174 Crew Losses


Crew Losses
Sixty-three (63) officers and enlisted personnel known to have belonged to the 174th AHC (and her support units) were killed in Vietnam and Loas. Most deaths occurred while in the 174th, while a few occurred after 174th personnel had been transferred to other units. Following is a summary list, followed by detailed information for as many of these deaths as we have. Detailed Information about many of these losses is sketchy. We are actively seeking additional detail for all of these losses. Anyone who has any additional information, or has corrections, please e-mail them to us.

Below this summary list of names are all the narratives currently available. Click on any underlined or highlighted name, below, to go directly to the narrative for that person. Names are listed here by date of loss, and includes: Rank/Name, date of loss, hometown, panel location on the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial (VVM) in Washington DC.

(Webmaster Note: I am continually seeking additional details of each loss. If anyone reviewing these narratives knows of any errors, wishes to add any details, or has photos of lost 174th members they'd like to contribute, please let me know. Thanks. Jim McD.)


174th Assault Helicopter Company
Dolphins and Sharks
Vietnam Service 1966 to 1971
In Memory of those lost in Viet Nam and Laos

CPT Arthur P. Wright, 17 May 66, Sherman TX, 7E78
CPT Walter Richard "Rick" Speare III, 11 Nov 66, Bedford OR, 12E54
MAJ William Francis "Bill" Callinan, 11 Nov 66, Bangor ME, 12E53
LTC Henry W. Rust Jr., 27 Nov 66, Batesville AR, 12E125
CPT Aaron L. Bram, 17 Dec 66, Chicago IL, 13E49
SP5 William L. Seastrom, 17 Dec 66, Los Angeles CA, 13E56
1LT Ronald Lee Johnston, 12 Mar 67, Indiana PA, 16E69
SP4 Larry R. Guentzel, 24 Jun 67, Georgetown TX, 22E57
SP4 Thomas M. Dickinson, 24 Jun 67, Memphis TN, 22E57
SP4 Gary Markle, 24 Jun 67 (28 Sep 96), W. Newton PA, Not yet on wall
WO1 Dennis G. Blackmon, 19 Oct 67, Elberta AL, 28E39
SP5 Carl T. McCoy, 29 May 68, Memphis TN, 63W10
WO1 James D. Carter, 13 Jun 68, Clarkston TX, 57W10
WO1 Jerry H. Johnson, 13 Jun 68, Hampton VA, 57W10
SP4 Gary A. Milton, 13 Jun 68, Hartley TX, 57W11
PFC Allen R. Weamer, 13 Jun 68, Tacoma WA, 57W15
SP5 Wayne A. Tice, 18 Nov 68, Gallup NM, 38W13
CW2 Henry J. Tews, 29 Dec 68, Shoshone ID, 35W07
MAJ William "Bill" Ford, 10 Jan 69, Knoxville TN, 35W64
MAJ Richard K. Zimmerman, 20 Jan 69, St. Clairsville OH, 34W46
WO1 Ray R. Davis, 01 Mar 69, Oakland CA, 30W01
WO1 Edward L. Harris, 01 Mar 69, Mankato MN, 30W03
SP4 Donn P. Zarina, 01 Mar 69, Boulder CO, 30W09
SP4 David E. Schulze, 01 Mar 69, Elmhurst IL, 30W07
CPT Charles D. Rogers, 11 Mar 69, Monroe NC, 29W14
MAJ Richard A. Brown, 17 Mar 69, Lakewood CA, 29W59
SGT Lawrence R. Shepard, 12 May 69, Napa CA, 25W84
PFC James E. Isaac Jr, 12 May 69, Daleville AL, 25W72
SP5 Denis G. Schmidt, 16 May 69, Detroit MI, 24W26
CW2 Albert Alvarado Vaquera, 2 Aug 69, Byran, TX, 20W090
SP4 Donald A. Contarino, 14 Aug 69, Beverly Farms MA, 19W37
WO1 Robert H. Shields II, 15 Aug 69, Kensington MD, 19W47
WO1 John M. Bozinski, 15 Aug 69, Superior WI, 19W43
SP4 Sanchez A. Del Valle, 15 Aug 69, Baya Mon PR, 19W44
PFC Johnnie Graham Jr., 15 Aug 69, New York, NY, 19W44
WO1 Adam Wilson, 15 Nov 69, San Diego CA, 16W82
WO1 Ricardo W. Regaldo, 15 Nov 69, Everett WA, 16W81
SP4 Ronald L. Ducommun, 15 Nov 69, San Francisco CA, 16W78
SP4 Forest C. Hodgkin, 15 Nov 69, Lewison ME, 16W80
SP4 Donald A. Selkey Jr., 22 Dec 69, Mt Clemens MI, 15W84
CPT John M. Gibbons, 12 Feb 70, Sayville NY, 14W131
WO1 Richard A. Henke, 13 May 70, Clare IL, 10W33
WO1 Frederick W. Sheffield, 13 May 70, Cantonment FL, 10W36
SP4 Sidney W. Jarrell, 13 May 70, Albany GA, 10W34
SP4 Ernest L. Johns, 13 May 70, Brandon FL, 10W34
PFC Derek W. Patrick, 13 May 70, Houston TX, 10W42
WO1 Lenton E. Mizer, 15 Jul 70, Eldorado KS, 08W20
SP5 Harrison Bell, 15 Jul 70, Bonwier TX, 08W19
SP5 Fred G. Vandiver, 15 Jul 70, Riverside CA, 08W21
CW2 Peter R. Goodnight, 11 Oct 70, Pacoima CA, 07W125
CW2 Charles F. Creamer III, 28 Nov 70, South Bend IN, 06W87
1LT David C. Jauregui, 28 Nov 70, Flagstaff AZ, 06W87
SP4 James Powell, 28 Nov 70, New Castle IN, 06W88
PFC Gary D. Field, 28 Nov 70, Columbia NY, 06W87
CW2 Robert D. Black , 11 Jan 71, Tallahassee FL, 05W39
WO1 Robert B. Gentry, 08 Feb 71, Orlando FL, 05W87
PFC Gary T. Padilla, 03 Mar 71, Sacramento CA, 04W20
WO1 Steven R. Burch, 05 Mar 71, St Paul MN, 04W23
WO1 Patrick D. Erb, 15 Mar 71, Sylmar CA, 04W48
SFC Doyle Foster, Company First Sergeant, 25 Mar 71, Oneida TN, 04W76
SP4 Wayne W. Baggett, 11 Apr 71, Tampa FL, 04W117
WO1 Allan L. Harris, 29 Aug 71, Ettwanda CA, 02W05
PFC Emil M. Miltnovich, 26 Sep 71, Rock Springs WY, 02W25

NARRATIVE INFORMATION BELOW

REPORT FORMAT:

Rank/Name
Date of Birth
Date of Death
Home Town
Panel on the VVM (the Wall)
NARRATIVE


CPT Arthur P. Wright

1 Sep 36
17 May 66
Sherman TX
7E78

CPT Arthur (Art) Wright was assigned to the 174th at Ft. Benning, GA and deployed to Vietnam with the 174th in 1966. With an entire cadre of pilots arriving at the same time, that also meant all those pilots would also depart the unit at the same time, one year later. To help with this problem, many new units arriving in Vietnam "exchanged" pilots with other units. With an exodus of some pilots and an infusion of other pilots with different arrival (and departure) dates, the pilot DEROS (Date of Estimated Rotation OverSeas) dates would be spread out. CPT Art Wright was one of the 174th pilots selected for such a "DEROS shuffle." He was transferred to the 161st Aviation Company, also stationed at Lane Army Airfield near Qui Nhon, to fly the 161st UH-1B gunships, the Scorpions. Art was shot and killed on his first mission with the 161st. With thanks to the 161st website at http://www.161ahc.org/, the following is reproduced from their website:

x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x

On May 17, 1966, the 161st suffered its first combat loss with the death of Captain Arthur P. Wright being killed by small-arms fire on his first mission with the 161st while flying a Scorpion gunship, UH-1B, s/n 64-14045.

Craig Chandler (Scorpion doorgunner) wrote: Captain Arthur Wright was copilot of Scorpion lead that had been scrambled to assist a convoy under attack near Phu Cat. It is believed when he was hit, his hand fell on the console cutting off the main fuel switch, forcing WO Perry Hopkins to autorotate into a rice paddy. Recovery crew from the 406th TC could find nothing wrong with the aircraft. Mr. Westmoreland, the Maintenance Officer, and SP6 Joe Tullis cranked it up and rocked it till the skids came out of the mud, and they flew it back to base...

Lieutenant Charles Ritzschke wrote: The information written by Craig Chandler is correct. I can add some details about this incident. Both Art and myself were both assigned to the 174th at Fort Benning and he were picked to accompany the aircraft to Vietnam. Upon his arrival in Vietnam, he was DEROS-shuffled into the 161st. We were the HOT gun team that day. Art was pilot and CWO Hopkins was AC in 045 (armed with an M-5 and rocket pods, a true challenge to fly). Captain Dave Babe (AC) and myself were in 734 with Craig Chandler (gunner) and Rick Davis (CE). An ARVN convoy was ambushed on the highway about half way between Lane and LZ English, right where the Phu Cat Mountain almost reached the highway from the east. Most of the fire was coming from a tree line about 100 yards west of the highway. Hopkins (and Wright) made several passes from different directions, and we were receiving fire from several automatic weapons on each pass. The VC had set up wall. The last pass was from east to west over the convoy. As 045 broke, we heard his mayday and saw them start down. It turns out Art must have turned the fuel off when he was shot. (The maintenance officer flew the aircraft out later that day.) My hat goes off to Dave Babe for what went down after that. We had no rockets and if I had machinegun ammo left at the start, it didn’t last very long. Dave kept making pass after pass, low and slow, keeping us between the VC and 045, with the door gunner firing on one pass and then the crewchief on the next. With the gunner from 045 acting like John Wayne on the ground, and our crewchief and gunner firing M-16s, we managed to keep the VC at bay until a dustoff came in and picked up the crew, including Art. That was the most useless time in my life. With no ammo -- and Dave wasn’t going to let a LT just out flight school fly -- all I had to do was count the number of machineguns that were shooting at us. It was easy as there were a lot of them. At the end of the day, we were credited with 128 VC kills and all awarded the DFC. Hopkins also received another medal, the DSC I believe. Art was a real quiet guy and like so many, taken before his time. (161st website information provided by Lee Cupp)


CPT Walter Richard "Rick" Speare III

15 Nov 41
11 Nov 66
Bedford, Oregon
12E54

Captain Walter Richard "Rick" Speare III, an original member of the 174th, had been transferred to the 52nd CAB at Pleiku during the DEROS shuffle in April 1966 shortly after the unit arrived in Vietnam. Rick was further assigned to the 119th AHC, flying out of Pleiku. On 11 November 1966, the 52nd CAB launched a large operation in support of the 25th Infantry Division. The 119th and 155th Aviation Companies were supplying the troop-carrying slicks and gunships for the assault on a known enemy stronghold west of Pleiku. A large landing zone had been selected and named "LZ 10 Alpha" during a map and flight reconnaissance. It was a rectangular area approximately 75 yards wide and 200 yards long, surrounded by triple-canopy virgin jungle with trees that towered to 150 feet. The LZ was mostly level with two large trees in the center, growing out of the three- to five-foot tall elephant grass that covered the ground. What had not been considered was the fact that the LZ was located beyond the range of all supporting artillery in the area. The crucial decision to proceed with the CA without artillery support placed total responsibility on the helicopter gunships of the 52nd that now had to provide preparatory and covering firepower required, before, during, and after the assault troops had landed. A couple flights consisting of six gunships each did not have the capability for sustained mission support when compared to that of an artillery battery.

Major Jerry A. Simmons, another original member of the 174th and then commander of the first platoon of the 119th, led the first flight of aircraft into the LZ as he had done on every CA conducted by the company since his reassignment from the 174th during the DEROS infusion in April. It would be a day he would never forget. He was an eyewitness to these events.

Captain Speare was flying as aircraft commander on a UH-1B gunship, #63-08600, of the 119th AHC in support of the slicks out of Pleiku. His crew members were: First Lieutenant Dee W. Stone, pilot, Specialist Fourth Class Edmond D. Schoenig, crew chief, and an unidentified gunner. Also in the aircraft was First Lieutenant Paul J. Hess, a Special Forces officer, who was flying with them as an observer and might have replaced the gunner on this mission. Rick and his crew were making a gunrun when his aircraft was hit by either small arms fire, or .51 caliber machine gun rounds, or both. Rick's aircraft exploded at low level and, while still burning fiercely, crashed into the jungle in a ball of fire. Major Jerry Simmons was one of those who saw Rick's aircraft making its fiery plunge into the jungle as he gained altitude after his own hairy ordeal in LZ 10 Alpha on that day. When the aircraft was later found, the fuselage had 99 holes in it from small arms fire. Rick Speare, Dee Stone, Edmond Schoenig, and Paul Hess all perished in the crash. Rick's home of record was Bedford, Oregon. (Information provided by Marty Heuer, Mar 2007)




MAJ William Francis "Bill" Callinan

6 Oct 30
11 Nov 66
Bangor, Maine
12E53

Major William Francis "Bill" Callinan, another original member of the 174th AHC, was also transferred to the 52nd CAB during the DEROS shuffle in April 1966 shortly after the unit arrived in Vietnam. He served as the S-4 and supply officer of the battalion. In the afternoon of 11November 1966, during the same action in which Captain Rick Speare was killed, Major Bill Callinan was killed in the crash of a UH-1D along with Captain Milton Francis Smith. All of the flyable aircraft of the battalion's subordinate companies had been involved in the CA at LZ 10 Alpha. When a number of them were destroyed or rendered unflyable, the battalion commander radioed the headquarters for help.

Lieutenant Colonel Bernie Cobb, another original 174th pilot and then deputy airfield commander at Pleiku, was involved in the mission that Friday and described the events as follows: "During an emergency flight operation in the afternoon on Friday, 11 November 1966, when some 25th Division troops were getting the hell kicked out of them out west of Pleiku, I was ordered by Lieutenant Colonel Foy Rice, the 52nd CAB and Airfield Commander, who was in the field flying C&C (Command and Control) with the 52nd CAB, to immediately form a flight of remaining helicopters at Camp Holloway using all available staff officers as pilots, and begin resupplying the infantry troops with ammo and plasma. Most of the only helicopters available were on the maintenance ramp awaiting repairs. We began that ill-fated mission with seven flyable birds, and every one of them dropped out for one reason or another during the day. Mine was first out when we lost transmission oil.

Major Callinan was flying as aircraft commander and his copilot, Captain Milton Francis Smith, was his Assistant S-4. Their aircraft was a 170th AHC aircraft, UH-1D 65-09903. On final approach to Camp Holloway at the end of the day, Callinan was ordered to return to the original assembly area and recover the assistant operations officer and radio operator, who had inadvertently been left behind. On landing at that site, at dusk, Callinan and Smith are believed to have experienced vertigo, or at least were blinded by a swirl of dust. They hit the ground hard and the blades flexed down through the cockpit, partially decapitating both Callinan and Smith and killing them both instantly.

Not only did Major Callinan leave behind his wife and seven children, but Captain Smith had already received his orders to return to the states in just two weeks, the normal end of his tour. He left behind his widow and a new baby he had never seen.

This tragic accident triggered a new policy within the 52nd Battalion and maybe elsewhere as well. Henceforth, any crew member within two weeks of rotation back to the United States was exempt from flying operational missions." Major Bill Callinan was a devote Roman Catholic and his home of record was Bangor, Maine. (Information provided by Marty Heuer, Mar 2007.)


LTC Henry W. Rust Jr.

30 Mar 29
27 Nov 66
Batesville AR
12E125

Rust was one of the 23 majors in the 174th. Between 1965 and 1968, aviation units in Vietnam had a high number of field grade officers assigned, due to the increasing requirements for aviators and the shortage of aviators available. Many had short turnarounds between tours. Rust died of a heart attack in Nha Trang. Source: Dick Overhamm, May 1993. In November 2006 Marty Heuer submitted the following: Lieutenant Colonel Henry W. "Hank" Rust was one of seven majors eligible for promotion to LTC when he reported to the 174th at Fort Benning, Georgia in the fall of 1965. He went over with us on the USNS Upshur and commanded the second lift platoon. Hank was one of two standardization instructor pilots in the company and was well-liked by all. When his name appeared on the promotion list in June, he was told he'd be transferred to the 17th Combat Aviation Group (CAG) in Nha Trang. But Hank kept flying on a daily basis and assisted the building crew whenever he was free. Hank was transferred to 17th CAG Headquarters around the 22nd of July and promoted to LTC shortly thereafter. We saw him again from time-to-time as we visited group headquarters. In mid-morning, on 28 November 1966, the group adjutant called to tell us that Lieutenant Colonel Henry W. "Hank" Rust, Jr. had suffered two massive heart attacks and had died in the Nha Trang hospital the night before. All of the 174th "originals" were shocked at the news. Hank was only 37-years-old and never seemed to be sick. He had just returned from Hawaii three weeks before where he'd seen his wife and family during an R&R. Hank was an easygoing guy, down to earth and very confident. He was an excellent pilot with a control touch that belied his size. He was never afraid to get his hands dirty, pitching in when we needed help. His death was a great loss for all of us who knew him.


CPT Aaron L. Bram

19 Jun 36
17 Dec 66
Chicago IL
13E49


SP5 William L. Seastrom

6 Jun 38
17 Dec 66
Los Angeles CA
13E56

Bram was an IP giving a checkride to a Korean lieutenant in a UH-1D # 65-09605 on 17 Dec 66, Seastrom was the crew chief. Bram was on his second tour, assigned to the 452d Signal Detachment that was attached to the 174th AHC. The aircraft was in Lane Army Heliport's alternate traffic pattern, that was used for test flights and checkrides. Dolphin 605 was at 500 feet on downwind, when a damper bracket broke, causing the damper to separate and hit a pitch change link. The advancing blade dove into the cockpit, which hit Bram killing him immediately. Seastrom was thrown from the aircraft. The Korean lieutenant was killed when the aircraft incredibly nosed over and dove into the opening of a well. The accident was in full view of many of the 174th and 161st personnel that were working on the flight line. Emergency personnel were on the scene immediatley but there was little they could do. Bram had been assigned to the 101st Avn Bn in 61-62. Seastrom was a former member of the Special Forces. Source: Fred Thompson May 1993. In February 2001, Tom Smith sent the following e-mail to the 174th Webmaster, "I was a crew chief on Dolphin 911 at the time of this accident. I had been assigned to the aircraft in October, and the day before the acident I was grounded until I had completed a flight physical I had put off for 2 months. Bill was a good friend, and had sort of taken me under his wing, so to speak, because I was new, and he helped me learn the ropes. He was an interesting guy, and told me about having been a Green Beret. I thought he was about the coolest guy I had met! The day of the accident, he did not want to fly this training flight, and asked me to take his place. He wanted to take off to Qui Nhon for the day. I was more than willing to do it for him, but I had been grounded and could not. He told me it was okay, and appreciated that I would have had I not been grounded. I had just returned from the flight surgeon when the ship crashed. I was looking out towards the area that they were doing touch and goes when I heard this weird noise, and then saw the helicopter appear to lurch over and go in. There were a number of guys who saw it. Later we saw the aircraft remains when it was trucked in to the maintenance line. A detail was formed to search the wreck site for pieces of the aircraft, and I recall that there were parts strewn about the area for great distances. The guy walking in line next to me found a boot, and I found a lighter, as well as aircraft parts. I don't know who the items belonged to. Sadly, it was not uncommon for the crew chief to stay on the ground with a fire extinguisher while the training flights were flown. Bill apparently decided to fly. It was my first experience with losing a close friend there, and I'll never forget it, or Bill. Cpt Bram had been my pilot on a few flights, but I really didn't know him that well, but I do recall he was a good pilot. A terrible loss. Tom Smith"


1LT Ronald Lee Johnston

23 Mar 42
12 Mar 67
Illinois PA
16E69

On March 12, 1967, Dolphin UH-1D 65-09938 crashed south of Tuy Hoa killing the pilot, 1LT Ronald Lee Johnston. The aircraft commander was Hal Carriger. Other people that were present when the accident happened included the crew of Don Richardson's aircraft, Dolphin 65-12863. Don doesn't remember who the pilots were, but one of them might have been Tom Auman. Tom and Don have communicated about this but Tom doesn't remember anyone getting killed. Don's gunner was Abran Lucero. The other aircraft on the scene was a second platoon aircraft piloted by WO Morris. The crewchief of Dolphin 938 was Dave Fargier. He received some broken bones but rejoined the unit. Don doesn't remember the gunner, but he was injured seriously enough to be medevaced. Ronald Lee Johnston had only been in the unit a short time and had flown mostly on Don's aircraft with Hal Carriger. It has been difficult finding information about 1LT Johnston, but Don did find out that he was from Indiana, Pennsylvania. Webmaster note: We did not have Ron Johnston in our losses database for a long time. For some reason his assignment to and loss from the 174th was missed by Fred Thompson, Mike Sloniker, and others who worked so dilligently to identify all who served with the 174th AHC and lost their lives in Vietnam. As thorough as these dedicated members have been, this only shows how difficult a job they've had. Don Richardson (174th AHC 67-68), was a witness to Johnston's crash and has worked for several years to determine the details, prove the record, and correct the mistake. Recently Don found two websites. The first shows Ron's name on Panel 16E, line 69 of the Wall (http://www.flyarmy.org/panel/PANEL16E.HTM). The second website summarizes the accident (http://www.armyaircrews.com/huey_nam_67.html) in this way, "A/C lost RPM on termination of a pinnacle approach. The pilot attempted to dive the A/C off the pad to regain the RPM, struck a tree, crashed and burned."
Thank you Don for your tireless efforts to have Ron Johnston included here and to have him remembered.

Following the posting of the above information, I (webmaster) received an e-mail message from Lieutenant Colonel (Ret.) Marty Heuer. Marty has written a book about his time in the 174th and has the following account in his book about 1LT Johnson: "Three days after we departed, the 174th experienced its first fatality due to an accident. On 12 March 1967, D-Model 65-09938 was totally destroyed during a combat mission in the Ninh Hoa area. The crew members were: Warrant Officer One Hal E. Carriger, AC, First Lieutenant Ronald Lee Johnston, pilot, Specialist Fourth Class David F. Fargier, crew chief, and Private First Class G. V. Gordon, gunner. There were two Korean passengers on board, L. M. Jae, and D. Pax, both members of the ROK Whitehorse Division. The aircraft lost rotor RPM when the pilot was terminating his approach to land on a pinnacle. With RPM rapidly decreasing, the pilot attempted to dive the aircraft off the side of the pinnacle to regain RPM. During this maneuver, the aircraft struck a tree, crashed, and burned. First Lieutenant Ronald Lee Johnston, 25-years-old, was killed in the crash and subsequent fire. He was born on 23 March 1942 and called Indiana, Pennsylvania his home. Ronald, a Transportation Corps branch officer, graduated in flight class 66-10 and had arrived in Vietnam on 18 October 1966. All of the other crew members and passengers sustained injuries from which they recovered."


SP4 Larry R. Guentzel

28 Nov 47
24 Jun 67
Georgetown, TX
22E57

SP4 Thomas M. Dickinson
10 Nov 42
24 Jun 67
Memphis TN
22E57

SP4 Gary Markle
Approx. 1947
24 Jun 67 (Died 28 Sep 96)
W. Newton PA
Not yet on the Wall

The tent housing many of the 409th Transportation Corps (TC) Detachment (our mechanics) took a direct hit from a VC mortar with a contact fuse during a mortar attack that hit the 174th Company area at Duc Pho during the pre-dawn hours on 24 June 1967. Two mechanics were killed immediately and 35 total were injured. Jim McDaniel was sleeping three tents away and took these photos of the tent the next morning. The entire unit was still living in tents and more permanent facilities (the bunkered hootches to come later) had not yet been built. Guentzel and Dickinson died instantly in their sleep. Markle was severely injured with brain damage from shrapnal and survived as a paraplegic for over 29 years with only partial use of one arm. He could not use his legs or other arm. The doctors could not remove the shrapnal from his brain, and in the mid-1990's pieces of that shrapnel finally shifted enough to also take his sight. In 1996 he suffered severe burns when he was unable to control the hot water in a bath. He died of complications from those burns on 28 Sep 96. Markle's wife considers his death a direct result of his wounds in Vietnam and is attempting to get his name added to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. One Shark pilot in the tent next to this one took some shrapnel in his back. Source: Fred Thompson June 1992, Jim McDaniel August 1996, Ted Saunders September 1996, and 14th CAB unit history for 1971 (Sloniker) July 1992. (Photos by Jim McDaniel, Duc Pho, June 1967)


WO1 Dennis G. Blackmon

30 Jan 44
19 Oct 67
Elberta, AL
28E39

WO1 Blackmon died in an aircraft crash west of Duc Pho enroute LZ OD; not hostile fire. He was flying with WO1 Prince Alexander, who survived the crash but was thrown out of the aircraft still in his seat, landing in a water-filled rice paddy with the seat on its side. The aircraft came to a rest on top of him and his seat, pinning Alexander in his seat, almost under water. Blackmon was killed during the crash sequence. Alexander was knocked unconscious. WO1 Russell Doersam was the first Dolphin to arrive on the scene and he held Alexander's head out of the water until help arrived and they were able to get Alexander unpinned from his seat. Alexander was severely injured and medevaced back to the States. This photo, taken by Ed Smither (crewchief of the Witchdoctor aircraft), shows the path of the aircraft after it hit the wet rice paddy and slid to the far dike. The tailboom and part of the rotor system rests in the middle of the paddy, to the right of the aircraft's skidmarks. Source: Jim McDaniel, May 1989. This crash occurred while McDaniel was in Saigon following his own crash. (Information on Alexander obtained second hand by McDaniel from Doersam) Aircraft photo property of Ed Smither. Blackmon photo property of Dave Lindsey.


SP5 Carl T. McCoy

01 Aug 50
29 May 68
Memphis TN
63W10

Carl was killed by a direct hit on his quarters during a mortar attack in which 100 mortar rounds landed in the company area on 29 May 1968. A mortar round landed just at the wrong place at the corner of Carl's 2nd flight platoon flightcrew's hootch, directly above his bunk, with him asleep below. There were a number of other casualties near the 174th Company area, including several at the adjacent medical aide station, but Carl was the only person assigned to the 174th who was killed. Other 174th soldiers who were wounded during this mortar attack and received the Purple Heart included:

James T. Cooney (WO1)
James R. Rawlings (WO1)
Armhnd O. Belanger (SP5)
Williams Dunning (SP5)
David L. Livingston (SP5)
Albert E. Poling (SP5)
Roy E. Cody (SP4)
Eulysis Currie (SP4)
Ronald E. Fredell (SP4)
John P. Phinney (SP4)
Ronald M. Topolinski (SP4)
Robert Valesquez (SP4)
Mark Lightner (PFC)
Randy W. Tsadiasi (PFC)

Jim McDaniel (webmaster) was on R&R in Malaysia at the time, and the round that hit on the edge of McCoy's hootch also peppered McDaniel's empty bed and wall locker with shrapnel in his area of the Shark pilot's hootch next door. When this attack occurred, SP5 Stan Larson was a medic serving at the hospital with Co. C (Med) 6th Spt Bn, 11th LIB. This was the medical detachment (hospital) immediately adjacent to the 174th company area toward the mountain (Mt. Montezuma or Mt. Bronco -- pick your name). In discussions with your webmaster, Stan says: It was a singular event for me as I came close to being hit twice. Once when we were in the A&D Ward (admission and disposition) with one of our own who had just taken the full force of a mortar that hit just in front of him as he was coming out of the Vietnamese Ward. A round landed where we were standing just seconds before. We had moved to a bunker when we thought they were rockets instead of mortars. If we thought they were mortars, maybe we would have stayed working on him. He lived, but with extensive damage to his legs. The other was when three of us were going from bunker to bunker inquiring after wounded and on our way to the 11th LIB HQ a round hit the Catholic Chaplain's bunker as we were beside it. We hit the dirt to the sound of the shrapnel going over head. It may have been because it was such a memorial night for me that I recorded some details in my journal: "At 0215 mortars started coming in. I got up, grabbed my gear, and ran to the bunker followed by David and Seely who were knocked down by the blast from one of the rounds. Someone is calling for a medic! David and I ran out to help him and to bring him to A&D where we found Dr. McLane (the CO), Daniels, and others working on Bill Summerville who was hit coming out of the Vietnamese Ward. I could put my finger anywhere on his legs and it would have gone into a wound. I don't know the total wounded from this attack. There were three seriously wounded from our company. There was one killed from signals and one from the 174th. We were hit with 24 or more rounds by my personal count of rounds that were near the paths I took that night. I was told that over 100 rounds may have come in." It is clear, Jim, that they (the VC) knew what they were wanting to hit, and for the most part succeeded. I remember someone saying that the (counter-mortar) radar was out on top of Montezuma that night. The NVA/VC must have known this and they took full advantage of it. One of the medics who was there told me that we had a distinguished patient on the Vietnamese ward that everyone suspected of being an NVA officer. Intelligence would not believe us. He had a female arrive every morning to take care of his needs throughout the day. He checked himself out on evening of the 28th and left the hospital. We were hit within 10 hours.
Sources: Personal orders for Award of the Purple Heart, dated 24 July 1968, in the possession of Jim McDaniel. Fred Thompson June 1991; Stan Larson December 2003. Photo by Dennis Pelliccia.


WO1 James D. Carter

13 Mar 47
13 Jun 68
Clarkston MI
57W10

WO1 Jerry H. Johnson
16 Feb 47
13 Jun 68
Hampton VA
57W10

SP4 Gary A. Milton
20 Mar 47
13 Jun 68
Hartley TX
57W11

PFC Allen R.Weamer
31 Dec 48
13 Jun 68
Tacoma WA
57W15

On 13 Jun 68, UH-1D Serial Number 66-01016, a Dolphin slick, was dispatched from Duc Pho to fly command and control for the 4th Battalion, 3d Infantry, 11th Light Infantry Brigade. WO1 James D. Carter (photo at right) was the aircraft commander on the Dolphin. WO1 Jerry H. Johnson was the pilot. SP4 Milton and PFC Weamer were the door gunners. The aircraft landed at Landing Zone Dottie (VIC BS-622-885) to pick up LTC Barker, CPT Michles, and 1LT Phillips, 4/3 Infantry. The aircraft departed at 0730 to fly a visual reconnaissance in the area of BS-722-818, where a unit from 4/3 Infantry had reported light contact. According to information in the VHPA aircraft database, Dolphin 016 was avoiding machine gun fire on climb out when it collided with a USAF FAC O2 airplane at about 1000 feet AGL (above ground level). Both aircraft crashed. At 0745 hours, the 174th AHC operations center at Duc Pho received a report that WO1 Carter's aircraft was involved in a midair collision with the forward observer airplane. The UH-1D crashed at BS-718-802 and burst into flames. The O2 crashed at BS-714-799. Another helicopter crew in the area observed WO1 Carter's aircraft impact with the ground and stated they did not see anyone escape from the crash. An element from A Company, 4/3 Infantry was airlifted to both crash sites. They could find no survivors at either crash site. A 174th maintenance aircraft (Witchdoctor) arrived at the UH-1D crash site and assisted in the removal of five bodies from the surrounding area. The remains of the O2 pilot, MAJ Brenner were recovered. One additional body (believed to be WO1 Carter) was still in the wreckage and could not be recovered due to the extensive damage to and burning of the helicopter. The maintenance crew reported no survivors in the area and that helicopter SN 66-01016 was completely destroyed. On subsequent searches on 13, 14, and 15 June 1968, only portions of bodies were recovered and evacuated. Of these, none could be identified as the remains of WO1 Carter. On 13 and 14 June the Chu Lai Graves Registration shipped a total of six remains involved with the incident to the Da Nang US Army mortuary (there were seven crew and passengers aboard the helicopter). WO1 Carter is carried in the status of dead, body not recovered (BNR).
Source: Defense Intelligence Agency Reference note 1203.
------------------------
Webmaster note: Click HERE to see a recent communication with PFC Weamer's family.

Webmaster note: In December 1998, I received an e-mail message from Michael Carter, little brother of Jim Carter. Mike had recently found this web site. Mike provided some additional information about Jim's recovery. He said, in part, "You have him listed as missing, body not recovered. I thought you would like to know that my family and I finally buried him in Arlington (National Cemetery), VA in October 1995." Mike went on to say, "...we got a partial jawbone and three teeth that are definetly his (Jim's) and a couple of hundred bone fragments that could be anyone on the Huey. Therefore, he is buried in a common grave with everyone on the Huey listed." The above photo was taken by Jim McDaniel of the grave marker at Arlington, where Jim paused to reflect on the contributions and the sacrifices of all the crewmembers and passangers on Dolphin 016, and to place some flowers on the grave. While for most aircrews it was more immediate, it took 27 years to finally bring Jim Carter and his crew back home. Welcome home Mister Carter.


SP5 Wayne A. Tice

03 Apr 48
18 Nov 68
Gallup NM
38W13

On 18 November, while reconning an area where a USMC F-4 had been shot down and the pilots were still missing, Dolphin 428 came under enemy fire. The ship took more than 15 hits. Although critically wounded, SP5 Tice, the crewchief, returned fire until the aircraft was out of the area. Tice was medevaced to Chu Lai, but later died of wounds. In recognition of gallantry, he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, posthumously. John O'Sullivan was the aircraft commander and the copilot was "Smokey" Grykin. Source: 174th historical document for Operation Vernon Lake II, 1 November 1968 to 31 Dec 1968 provided to Fred Thompson by John O' Sullivan (May 1991).


CW2 Henry J. "Hank" Tews

11 Apr 48
29 Dec 68
Shoshone ID
35W07

CW2 Tews was a maintenance officer who had gone to recover an UH-1D that had made a precautionary landing west of Ba To at the Special Forces camp at Gia Vuc. The UH-1D's crew had landed the aircraft because of noises from the transmission area after they had taken several hits from small arms fire. CW2 Tews inspected the aircraft and, having missed noticing a bullet that entered the "hell-hole" and hit the transmission, determined the aircraft could make a one time 30 minute flight to Duc Pho. CW2 Tews flew alone in the aircraft. Enroute, the transmission seized, and the aircraft crashed. Source: Jim McDaniel after a phone conversation with Russel Doersam, Jan 90. (Below, photo of Tews' crash site taken by Dave Lovett, 30 Dec 68, and photo of Hank the day he received the Bronze Star medal. Note lack of damage to helicopter rotor blades, indicating that they were not rotating at the time of impact.)



Major William Wallace "Bill" Ford

25 Aug 1927
10 Jan 1969
Knoxville, TN
35W64

Major Bill Ford was an original member of the 174th AHC who deployed with the unit on the USS Upshur. He survived his first tour in Vietnam and was KIA on his second tour in another unit. The following account was provided by Marty Heuer in April 2007:

Major Bill Ford was assigned to the newly-activated 174th on Wednesday, 10 November 1965 at Fort Benning, Georgia. Then still a captain, Bill was an older, prematurely gray-haired pilot but very personable. He was born on 25 August 1927 in Knoxville, Tennessee. He had joined the Army on 24 February 1946, was commissioned in the Corps of Engineers in 1952, and had a break in active service. I reported on the same day and reunited with Bill at the BOQ to which we'd both been assigned. We were both Engineer Branch aviators and had served together in the 937th Engineer Company (Aviation) in the Panama Canal Zone in 1963-64. He was now 38-years-old, on the promotion list to major, and not at all happy to be going to Vietnam.

We reminisced for a couple of hours about our tours with the 937th and mutual acquaintances and became close friends during our training at Fort Benning. He was the kindest, most generous, and considerate man I have ever known. Bill had a good sense of humor and an ever-present smile. He dearly loved his wife and young daughter and often told me how fortunate he felt to have them as his family. While at Fort Benning, he asked me to accompany him to Knoxville, (Fountain City) Tennessee to visit his family on two occasions.

Bill was promoted to major shortly before we departed Fort Benning. We shared a berth on the USNS Upshur as the unit sailed to Vietnam. I took the photo (left) of him at about 0700 on the Upshur on 7 April 1966 just before we disembarked en route to Lane AHP. We shared a hex tent on one of the terraces until 15 April when Bill was transferred to the 155th AHC at Ban Me Thout in the DEROS adjustment.

Bill returned to the states in March 1967. He was stationed, at least part of the time, at Fort Rucker, Alabama in a non-flying assignment, but it wasn't for long as he was sent back to Vietnam for his second tour on 29 December 1968. The specific unit he was serving in has not been identified, except that the official information concerning his death listed the major unit to which he was assigned as "MACV advisors." That official account went on to say that Bill was Killed In Action from an incident on 10 January 1969 while performing the duty of pilot. However, the official listing gave the cause of his death as "ground casualty" and the reason as "multiple-fragment wounds." He had been in Vietnam only 12 days. The location of his death was Phong Dinh Province in the IV Corps area, meaning that he was serving in the southeastern section of the RVN, probably out of Can Tho, the Province capital, situated on the Mekong River. Another official description of his death said: "Killed as a result of hostile action; ground casualty from weapons." Bill is buried at Knoxville National Cemetery. It was an honor for me to have known and served with Bill Ford. (Information and photo provided by Marty Heuer, April 2007)



MAJ Richard K. Zimmerman

24 Jun 37
20 Jan 69
St Clairsville OH
34W46

Former member of the 174th. Was transferred to the 1st Cav Div to command troop in the 1/9 Cav and was killed while in command as troop commander. Source: Fred Thompson May 1991.


WO1 Ray R. Davis

06 Jun 47
01 Mar 69
Oakland CA
30W01

WO1 Edward L. Harris
26 Jul 43
01 Mar 69
Mankato MN
30W03

SP4 Donn P. Zarina
19 Jul 47
01 Mar 69
Boulder CO
30W09

SP4 David E. Schulze
02 Jun 48
01 Mar 69
Elmhurst IL
30W07

Aircraft crashed on a pinnacle. The crew of four and five of the seven enlisted infantrymen passengers were killed. Infantrymen killed were: James A. Kraft, David E. Lovegren, Thomas L. Gaines III, Rodney M. Goode, and Jimmy R. Gross. Source: Jim Towle told Fred Thompson about the crash. The DIA POW/MIA office provided the names. (June 1991)

Accident Summary from the VHPA database (September 1998):

Crew Members:
Aircraft Commander: WO1 DAVIS, Ray Rene, KIA
Pilot: WO1 HARRIS, Edward Lewis, KIA
Crew Chief: SP4 ZARINA, Donn Peter, KIA
Gunner: PFC SCHULZE, David Edward, KIA

The aircraft, piloted by WO1 Harris and WO1 Davis, was flying 1/20 Infantry Battalion command and control. At the time of the accident, the aircraft was being used to exchange personnel on an outpost (OP) at coordinates BS641534. The aircraft had been into the location on one previous personnel dropoff and was returning with the remainder of personnel and equipment . On the first dropoff at the OP, the approach was made to the southeast, which put the aircraft into the wind, and no apparent problems were reported. On the second lift onto the OP, the approach was started to the northeast, which put the aircraft downwind. The approach was apparently overshot by whoever had control of the aircraft at the time. The pilot in control of the aircraft apparently tried to make a pedal turn to get back to the OP. At this time, it is assumed that the aircraft lost power and began losing altitude. Approximately 50 meters down the hill the main rotor struck the ground. Slightly further, the main fuselage made impact and started to break apart. A fire occurred, and the main portion of the aircraft was destroyed by fire. The two survivors were removed by medevac shortly aftwards for medical treatment.

Corporal David Eugene Lovegren of Company D, 1st Battalion, 23rd Infantry Division (Americal), from Portland OR, was a passenger killed in the crash. He is still listed as Killed/Body Not Recovered, Category: 3. SYNOPSIS: Cpl. David E. Lovegren was a passenger aboard a UH1H helicopter that crashed on March 1, 1969 in Quang Ngai Province about 5 miles southwest of Mo Duc. No enemy activity was associated with the crash of the aircraft. During the recovery operation, Lovegren's body was being hoisted onboard the extraction (Medevac) helicopter when the lifting device dropped his remains about 1,000 meters from the extraction point. An effort was made to relocate and recover Lovegren's body, but hostile forces were in the loss area, and Lovegren could not be recovered. David E. Lovegren is listed with honor among the missing because no body has ever been returned to his homeland for burial.


CPT Charles D. Rogers

25 Mar 39
11 Mar 69
Monroe NC
29W14

MAJ Richard A. Brown
23 Jul 34
17 Mar 69
Lakewood CA
29W59

In March 1969, a French 75MM pack howitzer was fired by the Viet Cong (VC) into the 174th company area and hit the company commander's hootch and the platoon leaders' hootch. According to a recent note from Jim Towle (Shark 5 in 68-69), who was there, the VC fired four rounds that night: one at the maintenance officer's hootch, one at Maj Brown's hootch, one at the platoon leaders' hootch, and one at the flight surgeon's hootch.

The platoon leaders' hootch had been converted not long before from a storage hootch, because Maj Brown decided that the platoon leaders should live separately from the rest of the pilots. It was directly across the company street from the 2nd Platoon pilots' hootch, and it housed four officers: both the 1st and 2nd Dolphin platoon leaders, the Shark platoon leader, and the company operations officer.

Three officers were hit in the CO's hootch. Captain Rogers, who had been in the company only two days and was going to be the XO, was killed immediately by the round. Maj Brown was severly wounded and died of his wounds on March 17th. The outgoing XO, Maj Schmidt, was severly wounded and evacuated.

The photo below is the platoon leaders' hootch the morning after the attack. The O'Club is just outside the left side of the picture. Someone overflew the area after the attack and discovered that the maintenance officer's hootch, the CO's hootch, the platoon leaders' hootch, and the flight surgeon's hootch all lined up in a straight line. Because of the in-line targets, the VC did not have to change deflection, only elevation, of the weapon.

(Photo by Jim Towle, Duc Pho, 1969) Sources: Jim Towle, Fred Thompson, John O'Sullivan, and Jim McDaniel May and June 1991, and Jim Rawlings and David Haugen in Feb 2001.



SGT Lawrence R. Shepard

22 Jul 49
12 May 69
Napa CA
25W84

PFC James E. Isaac JR
04 Nov 49
12 May 69
Daleville AL
25W72

Enlisted crewmen killed on UH-1C Shark aircraft (64-13663) that was shot down near OD lake. The Shark got caught in a crossfire between two .51 Cal machineguns, taking multiple hits and, at low altitude, the tail boom separated from the aircraft. Control was lost and it rolled at least partially inverted before striking the ground. The two crewmembers were killed in the crash. The aircraft commander received serious back injuries and was medevaced, but later returned to the unit. The co-pilot, WO1 Steve Davis, amazingly enough was not seriously injured. Source: Jim McDaniel as told to him by the aircraft commander on 7 June 1991. The AC did not provide Jim the crew names but did provide the date of the shoot down and the above account. The two names listed are the only two aviation MOS's listed as killed on 12 May 1969. The following was provided by Wayne Clark, Shark 9, to Jim McDaniel in April 1997: I may have some information about the crash and deaths on 12 may 69. I thought that one of the CE's (crew chiefs) was a SGT Joe Connelly. Tom Dana and I were in the second Shark that was shot down seconds later. The first Shark was on fire, and when the AC pulled pitch to decererate, the tail boom broke, swung to the right, and the aircraft rolled right. Tom and I were trying to provide cover and ended up in the next field, all within two miles of Duc Pho. The CE was burned pretty badly and lived in Japan for 4 or 5 days. I did the survey on Sgt Connelly's things. The family was pretty upset--thought he had been forced to re-up. (Note: This would account for Connelly not being listed as lost on 12 May. We now have three names and only two deaths for this crash. We're researching to try to get them straight. Will post the results when we get it confirmed. --Jim McDaniel.)


SP5 Dennis G. Schmidt

21 Jan 48
16 May 69
Detroit MI
24W26

SP5 Dennis Schmidt was crew chief on a UH-1C helicopter Shark gunship (No. 66-15162) and was killed when the helicopter crashed and rolled down a hill as the crew attempted to snatch an enemy flag from a pole in the ground. It was booby-trapped and was detonated as the helicopter hovered over it. ---- Mark Lightner was an NCO with the 174th at the time, worked with the 452nd Sig. Det. and flew a bit with the Dolphins in 1968, and was NCOIC of the electric shop and ran the recovery crew in 1969. Mark recalls this: Dennis was a crew chief for the Sharks, and during a combat operation one of the crew members of his gunship spotted an NVA or VC flag on a long pole. The gunship descended to get the flag. When the crew member reached down and pulled the flag out of the ground, an explosive charge detonated. The gunship crashed and Schmidt was burned extensively. He was flown state-side to a burn center, where he apparently died. ---- J.C. Pennington (Shark 4 in 1969) had this to say: Schmidt’s crash happened while I was there. Bill Cooper was the Aircraft Commander. I don't remember who the copilot was. In fact, and I hate to admit this, I didn't know SP5 Schmidt had died. I just knew that everyone was medevaced out. Once that happened you rarely heard what the result was. As a matter of fact, Cooper was my roommate--a really good guy and a complete clown. He saw the NVA flag on a little knoll just west of Highway 1 and, as I recall, just south of Quang Ngai city. In other words, we were really surprised that an NVA flag would be in our "backyard" in broad daylight. Cooper got down to damn-near a hover so the crewman could snag the flag. Apparently there was a command-detonated 500-pound bomb under the flag. Also, it appears a VC or NVA soldier with a battery was waiting, touched off the wire, and BOOM! The tailboom was blown off the ship and the crew compartment just rolled down the hill, beating itself to death with the rotor blades. I was on standby when we heard about it and went over to the aid station when they brought the guys in. Cooper's face looked like hell after bouncing off the rocket sight about 40 times. He had a broken nose and jaw as I recall, plus a broken arm or shoulder. I think maybe the forth crewman (door gunner) was DeWitt. Not sure about that. Can't for the life of me remember who the copilot was. (Sources: Mark Lightner and J.C. Pennington, January 1997).


CW2 Albert Alvarado Vaquera

23 Apr 40
2 Aug 69
Byran, TX
20W090

Warrant Officer Albert Alvarado Vaquera was an individual replacement pilot when he reported to the 174th at Lane AHP in mid-1966. Marty Heuer says he may have been the IP that gave him his in-country orientation checkout. Marty remembers Al as a quiet guy, but a damned good soldier and pilot.

Al completed his tour with the 174th in 1967 and was assigned to the Primary Helicopter School at Fort Wolters, Texas where he served until 1968. He was then ordered to Fort Rucker, Alabama for CH-47 transition training from 1968-1969. As a CW2, Al was then ordered back to Vietnam, assigned to C Company, 159th Assault Support Helicopter Battalion, 101st Airborne Division on 6 March 1969.

Al was a heavy lift helicopter pilot in CH-47 Chinooks. He had achieved 1817 flying hours with 388 instructor flying hours. On 2 August 1969, CW2 Vaquera's CH-47 helicopter was involved in a mid-air collision with a USAF OV-1 about 5 miles NE of Tam Ky. The aircrew that died as a result of this collision was: CW2 Albert A. Vaquera [AC] WO1 Thomas L. Dives, Jr. [CP] SP4 Thomas K. Ryan [CE] SP4 James S. Stacey [CE] and SP4 Daniel A. Irelan [G]. Source: Marty Heuer, April 2010.


SP4 Donald A. Contarino

30 Aug 49
14 Aug 69
Beverly Farms MA
19W37

Aircraft commander WO1 Bob Buchanan, co-pilot 1LT McGue, crewchief SP4 Donald Contarino, and a gunner (name unknown), were assigned a MACV support mission, starting at the MACV compound at Quang Ngai, that flew resupply and some command and control missions. Just before 1400, they landed at Special Forces camp at Tra Bong, and shut down. On approach to Tra Bong the Dolphin aircraft took fire near the ridge to the southeast. After the aircraft was shutdown, everyone but the gunner, went into the Special Forces compound to eat, where they were caught in a mortar attack on the camp. All were hit by shrapnel, Contaring died of his wounds, Buchanan and McGue were wounded and medevaced. The gunner and the aircraft were untouched. The passenger, a major who was a MACV advisor, also died of wounds. Source: Bob Buchanan, Jul 1992 VHPA reunion.


WO1 Robert H. Shields
II
19 Jun 43
15 Aug 69
Kensington MD
19W47

WO1 John M. Bozinski
14 Jul 47
15 Aug 69
Superior WI
19W43

SP4 Sanchez A. Del Valle
02 Nov 48
15 Aug 69
Baya Mon PR
19W44

PFC Johnnie Graham Jr.
03 Dec 49
15 Aug 69
New York, NY
19W44

The aircraft was flying formation as trail aircraft on a combat assault in 515 valley when hit by a heavy caliber anti-aircraft gun. The enemy fire was intense and concentrated; so concentrated that it cut off the tail boom, causing mast bumping and main rotor separation. The helicopter hit on a side of a hill and burned. Besides the crew of four, there were 6 infantrymen on board. Source: Ben Kennedy, June 1991. Photo of crash site property of Tom Gauby.


WO1 Adam Wilson

01 May 48
15 Nov 69
San Diego CA
16W82

WO1 Ricardo W. Regaldo
01 Dec 49
15 Nov 69
Everett WA
16W81

SP4 Ronald L. Ducommun
02 Jan 50
15 Nov 69
San Francisco CA
16W78

SP4 Forest C. Hodgkin
12 Oct 47
15 Nov 69
Lewison ME
16W80

Dolphin 661 was resupplying artillery fire bases on a very windy day. Due to wind conditions and aircraft cargo, the crew had to make their approach in the same direction, four times in a row. On the fifth approach, the aircraft was shot down with all souls lost; the crew of four and a single artilleryman from the S-4 section. Source: Beetle Bailey to Fred Thompson-May 90, Photo by Sam Sours.

====================

In an e-mail message in January 2002 from Charles Mankin, an Americal Division veteran and personal friend of your webmaster, Charlie provided an eye-witness correction to the above account. I will include portions of his message here. Mankin says:

Jim... I was enjoying your 174th web site and found the "Crew Losses." I scrolled down to the 15 Nov 69 crew loss of (WO1 Wilson and his crew). The write-up of this accident is incorrect. I recall that day like it was yesterday.

The 174th was enroute to resupply my infantry unit (B-3-1, 11th LIB). My platoon (3rd) was told to leave the CP and patrol the lower area because there were too many people on the hill. We left the hill heading down to a valley for a recon. We heard the chopper come in, land, then take off. I remember wanting to hurry back just in case I had a couple letters in that red mail sack that the birds would drop off.

The chopper took off as we were walking down the hill, when we heard the sound of someone popping smoke. Watching the departing chopper leaving the area, the chopper flew towards the smoke. We then heard the sounds of AK fire. The chopper appeared to make a sputtering sound, lean to the side and someone appeared to fall out while going down. We rushed to the site to secure the chopper and assist the crew. Unfortunately, all were deceased.

The chopper was turned to a white ash by the fire. As a result of the bad whether, we were told to stay with the downed bird for the night until another chopper would retrieve the bodies the following day.

It was a pretty scary night. We were on the side of a hill and heard gooks attempting to reach the chopper most of the night. I noticed while attempting to place one of the bodies in a bodybag, the name on the dogtag laced into his boots was the name "James Gunderson." Gunderson was a former infantryman assigned to my unit. He had obtained a job in the rear and just hitched a ride out to see his old unit.

I mentioned the incident to my former CO (Capt Fahel) at a recent Americal Hill 411 reunion. He remembered. I think the pilot was checking out the smoke in efforts that someone on the ground may have needed assistance.

Jim, just thought you would like to know. I still read the daily email from Jay Roth and the crew. I rarely post. Anyway, take care and hope to see you at another car show. I have a big block 67 Vette. May take it to a few shows in 02. Charlie.




SP4 Donald A. Selkey
Jr.
02 Jul 50
22 Dec 69
Mt Clemens MI
15W84

Selkey worked in vehicle maintenance as the vehicle dispatcher. He died one year after the death of his girlfriend. They were in an automobile accident, where she was the only fatality. Source: Fred Thompson May 91; Rick Diamond Jun 91; Bob Jansen Jul 91.


CPT John M. Gibbons

16 Feb 46
12 Feb 70
Sayville NY
14W131

Cpt John Gibbons was killed by hostile fire as Aircraft Commander of a Dolphin UH-1H inserting troops in a hot LZ. Died of head wound; no other injuries in the aircraft. Was very well liked. Source: Rick Diamond, May 90 and Jack Dotterer Jun 91.

Gibbons was seated left as A/C of UH-1H 66-01022- Source: Warren Hewetson, June 2006.

"The Co-Pilot was WO1 Robinson. ‘Gibby’ was A/C flying left seat. It was a two-ship movement of troops from one location to another. ‘Gibby’ was Platoon Leader and he was also Flight Leader this day. They were “climbing out” of the area. The C/E spotted a military age male standing out in the open. The man seemed to have produced an AK-47 from under his clothing. The C/E said the man just “swept up” toward the aircraft on full automatic. One of the rounds hit Gibbons in the left side under his armpit and three other rounds hit behind his left ear of his helmet. Gibbons slumped forward and his right foot went forward and the aircraft went out of trim & drifting towards the other ship. Robinson grabbed the flight controls. Two (or more) rounds had come through the radio console & his cyclic disabling his radio. His C/E and Door Gunner left their stations to pull Gibbons back into cargo and apply some first aid. They managed to make it back to the 11th Brigade Medevac area. Either the C/E or the Gunner had to make the radio transmissions to Duc Pho Tower (see correction below). By the time that they got the aircraft down, ‘Gibby’ had died due to loss of blood and the nature of his wounds.”- Comments from WO1 John Bailey (a close 174th friend of Gibson’s), June 22, 2006.

Andy Anderson adds this additional comment and correction to Hewetson- June 24, 2006: " I was flying in an adjoining AO and monitored the radio traffic of the incident on the tower and company frequencies. CPT Gibbons was the A/C, but he was actually the Assistant Platoon Leader. Russ Lay was the 2nd Platoon Leader at the time. Gibbons used the call sign 'two six alpha'. I think that the aircraft involved was zero two two (That has been confirmed. See above). The pilots in the second aircraft called the approach to the medevac pad rather than the crew on Gibbon's ship. Robinson was the P-Pilot in the right seat. I know that he was badly shaken by the experience, but I believe that he eventually resumed regular flying duties." - Andy.

The photo at above right, property of David Rosenthal, was taken by him perhaps two days before John's death.

In April 1998, we received the following e-mail note to the website from Mike Robinson (a different Robinson than mentioned above), an RTO recon with 1st Bn, 20th Inf from Sep 69 to Sep 70 (wingman@ctllc.com), "I may have been on the chopper when Capt Gibbons was killed. I was with recon 1Bn 20th Inf (Lz Liz). We had a pilot who was shot in the head on lift off after dropping us off in a hot LZ. I am not sure of the exact date or did not know the pilot's name, but the incident sounds like the same one. Recon searched the rest of the day for a sniper, called in dogs, and even had a lot of brass out in the field helping with search. I do remember that we had all kinds of Sharks overhead shortly after, and everyone was really mad. If you have any more info on this incident, please forward it to me as it may spark some more memories of this. I also have contact with the a couple of others that were also on the chopper, including our platoon leader that may remember more details. I also remember, later, finding out that the one who had been shot was well liked by everyone." (Webmaster note: Based on the timing and details of this and other known 174th losses around this time, this is almost certainly the same incident and Mike Robinson was a passenger in CPT Gibbons' Dolphin. Thanks for contacting us, Mike.)

In February 2001, the Website also received an e-mail message from John's college roommate, Don Law, who shared some personal information on John and sent a copy of a letter John had written him before John's death. Click HERE to see both the e-mail and the letter.


WO1 Richard A. Henke

29 Apr 51
13 May 70
Clare IL
10W33

WO1 Frederick W. Sheffield
27 Mar 48
13 May 70
Cantonment FL
10W36

SP4 Sidney W. Jarrell
15 May 51
13 May 70
Albany GA
10W34

SP4 Ernest L. Johns
25 Aug 44
13 May 70
Brandon FL
10W34

PFC Derek W. Patrick
DOB unknown
13 May 70
Location unknown.

Entire crew lost in Shark UH-1C #66-0662 south of FSB 411 near Quang Ngai. Aircraft crashed after having hydraulics failure and cyclic hardover (Sugar Bear Gambrill identified the remains). Jack Dotterer remembers the aircraft crashed because of the a materiel failure at the collective collar. (Source: Rick Diamond Jun 89, Fred Thompson Jan 90, and Jack Dotterer Jun 91.) The fact that there are five KIA names listed for the 174th on this date and a gunship crew only consisted of four has caused some concern and confusion, but this was clarified by an e-mail note received by the 174th Webmaster in December 1997 from Skip Brownfield, a 174th door gunner at the time. It's not yet known which of the three 174th enlisted crewmembers above belonged to the Dolphin, but we'll certainly update the list when we find out. Here is the note received from Skip: To clarify things a little, we were refueling at Quang Nai, I believe, when we received word that a Shark was going down. When we got there, it was engulfed in flames. King (our aircraft commander), Brown (the crew chief), and I pulled the bodies out. One pilot was still alive when we loaded him on our ship. He died shortly after our arrival at Duc Pho. Later that same day we were scrambled to an area where a Dolphin slick, loaded with grunts, took an RPG (rocket-propelled grenade) round while on the ground. We had to make two smoke runs around the woodline, where the enemy fire was coming from, so the medivac could get in. Only the door gunner died, but I don't remember his name. (Source: Skip Brownfield, Dec 97)


WO1 Lenton E. Mizer

10 Feb 50
15 Jul 70
Eldorado KS
08W20

SP5 Harrison Bell
07 Dec 47
15 Jul 70
Bonwier TX
08W19

SP5 Fred G. Vandiver
25 Feb 47
15 Jul 70
Riverside CA
08W21

WO1 Mizer, who had been in-country for just 6 weeks, was on the controls of Shark UH-1C #66-00646, which was flying up a steep ravine, low level. The aircraft experienced a loss of power and Mizer attempted to turn down the ravine to regain rpm. The aircraft continued to loose power and fall. Lt. Joseph R.Brandt (Newton IA), the aircraft commander and the only survivor, tried to regain control of the aircraft, but it struck the ground, rolled and exploded at BS 546724. Source: Fred Thompson Jul 89 and Jan 90.


CW2 Peter R. Goodnight

01 Jan 50
11 Oct 70
Pacoima CA
07W125

CW2 Goodnight was flying lead with AC (aircraft commander) CW2 Dave Rosenthal on a combat assault in the horseshoe area northwest of Quang Ngai. The AMC (Air Mission Commander) aircraft's LZ-marking smoke grenade failed to ignite and the flight had to go around. As they applied power, the trail aircraft in the formation had a complete engine failure and autorotated to a skid-spreading hard landing. One of the infantrymen on that aircraft panicked and jumped from approximately 30 feet and sustained a compoundfracture to one of his legs. Goodnight's aircraft broke off and dropped its troops to secure the downed helicopter which had landed near a group of NVA regulars, Goodnight picked up the crew and the injured infantryman and flew to Hill 411 where the aid station there advised them to transport the man to the hospital at Chu Lai. While putting him back onto the aircraft, one of the downed crew's M-60 machine guns lying behind Goodnight's (right) seat was jarred, firing a single round. It passed through the tiny gap at the left edge of the armor of Pete's seat and into his back. The attempt to get Pete to Chu Lai in time was unsuccessful. Goodnight had a premonition of impending death and wrote a poem aboutthe subject that was read at his memorial service by MAJ Searcy. Pete had just returned from his brother's stateside funeral and had brought back a lot of the latest music. Goodnight received a posthumous award of the Distinguished Flying Cross. Source: Fred Thompson Sep 1989, updated Jul 91, and Jack Dotterer Jun 1991. Updated again by CW4 David Rosenthal, September 1996.


CW2 Charles F. Creamer
III
25 Mar 46
28 Nov 70
South Bend IN
06W87

1LT David C. Jauregui
03 Mar 44
28 Nov 70
Flagstaff AZ
06W87

SP4 James Powell
25 May 50
28 Nov 70
New Castle IN
06W88

PFC Gary D. Field
14 Nov 50
28 Nov 70
Columbia NY
06W87

The crew was flying a flare mission and did not return at the end of mission. Aircraft was found crashed on the side of a mountain. No other details known. Source: Fred Thompson June 1989. // Webmaster note: In October 2002, I got the following e-mail from Bruce Marshall: Jim, My memory of this loss has diminished some over the years, but I will share my recollections as they are. I think the date of the accident was Nov 24th (checked my flight records). If I remember correctly, it took a few days to locate the accident site due to inclement weather and a lack of coordinates. On this night, I was on primary standby with the Sharks. Creamer was Flareship standby. Sometime during the night, we were scrambled to provide gun support to an outpost which was under attack. The outpost was north of Duc Pho and south of Quang Ngai. I think it was adjacent to or near Route 1. I do not remember who I was flying with at the time, but the Team was 2 Sharks and 1 Flareship. We did not need any vectors to the outpost - the fire fight had it lit up pretty well, and the bad guys were right at the perimeter wire. Creamer kept the area lit up and we were able to do our job. After being released by the ground troops, we all three headed for home. The chatter on the radio was normal until Creamer quit responding to our calls. There was no mayday call, and as far as I recall, there was no other indication that anything was wrong. I think we were all hoping he had experienced a radio failure, but due to the poor weather and cloud cover, we were very uneasy about the silence from Creamer's ship. Speculation was that they flew into inadvertent IMC conditions. -- Bruce Marshall, October 2002. In August 2009, I received the following e-mail message: Attached is a photo for your website of CW2 Charles Creamer. His mother recently passed away and founded a scholarship at Bradley University in his honor with her estate. (Info here: http://campaign.bradley.edu/updates/creamer.shtml). I went to Bradley and that is how I found out about his Vietnam service. Thank you for your service! Kellen-Ace C. (Director of Information Management, 244th Aviation Brigade, USAR) (NCOIC, C4, Systems Directorate, Special Operations Command, Pacific, DIMA)


CW2 Robert D. Black

30 Jun 45
11 Jan 71
Tallahassee FL
05W39

"Reverend Mr." Black was a Primo pilot from the 11th Inf Bde, who was lost after dropping off a passenger near the Quang Ngai river, between Quang Ngai and FB 411. The OH-6 Light Observation Helicopter (LOH) crashed in the water without being seen by witnesses. The aircraft was found later the same day; Black was found the following day downstream. Source: Fred Thompson and Art Magee Jul 89.
In a January 7, 2000 e-mail message from Dave Eckberg, I received the following additional information on Mr. Black's loss: I was looking over the page on losses of your comrades and came across WO Black. He flew me around from time to time (I was the battalion S-5), and I wrote home about his loss. He's also mentioned in a history of FSB 4-11 by Les Stottle, former comander of the 3/1 Infantry which manned 4-11. From Stottle's history, he reports, from battalion logs; " ...11 January... B Company watched as a Brigade L.O.H. went down in the river near BS503743. They searched the area and found the pilot's helmet and map but did not find the pilot, WO-1 Robert D. Black... (12 January) B Company continued its serch for the missing L.O.H. and at BS524752 engaged three VC with M-16 rifles whom they engaged with small arms and M-79 fire, then at BS527757 they found parts of the L.O.H. but didn't find the pilot.... The 17th was a fruitful day...Then at 1015 hours C company at BS528759 found the body in a flight suit of WO Black from 11th Brigade aviation." My letters, and my recollection of the event was: "11 January 1971, Today a loach got shot down in the Song Tra Khuc river west of Q.N. (note--Quang Ngai) A "flying crane" was sent out to get it (it's submerged in the shallow water) and it got shot down. The pilots haven't been found yet. I guess they were killed with gunfire, were killed when the ship went down, or drowned." 12 Jan 71: "...Oh yes, one bit of news I can pass on is that the loach that went down yesterday went down due to a power failure; it wasn't shot down. The crane was, however. The crane pilots are all right; the loach pilot is still missing and presumed dead." 17 Jan 71: "...During this period of time a crew of engineers were taken out to the Song Tra Khuc river to retrieve the body of the loach pilot. It was found on some rocks in the river, so they went out in a raft to get it.... Around lunch time the engineers had gotten the body and called in a chopper to pick it up. The chopper picked up body, one of the men, and the raft. It left the rest (3) of the men, without weapons, to be picked up later, at about grid 5175.... By this time (note, about 1300) the engineers had been waiting for four hours, and decided, for some reason, to get into a sampan they had found and started floating down the river.... (About 1830) About this time the CO of the engineers, noticing that the three men hadn't returned, called 4-11 to see if we knew where they were--we didn't, of course--we thought they had been picked up at 1100.... At 1900 we were getting ready to play some bridge when we got a radio call from the three engineers. It was getting dark and they wanted someone to come get them. The caller was using the wrong call sign, however, which raised doubts about as to his true identity. Also, we still thought they had all been picked up, as one of our companies out there had seen the bird go in and thought they had all gotten on. Suspecting a trap, they were asked who was playing in the Super Bowl. They didn't know! That made everybody very leery of the caller, but by this time the CO of the men had called the chopper pilot and found that he hadn't picked them all up, so the bird took off to find them. Satisfied that they were Americans, we tried to get them going towards one of our positions near where we thought they were. Our people were shooting flares to guide them. What happened next is tragic. They walked into an ambush, VC or ARVN, we don't know which yet, and one of the men was critically wounded. Then, before the bird got in to get them out, he died. What a stupid waste of life. It's really sickening. I don't know why they waited so long to call in. I also don't know why they left where they had been working. It was right across the river from one of our units. They ended up way down the river, at about 5476. What a waste. There are so many ways to get killed over here, yet tonight we thought up a new one. It's a real shame." One more note; my recollection, years later, was that I was told by one of the guys in the field that Black was flying very low over the river, skimming along it, when he caught a skid it the water and flipped the chopper. I really can't say with certainty that this is fact, however. That's all I have on Black. Hope it's of help. Dave Eckberg, Highlands Ranch, Colorado


WO1 Robert B. Gentry

06 Feb 49
08 Feb 71
Orlando FL
05W87

Bob Gentry was killed during a combat assault into LZ Hotel on the first day of Lam Son 719. His copilot was WO1 Burch, crew chief was Pat Wade and the gunner was Lee Fairchild. As the Dolphin aircraft lifted off the LZ, a two-man NVA machine gun team at the ten o'clock position fired several rounds into the nose section, hitting Gentry. Pat Wade returned fire and killed the two NVA. Burch was able to regain control of the ship that almost crashed. Luckily the aircraft was over a very steep incline and took no more fire. The automatic weapons that hit Gentry, destroyed his cyclic, the radios and several hydraulic lines. Wade and Fairchild lowered Gentry's seat back and administered first aid. Fairchild stayed with Gentry, while Burch crawled back into Gentry's seat to assist Burch with the pedals. Gentry had lost a lot of blood during the short flight back to Khe Sanh, and due to the destroyed radio, Burch had no radio contact with the ground. After avoiding several mid-airs over Khe Sanh, Burch was able to put the aircraft down at POL. Gentry was placed on another aircraft, barely alive. After the crew secured their damaged aircraft, they were flown to Quang Tri, where they learned that Bob had died. Fairchild passed this information to Gentry's dad in the summer of 1989. Fairchild also wrote a moving poem that says "I was holding his head when life left his eyes." There is a building in Orlando FL, Gentry's hometown, named after him. Source: Lee Fairchild Dec 89, Fred Thompson Jan 90, Mike Sloniker May 91, Bill Early Jul 91


PFC Gary T. Padilla

7 Nov 49
03 Mar 71
Sacramento CA
04W20

Padilla was the gunner on CPT Bill Early's Dolphin ship when Early was a Dolphin platoon leader. He came to the 174th after having been in the Infantry for 5 months. On 3 Mar Padilla was the gunner on CPT John Bishop's ship, Dolphin UH-1H #68-15639, copilot was 1LT Carl Flemer, and SP4 Larry Rhodes was the crew chief. The aircraft was part of an afternoon combat assault from Khe Sanh to LZ Lolo in Laos during Lam Son 719. Due to the enormous amount of smoke and confusion in the landing zones, and intense enemy fire, the aircraft erroneously landed to smoke that had been thrown by the NVA, and the Dolphin was shot down and was destroyed. Gary was the only casualty. Flemer escaped and evaded (E&E) 10 miles back to an ARVN firebase near the border and was reported alive to the 174th by the end of 3 Mar. It was a few days later before the survival of Bishop and Rhodes was learned. Gary's body was recovered when the area had been secured by the ARVN (South Vietnamese soldiers). Click HERE to read a detailed personal account of the shootdown by Captain Bishop. Source: Fred Thompson, Sep 89; Bill Early Jul 1991; John bishop, 1998.


WO1 Steven R. Burch

15 Jun 51
05 Mar 71
St Paul MN
04W23


WO1 Patrick D. Erb
06 Jul 49
15 Mar 71
Sylmcar CA
04W48

This was WO1 Erb's first aircraft commander mission. On 25 Feb 71 they were resupplying troops on or near a pinnacle LZ (LZ Scotch), which is near the Rockpile. LZ Scotch was obscured by smoke from Laos, had marginal visibility, dead trees around the approach, and a departure route that limited maneuvering. A major firefight was being fought at the base of the pinnacle, and the Dolphin aircraft was advised to expedite departure. Richard Bricker was the crewchief riding on the left side, right behind Doug Erb, who was on the controls. The aircraft took fire on climb out, caught fire, exploded, and fell to the ground among the trees. Bricker recalls they had just lifted off the LZ (Scotch) when Bricker saw a bright flash through the trees, and moments later felt the impact at the access doors (at the base of the tailboom). The explosion/impact knocked the aircraft sideways to the right, causing the aircraft to impact with the trees, which in turn caused the disintegration of the aircraft as it fell 10 feet to the ground. The aircraft was engulfed in flames before it hit the trees or the ground. The crew chief, SP4 Bricker, and the gunner, SP4 Mike Walsh, were blown out of the burning aircraft during the crash and survived. Walsh heard someone cry out and found Burch. He carried Burch to a log, that they hid behind, until rescued by the Infantry. Simultaneously, Bricker, who was badly burned, cried out for Walsh to get him, but Walsh could not because of the intensity of the enemy fire. The Infantry came down the hill and assisted in the recovery of the crew to the mountain top, where they were flown out. During the crash, the pilots rode the aircraft in and were unable to get out the burning aircraft from the front. To get out, they both had to run through the intense fire in the cargo compartment and were severely burned. All crewmembers were able to walk away from the aircraft under their own power and were taken to the hospital at Quang Tri by a following 174th Dolphin aircraft. Both pilots had burned their lungs running through the fire and succumbed to pneumonia weeks later in Japan, which was commonplace. The severity of the burns was the reason they remained in Japan and were not shipped back to the states for recovery. Erb was in the bed next to Walsh when he (Erb) died. Walsh and Bricker were sent to the Burn Center at Brooke Army Hospital, Ft. Sam Houston, TX. Walsh was the least injured of the four, but was medically retired from active duty. Bricker, who also walked under his own power to an aircraft that lifted him out of the LZ, is alive and well in Piggott, Arkansas and has six children. He has had over 300 skin grafts and is loving life via his children (who found this website).
Source: Fred Thompson Sep 89; Bill Early Jul 91; COL Bob Berk, Pentagon, June 1992 who was an attending nurse in the burn ward in which that they were treated; Fred Thompson and Mike Walsh phone conversation-May 1993; Mike Walsh VHPA reunion Jul 1993, Phoenix; Fred Thompson and Richard Bricker phone conversation, Mar 99.


SFC Doyle Foster, Company First Sergeant

15 Sep 36
25 Mar 71
Oneida TN
04W76

SFC Doyle Foster, the 174th First Sergeant, was an E-7 who had been in the job for only a short period when he died. He asked to fly as a gunner with the Sharks, and on the day of his death he had just awakened to prepare for the flight. He always demonstrated a deep concern for the welfare of the company and its soldiers. Prior to being assigned to Vietnam, he had asked for a delay in his assignment to Vietnam for compassionate reasons, and had been denied. It is remembered that SFC Doyle always watched the aircraft return to Quang Tri from missions in Laos and showed deep concern for those who flew those hazardous missions into Laos during Lam Son 719. The first sergeant was beset with personal problems at home, in the States, and took his own life when it became more than he could bear. Source: Fred Thompson May 91; Dale Spratt Jul 91; Yogi Reeves Jul 92; CSM George T. Williamson May 93 (then a crew chief on Dolphin 284 and 490 from April 1970-April 1971), and Clyde Brumaghim (aka: Pineapple) Jan 2000.


SP4 Wayne W. Baggett

14 Mar 50
11 Apr 71
Tampa FL
04W117

Wayne Baggett was killed on Easter Sunday. The Dolphin slick (UH-1H 67-17191) was just departing an LZ east and north of Duc Pho, where a chaplain had just conducted Easter services for the infantry soldiers at the LZ. The Dolphin had just picked up the chaplain and was departing when it was hit by a Rocket Propelled Grenade (RPG) round as it was lifting off. The chaplain, Baggett, and other passengers lost their lives. Baggett was the only 174th AHC casualty. Source: Lee Fairchild Dec 89.

Following is a synopsis of the 1st Battalion, 20th Infantry's duty log entries for this day, 11 April 1971, summarized from both the HEADQUARTERS Tactical Operations Center (TOC) entry and the Alpha Company duty log entry at their website at http://www.1-20infantry.org/11apr71.htm. Certain non-relevant entries have been omitted, some terms clarified and defined, and some duplication omitted:

The 1-20 Infantry Headquarters is located at LZ Liz, and the Battalion continued to work with ARVN units in their Area of Operations. (Being Easter Sunday) the Battalion Chaplain and a hot meal were dropped off by a resupply helicopter early in the day, and at 1600 hrs Alpha Company's resupply ship Dolphin 21 (ship #191) was returning to 3rd Platoon to pick up cans and personnel, location BS628523. While departing the 3rd Platoon field location, Dolphin 21 was hit by either one RPG or an M-79 round. The aircrew attempted to fly the aircraft out of the LZ; however, it was hit by a second RPG or M-79 round, which caused the aircraft to crash into the LZ and burn. The LZ then came under a heavy volume of Small Arms Fire, M-79, RPG, B40, and machine gun fire from the northeast, east, and south of the perimeter at a distance of 75-100 meters. At 1610 hrs, as Alpha Company 3rd Platoon was assisting the aircraft crew and passengers in evacuating the aircraft, it exploded five times in succession, killing two and wounding four others. Simultaneously, personnel in the LZ started receiving hand grenades and satchel charges. Gunships, requested at 1603hrs, arrived on station at 1611 hrs. Shark 3 and Shark 7 responded. Helix 37 (USAF FAC) arrived on station at 1623 hrs. Artillery Fire Mission called at 1930 hrs and Dustoff 54 arrived on station at 1710 hrs. The 3rd Platoon was still receiving small arms fire at this time. The additional gunships, Gunsmoke 6, Warlord 34, 3, and 20 also arrived on station at 1710 hrs. Helix 39 on station at 1717 hrs, first air strike in at 1730 hrs (4 sorties). Dustoff 54 picked up 7 men from Alpha Company Command Post and inserted them into the 3rd Platoon location to assist them. At 1728 hrs, Dustoff 54 extracted 6 US WIA to B Med. At 1740 hrs Blue Ghost 27 arrived on station. Helix 39 put in another Air strike at 1820 hrs (4 sorties). A Combat Assault fleet of 5 slicks and 1 AMC (Air Mission Commander) arrived on station 1825 hrs. 1st platoon Bravo Company was picked up at LZ Liz at 1830 hrs (26 packs) and inserted vicinity grid BS628523 at 1847 hrs. At 1900 hrs Bravo Company 1st Platoon was on the ground at Alpha Company 3rd Platoon location, BS628523, and began sweeping area. AMC took 15-20 rounds small arms fire from grid BS617523 at 1840 hrs. Gunships expended on target with unknown results. Dolphin 21 crew and 2 US WIA extracted by Dolphin 6 at 1850 hrs, and at 1855 hrs Helix 32 on station with air strikes (2 sorties). AMC broke station at 1904 hrs and Shark 3 and 7, and Gunsmoke 6, broke station at 1915 hrs. Shadow 61 (USAF) arrived on station at 1950hrs. Helix 32 broke station at 2130 hrs. Shadow 61 broke station at 2145 hrs. Results as of 0100 hrs, 12 April 1971, are as follows: Friendly, 11 US KHA (Killed by Hostile Action) - one 174th AVN Co, nine Alpha Company 3rd Plat, one Battalion Chaplain; 10 US WHA (Wounded by Hostile Action) - one Delta Company resupply and nine Alpha Co 3rd Plat. Enemy: 2 NVA KIA, 1 AK-47 CIA (captured). Friendly KIA: CHAPLAIN BROWN, SSGT JEAN P. HUMBERT, SGT JAMES L. ARMSTRONG, SP4 JON M. MELIN, SP4 JACK P. BEGLEY, PFC DOUGLAS A. VARNER, PFC JOSEPH E. SCHOOLMEESTERS, PFC EDWARD P PILKINGTON, PFC RICHARD M. WARREN, PFC JOE R. SILVA, and SP4 WAYNE CARLOS BAGGETT (174TH AVN CREW MEMBER). The following personnel were reported WHA (wounded): Sgt Allen R. Barfield, Sgt Ananias McBride, PFC Earl R. Masburn, PFC Mark E Singleton, PFC Larry E. Foust, Sgt Donald H. Furr (Delta Company), SP4 Robert M. Fantone, PFC James P. Skelton, PFC John Lawson, and SP4 Michael J. Carretti.


WO1 Allan L. Harris

12 Dec 48
29 Aug 71
Ettwanda CA
02W05

Big Al was the only casualty in a Shark UH-1M that was launched mid-day to cover an extraction NW of LZ Professional. Aircraft commander was Chuck Blake. All deaths are tragic and sometimes senseless. This one was hard because the Americal Division was standing down, and everybody's thoughts were of going home or being reassigned to another unit. The pilots who flew in Lam Son 719 were very noticably quiet and reserved after the loss of Big Al. The crew chief that day was Specialist Legault, and following the crew's return to the company, Shark crew chief Kevin Crabtree remembers very clearly talking to Legault that day as Legault just kept holding his jacket soaked in Al's blood. Click HERE to go to an account from the Austrailan ground advisor to the ARVNs who was at the battle in which Big Al was killed. Source: Mike Sloniker, memorial service leaflet, Oct 88, Kevin Crabtree, Sep 96, and Mike McDermott, Jan 98.


PFC Emil M.Miltnovich

24 Jan 53
26 Sep 71
Rock Springs WY
02W25

Max was the gunner on Cpt Keith Deans Dolphin aircraft, UH-1H #522. He was killed by hostile fire while the aircraft was at a hover over a single ship hover hole SE of LZ Professional. The weather was rainy, overcast and windy. The aircraft took multiple hits with only one KIA, Max. Numerous other Dolphin aircraft had made landings and takeoffs out of that hover hole prior to the incident. This attack caused the launch of four more Shark guns to assist the two already on station. After the 174th stood down, the aircraft, #522, went from Chu Lai to Can Tho to Bien Hoa from Oct 71 to Mar 72. The aircraft was last seen in A/229th AHB 1st Cav in Jun 72. Bill Wilder talked to Max's dad in Jan 90, which was the father's first contact with anyone who knew his son from Vietnam. Source: Mike Sloniker Oct 88; Bill Wilder Jan 89; Morgan Mills Jul 91; the memorial service leaflet.
END


This list was compiled primarily by Fred Thompson and Mike Sloniker from the memories of over 450 former members of the 174th, and many hours of research in various official and unofficial data bases. Please send any additional information to the Webmaster, Jim McDaniel.