Jim Towle's Photos Page

1LT-CPT Jim Towle
"Shark 5"
July 4, 1968 - July 4, 1969
(All photos property of Jim Towle except where noted)

Photo of Jim Towle at (the late Shark 7) Fred Thompson's home in 2000.

Replacement Station Cam Ranh Bay 6/68 "Hello RVN"

Duc Pho Company Area 7/68.This is the 174th Operations hootch as seen from the flight line. Note the corrigated tin roofs with the sandbags used to help hold them down in high winds. The long roofline in the left background is the mess hall. The two building's flanking the smaller building (with the sign on it) are part of the Operations complex. The building to the right of Operations (right side of photo) is the company commander's hootch. Guess it's just hard to get away from the bureaucracy and the "REMF attitude," but it seems a bit strange to have a speed limit sign (15 mph) posted on a FSB. (What're they gonna do to you for going 20, send you to Vietnam?) Note the 174th's "Welcome to Duc Pho" sign on top of the Operations hootch.

Welcome sign at Duc Pho- close up.

Shark Hootch sign

Shark Bar B Que. The Sharks put on a lot of BBQ's throughout the years. Here they're having one at the front of the Shark hootch. Those individuals identified include:WO1 Bob Thomas facing the camera directly to the left behind the dogs, and far right :Len Kaufman and LT Bob Gambler talking. Lt Geoff Buckley is walking into the hootch (Back to the camera... sleeves rolled up). Note the two dogs doing battle for scraps in the foreground.

Back room of Shark Hootch. This photo taken from my bed.

Yours truly at the RFPFs (Rough Puffs) Outpost. LZ Charlie Brown and "Gilligan's Island" in background.

Shark 157 gunship with the 40mm grenade launcher in the turret on the nose and two 19-shot 2.75-inch rocket pods. This is Shark 157 (64-14157). We were just refueling and rearming at Quang Ngai airfield when I took this photo.

Shark #157 (64-14157) with the 40mm grenade launcher in the turret on the nose and two 7-shot 2.75-inch rocket pods. These two photos were taken returning from a mission in the mountains "out west"... of Quang Ngai. This is an earlier photo of Shark 157 before she got the 19-shot pods shown in the photo above.

"Out for a walk in the park!" SW of Quang Ngai City.

Gunship bore sight out by the lagoon

"Killing the South China Sea on a bore sight test". Rocket target practice South China Sea. This photo is taken through the rocket sight and shows two 2.75-inch folding fin aerial rockets (FFAR) inflight. This is a maintenance flight test after the rocket system had been repaired.

These photos are of the right minigun firing at 1200 RPM in three second bursts. It would absolutely trash your night vision to be right next to the gun when it fired at night. And talk about LOUD!!

Some "hot" action west of Quang Ngai. It was a "contact" mission covering ARVNs.

VC bunker

An enlargement of this photo shows very cleary a VC KIA (left center in the dike).

An air strike- one "klick" north of Duc Pho. Photo taken from the top of Bronco.

"Arclight strike" along the HO Chi Minh trail.

A "Big Bertha" (experimental) drop on the beach . Now they call them "Bunker Busters" (2000lb bombs!). The yellow "rainbow" line on the right is a concussion wave from the explosion.

Two Dolphins during a cold extraction in tall grass somewhere south of Duc Pho. Probably 11th LIB infantry grunts.

Unknown 'ville after two days of air strikes on a VC battalion. Final count of bodies was 21. (NW of Quang Ngai)

Thanksgiving dinner for the troops in 174th mess hall 1968. Officers and NCO's were not allowed into the mess hall until after the enlisted men ate. We (the officers and NCO's) got the leftovers. This was Major Brown's decision. He said the enlisted personnel deserved it, and the rest of us didn't.

It was GREAT! I was the mess officer (1LT at the time) and got the credit for the extravaganza, though the Mess Sergeant and cooks did it all. They really deserved the credit. They did get paid, incidentally, for I bought each of the cooks a bottle of booze and I left the Mess Sergeant alone to run his mess hall.

Merry Christmas1968! Although the color is going on this 29-year-old photograph, it shows the Christmas decorations in the 174th mess hall at Duc Pho in December 1968.

Christmas Eve party in the 174th O'Club in 1968. Top photo: The Pilots identified are left to right: J.C. Pennington (white t-shirt), Don Tingle, Bill Walzer, Bill Cooper (behind the tree), Geoffrey Smith, Jim Towle (yellow and brown shirt), Warren Smith, Geoff Buckley, and Bob Thomas. Bottom photo is the same line-up (notice Bob Thomas with tree on his head).

Merry Christmas 1968. Infamous sign on Shark Hootch door. Caption read "Hey Ho!". Everybody who was there in Dec. of '68 remembers this. (Note: Jim's Christmas cards, that he's sent to many over the years, depict this photo.)

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 bottom photo 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.

Duc Pho Village burns. In April 1969 sappers on motorcycles drove up highway 1 throwing satchel charges as they went through the village.

Duc Pho & Bronco from the top of the hill looking southwest. OD Lake in background

The Company Area looking west

Artillery hill looking northwest

AO looking north

AO looking northeast

Both above photos are of two dogs chasing a cat on top of the NCO's Hootch

Both above photos of a Special Forces camp west of Quang Ngai. In the spring the valleys in the foothills tended to get fogged in, but the grunts decided to start an offensive into the mountains. So, every morning we would fly into this Special Forces camp at dawn for a CA. And every morning, just after we landed, the valley would get fogged in, and we would sit on the ground until 9 or 10 when the fog burned off.

We would conduct the "surprise first light" CA back in the mountains. I think we did this every day for a week 'til the grunts figured it out. Naturally they never found anything back in the mountains.

Special Forces camp again. Hank Tews' crash site is behind and below as I took this photo.

Sky Crane escort

Foothills east of OD Lake

Foothills east if OD Lake again-An insertion going on (on the right of waterfall). They found the VC launch site where they were throwing rockets at us.

John O'Sullivan's last crash (he had several). It was brand new, only 10 hours on it. Notice main rotor on the A/C's side left

Quang Ngai City

Shark Porch around March 1969. That is me far right, WO1 Brigante at left side of the door, WO1 Bob Thomas (seated) in civilian clothes. The rest are strangers. My guess is that they are from another Co, from Chu Lai, either the 176th, or maybe 7/17 Cav "Blue Ghosts". There is what appears to be a briefcase (black thing) on the table, which would lead me to believe they were visitors. -photo property of Sam Sours

Replacement Station Cam Ranh Bay- "Good Bye RVN"!

My "Freedom Bird" home