Pacific Stars and Stripes information
174 AHC was a US Army unit
for 174 AHC
For date 680118
14 CAB was a US Army unit
Primary service involved, US Army
Quang Ngai Province, I Corps, South Vietnam
Location, Duc Pho
Description: The following is an edited version of an article titled "Crew Chiefs Are Eyes and Ears of Gunships" story and photos by SP5 Steve Wilson.
Long Binh (IO) - He's part mechanic, part pilot, an ordnance expert and a darn good machinegunner. That's how one helicopter pilot described the Army crewchiefs assigned to gunships in Vietnam. Holding the responsibility for an aircraft and weapon system worth thousands of dollars, the crew chief's job is not a simple one. The helicopter is his aircraft and he's the man who says whether it flies or not. Crew chiefs are trained by the Army for their future jobs, but according to SP5 Bud Maher, Cut Bank, Mont., a crew chief with the "Sharks" of the 14th CAB's 174th AHC at Duc Pho, "We never stop learning." The crew chief must keep astride of new developments in the complex helicopter engine's and the ever changing weapons systems installed on the Army's gunships. Maher said he spent about three months in on the job training after coming to Vietnam, learning more about the gunships for which he is responsible. CPT Tom Wood, Brunswick, Ga., platoon leader of the "Sharks," says when his day ends, the crew chief's is just beginning. Before he leaves the aircraft, the helicopter must be ready to be airborne at a moment's notice. To keep the aircraft in top shape, the crew chief will pull a daily inspection in which he checks out every vital part of the aircraft and its armament. For every 25 hours in the air, he pulls a three-hour inspection looking over the aircraft for the slightest defects which could prove fatal once in the air. Often in the short time between sorties, he and his door gunner will have to pull maintenance on the ship or weapons systems. At any time of the day or night he and his crew are liable to be called on a short notice scramble to assist ground troops. One pilot said the crew chief treat their assigned choppers as though they were their family cars. SGT James Yocum, Chicago, Ill. Platoon sergeant of the "Sharks," said, "They're proud of their unit and proud of their ships. It's nothing out of the ordinary to see a crew chief working in the dark late at night on his ship to make sure it will be flying in the morning."
Photo - SP5 Bud Maher (left), of Cut Bank, Mont., crew chief with the 174th Aviation Co. at Duc Pho, and SP4 Gary Bugher, of Kokomo, Ind., a door gunner, pull maintenance on one of the miniguns installed on a gunship.
Comments: SP5 Maher, Bud; 174th AHC CE; ;
CPT Wood, Tom; 174th AHC pilot; ;
SP4 Bugher, Gary; 174th AHC gunner; ;
SGT Yocum, James; 174th AHC platoon sgt; ;
The source for this information was 6801pss.avn supplied by Les Hines
Additional information is available on CD-ROM.
Please send additions or corrections to: Gary Roush Email address: email@example.com
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