Helicopter AH-1G 68-15077


Information on U.S. Army helicopter AH-1G tail number 68-15077
The Army purchased this helicopter 0369
Total flight hours at this point: 00000921
Date: 03/18/1971 MIA-POW file reference number: 1729
Incident number: 71031810.KIA
Unit: D/101 AVN 101 ABN
This was a Combat incident. This helicopter was LOSS TO INVENTORY
This was a Rescue and Recovery mission for Rescue or Rescue Support
While in PickUp Zone this helicopter was Attacking at UNK feet and UNK knots.
Laos
UTM grid coordinates: XD469397
Unknown groundfire.
Systems damaged were: MULTIPLE, PERSONNEL
Casualties = 02 MIA . .
The helicopter Crashed. Aircraft Destroyed.
Both mission and flight capability were terminated.
Burned
Original source(s) and document(s) from which the incident was created or updated: Defense Intelligence Agency Reference Notes. Defense Intelligence Agency Helicopter Loss database. Survivability/Vulnerability Information Analysis Center Helicopter database. Also: 1729, CASRP (Casualty Report. )
Loss to Inventory

Crew Members:
P 1LT BOFFMAN ALAN BRENT KIA
AC CPT BRANDT KEITH ALLAN KIA


REFNO Synopsis:
Lam San 719 was the last major operation of the Vietnam War. It involved American multi-service support of ARVN troops in an invasion of Laos. The targeted area began around the city of Tchpone and extended south along the Ho Chi Minh Trail. The operation was a concentrated attempt to halt North Vietnamese troop and supply movements. After the ARVN successfully took Tchpone, they elected to withdraw. American Marines and Army aircraft helped them withdraw back into Vietnam. All the while, NVA troops followed, and withdrawal, at times, was very difficult. As the last of the ARVN 4/1 were being assisted back to Vietnam, and had been trapped in a crater, Capt. Keith Brandt came on station leading a flight of Cobra gunships in response to Command & Control request for assistance to all helicopters. The ARVN on the ground radioed Brandt, "We're completely surrounded", and asked him to expend his ordnance on his smoke (a detonated smoke grenade, used to mark location). For the rest of the afternoon, Brandt and his crewmember, Alan Boffman stayed over the ARVN, returning to Khe Sahn for refueling and rearming three times. He expended ordnance as directed by the ARVN sergeant on radio and dodged NVA fire on low-level flights to pinpoint the exact ARVN location and calculate the best approach route for rescue helicopters. At nearly five in the afternoon, the 173rd Robinhoods began coming in from the east to extract the beseiged ARVN. Brandt was still circling, and volunteered to lead the helicopters in, as the ARVN had expended their last smoke grenade some hours earlier. He radioed, "This is Music One-six. Follow me, Robinhood Three, and I'll lead you to the friendlies." As they moved in, NVA fire exploded around them. Brandt's Cobra shuddered and he radioed, "I've lost my engine and my transmission is breaking up. Good-bye. Send my love to my family. I'm dead." Then, the Cobra became a ball of fire and crashed in the trees. With knots in their throats, the extraction helicopters continued their mission. Of the original 420 ARVN who entered Laos, only 88 were left. They had fought hard for 6 weeks. The helicopters were clearly overloaded, and some had great difficulty staying airborne on the trip back to Khe Sanh. ARVN were hanging from the skids of the aircraft in a desperate attempt to reach the safety of Vietnam. Many fell, some were injured on landing. Of the 88 at the crater, only 36 made it back to the safety of Khe Sanh.

This record was last updated on 07/21/2001


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Date posted on this site: 09/23/2017


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