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2008 Calendar, Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association (VHPA) - 2008 Calendar

Item Number: 20080214001
Number of Pages
Digital Object Type
Information removed from digital copy?
Physical Location
Box 02, Folder 14
Copyright Statement
This document is copyrighted
Item is Copyrighted - It is not available outside the VNCA building


  • 2008

General Note / OCR

Table of Contents Front-Cover-Photo – VHPA member Pete Baxter took this photo during a C Company, 227th Aviation Battalion, 1st Air Cavalry Division Combat Assault about April 1967 southeast of Bong Son in II Corps. While the Huey’s door guns are not firing, someone else was. Notice the tracer round near the heel of the left skid!

January E/82nd Arty’s Flight Line Battery E (Avn) 82nd Artillery, 1st Air Cavalry Division at the ‘Golf Course’ – May 1966. This photo was taken by VHCMA member Ed Lemp who served as an OH-13S and the UH-1B Crew Chief with E/82nd Artillery. As best we can determine, Battery ‘E’ had 12 OH-13S (one for each of the 1st Cav’s tube artillery batteries), 4 UH-1s (they flew Command and Control for Division Artillery and the Artillery Battalions), and 6 O-1s Bird Dogs (after Dec 1965). You can easily see that these were still the days of white name tags and colored patches on the uniforms. Ed also provided the two small photos. The left photo shows a crew preflighting an OH-13S. The right photo shows a VC captured near an artillery fire base getting ready for his first helicopter ride back to the interrogation point.

February 1st Platoon, 174th AHC (Assault Helicopter Company) conducting a Combat Assault (CA) north of Duc Pho – Summer of 1967. These photos were taken by VHPA member Jim Messinger. He wrote, “Our company had two lift platoons. One platoon had a CA nearly every morning. Between six and nine Hueys would insert a rifle company. On this day I was flying with a new Aircraft Commander, so I was in the right seat and left him with all the flying while I snapped the pictures. For some time I wanted to get a sequence or pictures during a CA, but most of the time it was just too hazardous to be working with a camera. This day I was successful.” The left most small photo could be titled ‘LZ Prep Complete’ and the second ‘Grunts Delivered.’

March In Come The Cobras, Out Go The Bravos A UH-1B and AH-1G from B Battery, 2/20th Aerial Rocket Artillery (ARA), 1st Cavalry Division – July 1968. These photos were taken by SGT Carol (Carl) B. Ussery possibly at LZ Jane. Carl was killed on 9/28/1968 while riding in a C/227th AHB 1st CAV Huey that crashed and burned during a resupply mission. Prior to his death, Carl met his wife, Joyce, in Hawaii on R and R and gave her some 35-mm film to have developed. Joyce loaned the slides to the VHPA. Though Carl served with HHC and Company A, 1/5th Cav he was fascinated with helicopters and obviously spent some time with B/2/20th ARA. We believe this Cobra is #67-15525. It was destroyed on 12/4/1969. VHCMA and Blue Max Aerial Rocket Artillery Association member, Russ Warrier, provided the small photos. They show C Battery UH-1Bs armed with different weapons systems. Larger versions of these photos appeared in the 2003 VHPA Calendar.

April A Deuce Lifts A Dog! A CH-37C lifts UH-34D Bureau Number 150250 from HMM-361 – 6 April 1966. Pop A Smoke member Scott Estabrook provided the two large photos. Former USMC mechanic Earl ‘Frenchy’ Caillouet wrote: “After these pictures were taken, my friend, Dale, and I were stripping the rotor head off to lighten it up because the Deuce failed to lift the ’34. We took sniper fire, dived off the clamshell and hid behind a rice paddy dike. This started a whole series of escalations and ended up with a company on the ground and ‘34’s and Hueys everywhere. Later a Chinook recovered the ’34.” The faithful UH-34D was formerly known as the HUS; so it had two nicknames “Huss” and “Dog.” They were a joy to fly. All H-34 pilots and aircrews hold a special place in their hearts for the “Dog.” The CH-37C was formerly known as the HR2S; hence the nickname “Deuce.” The Marines deployed about six to eight CH-37Cs to Vietnam in mid-1965. The small photo was taken by Allen C. ‘A.C.’ Daniel from HMM-361 in May 1967. He wrote: “The last flyable Deuces made a flight over Marble Mountain, landed and taxied to the bone yard where they were left for the junk man. They deserved a better fate.”

May This Is Shrimpboat 76 Shrimpboat 76 from the 197th Assault Support Helicopter Company (ASHC) – March 1967. VHPA member Brian Foote took this photo as a Pickup Zone (PZ) named “3 Tango” west of Pleiku. Brian wrote: “We were supporting the 4th Infantry Division. Our procedure was to send out a number of Chinooks each day. We had the first Chinook take out a jeep with radio and an experienced pilot who we referred to as the Air Mission Commander (AMC). The AMC would be the person who coordinated with the units/people on the ground on the loads they had and their destinations. The AMC would then pass that info (unit coordinates, unit call signs, FM frequencies, etc.) to our aircraft flying the missions. I was the AMC this day. This Chinook (CH-47A #65-07976) picked up a 105 Howitzer as you can see. The strap under the Howitzer was connected to an additional load (in a tarp) that contained about 20 rounds of 105 ammo plus the 105 crew’s sectional equipment (aiming stakes, etc.). The pick up procedure was to approach the load from behind, hover up to the Howitzer and hook it up. The Flight Engineer or Crew Chief (who was laying on his stomach looking down through a hatch just above the cargo hook) would then direct the pilot to move up (taking the slack out of the strap) and above the secondary load – hence the name ‘a Piggy Back’ load. Our primary customer in those times was the Artillery. I would say 80-90% of our missions in those early years were devoted to Artillery Support.” The VHPA Helicopter database states that 976 crashed, burned and was destroyed on 7 May 1967 after taking a hit in an engine from an enemy round. Brian also provided the small photo. It shows another view of the same pick-up.

June Welcome To The USS Iwo Jima (LPH-2) HMM-363’s Home In Early 1968 UH-34Ds from HMM-363 on the USS Iwo Jima (LPH-2) off I Corps – February 1968. Pop A Smoke member Greg Ferris took these photos while serving with HMM-363. The USS Iwo Jima (LPH-2) was the first ship designed from the keel up as an amphibious assault ship. It was commissioned in 1961 and made six deployments to Southeast Asia. The ship carried a squadron of 24 Marine helicopters (at this time is was HMM-363) plus a Battalion Landing Team of 1500 Marines (at this time it was the 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines). The combines unit of the ship, helicopters and infantry were called a Special Landing Force (SLF). For several years there were two SLF’s based off Vietnam. You are looking at SLF – Alpha. The helicopter crews ‘enjoyed’ their time on the LPHs because the living conditions were better than on land plus they didn’t get mortared!

July Love At First Sight!/Beware of Flying on your Day Off! A Robinhood UH-1H from the 173rd Assault Helicopter Company at Lai Khe – July 1967. VHCMA member Dan ‘Bink’ Binkley provided these photos, the pocket patch, and his story. “I remember walking down the revetment area with my platoon sergeant to be assigned my Huey. It was a case of ‘Love at first sight’ for sure! I was glad to be a Robinhood! I will never forget the 1st of September. The pilots were CW2 BA Nakamura and WO1 KL Demaranv, the crew chief was PFC Lanny Bart Jarvis, and I was the gunner. We had a full load of wounded ARVNs, a few Americans, some blocks of ice and bananas coming out of Dion on a hot afternoon. We pulled pitch and seemed to have enough power but hit a dirt pile and crashed into a ditch. I helped get CW2 Nakamura out of his seat and yelled at everyone to get away before it blew. The last time I saw UH-1D #65-09591 it was burning fiercely and cooking off ammo.”

August You Are Looking At An Angel! A US Navy UH-2B Seasprite from HC-1 on the Princeton – August 1966. This photo was taken former USMC crew member Scott Estabrook while landing in a UH-34 on the USS Princeton off the coast of I Corps Vietnam. VHPA Member George Kirsten, who provided the HC-1 patch and flew Seasprites on two cruises in the Tonkin Gulf, states: “Everyone in HC-1 used the call sign Angel. The HC-1 patch was special – note the hand reaching from the sky to the bleeding hand reaching up from the sea! Normally each Detachment had three UH-2s, with eight pilots, a maintenance Warrant Officer, and 32 enlisted men. Whenever the carrier conducted landings and takeoffs, one of our ships was aloft for SAR (Search and Rescue). Night or day, good or bad weather, we pulled four-hour missions. During a standard nine-month cruise I logged about 500 hours.” This aircraft, bureau number 150153, was destroyed on 4 Oct 1967 while on an over the water rescue and recovery mission. George flew the twin engine UH-2C. The small photos show his HC-1 Det – 1 team on the USS Enterprise in 1968 and one of their UH-2C Seasprites.

September A Wagon Wheel CA! UH-1Ds from C Company, 229th Assault Helicopter Battalion, 1st Cavalry Division – August 1967. VHPA member Dave Rittman took these photos. The large one shows a combat assault (CA) some place in II Corps. The small photos were taken when Dave’s company was working out of Phan Thiet in southern II Corps. Over the years the VHPA has published literally dozens of Dave’s photos. We can only hope that Dave was as good a pilot as he was a photographer – because he took some outstanding photos!

October PEDRO 42 Air Force HH-43B at New Pleiku Air Base – March 1966. The color photo was taken Ed Lemp, a Crew Chief in Battery “E” (Avn), 82nd Artillery, 1st Air Cavalry Division. It shows HH-43B #62-4511 serving with Detachment 9 of the 38th Aerial Rescue and Recovery Squadron. The primary mission of these two aircraft detachments was local base rescue and recovery, but they also did combat medevacs. On 28 October 1966 pilot CPT Carlton Vermeys, co-pilot 2LT George H. ‘Spike’ Bonnell, III, flight engineer A2C Frances David Rice and PJ Allen Stanek were the crew of PEDRO 42 in this aircraft on a mission in the Ia Drang Valley about 35 miles west of Pleiku to medevac critically injured US Army 4th Infantry Division soldiers. Allen was on the ground loading the fourth man onto the hoist when an RPG hit the helicopter. Rice and the Army wounded were killed immediately or in the crash. Carlton and ‘Spike’ were seriously injured but rescued by the Infantry. Sadly ‘Spike’ died a few days later from his injuries. Both Carlton and Allen completed full careers in the Air Force. Mike McMillan, also a PJ, provided the insert 1970 photo of Tuy Hoa based Det 11, 38th ARRS plus the two small photos.

November Big Mother CH-54A #67-18418 from the 478th Heavy Helicopter Company at Da Nang – October 1968. VHPA member Jim Oden provided these photos that describe one of the most interesting helicopter stories from Vietnam. The full story appeared in the Nov/Dec, 1996 VHPA Newsletter. Prior to his second RVN tour with the 478th, Jim went to Ft. Rucker as part of a joint Army/Air Force effort to use surplus 10,000-lb. bombs to blow instant LZs. They dropped a total of four bombs in 1968 near the western side of the DMZ as directed by III MAF. What a blast! The concussion shook the helicopter as if all the blades were out of track! There were five people in the Skycrane: Jim was the AC, CWO Merle Handley the other pilot, CWO Marc Wilson the bombardier, SP5 Johnson the C.E., plus an Air Force observer name not recorded. The Air Force man took many of the pictures and gave copies to Jim. The small photos show CW4 Jim Oden and Marc Wilson holding the bomb sight used for the 10,000 bombs, some 478th HHC patches, plus a State-side training flight.

December A Snake in the Grass A collage from H Troop17th Cav taken at Kontum in early 1972. VHPA member Steven James provided these photos. The large photo shows AH-1G #68-17084 at Kontum ready to be rearmed. The photo was taken about June. Note the ‘toilet bowl’ – it defused the engine exhaust into the rotor wash. This helped defend against the heat seeking SA-7 missiles. This Cobra is armed with the 20-mm gun system. Concerning the need of a paint job, Steve says, “They didn’t have time to make them pretty. They were being flown almost every day by one of a very few pilots. The reason the blade wasn’t tied down was that we were subject to incoming at any moment and no one wanted to waste time before they could start up.” The lower left photo shows OH-6A #67-16333. The pilot on the left is CPT Craig Smith, Scalphunter 15, then CPT Steven James, Pallbearer 32, and CPT Walter Moss, Scalphunter Lead, on the right. The lower center photos shows the remains of UH-1H #68-16498 shot down on 24 Apr just north of Kontum. VHPA member 1LT Frank Shipton, Pallbearer 38, was flying this ship. The lower right photo shows a line of OH-6As with CPT Melvin Finch walking away from the camera. On 30 Mar his OH-6A was shot down, he was captured and died as a POW. VHPA member Steve C. Shepherd, a 7/17th Cav Cobra pilot, provided the small photos.

Above: Top Left – Ed Lemp provided this photo of an E/82nd Arty OH-13S taken in Nov 1965 at LZ Falcon during the famous Battle of the Ia Drang Valley. CPT Jimmy L. Person flew a code book to the artillery battery on the Falcon late in the afternoon the day before this picture was taken. While there the LZ was mortared and they got his ship. He is the African-American soon on the right side of the picture. Bottom Left – Roger Patterson provided this photo of UH-1D #66-16565 from C/229th AHB 1 CAV taken on 28 Mar 1969 at Tay Ninh West. It was hit during a mortar attack the night before. Right – Scott Estabrook provided these photos after the famous 27 Oct 1965 sapper attack on the Marine Corps airbase at Marble Mountain. The top photo shows one of the six UH-34s destroyed, nine others had major and 17 more minor damage during the attack. The bottom photo shows one of 13 VMO-2 UH-1Es destroyed that night. Two more UH-1Es sustained major damage and another pair suffered less severe damage. The official USMC history states: “VMO-2 had only four flyable aircraft after the attack. Replacing the UH-1Es was especially difficult since the Marine Corps only had 18 UH-1Es that were not already in Vietnam.” Below: The Flight Log Display Head (or map) for the Decca Navigator Mark 8A AN/ASN-72 system mounted in a US Army UH-1D – August 1967. This photo was taken by VHPA member Dave Rittman during his tour with C/229th Aviation Battalion of the 1st Air Cav Division. Dave wrote: “This photo is of the display map of the Decca Navigational approach to An Khe Golf Course in August 1967. The system was highly accurate and often invaluable in our day to day flying.” According to a Nov 1965 version of the Operating Instructions manual, the system had its own ground based radio transmission equipment, an aircraft mounted receiver and control box plus a computer that drove the flight log display head. Only a few aircraft in some units had the Decca equipment installed. Odds are that the average Vietnam helicopter pilot will tell you that he never saw the system working.

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Pub Credit Line
20080214001, Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association (VHPA) Collection, The Vietnam Center and Sam Johnson Vietnam Archive, Texas Tech University

Added: 02 May 2018 [Updated: 02 May 2018]