174th Assault
Helicopter Company


Big Cheese Visitor to Duc Pho?

Photo Composition by Robert Brackenhoff

Subject: What unit did it belong to?
Date: Sun, 8 Nov 1998 14:57:46 EST
From: Robert Brackenhoff (MNorman131@aol.com)

Here's a shot of a bird that showed up in Duc Pho fairly regularly. Came out of Chu Lai and would bring a Col. down. Anyone have any idea what unit it was with?

Just curious about it.


(Webmaster's NOTE! I received a reply to the question above, that identifies the aircraft. I have included the reply at the bottom of this page, below the photos. ~JimMcD)

From: Donnie Harrell (Donnie.Harrell@gbhcs.org)
Sent: Saturday, December 23, 2000 12:31 PM
To: Robert Brackenhoff & Jim McDaniel
Subject: Unknown Aircraft

As I was looking at photos of aircraft at Duc Pho on The 174th Aviation Company website, I found a photo you had a question about. I was a pilot assigned to A Company, 123th Aviation Company. Americal Division from Aug 69 to Aug 70. The helicopter in question (above photo) was either from the First or Third Platoon of my Company. The First Platoon was assigned to fly all full-bird and lower Brigrade COs (Commanding Officers) and Battalion COs, as needed for the Americal Division. The Third Platoon was the VIP Platoon. for the Division. They flew Generals and other visiting dignitaries (Bob Hope Show, USO Shows, Congressmen, Senators, and such). Therefore, the need for an additional "baby step" on their aircraft (see photo). The Second Platoon (mine) flew all ash and trash missions not covered by the lift platoons of the 174th, 176th, and 71th AHCs.

Around April 70 I picked up the crew of a Dolphin aircraft which had been shot down NW of Duc Pho, a few klicks east of a Special Forces camp (whom I was flying for at the time) and transported them to the 23th Evac Hospital at Chu Lai. Fortunantely, the only injury was to the peter pilot who had been flying. He had a finger on his right hand shot off. Later that day the Warlords had one of their Cobras shot down by the same machine gun during the aircraft recovery operation for the Dolphin. I never found out who the crew of the Dolphin was.

Another interesting side story to my connection with the 174th was the fact that I went thru high school with brothers who flew with the Dolphins and Sharks. Randy and Sid Jarrell from Albany GA. Randy was a Warrant Officer and Sid was a crew chief. As Randy was at Cam Rahn Bay DEROSING (going home), Sid was moved over to guns where he was killed in a crash within his first few missions (about July 70). As I understand it Randy came back up and escorted Sid's body home. Talk about a bummer. (Webmaster note: Sid died on 13 May, two days before his 19th birthday. Click HERE to see Sid's writeup on the LOSSES Page.)

I have enjoyed visiting yall's website immensely. Almost as much as hovering down Mount Montezuma in the fog. I wish A Co. had a website. I have some pretty interesting photos and movies of the entire Division AO.

I hope I have answered your question fully.

Sincerely yours,
CW2 Donny Harrell
Pelican 22
A CO. 123th AVN. BAT.
Americal Div.

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