Unit Operations

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1969 Annual Supplement




1 Jan 69 - 31 Dec 69

Prepared by: Warrant Officer Albert A. Major

Approved by: Purvis L. Parker, MAJ. INF



January - 1969  

6 Jan 69 - The first combat damage of the year was received by aircraft 702. While coming out of a pickup zone during a combat assault, the ship took a single hit through the tail rotor.  There were no injuries and the aircraft finished its mission.

9 Jan 69 - Aircraft 969 received one 30 caliber round while on a test flight over Tay Ninh Base Camp.

22 Jan 69 - Aircraft 202 received one small caliber hit while on climb out from a pickup zone.  There were no injuries or substantial damage to the crew or aircraft.  At the same time, a "C" model gunship, escorting the flight sustained seven hits to various parts of the aircraft.   There were no injuries.

31 Jan 69 - January closed out with no accidents for the Crusaders.

February - 1969

5 Feb 69 - Aircraft 829 received two hits, one to the skid and one to the tail boom, while flying chalk four on a combat assault east of Dau Tieng.  There were no injuries.

15 Feb 69 - Aircraft 209, a "C" model, sustained five small arms hits while on a visual reconnaissance mission in straight and level flight.  The aircraft took hits in the engine, main rotor and tail rotor.

20 Feb 69 - Our first Cobra Gun Ship took sustained damage during 1969, aircraft 852,  it took one hit in the right outboard pod while on a gun run at 140 knots.  This occurred just to the Southeast of Ben Cau.  The evening of the 20th proved to be interesting in that a 240 mm rocket decided to make its home in the middle of our pool, motor pool, that is.  It scored a direct hit on our one and only fire truck and blew down the shed that was adjacent.  In addition, a large amount of dust was repositioned from various places and most of the company was awakened wondering what had hit them.

24 Feb 69 - Aircraft 127 took one 30 caliber hit in the same area on the next day.  No injuries, mission complete.

25 Feb 69 - Aircraft 617 took one 50-caliber hit while on a visual recon in the vicinity of Song Be.  There were no injuries and the mission was completed.

26 Feb 69 - Aircraft 574 received one small arms round just prior to touchdown in a landing zone.  It was a full combat assault in the vicinity of the "Top Hat".  The aircraft was chalk three in a staggered trail right formation.

March - 1969

1 Mar 69 - Aircraft 574 sustained two hits during a daylight mortar attack on Tay Ninh.  The aircraft was parked at the time and there were no injuries and only incidental damage to the ship.

2 Mar 69 - Aircraft 226, piloted by Warrant Officer Flukinger, received fire on approach to Tay Ninh.  He was chalk two in trail formation.  No injuries or damage.

3 Mar 69 - Aircraft 795, while in straight and level flight at 2000 ft., took one hit from a twin 51 caliber position.  The ship was chalk eight in a heavy left formation.  Minor sheet metal damage occurred in the passenger compartment.  There were no injuries.

5 Mar 69 - Aircraft 660, a UH-1H, took one hit from a 50 caliber position in the main rotor.  This occurred just to the Northwest of Cao Xa and there were no injuries.

7 Mar 69 - Aircraft 202, the "Magnet", took six hits in the vicinity of Trang Bang.  This resulted in a loss of engine oil pressure, forcing the aircraft to land.  No one was hurt and the aircraft was recovered.

8 Mar 69 - Aircraft 536, a "C" model took three 50 caliber hits in the cockpit area.  The pilot received shrapnel wounds to the knee and was evacuated to the states.  This happened to the South and West of Cao Xa.

13 Mar 69 - An AH-1G, number 852, another of the "Magnet Class", received two AK 47 hits to the main rotor and mast while in level flight at 500 ft.  This happened near Fire Base Crook.

25 Mar 69 - A bad day for the Crusaders, seven ships took a total of ten hits in the vicinity of Bac Trai.  One round entered the right windshield of aircraft 762 and struck Warrant Officer Suggs, the copilot, in the head.   He was evacuated to the states and is doing well.

31 Mar 69 - March is closed out bringing the months the Crusaders have gone without an accident to a total of three, consecutively.

April - 1969

13 Apr 69 - Indirect fire attacks are all too frequent in Tay Ninh. This particular one found its mark in hootch number six, killing SP4 Michael G. Porter and SP4 Ricardo I. Romero.  It also wounded five others. A sad day for the Crusaders.

14 Apr 69 - A "Chuck" model takes a single round while in cruise flight at 1400 ft.  No damage, mission complete.

15 Apr 69 - The first accident of the year, a tail rotor failure in aircraft 574 while in cruise flight.  While being flown by Warrant Officer Joe Emerson and Warrant Officer William Hadfield, the 90 degree gearbox was believed to have separated from the aircraft.  The aircraft was lost, but there were no injuries. This occurred just to the Northeast of Tay Ninh.

24 Apr 69 - Two aircraft, while on flight to a LZ to the South of Go Dau Ha? received one hit each.  There were no injuries and both ships continued to fly.  The evening of the 24th also proved to be interesting.

During another of Tay Ninh’s many rocket attacks, a direct hit was taken on the First Sergeant’s quarters with 107 mm rocket (no injuries).

28 Apr 69 - Aircraft 478 while in cruise flight at 1200 ft., sustained one 30 caliber hit to the tail boom.  There were no injuries and the ship continued to fly.

May - 1969

14 May 69 - Our 2nd accident of the year, aircraft 790, piloted by Chief Warrant Officer Frank Cozart and Albert, experienced a power loss while on base leg at Tay Ninh.  They entered autorotation and the tail boom was severed on touchdown.  No injuries.

16 May 69 - Chief Warrant Officer Kevin Randle does his thing in aircraft 617.  Just prior to touchdown in an LZ to the North of Cu Chi, Chief Warrant Officer Randle succeeds in finding the only mined rice paddy in all of III corps.  The mine blew out the chin bubbles, one set of pedals, and did major damage to the front end of the aircraft.  Miraculously, no one was injured.

20 May 69 - While taking off from a landing zone near the "Top Hat", chalks four and five in a heavy left formation received three hits each.  The chalk four aircraft piloted by Warrant Officer John Jewett was forced to land and later recovered.  No injuries.  The chalk five aircraft, piloted by Warrant Officer Ray Root, took several hits.  Root took two hits in his legs and was evacuated to Cu Chi.  A successful landing was accomplished at the med. pad in Cu Chi, when the hydraulics failed on a long final.

21 May 69 - Another sad day at the 187th. The smoke ship, piloted by Warrant Officer Al North and Warrant Officer Henry Domingus, experienced a tail rotor failure, probably due to enemy fire, while in route to Tay Ninh to refuel and re-smoke.  The aircraft crashed and burned.   Warrant Officer North suffered burns and back injuries.  Warrant Officer Domingus suffered burns and later returned to Tay Ninh.  SP4 Moreno, the gunner, suffered multiple fractures to his arm and was evacuated to the states, as was WO North.   The crew chief, SP5 Clyde Sampson Evans, was killed in action.

June - 1969

5 Jun 69 - Aircraft 762 took another round while climbing out from a LZ near "Top Hat". No injuries, mission complete.

6 Jun 69 - A night to remember at Tay Ninh. Starting at about 0130, the base camp took over 200 rounds of 107 rockets and 82 mm mortars.  POL went up in flames, as did the dispensary (541st Med Det..)  The supply room also took a direct hit, but there was no fire.  Numerous aircraft received shrapnel damage.  Again, there were no injuries.  At this time, the fire bases around Tay Ninh were under heavy ground assault.  The next day we conducted our missions on rationed fuel and the ground units suffered heavy casualties near Fire Base Crook.

11 Jun 69 - Aircraft 478, piloted by Warrant Officer Emerson and Lt. Scheffing, received six 30 caliber hits while working for the 2nd Bde, 25th Inf Div..  The ship was forced down, but later recovered, no injuries.   At the same time aircraft 795 was shot down on the same operation.  The ship was piloted by Warrant Officer Avery and was later recovered.  No injuries.

12 Jun 69 - Aircraft 558, piloted by Warrant Officer Jewett, experienced a tail rotor failure in an LZ.  The ship was damaged but no one was hurt. 1LT. Bob DeMunck, while flying aircraft 033 received either an RPG or a 40mm round on the windshield of his aircraft.  This occurred during the last pickup of the day, just Northwest of Fire Base Patton.  Both Lt. DeMunck and his copilot, Lt. Sam Caliva were wounded badly.  Lt. DeMunck flew the aircraft to Cu Chi and accomplished a successful landing at the 12th Evac. Both were evacuated to the states.

25 Jun 69 - While taking off from a PZ on the evening of the 25th, six aircraft took a total of sixteen hits.  This occurred near the "Top Hat", two of these ships were forced to land while four continued on the mission.

29 Jun 69 - Warrant Officer Ron Heier flying left seat on a "Charlie" model gunship, was wounded in the foot when a 2.75 inch rocket prematurely detonated upon leaving the tube.  He was treated and later returned to the unit.

July - 1969

4 Jul 69 - Aircraft 836, An AH-1G, took six small caliber rounds while on a gun run at 1200 feet.  This happened in the vicinity of Duc Hoa and the ship completed its mission with negligible damage.

6 Jul 69 - While lifting off an LZ in ship 033, Lt. Cowperthwaite had the misfortune of taking two hits from ARVN Troops that were reconning by fire. There were no injuries and the ship continued to fly.

13 Jul 69 - Two UH-1H’s pulling a re-supply mission received fire in the vicinity of the straight-edge woods.  The first aircraft 832, took five hits and continued to fly.  The 2nd ship, piloted by Warrant Officer Frank Doheny, received seven hits.  Warrant Officer Doheny was wounded in the air by bullet fragments.  The co-pilot came on the controls and flew him to Tay Ninh.  Warrant Officer Doheny was returned to the unit the same day.  The crewchief, SP4 David Kelahofer received a round to the left foot and was evacuated to the states.  An AH-1G responding to the hostile fire, #852 also received one hit.

14 Jul 69 - Aircraft 832, while low level in the vicinity of the straight edge woods, received five hits.  The damage was minor and the ship continued to fly.

16 Jul 69 - Warrant Officer John Jewett, while flying aircraft 564 east of Song Be received three small caliber hits to his ship.   He was on a single ship mission and continued to fly.

19 Jul 69 - While on a combat assault, three aircraft took a total of three hits in the vicinity of XT 5926.  There were no injuries and all three completed the mission.

August - 1969

12 Aug 69 - Warrant Officer Bill Hadfield, while flying as pilot on a UH-1C, received a bullet wound to the leg.  He was not hurt seriously and later returned to the unit.

14 Aug 69 - Warrant Officer Wayne Wright took two hits to his aircraft while participating in a combat assault along the Cambodian Border, west of Tay Ninh.  The ship took one hit each in the main rotor blade and synch elevator.  There was no one hurt and the mission was finished.

16 Aug 69 - Warrant Officer Frank Keyser, Aircraft Commander on ship # 554, received two hits to his ship in the vicinity of the mushroom.  One round passed through the roof to the left of the crewchief.  No Injuries. Mission was completed without any problems.

20 Aug 69 - Aircraft accident in the vicinity of Dong Xoai under marginal weather conditions.  Tail rotor failure in the LZ.  Two ARVN troops killed.    Ship #969 to tail loss.

22 Aug 69 - Warrant Officer Wright and Warrant Officer Harney, while flying aircraft 832, received two hits to their aircraft while in cruise flight.  There were no injuries and the flight continued.  On the same day, another aircraft piloted by Warrant Officer Harney and Warrant Officer Sharp took one hit while landing to a PZ.  Again, no one was hurt.  Covering this mission, Captain McCullen and Warrant Officer Heier, in an AH1G, received two hits to their ammo compartment.  The mission was completed.

30 Aug 69: UH-1H 67-17608 - blade strike in a tight LZ, no significant
damage, mission continued (Kilpatrick and Stratton pilots)

September - 1969

2 Sep 69 - A sad day for the Crusaders, as we lost one of our best.  CPT Don Kilpatrick, while being checked out as flight lead, received a 51 caliber wound to the head.  He died in route to the hospital.  This occurred just to the west of Nui Ba Den.

5 Sep 69 - On the evening of this day the Crusaders were called upon to make a night extraction under fire.  With 1Lt. Jerry Fine flying lead, the Crusaders landed in the PZ without incident.  On long final, we could see the Air Force Jets taking fire as they broke from their bomb runs, so we were ready and like clock work, as soon as we started loading the troops, we started receiving 51 caliber fire.  Aircraft 832 took two hits, which hit the pilot, CWO Hans Albert in the leg.  CWO Albert was evacuated to the states and is doing well.  As the fire started, many troops became confused on the ground and as a result many ships came out of that LZ well over loaded.  One aircraft had fifteen troops on board.

10 Sep 69 - Warrant Officer McBee, while flying # 219 in the mushroom area, received four hits while in cruise flight at 1000 feet.   No one was hurt and the mission was completed.  This, by the way, occurred during a bilateral truce between the allies and the communists.

12 Sep 69 - While on a combat assault in aircraft # 775, Warrant Officer Mike Haworth sustained two hits to his ship.  There were no injuries, but the mission was not completed.

27 Sep 69 - While on a gun run in the vicinity of Katum, aircraft # 130, an AH-1G, received one hit through the canopy at 1400 feet.   Luckily, no one was hurt.

31 Sep 69 - While a sad month in some respects, Sept. also marked a very happy occasion.  After much delay, the new Officer’s Club was opened.

October - 1969

6 Oct 69 - On the last LZ of the day, while dropping troops off at FB Lorence, the flight came under mortar attack.  Three aircraft took shrapnel but all made it back to Tay Ninh.  Four US troops were wounded but not too seriously.

14 Oct 69 - During a rocket attack on the evening of the 14th, aircraft # 868 took minor shrapnel damage from a 122mm rocket.   The AH-1G was sitting on the maintenance ramp undergoing scheduled maintenance.

16 Oct 69 - Lt. Rick Scheffing, while on a smoke run in aircraft # 832, took twelve hits from a 2.75 inch rocket of friendly nature.  There were no injuries but the ship was retrograded to the states.

17 Oct 69: UH-1H 67-17384 - compressor stall at a hover with 4 crew and 8 GI's on board.  Bent skids on landing (Haworth and Stratton pilots)

18 Oct 69 - While in trail position in a heavy left, aircraft # 600 took three hits.  No one was hurt and the mission was completed.

21 Oct 69 - The Crusader flight, under the leadership of 1LT. Richard Rees was mortared four times in a row in the same LZ.   There were no injuries and no hits were taken.

27 Oct 69 - Aircraft # 519 took a single hit while conducting a visual recon at 1300 feet.

November - 1969

7 Nov 69 - During another of our many rocket attacks, aircraft # 305 took numerous hits from a 122 mm rocket but was soon flyable again.  Also on this day, aircraft #303, piloted by Warrant Officer Dave Gaustad, tangled with a mortar position on the slopes of Nui Ba Den.  They received one hit, negative injuries.

12 Nov 69 - SP5 Jim LaFlamme received a superficial shrapnel wound to the knee during a rocket attack on the Tay Ninh Base Camp.   On the same day, about 0800, Warrant Officer Jerry Thompson, flying aircraft # 832, experienced a anti-torque failure in an LZ.  The failure occurred when the tail rotor contacted a tree stump, which the crew was unable to observe due to elephant grass.   He executed a hovering autorotation and there was no further damage to the ship.

14 Nov 69 - During a daylight attack, a Navy Zuni rocket landed on the maintenance ramp at about three in the afternoon.  Aircraft #504 received minor shrapnel damage.  Aircraft #384 received shrapnel in the fuel cell, and the resulting fire rendered the ship a total loss.  Warrant Officer Bob Simms was walking by when the attack occurred, shrapnel and concussion collapsed his lung.   He was evacuated and is doing well.  SP5 Sam Barlow received superficial shrapnel wounds to his arm and was treated and released.  SP4 Louis Polk took a piece in the forehead that required two stitches.  He is also back with the unit.

24 Nov 69 - While on a DCS mission near Ben Cao, aircraft UH-1H # 68-15564 crashed into the river. SP4 James Randall Jones Jr. (Crewchief) and SP4 Laurence Atwood Young (Gunner) were killed in the accident.   Warrant Officer Ronald R. Heier, the aircraft commander, escaped with minor cuts and lacerations, as did the two passengers.  The co-pilot CW2 Howard Brisbane Comer, died and the body was subsequently recovered and identified in 2001.

Corrected information from Jeff Thomason, Lt. Col, US Army (Retired)

"I was the aviation safety officer and the S3 of the 269th Aviation Battalion
from Oct 69 - May 70. (Parent battalion of the 187th at that time)

Re: your entry 24 Nov 69 AC UH-1H 68-15564. I investigated the accident. 
Warrant Officer Ronald Heir was the only survivor, the rest of the crew and
all passengers were killed."

Addendum: In contradiction to the above information.
The two E7 passengers did indeed survive as they are not listed on the wall.

December - 1969

18 Dec 69 - During an indirect fire attack on the 18th, five ships took a total of twenty-nine hits.  There were no injuries as the attack occurred at night and there were no personnel on the flight line.

23 Dec 69 - Bob Hope at Cu Chi, "round eyes forever!"

24 Dec 69 - UH-1H 67-17787 - took a friendly round from a Cobra through
the cargo door window.  Mission continued.

25 Dec 69 - Christmas Day at Tay Ninh, everyone has a nice dinner with all the trimmings.  A light day with only a few visual recon’s and one assault that evening.

28 Dec 69 - "WO Fuentes got hung up on an M60 gun mount when he jumped from the top of a UH-1H during a rocket attack this morning.   He was operated on at 45th and should be back in about two weeks."

187th - Casualties - 1969

1LT. DONALD R. KILPATRICK (killed as a result of enemy action)

SP5 CLYDE S. EVANS (killed as a result of enemy action)

SP4 MICHAEL PORTER (killed as a result of enemy action)s

SP4 RICARDO I. ROMERO (killed as a result of enemy action)

SP4 JAMES R. JONES (killed, not as a result of enemy action)

SP4 LAWRENCE A. YOUNG (killed, not as a result of enemy action)

CW2 HOWARD B. COMER (killed, not as a result of enemy action)

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