174th Assault
Helicopter Company


Photos page of:

SP5 Russell Pelke

Dolphin Crew Chief, 2nd Flight Platoon

May 1968-March 1969

*Assistant Webmaster note: Russell remembered these slides after receiving a 174th AHC 2001 Reunion notice from Bernie Cobb. They sat in his brother's broken projector until now (some 33 years later)! Have you received your Reunion information?

Actually, I was in Nam from March of 1968 to March of 1969. I started out with the 409th TC as a mechanic. I was "asked" (laugh) to join the 174th's 2nd Flight Platoon in May. I remember this was right when Carl McCoy was killed. I did not know Carl personally, but I guess you could say I was his replacement.

I first crewed on UH-1H #67-17512 (Dolphin 512). The above photo is not 512, but is of a Dolphin in the formation during a combat assault in 1968. I took this photo from the right side of my ship (the gunner's side). We were making our approach behind the first or second "chalk." When this photo is enlarged, you can count 7 "packs," 6 in front and one in back of the slick. Something "hot" was going on, because you can see the "packs" running and some crouched pretty low. Also, if you look real close, in the center of the photo, a third of the photo down, to the left of the finger in the path (about 10 feet) there is a black flag stuck in the ground. Anybody know what that is there for? Maybe to mark a mine? Maybe?

This is the same slick in the photo above, only it's empty after the CA -- on our way home.

Serious look on my face? Well... We were flying on a mission tossing flares for the guys down below, when one of the lanyards got wrapped around the skid. I unfastened my seat belt and laid down flat (on the floor of the ship) and was trying to unwind the lanyard. We made a right bank (the side I was on) and OUT I WENT! My whole body was OUTSIDE the ship! I caught myself (God knows how) on the gun mount post! I remember the Pilot and AC saying they felt the whole ship move or jerk when I caught myself. I also remember either the Pilot or AC saying (once we landed back at base), "Damn Pelke, I can see you being all kinds of Gung Ho and wanting to kill some dinks, but jumping out at them at 2000 feet?!" I do NOT remember laughing. I was still shook up. I am sure there must be somebody out there who remembers hearing about this 1968 incident. It seemed like the whole base heard what happened. In fact, I was later flying on a resupply mission for some infantry base, and even there they heard of it! I also remember some of those guys even wanted me to shake their hand to rub some of that luck off me!

Interesting photo 1968. I do not remember why I took it. I think this is from the door of the 2nd platoon doorway across "the ave". Does anybody remember this GP tent?

Me with the Platoon mascot/puppy. Not sure, but this could be a very young "Rotor", as mentioned in
Cpt. Mark Fisher's 1969 Photo Page. (Webmaster's note: Looking at the coloration of the front feet, this is almost certainly Rotor.

No, I wasn't a Shark crewmember. I'm just dreaming here.

Aerial shot of some rice patties near Duc Pho. We had a few rice paddies there (laugh). I think these beautiful sites were the subject matter of millions of photos.

Kind of a "surreal" photo of a Shark in it's revetment. I just like the photo. Thought I'd throw it in here.

This isn't my ship (Dolphin 512) either. Returning from an insertion (1968), one of our Dolphin slicks received some AK47 souvenirs (holes).

Same ship as above. Notice the doors are still on this ship. As I can recall, most of our Platoon had removed these doors from our slicks by the end of 1968.

This is me behind the 2nd Platoon hootch with my "lost in thought" pose to send home. However, if you look closely over my left shoulder, there is a another soldier posing too (at the "p-tube").