Helicopter UH-1H 69-15466

Information on U.S. Army helicopter UH-1H tail number 69-15466
The Army purchased this helicopter 0670
Total flight hours at this point: 00000206
Date: 10/17/1970
Incident number: 70101742.KIA
Unit: 254 MED DET
South Vietnam
UTM grid coordinates: CQ300265 (To see this location on a map, go to https://legallandconverter.com/p50.html and search on Grid Reference 49PCQ300265)
Original source(s) and document(s) from which the incident was created or updated: Defense Intelligence Agency Helicopter Loss database. Also: OPERA (Operations Report. )
Loss to Inventory

Crew Members:

War Story:
On 17 Oct 70, My commander, MAJ Leonard "Rod" Roderwick and I were returning from a Ash & Trash run form Nha Trang to Qui Nhon, no weapons except side arms on board. At Blue Star vicinity we picked up a MayDay Call or an alert. As we approached Vong Rho Bay we could see a fire burning on top of one of the mountains north of the bay. We approached and contacted Tuy Hoa tower as to the situation. Negative enemy situation. We did have high winds in excess of 40 knots. We went in. It was a Dustoff from the 254th Med Det. They were in to pick up a wounded Korean. Little did we know that they were shot down by an RPG. Maj Roderwick took the controls for it was his side to land with left skid only on a rock into the wind. The only survivor of the crash was a medic with a broken back. We didn't have a backboard. We also recovered the upper torso of an individual named (Peterson?) sticks in my mind what I saw. As I and my first sergeant (pax) unassed the aircraft and were lifting the medic onto the aircraft when an RPG went through our open doors of our UH-1H, 540. We delivered Mears to Tuy Hoa. Negative requests to return to the hill top to get the injured Korean. Roderwick got a DFC and I got a Bronze Star with V/dev. The Pilot and Co Pilot are listed as follows: CW2 John Ramsey Bregler, CW2 Gary Wayne Engelhardt both 254 Med Det Pilots.

Who was Peterson? One does not pick up an upper torso and head with flight suit on and the name tag stills sticks in my mind. And his blood on the floor of our A/C. Switched flight suits/nomex shirt back at base? That said, retreating blade strike, on the left side, would bring the other blade threw the cockpit, a severed torso could be expected.

From CW4 Daniel P. Haskins, USA Ret Email onthefaultline@hughes.net February 2012.

I went into this LZ (high pinnacle) twice. The first time as a back seat observer with the company commander of the 254th (don't remember his name) who was the AC and Lt Edward MacDonald of the 283rd Med Det as the pilot.

We were taking off from Tuy Hoa to drop off the company commander somewhere and I was in the back. I was going to take over as AC after dropping him off and fly back to Tuy Hoa. Just after take off we received the dustoff call. I don't remember if or who was there before us, however when we arrive it was reported that they had been hit by a rocket. We ended up picking up Mears (I believe) and taking him back to Tuy Hoa Hospital. He was barely alive and badly burned. Upon arriving at the hospital the company commander exited the helicopter to escort Mears and get updated on his condition. At this time, I took over as AC and proceeded to fly back to the flight area and shutdown the aircraft. Just before we shut down we received another Dustoff call from the same hill as they had found another crewmember alive ( I believe it was the Korean interpreter). Upon arriving at the site the conditions were not good as the winds were gusting very bad. Being aware of the possible rocket shoot down and the wind conditions the approach was very difficult. There was not a place to land so we had to hover as they tried to bring the wounded to the aircraft. I remember flying downwind approaching the pinnacle and at the last moment turning the nose into the wind and trying to hover. This was the only way to avoid the area or direction the rocket reportedly came from. We then flew back to Tuy Hoa and dropped the patient at the hospital. I do not know if he lived or not. It seems to me he was the only one to survive the incident. There was another aircraft that assisted with this pick up from the 540th TC out of Quinn Non (sp). I do not remember who he was, but might have been the major who is listed in the other incident report. I might add I flew with Gary Englehart on several night cross country flights while we were stationed at Fort Hood after flight school. He was a very talented pilot and an overall nice guy. This incident happened during the time the 254th Med Det ( I believe it was the 254th) was being merged with the 283rd Med Detachment which had just moved to Tuy Hoa from Pleiku in September of 1970.

From: John S Farrance Dustoff 61 283rd Med Det 70 / 71 farranj1@notes.horacemann.com My name is Fred Hill and I was an avionics tech with the 254th Dustoff and I remember this incident well. There were two survivors, a Sergeant Hong who was a Korean interpreter and a medic whose last name was Meyers and I believe his first name was Mark though I could be wrong. It was Meyers who had the broken back.. I never knew it was an RPG until I read this report 40 years later.

This record was last updated on 03/01/2012

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Date posted on this site: 05/16/2021

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