Helicopter OH-6A 67-16604

Information on U.S. Army helicopter OH-6A tail number 67-16604
The Army purchased this helicopter 0169
Total flight hours at this point: 00001359
Date: 10/30/1971
Incident number: 71103030.KIA
Unit: H/16 CAV
South Vietnam
UTM grid coordinates: YS587966 (To see this location on a map, go to https://legallandconverter.com/p50.html and search on Grid Reference 48PYS587966)
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

War Story:
Story: October 30, 1971 1st Lieutenant Rip Parks (OH-6/Scout) and I (Cobra/Air Mission Commander) replaced Captain Ford (Cobra/Air Mission Commander) on station at about 10:00AM 2-3 kilometers south of fire support base Mace. According to Captain Fordís briefing we had US Army infantry and NVA regulars in heavy contact. His scout aircraft had taken fire and was shot down. At the time we took over Captain Fordís mission the fate of W01 Berblinger, affectionately called Bubbles, the pilot of the downed scout aircraft, and his door gunner was unknown. However, friendly ground troops were in route to make contact with any survivors at the crash sight. No definitive skirmish line existed. It was a favorite trick of the NVA to get as close to the U.S. ground forces as possible during an engagement to preclude superior U.S. firepower from being used against them without causing friendly casualties as well. After Rip and I had received our briefing and Captain Fordí subsequent departure I attempted to contact the ground commander so that he could continue directing fire support. However, I was unable to contact him via FM radio. Rip could hear the ground commander just fine, but I was having trouble. After a short discussion Rip and I decided that the best way to continue the mission was for Rip to begin a dialogue with the ground commander and, with Ripís direction, I would start laying down suppressing fire from the Cobra. Rip let down from altitude and began his discussion with the ground commander from tree top level so that he could better determine where the good guys and bad guys were. I remember Rip telling me later that he flew over the same spot twice and that was a mistake. Seconds later about 30-40 rounds tore through his cockpit and wounded his door gunner. I can remember Ripís words still today. All standard military communications protocol was gone. He just keyed his mike and said "Oh God, Bob, heís really hurt bad." Probably every emergency light in Rips control panel was on. I gave him directions to the closest landing zone outside the immediate conflict area. Rip was successful in flying his badly damaged aircraft to the landing zone and setting it down. Almost immediately, a command and control (C&C) aircraft landed to pick up the door gunner and take him to 24th Evac. Unfortunately, the door gunner was not as lucky as Rip. He died later from head wounds received from the ground fire. Once the C&C aircraft departed, Rip checkout his aircraft as well as he could and then began the tedious job of hovering it to fire support base Mace for a replacement. Rip and I returned to that area two more times that day to witness the U.S. ground troops finding the OH-6 crash sight and the dead crew. Two more times Rip let down into the trees and again he was met with intense ground fire. Each time he received 30-40 rounds through the cockpit and ended up hovering back to fire support base Mace. In total Rip was shot down three times that day. Had the Troop maintenance officer not refused to give him another aircraft I believe he would have gone back a fourth time. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. From Robert E. Stein, bob.stein@modisit.com

This record was last updated on 06/06/2000

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Date posted on this site: 11/13/2023

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