Helicopter UH-1H 70-15841


Information on U.S. Army helicopter UH-1H tail number 70-15841
The Army purchased this helicopter 0471
Total flight hours at this point: 1066
Date: 10/16/1972
Incident number: 72101616.KIA
Unit: 57 AHC
South Vietnam
Original source(s) and document(s) from which the incident was created or updated: Defense Intelligence Agency Helicopter Loss database. Also: VNAF (South Vietnamese Air Force. )
Loss to Inventory

Crew Members:
P 1LT DUGGER JAMES DOWEL JR KIA

Passengers and/or other participants:
SP5 CRAIG JAMES LEWIS JR,AR,PX,KIA


War Story:
I hope you guys don't mind reading these.There just something about the idea of 30yrs.If someone asked me what I was doing 10yrs. ago I wouldn't know,or even a year ago.But thirty years ago I can not only tell you what I was doing on this day, but what I was feeling and thinking. This day actually started the day before, Oct.16.Two men from the 57th were killed at a firebase close to Kontum.It was overrun and their bodies remained there.A pilot and a radioman their bodies right in the middle of the firebase with no one around. It was decided from higher up the Cav.would go in and retrieve the men.Capt.Artiglier was the operations officer so he would get an all volunteer crew.He told me just a couple of years ago how much he was against it.It was an obvious, trap everyone knew they were waiting for us.They told him if he didn't get a crew, they would.He said he couldn't ask someone else to do something he wouldn't, so he volunteered. A WO2 volunteered, I can't remember his name but he was a IP before coming to Nam.We had a crewchief,myself and two blues.One a E- 4 and Sgt.Jim Ohs who is a current member of our group here.He put the plan together. Land in the firebase,a safe distants from the bodies.Bring two body bags and a long rope.We knew they would be booby trapped.We were to lighten the load the best we could on the slick.A half box of ammo and only what we absolutely needed. On Oct.18,early in the morning the six of us were off.On the way there we went over and over again what we were going to do.Circle above the firebase until we were certian no one was around,land in the firebase,the crewchief and I were to shoot anything that moved,Sgt.Ohs and the other man were to tie the rope around the legs of the two men, pull them away and then put them in the bags.All we had to do was hope it all went according to plan. After what seemed like an eternity of circling and not seeing anything,the WO took the controls.We made the fastest descent in the smallest circles I've ever experienced.I would of sworn we were going to crash.As we got closer we could see the bodies of Spec.5 James Craig and Lt.James Duggar laying there.The Lt's. head was on a pole next to his body.We had our guns ready to shoot at anything that moved. Then all of sudden it felt like someone was locking all the brakes.We were a couple of hundred feet of landing and the WO landed outside the firebase on the road leading up to it.Just then the whole firebase lit up with more explosions than I had ever seen.We got out of there quick.As we were leaving we asked why the change of plans,The WO said a strange eerie feeling came over him and he thought he'd land outside,then fly in.If we went according to plan, then surely there would of been six more bodies in that fire base. We got back to Holloway where it was decided to get some SF guys drop them off at the bottom of the hill.They would walk up get the men and carry them back down to bring them back. Now when I think of this day I think of the two men on the Wall and how were not on the Wall with them because of a strange eerie feeling. Vic H trp 7/17 A1PianoKid@aol.com

This record was last updated on 07/18/2003


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Date posted on this site: 09/23/2017


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