Information on U.S. Army helicopter UH-1B tail number 63-08549
Incident number: G805ACD Accident case number: G805
Unit: 121 AHC
This was a Combat incident. This helicopter was LOSS TO INVENTORY
This was a Rescue and Recovery mission for Medical Evacuation
While on Landing Zone this helicopter was on Take-Off at 0025 feet and UNK knots.
Count of hits was not possible because the helicopter burned or exploded.
Small Arms/Automatic Weapons; Gun launched non-explosive ballistic projectiles less than 20 mm in size. (7.62MM, 14.5MM)
The helicopter was hit in the Fuselage
Systems damaged were: PERSONNEL
Casualties = 01 DOI, 03 INJ . . Number killed in accident = 1 . . Injured = 3 . . Passengers = 0
The helicopter Crashed. Aircraft Destroyed.
Both mission and flight capability were terminated.
Original source(s) and document(s) from which the incident was created or updated: Defense Intelligence Agency Helicopter Loss database. Army Aviation Safety Center database. Survivability/Vulnerability Information Analysis Center Helicopter database. Also: OPERA, COMLT, Roger Swindler (Operations Report. )
Loss to Inventory
P MAJ RT NUTTER
P CW2 HARGROVE JAMES WELDON KIA
CE SP5 D OLSON
G SGT DI SWINDLER
Aircraft received undetermined amount of small arms fire and automatic weapons hits. Lost control and crashed in flooded wooded area. Pilot, crewchief and gunner encountered hand to hand combat. Picked up 18 hours later.
The 121st had the mission to insert a CIDG force that was trying to deal with some POWs that 'had turned;' meaning they would radio the friendlies to come and then ambush the rescue force. The first insertion was routine. The ground force made heavy contact before the second lift could be put in. Initially we were talking to the American advisors but then an English speaking Nung came on the radio saying that all the Americans were KIA or WIA and that they needed to be extracted. The VC had about two battalions in great ambush positions. MAJ Nutter, the company XO, was flying AC. CW2 Hargrove was the pilot. SP5 Olson was the CE. I was the gunner. We made a 'look pass' down the line to see if we could determine where the CP was. We climbed a little, made a turn and started in to extract some of the Americans even though we were in a gunship. Suddenly we received very accurate AW weapons fire from several sides at very close range. Basically the front of the Huey was shot up and the controls knocked out. We impacted upside down at about 80 knots in a swamp. Mr. Hargrove was either killed from the hostile fire or died in the crash. I could get out of the Huey easily because my side was facing up. I walked around a little to check things out but returned to the Huey when I heard movement. MAJ Nutter was able to get out by himself and I helped Dave some. My left arm was cut in the crash and would late take 15 stitches to close. MAJ Nutter's knee was injured rather seriously and he had hit his mouth on the console. Dave had a gun shot wound in the forearm. We had a grease gun, three survival knives, and an M-14 without a magazine; but we had a pocket full of shells for the M-14. After E&Eing for 18 hours, we linked up with some 21st Division ARVNs and were extracted by a DUSTOFF ship to Soc Trang. While it was still light, we had to keep moving because the VC were all around us. We got into several fire fights and acquired weapons from them. Finally we worked our way out of the swamp and after dark made it to the second dike. There were lots of air strikes and artillery coming in all night long. We didn't have any water but the mosquitos were terrible. We were scarred to death and the only sleep we got that night was in the form of cat naps. The VC were moving out of the area. Several walked within a few feet of us but we were not discovered. The next morning we organized ourselves for a 'last stand' in all directions. Eventually I could see some guys with steel pots coming. They started shooting at us when we moved. Finally I jumped up and yelled at them. When they saw that we were Americans, they stopped shooting. Soon some gunships passed over us and we waved. Within a few second, a DUSTOFF landed and took us to Soc Trang. MAJ Nutter was evaced. Dave and I were treated and went back to work. Martha Ray was visiting Soc Trang at the time. She waited until we returned and met our ship. She said: "You guys are in big trouble - you missed bed check last night!" Submitted by Roger Swindler at the VHCMA 1998 Reunion.
This record was last updated on 06/26/1998
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