174th Assault
Helicopter Company


Dennis Pelliccia's Photos Page

This USAF C-123 "Provider" crashed on takeoff from Duc Pho, immediately adjacent to Shark Park. The runway is down the enbankment to the left. The tarmac on the right is Shark Park where all our gunships were parked. Had the embankment not contained the C-123 as it careened off the right side of the runway, it would have taken out most or all of our Sharks. Had the C-123 continued a few more degrees to the right, it would have entered the 174th company area. Notice this model of the C-123 had the jet-engine mods to help with short-field takeoffs. The barbed wire in the second photo is at the top of the embankment between the runway and Shark Park. The 174th REALLY dodged a bullet this day. Mar or Apr 68.


Webmaster Note: In September 2003 I got an e-mail note from one of the soldiers who was inside this aircraft when it crashed. This crash (corrected above) was originally reported as happening on landing. This is part of the message received from Bill Groenendaal, E Troop, 1st Cav., 11th Infantry Brigade. "We arrived in country in December 1967 and were duly impressed with your unit and the cover it always gave us. I need to correct the caption accompanying the pictures of the crashed USAF C-123 'Provider.' The plane actually crashed on take-off, not on landing at the end of March or early April 1968. The reason I know is because I was on board the plane. My ETS date was April 6th 1968 and I was heading to Ft. Lewis, Washington via Cameron Bay. I will never forget that day. I had said good-bye to all my buddies I'd been with for over a year in Hawaii and Nam and my friend George Lineman took me to the air strip to catch the flight. It was a particularly windy day that day which may have attributed to the crash. I can still see in my mind the flight engineer standing at the top of the ladder by the cockpit, scrambling down the steps when he knew we were in trouble. Everything is kind of a blur after that. There weren't too many of us on the plane, but we scrambled toward the nearest exit as soon as the plane had stopped, and we got away from it as fast as we could because we didn't know if it was going to blow up or not. I got a severely sprained ankle during the crash, which was surprisingly violent considering we were on a takeoff roll. Wearing only a lap belt, and riding sideways on the webbed troop seats, my right shoulder took a hard impact on the metal seat bracing next to me. I didn't go see a doctor because I didn't want to prolong my stay at LZ Bronco since I was being discharged from the Army. I just wanted to get the heck out of there and go home! My friend George saw the crash and came back to get me and took me back to our barracks. Everyone thought I had reenlisted because I came back, but fat chance of that. My right shoulder continued to bother me after that crash, and after I got out of the Army. I've now had three surgeries on that shoulder and I still have a hard time sleeping at night because of the pain..."

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