Information on U.S. Army helicopter AH-1G tail number 67-15594
The Army purchased this helicopter 0568
Total flight hours at this point: 00002513
Date: 04/05/1972 MIA-POW file reference number: 1815
Incident number: 72040510.KIA
Unit: F/79 AFA
UTM grid coordinates: XU746054
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. Also: 1815, Mike Sloniker ()
Summary: Hit by enemy fire during gun run near Loc Ninh. Tail boom separated while attempting to land.
Loss to Inventory
P CW2 WINDELER CHARLES CARL JR KIA
P CPT SPENGLER HENRY MERSHON III KIA
SYNOPSIS: On April 5, 1972, Capt. Henry M. Spengler, pilot, and WO Charles E. Windeler, aircraft commander, were flying as lead aircraft in an AH1G helicopter (tail #67-15594) against an enemy force in the vicinity of Loc Ninh in Binh Long Province, South Vietnam. As the helicopter was pulling off its second gun run, it was hit by enemy anti-aircraft fire. The helicopter began to descend with flames billowing from the exhaust area, and at about 300 feet above the ground, it appeared that the tail boom began to bend and wobble, causing the aircraft to spin to the left. The gunship crashed, burst into flames, and exploded. Several members of the flight saw the helicopter during the descent and crash, but saw no one escape from the aircraft. An aerial search was made by numerous aircraft, but no survivors were seen. No ground search was attempted due to hostile fire. An electronic search failed to locate any survivors. Witnesses believed that Spengler and Windeler were killed in the crash of their helicopter. Because no bodies were found, they were listed with honor among the missing, prisoner, and unaccounted for from the Vietnam war.
At 1530H CW2 William Windeler, Blue Max 34, with CPT Henry Spengler in the front seat, was the team leader of a flight of two AH-1Gs assigned the mission of close air support at the request of the Third Regional Assistance Command over the town of Loc Ninh. Blue Max 36, CPT Bill Leach, with his copilot gunner WO1 Jim Jackson was the wing ship. The AFA section spotted the NVA laying wire near the road in the town itself. They rolled in and fired up the target. On climbout, Blue Max 34 was trailing smoke because of hits from ground fire. The wingman saw flames inside the engine cowling and told Windeler to land immediately. As Windeler made his approach to land, he again took hostile fire and diverted his flight path, which extended his time in the air. Simultaneously, the fire was spreading forward towards the cockpit. CPT Spengler's radio selector switch was on UHF instead of intercom and he could be heard hollering at Windeler to get the aircraft down. One hundred feet above the ground, the tail boom separated from the aircraft as it exploded and fell to the ground. In 1989 the remains of Windeler and Spengler returned to the United States.
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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