Helicopter OH-6A 68-17322

Information on U.S. Army helicopter OH-6A tail number 68-17322
The Army purchased this helicopter 1169
Total flight hours at this point: 00001083
Date: 03/24/1971
Incident number: 71032448.KIA
Unit: D/229 AVN
This was a Combat incident. This helicopter was LOSS TO INVENTORY
This was a Recon mission for Unarmed Recon
While Enroute this helicopter was Unknown at 0080 feet and UNK knots.
South Vietnam
Count of hits was not possible because the helicopter burned or exploded.
Small Arms/Automatic Weapons; Gun launched non-explosive ballistic projectiles less than 20 mm in size. (7.62MM)
Systems damaged were: PERSONNEL
Casualties = 02 DOI, 01 INJ . .
The helicopter Crashed. Aircraft Destroyed.
Both mission and flight capability were terminated.
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, CASRP (Operations Report. Lindenmuth New Format Data Base. Casualty Report. )
Loss to Inventory

Crew Members:

War Story:
Additional Information on U.S. Army helicopter OH-6A tail number 68-17322 Crew Members: P CW2 STEVEN MICHAEL LARRABEE KIA OB SP4 SMITH WILLIAM DAVID KIA G SP4 GEORGE T DIGGS WIA The following information was compiled by Leah Smith Angers , SP4 William David Smith's sister, from the Recommendation for the Silver Star for WO2 Steven M. Larrabee, submitted by Captain Gary F. Eacott, Commanding Office of F Troop 1/9th Cav and from the Daily Staff Journal of Major Robert E. MacDonald, MI G-2-OPNS OFF. "On 24 March 1971, WO1 Steven M. Larrabee was the pilot in command of an F Troop OH-6A which was acting as the scout aircraft on a "Sniffer" mission in the Tinh Long Khanh Province (near FSB Silver YT 829-043). The time of day was 1100 hours, the weather was clearing after a morning rain shower, and the terrain was gently rolling hills with 150' to 200' trees. The mission was being run independently of any friendly troops in the area of interest. WO1 Larrabee was flying at tree top level about 100 meters to the left rear of the UH-1H which had the sensing equipment. As the LOH was making a pass over a large enemy bunker complex, WO1 Larrabee called out on the radio that he had spotted an individual on the ground wearing green shirt and shorts, and holding an AK-47. He immediately made a tight right hand turn to engage the enemy soldier with his door gunner's (SP4 George T. Diggs) M-60. At this time the observer (SP4 William D. Smith) had spotted and began to engage several other armed individuals from his side (left) of the aircraft. In spite of intense enemy return fire, WO1 Larrabee maneuvered his aircraft in order to draw fire away from the "Sniffer" UH-1H aircraft. As the LOH was making another pass over the area, laying down suppressive fire, it was caught in a lethal crossfire of AK-47 and was simultaneously hit by a B-40 rocket. The LOH went into a violent spin, smashed through the jungle canopy and burst into flames upon impact with the ground in Tinh Binh Tuy Province (YT 836-066). Medivac from the 24th Evac at Long Binh was called at 1105. Blues were inserted at 1130. On insertion, one of the Blues sprained his back and possibly broke his jaw and was medivaced to FSB Mace YT 595-080). At 1205, the bird was reported as a combat loss, with all crew members extracted and injured, but not killed. At 1306, WO1 Steven M. Larrabee and SP4 William D. Smith were reported KIA and SP4 George T. Diggs as WIA." According to documents in Steve Larrabee's decorations file at the National Archives in Washington D.C., SP4 George T. Diggs was recommended for the Distinguished Flying Cross which was never awarded. Both WO2 Steven M. Larrabee and SP4 William D. Smith received, posthumously, the Silver Star for gallantry in action.

This record was last updated on 10/02/2004

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Date posted on this site: 11/13/2023

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