Pacific Stars and Stripes information
for HMM-364

For date 680211

HMM-364 was a US Marine Corps unit
Primary service involved, US Marine Corps
Thua Thien Province, I Corps, South Vietnam
Location, Phu Bai
Description: The following is an edited version of an article titled "Reds Fail Twice To Stop Chopper." Phu Bai (IO) - A routine maintenance job at Khe Sanh turned into a hair-rasing experience for several members of the HMM-364 maintenance shop. While on a resupply mission to Hill 881, one of the squadron's CH-46D Sea Knights had taken a .50 cal. round through the main structure, damaging the chopper's transmission "mix box" and causing a loss of all transmission fluid. The pilot managed to land safely at the Khe Sanh air strip. Maj. James R. Parsons, squadron maintenance officer; 1stLt. Ronald B. Camper, maintenance control officer; SSgt. Richard E. Hess, squadron metalsmith, and Frank Tucci, a Boeing aircraft tech rep. went to Khe Sanh prepared to strip the CH-46 to be airlifted back to Phu Bai. After a check, they felt that if the two holes in the transmission could be patched, it would be possible to fly the Sea Knight out. The only problem was how to patch the holes each about two inches long and an inch wide. "Someone suggested that we make wooden plugs and hammer them into the holes," Parsons said," we decided to give it a try." "With the plugs in, Cpl. Larry D. Steward, crew chief of the downed chopper, climbed up to pour in oil. "About that time, a North Vietnamese mortarman decided to drop a few rounds in on us to make the job a little more interesting," said Camper, who had been opening the 26 one quart cans and handing them to Steward. It took the crew about 35 minutes to complete the job and get the chopper in the air. During the flight back to Phu Bai, Hess stood on the rear loading ramp with a hammer, tapping the plugs back in each time one of them would vibrate loose.
Comments: MAJ Parsons, James R.; HMM-364 MO; ; 1LT Camper, Ronald B.; HMM-364 pilot; ; SSG Hess, Richard E.; HMM-364 mechanic; ; CPL Steward, Larry D.; hmm-364 CE; ; CIV Tucci, Frank; Boeing aircraft tech rep.; ;

The source for this information was 6802pss.avn supplied by Les Hines

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Date posted on this site: 05/13/2023