TINS - B57
Wayne R. "Crash" Coe
(Blackhawk 54



I started looking for some artwork buried in my pile of Viet Nam shit, and came across a letter from Martin Jansen when it dropped on the floor.

Martin and I were shot down together three times.

Here is a Marting Jansen story for you all to read.

Crash Coe

July 1967 outside of Cu Chi, Viet Nam

"Cu Chi Tower Blackhawk 16, inbound flight of twenty Blackhawks for landing at Manchu over."  Captain Wolff leading the flight and talking on the radio at the same time, no wonder I could barely fly in my slot, with all his gyrations in the lead aircraft.  "Blackhawk flight clear to land at the 4th of the 9th staging area, winds are 090 at 12 knots."  The reply from Cu Chi Tower was loud and clear in my helmet.

I could see Captain Wolff drop the nose of his UH-1D and everyone in the flight knew what was next.  "Blackhawks go trail." Our command on company FM as lead seemed to speed away from the flight and we lined up in single file to land next to the Grunts spaced perfectly for a helicopter pickup.

We landed and loaded the troops in seconds and the flight was off for it's urgent mission.   A B-57 Canberra bomber had been shot down and was in a very hot area, the first rescue attempt had been repelled with a .51cal anti-aircraft gun, probably the very weapon the B-57 had been trying to take out.  The fast movers were well represented over the downed bomber and the gunships were holding to the West waiting to be cleared into the area for their Landing Zone prep.  I could hear the FAC coordinating the attack from F-100 Super Sabers, F-4 Phantoms, and several B-57's.  The fast movers had lost one of their own and the amount
of ordinance dropped was staggering trying to protect a downed crew.

As the last of the fast movers dropped their Napalm in the tree line, the Rat Pack Gun Platoon started in with their own brand of Landing Zone prep.  Rat Pack 18, Killer Cline was making sure the slicks his fire team was protecting did not take any fire in the Landing Zone while unloading their troops.  Hearing Killers voice on the radio telling lead that he could see no movement was comforting to all twenty chopper crews in the flight.   We never had problems in a landing Zone with Warrant Officer Art "Killer" Cline coordinating the prep.

The Landing Zone was a large rice paddy that the B-57 had apparently made an attempt to land on, but had nosed over in the soft field and come apart violently, now sitting almost in the middle of the field still smoking and burning.  We inserted Grunts on both sides of the downed bomber.  As the flight was departing I could see several men trying to get the cockpit open, we all hoped the Airforce Crewmen had survived the horrible crash.

As the Blackhawk flight formed up in the air, we were notified on the FM Grunt frequency that there were no survivors and the aircraft was not repairable.  The Ready Reaction Force we had just put in wanted to be extracted.

"Blackhawk flight, first platoon go stagger wing right, second platoon go stagger wing left.  First platoon will land to the north of the downed bomber, second platoon will land to the south of the bomber, visors down, harness locked, negative suppression."  Captain Wolff turned us inbound to the landing zone and as the twenty aircraft executed their aerial ballet and settled into the new formations called out by lead.

Not a shot was fired at us in anger on our first insertion, we were hoping for a cold extraction to round out the day.  

The flight split into two platoons on final and both lead aircraft touched down in the landing zone like a mirror image.

I was chalk five and from where I was sitting I could see the mortar rounds walking their way to the flight.  Kaboom and then in a few seconds twenty-five meters down another kaboom.  I could see they were walking the rounds right at me in a straight line.   The sweat started to run down my back and in my eyes. I was trapped and knew it.

I had to hold my position, and I could see Captain Wolff was loaded, my brain was screaming pull pitch, pull pitch.  Kaboom, wow, that one was only 50 meters from us, the next one would hit us for sure.  Captain Wolff was finally lifting to a hover, would we make it out before being blown to pieces by a Chicom mortar?  I wasted no time in closing on chalk four as he pulled pitch, and just as we started hitting translational lift, kaboom, the mortar round went off right where we had been sitting.   My CE Martin Jansen had been counting the seconds between the mortar rounds and had been counting it down on the intercom while I was waiting my turn to pull pitch pleading with me to call Captain Wolff to depart.

I never liked to fly behind Captain Wolff, and this time it was almost fatal.

We dropped our troops in Cu Chi and headed back to Tay Ninh, and as we flew past Blackhawk Land on our way to POL Martin Jansen pointed out the huge new flag he had put up on his flagpole just outside the front of his tent.  I said "Martin, that does not look like an American flag."  In his best Texas twang he informed me that that was the state flag of Texas and he was Texas Proud.

Wayne R. "Crash" Coe
Blackhawk 54


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