Information on U.S. Army helicopter UH-1H tail number 67-17318
The Army purchased this helicopter 0368
Total flight hours at this point: 00003155
Incident number: 71091777.KIA
Unit: 61 AHC
UTM grid coordinates: BS629022
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
P WO1 BUTLER GARY WILLIAM KIA
AC CW2 JORDAN JAMES RES
CE SP4 J KEYES RES
Gary was killed after being shot down by a sniper while at a high out of ground effect hover on a hillside. They were conducting a ladder insertion of ROK troops that were probing and paralleling NVA movements on this LRRP mission. CW2 James Jordan (from Florida) was PIC and Gary was co-pilot when they attempted to insert the LRRP's into this hillside LZ that was really just a square patch of clear cut (logged) area that still had a few trees standing helter-skelter. When Jimmy Jordan was struck in the neck and shoulder by the sniper it caused him to jerk the flight controls and subsequently the tail rotor struck a tree and the helicopter crashed inverted and erupted into flames. It landed on top of the team and killed them all instantly. (10 of them) Jimmy and the gunner and gunner crew chief miraculously got away from the burning helicopter. Gary's legs were stuck in the wreckage and he could not get free. From Marc E. Charbonneau, July 1998.
My Perspective as Crewchief of the C&C bird by David Strange
All hell broke loose shortly after the first wave of the insertion. My headset was blaring from all kinds of traffic from below.Reports of sniper fire was reported and the airwaves lit up. We made a pass from 800 ft. down to tree top level and suddenly there was shouting on the radios about a bird that had just rolled and was on fire. Immediately i heard the C&C commander ask to go down and make a closer low level pass to assess the situation. There was sniper fire coming from many directions and Pat Simms (my gunner) and I returned fire with our M-60s. We sat down for what seemed an eternity .I saw Spec 4 Jerome (jerry) Keyes the CE of Huey 318, that was on fire and I witnessed Jerry and his gunner run to (Gary Butler) the pilots door and try to beat it out. I jumped from my bird and started to run to Jerry to assist, with my intercom cable still attached The C&C Major told my to return and lay suppressive fire for our chopper. As i reached for my 60`s handle to assist me up to my chair the cover assembly was sprayed by shrapnel and peppered my right hand..I emptied my AR-15 several times . We were no further than 40 ft. away from the crash and i saw 318`s Co-Pilot James Jordon hit the ground face down after being hit in the chest. Everything about that mission seemed to take place in slow motion as we ( in horror and shock) saw Mr. Butler burn alive. Helplessly, his gunner and crew chief began to wander aimlessly in that small clearing. Spec4 Pat Simms and I, Spec4 David Strange were the enlisted men crew of the C&C and Spec 4 Jerome Keyes and one other were the enlisted men on Bird 318. This is for the record. Three days after that mission Jerry Keyes had a psychological breakdown and was attempting to comit harm to himself we subdued him until Medically evaced from our unit the next day..we never heard from him ,again. Jimmy James Jordon returned to 61st to finish his tour with us He always showed us EM respect. I`ll never forget the times he allowed me to practice flying a Huey...incase i needed to "He Said"..
This record was last updated on 12/06/2009
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Date posted on this site: 05/26/2019
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