Helicopter UH-1D 64-13883


Information on U.S. Army helicopter UH-1D tail number 64-13883
Date: 11/06/1966
Incident number: H050ACD Accident case number: H050
Unit: 1 INF
South Vietnam
Number killed in accident = 9 . . Injured = 2 . . Passengers = 7
costing 239921
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. Also: OPERA (Operations Report. )
Loss to Inventory

Crew Members:
AC OB BUTLER
P LTC COYE ROGER HERBERT KIA
PX SP4 STEFANIK EDWARD PETER KIA

Passengers and/or other participants:
SP4 DUTY MELVIN DAROLD, AR, PX, KIA
PFC FOWLER LAWRENCE EUGENE, AR, PX, KIA
SP4 HAMBY PAUL CHARLES JR, AR, PX, KIA
MAJ HENDON WILLIAM ATTLEE, AR, PX, KIA
SP4 KLEMP THOMAS JOHN, AR, PX, KIA
SGM SHANNON JAMES HERVEY JR, AR, PX, KIA
CPT WILDERS WILLIAM JAMES, AR, PX, KIA


Accident Summary:

Aircraft hit trees and building on takeoff, crashed and burned. Supplimental information: aircraft lost RPM shortly after takeoff possibly from overloading. Maintenance deficiency - engine trim check were not maintained per USARV Reg 385 40. Aircraft overloaded, crew did not use go-no-go check. Improper recovery from low RPM condition.


War Story:
Larry and I were in commo platoon, when we were in base camp. I considered him, to be my best, friend. He was a great, young, man; easy to like. Larry and I, spent the first 6, months, together, assigned, to DELTA PLATOON, when we were out on operations. On October 16, 1966, we went on R&R, together, to Taiwan. Sixteen days after our return, from R&R, Larry, Duty and I, were standing, on an airstrip waiting for helicopters, to come and take them, to an LZ. (Duty was a good friend of ours.) They were going to be RTOs, on the COMMAND and CONTROL, ship. The helicopter was late, because of having to refuel. This gave us time, for what would be our last conversation. When the helicopter arrived, they both got on and waved goodbye. The chopper cleared the end, of the airstrip. The transmission, locked up. That's what caused, the crash and fire. It wasn't until the following evening, that we knew for sure, they were dead. There were two survivors, but they were burned, so bad, they could not be I.D'ed right away. I got home in March, 1967. I saw Larry's, parents and visited his grave site. His parents, were very nice people, that had taken his death pretty hard. Larry, I wish we could have bummed, around together, after the war. You were a great friend. I guess if you, hadn't been such a nice guy, you wouldn't be missed, as much as you are."

Captain Wilders and pilot Lt. Colonel Coye were the burnt survivors, they died Nov. 16th & Dec. 7th 1966 respectively.

From: James Austin

I just read the report concerning this accident. I believe additional information is needed in the “War Story” part of the report to explain the circumstances that may have been a factor as to why the accident occurred. I was there the day the helicopter crashed. I was an RTO for the Captain who was in charge of the air lift. The first lift of twenty five helicopters had taken off, but the helicopter assigned to be our Command and Control ship had not arrived. It was being refueled. While the refueling was taking place, the twenty five helicopters had reached the forward LZ and had unloaded the members of our battalion they had ferried to that location. This was done as they were all being fired on by the enemy. Our Battalion Commanded radioed to my Captain that they were receiving enemy fire. This radio call was also being monitored by the men who were going on the C&C ship when it arrived.

Shortly after this radio message, we could hear the returning twenty five helicopters far off in the distance. At the same time, the assigned C&C arrived at our location. The C&C ship took on its’ passengers, then flew towards the tree line at the end of the airstrip. I think the mind set of the helicopter pilots, our unit’s S-3 Officer and our Sergeant Major was to get to the forward LZ as soon as they could despite the craft being over loaded. They took the risk and lost. Had the forward LZ not been under fire, I don’t think this accident would have occurred. There would have been no reason to take such a risk.

The improper trim setting and the issue of not following proper procedures, to me, is not the mark of a bad pilot in this case. I think it is more likely the pilot was doing everything he knew to do to keep the craft in the air. To me, these men were focused on trying to get to the forward area where they knew they were needed. Their collective concern and their bravery led to this unfortunate tragedy. As an added comment to you and your fellow pilots. Two days after this crash, my unit was in a fight for its life and running low on ammunition. Despite very heavy enemy fire, a chopper pilot landed with the much needed ammunition. One of the pilots and one of the door gunners were both either killed or wounded. It was almost suicidal to make that landing, yet is was made. I have the greatest respect for all the helicopter pilots that fought in Vietnam. Please pass my feelings on to the pilots in your association.

Sincerely, Jim Austin 1st Infantry Division

This record was last updated on 10/27/2011


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