174th Assault
Helicopter Company

Photos Page of:

WO1- CW2 James N. Messinger

174th AHC Pilot May 1967- May 1968

Jim Messinger entered the US Army for active duty in March of 1966. He completed basic training at Ft. Polk, LA. (WORWAC Classes 67-1 and 67-3) and was stationed at Ft. Rucker, AL., prior to his arrival to the RVN in May 1967. At the age of 22, he was promoted to Army Chief Warrant on April 11, 1968 while serving with the 174th AHC. Jim returned for a second tour in another unit in 1970 and '71. He is currently a retired Army officer and college Professor from Weatherford College in Weatherford, TX., not far from Mineral Wells and Ft. Wolters (where many of the Army's helo pilots received their initial training in those days). His specialty is computer technology. He is currently very active in the local VHPA chapter and the National Vietnam War Museum in the Mineral Wells/Weatherford area.

Webmaster note: Most photos have been reduced in size to fit onto this page. Click on each photo to see it in its original size.

WO1 Jim Messinger on the beach with Dolphins. "The sand was very white on the sea-side, of course, but many of you may remember the yellow-brown sand of the Duc Pho company area (until June of 1967). Major Wheat insisted on bringing white beach sand in for an 'area beautification' program. The result was to render all crew members 'snow-blind'! Eventually, we kicked the white sand back under the yellow by shuffling our feet to and from the flight line". Check out Jim Messinger Plants a Palm Tree.

Another 1967 beach shot of Jim (only without "the hardware").

See captions below
See captions below
See captions below

The four photos above are panoramic shots that were taken by Jim (Summer of 1967), "While standing at the south end of the company area and pivoting 360 degrees. The photos were intended to overlap slightly to help maintain reference". (Assistant Webmaster note: There were actually 8 photos in all that we spliced together to achieve the effect that- if you were to view each one from right to left and connect them from left to right, you could see a large portion of the Duc Pho area in June or July of 1967. Also notice the sand color difference. Enjoy!).

Great shot of WO1 Jim Messinger in 1967. He believes this ship to be UH-1D #65-9621. Note the cactus on the support panel behind Jim. Jim is a Texan and damn proud of it! For a short period of time in 1967, Jim was the exclusive pilot for UH-1D #66-16080, which was used as the Infantry Brigade Commander's ship.

A Tail shot of Dolphin slick #621. Jim's on the left and Spec 4 Dennis Williams is on the right.

"My Door gunner points to an enemy shell entry point. I remember everything about this event except who was flying with me. I did a dumb thing and flew low and straight down some railroad tracks because of poor weather. We were taught not to fly low- straight and I screwed up. When we got hit, I almost flew into the clouds to avoid further contact. luckily, I maintained "VFR" and control and got the **** out of there with only one hit. Almost cost the door gunner his life, being that careless. I was the aircraft commander. I took the above photo to remind me never to do it again. If we can identify the gunner...I wish to apologize again and I owe him a few beers."

(Webmaster Note: Well Jim, I can help lighten your beer truck of a few cans. Your gunner that day was none other than SP4 David Nimmons. I heard from his son in June 2003, and it's a good thing you didn't get him plunked that day or the Army would have been robbed of one of its elete. David went on to become a Command Sergeant Major. I'll send you David's e-mail address separately. ~ jim mcd)

"This is a shot of a Viet Cong POW we took in during '67. I really don't recall when I took this photo. I think it's LZ Liz. I wasn't in the Shark Gunship that made the pick-up. However the Stars and Stripes article below correlates with the incident."

The above Stars and Stripes (April 1967) article reads:

Duc Pho- A Huey gunship of the 174th Aviation Company seized on the unusual opportunity to capture an escaping Viet Cong while flying cover for a 3rd Brigade, 25th Infantry Division Operation near Duc Pho, in Binh Dinh province. An observation helicopter carrying an forward artillery observer began to receive fire from the ground. The "Sharks" - 174th's gunships - came to the aid of the observer by pouring suppressive fire on the Viet Cong."Shark" 426 spotted one VC fleeing his position in an attempt to escape. An excellent opportunity was presented to the helicopter to capture a "charlie". Descending swiftly to the ground, "Shark" 426 landed in front of the startled enemy soldier. The crew chief and the gunner leaped from the craft, apprehended the bewildered VC and loaded him on the chopper. Minutes later, the VC was at the A Company, 2/35th Infantry camp, in the hands of an interpreter.The 3rd "Bronco" Brigade, 25th Division is part of Task Force Oregon in the Duc Pho area.

"All four photos above are polaroids I took in 1967 during a CA in 515 Valley. Clockwise from top left: That's UH-1H #67-17445 'Suzie' in the first three photos. An obvious 'cold' assault. Notice the relaxed GIs. The last photo (bottom right) is a photo of our resupply bird."

"The actual details escape me, but we captured this NVA flag on one of our missions. I believe it went through the rotor system at one point. I was flying with the First Platoon at the time and got this photo just to show what a real war hero I was. This was during the 174th AHC mustache period. Mustaches were forbidden, but we had a Commander with one and he was told he could keep it if the whole Unit had one, so we all grew mustaches!"

"A rest break from the war, tossing the football around in a open area next to the mail room (Conex) at Duc Pho. That's pilots (standing L-R) Bill Murphy, Lanny McCrary and Joe Moys. I can't identify the one sitting. I was probably sunbathing on the porch of the Sharks hootch when I took this picture. Joe, Lanny, Bill and I were all pretty close in those days."

"And that's the Unit mail room (conex) and the Commander's hootch center."

In front of the Shark hootch Spring 1968. l-r: (All WO1's) Bill Murphy, Dick Baker, Jim Messinger (seated), Bob Hall, Chuck Miller, and Jim Young.

Pictured above are two of the Shark gunships that Jim flew during Spring 1968. The top two are either #137, or #157. The bottom is one of the gunships with the XM-21 armament subsystem (mini-guns with seven 2.75 rocket tubes). Says Shark Platoon-mate Bill "Murph" Murphy, "Jim was a wizard with the mini-gun. He could figure the windage and stay on target even in relatively steep turns! Jim always brought accurate fire down on enemy position." Check the "Murph" out at WO1 Bill Murphy and Murph-the-Surf

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