Information on U.S. Army helicopter OH-6A tail number 67-16013
The Army purchased this helicopter 0568
Total flight hours at this point: 00001694
Incident number: 71120935.KIA
Unit: C/16 CAV
UTM grid coordinates: VR890777
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
G SSG PAWELKE RICHARD CHARLES KIA
P WO1 WALTON LEWIS ALAN KIA
Here's the story of the 2 downed C/16th Cav OH6A's on 9 Dec 71 as reported to me by eyewitness SGT Danny Miller, PO Box 708, Blair, OK 73526. Miller was a Loach Gunner on another team that saw everything that happened.
C/16th Cav had been working part of their AO near the "Hump" just south of the "Twin Sisters" in the U Minh Forest. It was an area akin to the Iron Triangle of III Corps; always bad to be in. Scout Aircraft 67-16268 OH6A, crew unknown at this time, was working in this area when it came under intense enemy fire and took hits. The aircraft made to the beach area of the "Hump" before setting down. It had taken a lot of "belly" hits and was leaking fuel everywhere. It cannot be confirmed that the aircraft crashed but the crew was not killed. Gary Roush's records indicate that the aircraft crashed.
C/16 Cav worked a Hunter-Killer Team concept of 2 Loaches on the deck with one doing the Scouting and the other flying cover behind and to the right of the "lead" scout. A UH1H C&C was above them for control and rescue support. Above the UH1H was 2 Cobra gunships. A total of 5 aircraft made up one of their Search and Destroy Teams.
The Scout Loach Platoon was known as "The Outcasts" and allowed no one to fly scouts if they were married or a sole surviving son. All Outcast scout aircraft carried mini-guns and a crew of 2; one pilot in the right front seat and a door gunner in the right rear cargo compartment. The gunner's used "monkey straps" in order to stay with aircraft while they sometimes stood on the skids to lay down M60 machine gun fire. The pilot controlled the left side mounted mini-gun.
Sometime after the 268 aircraft went down, Hughes OH6A 67-16013 and his team went into the same area. This aircraft was flown by scout pilot "Outcast 13", WO1 Lewis A. Walton "Uncle Walt" and doorgunner-torque Sgt Richard C. Pawelke. Walton was flying "cover" for the other "lead" Loach. The aircraft and crew is confirmed by Sgt Danny Miller; note that the pilot's call sign was 13 and the aircraft's last two digits were 13. This is how Miller remembers them so well. Plus Miller had voted against Walton joining the couts because he was married and an only son.
Another team was present. It was this team that Sgt Miller was flying as doorgunner on one of the Loach aircraft when they saw the following action:
The "lead" Loach on Walton's team took heavy fire and Walton rolled in to cover with his mini-gun and doorgunner. Walton took heavy fire from both .30 Cal and .51 Cal machine guns. The "lead" Scout got away from the area as Walton's bird went down in a rice paddy area. It is not known whether the rice paddy was dry or full of water. It appeared to Sgt Miller that both Walton and Pawelke got out of the crashed Loach which was laying on its left side as they saw Walton helping Pawelke out of the aircraft. Pawelke appeared to be wounded but was able to stand up. Walton appeared to be uninjured seriously.
The enemy force was of a regimental size and were NVA soldiers, not Viet Cong. They seized the downed bird and crew. Seeing that they were under full attach from the rest of the 16th Cav, Sgt Miller states that the NVA killed both of the crew members; Walton and Pawelke, beside their downed bird. Sgt Miller further states that the NVA donned the dead crew members flight suits in order to draw in other aircraft.
It is not exactly known when all of this occured as the dead crew was not recovered until the third day after they had been shot down. Sgt Miller is fairly positive that the crew was killed almost immediately upon their capture. Once the enemy force had been dispersed, and after many kills to include friendly wounded, the bodies of the crew were recovered on the third day.
It is reported by Sgt Miller that they had been dismembered with machette type weapons. It is further reported that a nearby ARVN unit refused to advance into the area to rescue the downed crewmen, much less engage and fight the NVA.
None of the 16th Cav birds were able to get close to the downed aircraft due to the intense small and heavy automatic weapons fire that took almost 3 days to contain.
Sgt Miller flew in an OH6A that was named "Electric Olive' and his nicname was "Num Nuts". He mentions another Loach pilots name of Green; possibly a Capt.
From: Lou Rochact November 1996.
This record was last updated on 05/25/1998
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Date posted on this site: 09/23/2017
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