unit history information
for HMM-165

For date 670501

HMM-165 was a US Marine Corps unit
SANCTUARY was a US Navy unit
VMO-6 was a US Marine Corps unit
Primary service involved, US Marine Corps
Quang Tin Province, I Corps, South Vietnam
Location, Ky Ha
Description: The Command Chronology reported: CPT J.Q. Nesmith, Jr. departed the First Hospital Company with two BUFFALO CITY aircraft for a night Emergency Med-Evac to the hospital ship SANCTUARY. While on his approach to the SANCTUARY, CPT J.C. Tatum, CPT Nesmith's wingman, lost both engines and auto-rotated into the water alongside the ship. CPT Tatum successfully landed in the water and the crew chief, PFC T.S. Blosser, began assisting the Med-Evacs in their exit from the aircraft. The swells turned the aircraft over and in a few seconds it sank. CPT Tatum was believed to be the last man to exit the aircraft, which he did with difficulty while the aircraft was approximately 20 feet underwater and sinking fast. Meanwhile, CPT Nesmith had dropped his passengers aboard the SANCTUARY and was attempting to hoist one of the survivors out of the water, while also guiding the SANCTUARY's life boats to the scene with his searchlight. CPT Nesmith managed to get one man into the sling but the hoist jammed and would not come up. Therefore CPT Nesmith lifted the survivor out of the water and onto the ships deck; and after safely depositing the man aboard the SANCTUARY, he returned to the scene to assist the rescue boats by guiding them with his searchlight. CPT Nesmith then, due to a low fuel state, had to return to Ky Ha. Meanwhile, BUFFALO CITY began launching SAR flights to search for survivors, and Naval ships rushed to the scene to render assistance. Out of the 17 men aboard the aircraft, including three of the crew, only nine survivors were rescued from this tragic accident. Seven of the Med-Evacs plus the BUFFALO CITY gunner, SGT S.L. Corfield, were lost at sea. BUFFALO CITY continued search operations throughout the night and the next day, but to no avail. The search was discontinued but renewed again during the night of the 2nd of May. The eight missing Marines are presumed to have lost at sea. MAJ T.P. Lougheed and CPT J.R. Campbell, while on a troop lift from Tam Ky to BT028212, recieved enemy fire from the vicinity of BT025205. Both aircraft were on their approach to the LZ when the enemy fire was received. Almost immediately, KLONDIKE 4-5 and 4-6 rolled in on the suspected enemy positions and suppressed the enemy fire. The BUFFALO CITY aircraft then successfully completed their mission.
Comments: CPT Nesmith, J.Q.; AC; ; CPT Tatum, J.C.; AC; ; PFC Blosser, T.S.; CE; ; SGT CORFIELD S L; KIA; ; CPT Campbell, J.R.; AC; ; MAJ Lougheed, T.P.; AC; ;

The source for this information was HMM-165 Command Chronology dated 4 June

Additional information is available on CD-ROM.

Please send additions or corrections to: Gary Roush Email address: webmaster@vhpa.org

Return to panel index

Return to Helicopter Pilot KIA index

Return to VHPA Home Page

Copyright © 1998 - 2021 Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association

Date posted on this site: 05/16/2021