wreckage. Submitted by Harold Schwalm to the VHPA October 2002. I served the first part of my tour with A/1 AVN 1 INF and with HHC/1 AVN 1 INF. When they stood down, I was assigned to the 117th AHC. I had flown UH-1Hs for the 1st Aviation Battalion but was assigned to the gun platoon in the 117th and flew UH-1Cs. As a result of the injuries I sustained on the 8th, I still have a total memory loss of about six weeks and partial memory losses for several periods of time prior to that. I have my flight records from that period so I know I started flying UH-1Cs for the 117th on April 10th and the last entry is of July 6th. Strangely enough my strongest memory of those days is of the bartender in the officer's club - I believe his name was Art. Even though I was a Warrant, I believe I lived in the hootch with LT Schwalm. Initially I thought I was injured on night mission because that is almost all I could remember flying. I would be in Walter Reed hospital for nine months. During my family's second visit to me, they brought some of my letters from RVN and photos from when I was in the 1st Aviation Battalion. That started the return of some of my memory. Initially I had to be helped around the hospital but eventually I was handed my records and told where to go. Once I read part of the record. It said that I had wandered in the jungle for 36 hours prior to being rescued and that I had suffered cardiac arrest in the hospital in Vietnam. I had facial injuries, especially the right side; my left hand and arm had multiple broken bones, as did my left shoulder. The records said I had spent some time in a hospital in Japan but I don't remember that. Submitted by David Brown to the VHPA October 2002.
This record was last updated on 03/13/2005
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Date posted on this site: 09/23/2017
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