Cliff Berg's Photos Page

SP4-SP5 Cliff Berg
Dolphin Crew Chief
March 23, 1968 - March 23, 1969
(All photos property of Cliff Berg)

From Cliff: "The story of the 'farmer's hoe' and Dolphin 954 is second hand information. Someone out there has the 'I was there' story. The time is December 1968 (The Americal took over on December 1, 1968 and I made SP/5 in December. Some of the pics have guys with brand new gold Americal patches and I am still wearing SP/4 patches). Our guys are flying around and notice this guy with a bundle out in the middle of a field with a farmers hoe looking alittle funny. They hover over him to check him out. This very smart or very lucky guy panics and throws the hoe into the tail rotor and bugs out for treeline. The tail rotor fails, which causes the torque of the main rotor blade to start spiraling the ship. The pilot makes quick hard landing, which spreads skids and causes main rotor to dip down and take tailrotor drive shaft right out. On the way down, the gunner and crew chief try to shoot the quickly departing hoe guy everytime the side of the ship presents itself. All misses... they're lucky they even thought to do that in a couple of seconds."

On 12/06/04 we got this from Thad Kelly (SP4 C/E 1968): The ship was #954 (UH-1H 66-16954), my ship with a new tail boom! It was in for a PE, and replacement of the tail when I went home for Christmas. When it came out of maintainence...I think it was Steve DeWitt who took her out. It seems when they hovered near a farmer to ask him something, he shoved his hoe into the tail rotor. And down she came! I felt bad, really. She was a great bird, just out of maintainence, and no regular Crew Chief to put the tail # and stripe back on her or even tune 'er up."- Thad Kelly.

These are all guys from my hootch 40 (including Walt Homenick).

The ship was sitting out at the end of the 174th runway

Cliff Berg with Shark 221

Above is Shark 221 (not to be confused with Dolphin 954 in the earlier photos. This is a close up of Shark 221's tail rotor drive shaft and tail rotor. From Ken Peters: This was the Shark that I went down in while on a test flight (the ship was just out of 100 hour PE). We hung & bore sighted the guns, then went to test fire the weapons in a rice paddy near Bronco (simulating a gun run). After making the low pass run with no firing and making sure that no civilians were in the area, I turned down-wind and started a climb, so as to make my live fire gun run into the wind. I remember this very well, because we had a 16 knot wind from the north and I had my crew chief in the right pilot's seat (a definite no-no) and two gunners in the back.

As I began this downwind climb, the engine quit at about 200 feet! I had no time to turn 180 degrees into the wind, so I autorotated straight ahead into a rice paddy. As I flared with the 16-knot tail wind, I "popped pitch." The skids hit a dike and the rotor flexed down and severed the tail rotor control arm at the top of the tail boom. We then hit the water in the rice paddy and both chin bubbles broke, allowing water to rush in. We came to rest with the water level just up to the floor of the helicopter. Believe it or not, the story is somewhat humorous until we were rescued by CPT Cayton flying the maintenance ship. That wasn't pleasant. - Ken Peters (Shark 6 8/68- 11/68).

Hal Koster says: SP4 Ron Connors was the crew chief on Shark 138 at this time; however, he was riding in Shark 221's right gunner's seat for this test fire flight. Actually, I was the crew chief for Shark 221 and I was in the back with one of the maintainence people. We had not even installed the jump seats in the back. We were sitting on the minigun ammo cans for the flight. - SP4 Hal Koster.

This is me by my revetment. Damage on the 174th flight line (probably 20 Aug 68)

I think this is from the 31 May 68 attack. This is the maintenance head-shed maybe.

A hit on one of the flight platoon hootches on 31 May 68.

The hit on Carl McCoy's room that killed him on 31 May 68.

This is a hit on the Medivac outfit that was up at the corner of 174th company area past the flight platoon hootches (next to the road). We heard a nurse got killed. We were all pretty pissed about a woman getting killed (Note: Fortunately, no female nurse was killed during the two attacks mentioned. However, some GI patients were. One Medic received severe shrapnel wounds. This note per Stan Larson, who was a Medic at that time and was present during both attacks) This would have been 31 May 68 or 20 Aug 68.- Cliff

The hit on Maj Brown's bunkerized hootch on 17 Mar 69, 6 days before my DEROS. I heard that Capt Rogers died right away, Maj Brown died later and Maj Schmidt was wounded. We heard, at the time, it was some kind of recoilless rifle hit. It came right in through a window slit. If it would have hit any other spot it probably would have been minor damage -- the way that hootch was fortified.

Rocket strike in 174th maintenance area, probably May 68.
Close-up of a hole made by the rocket.
Remember those 6 foot rockets they liked to lay on us? This is steel plate.

This pic is of Phil Oyler building our deck behind hootch 40. The lumber was from packing crates and scrounging. He had the bunk next to mine.

That's me (left) holding a captured SKS that belongs to the guy
standing next to me whose name I can't remember - early 68.
The mess hall is in background behind my head, next to hootch 40.

Hootch 40 bunkerization. The guy looking directly at the camera
is my buddy Walt Homenick. He's probably wondering when I'm going
to get rid of the camera and get back to work. All the other guys are
from our hootch and remain nameless in my memory.

Walter Homenick and Cliff Berg outside hootch 40, 174th company area, LZ Bronco, Duc Pho, sometime early 1969.

From Left- Dwight Wise, Walter Homenick and can't remember the last guy's name. He was a good guy though. On the deck of hootch 40, 174th Company area, Duc Pho. In the background behind Walt's head is latrine, maintenance hangers and flight line. Notice all the empty sand bags? We got to fill those. They were the new type that ate your skin off when you had to throw them around. Late 1968."

"Remember the NVA spy barbers we had? There were two barbers, an old guy and a young guy that were supposed to be a NVA officers. The info we got was that they did not survive the interrogation and were hung upside down in the Duc Pho village. This is the barber shop near NCO club on the flight line side of road, 174th Company area, Duc Pho. Rumor also had it that this young Vietnamese was supposed to be a NVA Lieutenant. The GI in the chair was from our hootch (40) on his 2nd extension of duty. Sometime in 1968.

Area behind latrines out on flight line side of road, 174th company area, Duc Pho. What goes in eventually has to come out. These boys were hired to burn that up for good field sanitation.

I can't remember the names of the other guys in this Santa pic. But Santa was Milton Thomas. I remember the faces, but have lost the names. 1968 (December of course). Help with IDs anybody?

Just outside hootch 40 in 174th company area. Me flirting with hootch maids. My buddy Walt Homenick, from Rhode Island, just behind me. Late December 1968 or early January 1969.