174th Assault
Helicopter Company

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Daily Engine Wash

One thing any Huey crewchief will remember well are the "hot" engine washes. Here SP4 Mel Lutgring is peforming his daily engine wash with a hand pump. He is pumping two gallons of fresh water into the air intake area of the engine, while the engine is running, to clean salt off the turbine compressor blades. This was a hazardous but routine job, one of many hazardous but routine jobs helicopter crewchiefs, gunners, and maintenance personnel performed. Keep your head DOWN, Mel.

Caption for second photo is below.

In this photo, Mel seizes a photo-op from his left gunner's station in Witchdoctor 650, his maintenance bird. The pedestal-mounted M-60 machine gun has a bag attached to the right side to catch the spent brass and links, which could damage the tail rotor in descending turns. The tail rotor is on the left side of the aircraft. The C-rations can helps to prevent jamming of the linked ammunition as it feeds into the weapon. Note Mel has on his "chicken plate" (full-cover chest armor), and has another armor plate under his seat next to the visible canteen. Here a minigun ammo can is used instead of the smaller-capacity standard M-60 ammo can. Also note the smoke grenades (and a couple of screwdrivers) hanging on the vertical suport pole by Mel's right arm. (Photos property of Mel Lutgring, Chu Lai, Sep 1971)

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