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Viet Nam Flight Log & Diary December 1964-November 1965
As seen by 24 year old Warrant Officer
Some time periods are missing due to many reasons.
In some cases further explanation is offered due to facts discovered many years later.
Two logs were kept as records. One, the typical pilot flight log record keeping book for future licensing and 2 a calendar type diary with enough space for notes for each day of duty.
Transcribed finally 7/12/2015 (50 years or so later)
Following is an Excel spreadsheet format listing by date of MIA or KIA on the honor list. I tried my best to group names that are tied to an event in the spreadsheet but was not so successful in this grouping when it came to the biography of each person.
IF BY READING WHAT FOLLOWS, YOU DISCOVER A MISSING NAME I WOULD APPRECIATE IT IF YOU SEND A NAME AND DATE AND AS MUCH INFORMATION AS YOU HAVE ON THAT MISSING PERSON.
Attached and following the transcribed log will be the Remembrance section to remember and honor those KIA and MIA during my tour. In many cases I had recorded pilot names and not until I began researching various websites did I also learn the names of others on the crew as well as those on the ground. The Battle of Dong Xoai is a great example of names of ground forces learned through my research.
Then following and attached is the June-July VFW magazine article on Dong Xoai. Both the magazine and I have waited 50 years to get this on paper.
Viet Nam Flight Log & Diary in the eyes of WO Ralph Orlando
118th Aviation Co. Airmobile Lt. 145th Avn. BN
December 1964-November 1965
7 Dec-PsyWar to Baria
9 Dec-CA to Binh Gia
9 Dec-CA to Binh Gia
10 Dec- To Baria
11 Dec-CA to Vung Tau
11 Dec- CA to Bear Cat
13 Dec-Rocket & Gun runs Mountainards Phouc Vinh
14 Dec-Recon. area from Phouc Vinh to Song Be Mts.
15 Dec-Recon & Fire in Phouc Vinh area
15 Dec- Alert standby local
16 Dec- Escort to Vung Tau
17 Dec- Rake LZ in Vung Tau area 5- Saigon to Hong Guan
19 Dec-PsyWar chase S.E. Duc Hoa
21 Dec- Trung Lap
21 Dec- CA Duc Hoa area
23 Dec- CA fire missions Tan Uyen
24 Dec- CA Tay Ninh
25 Dec- Gas Attack to liberate 2 Americans Tay Ninh- FAILED 100+ AC
27 Dec- Pass on Hooch near Cu My on coast
28 Dec- Phu My & Binh Ghia Recon & Escort
29 Dec- Binh Ghia 2 American on ground KIA-worst action yet
30 Dec- 4 Americans shot down Binh Ghia (Morgan 3W UTT)
31 Dec-VOA near Tan An & Hiep Hoa
1 Jan- Binh Ghia Airborne Brigade
2 Jan- Convoy escort Vung Tau
4 Jan- PsyWar escort Tay Ninh
& assist troops in ambush
5 Jan-CA Binh Ghia
6 Jan- CA Binh Ghia
7 Jan- Airfield Recon local
8 Jan-Support Spec. Forces Tay Ninh
9 Jan- CA Tan An & Fire Team Mission
11 Jan- Airfield Recon local
12 Jan- Airfield Recon- took rounds west of field
14 Jan- CA Tan An-airfield recon
15 Jan- Recon & airstrike Bao Trai
16 Jan- PsyWar Tay Ninh
18 Jan- Standby Bien Cat
20 Jan- Fire mission Tan Uyen
21 Jan- CA Duc Hoa in river bend
4 ships & 2 crew Chiefs hit
22 Jan-CP area north of Bien Hoa
23 Jan- PsyWar escort Tay Ninh
25 Jan- PsyWar escort Hon Quan
26 Jan- CA near Binh Ghia
27 Jan- PsyWar escort Tay Ninh
28 Jan-Recon Light Fire Team Song Be to Hon Quan
29 Jan- Recon Heavy Team Tan Uyen
30 Jan- Recon Heavy Team Hiep Hoa- burn villages
Viet Nam Flight Log
2 Feb- Vung Tau flight
3 Feb- PsyWar to Tan An
canx. on arrival
4 Feb- Fire Team mission Vinh An
5 Feb- Night PsyWar Thu Da Mot
6 Feb- CA D zone north of Tan Uyen-Binh Ca
7 Feb- DIARY--Pleiku was hit by VC- 8 American KIA & 128 wounded--6 A/C destroyed & 10 damaged
8 Feb- Field Recon
Urban KIA at Binh Ghia
DIARY-US Navy & VNAF planes bombed North Viet Nam in retaliation for Pleiku. Soc Trang airfield outskirts were hit. No casualties or damage. Navy & VNAF hit North Viet Nam a 2nd time.
9 Feb- DIARY-First Plane of Military dependants evacuate Saigon for States.
CA to Binh Gia. 3 A/C from UTT 68th shot down
WO Urban UTT pilot KIA.
Capts. Taylor & James crash in LZ
10 Feb- PsyWar Xuan Loc
Collins KIA Song Be
DIARY-PsyWar Chase near Baria in morning & near Xuan Loc in afternoon. Rest of 118th CA near Song Be. Bandit A/C flown by Mel Koon & T-Bone was pilots. Lost engine and tail rotor and out of control crashing on side. Gunner Collins was KIA. All others OK
11 Feb- PsyWar
Late Heavy Team Baria
DIARY-PsyWar chase near Xuan Loc in AM & near Phu My in PM. Later we joined the Fire Team working near Baria. No VC contact. BEQ at Qui Nhon shelled. 3 GIs KIA, 19 MIA and presumed KIA and many wounded. US & VNAF bomb the North again.
12 Feb- Light Team Tan Uyen
DIARY-No fire taken.
Josh Gomez left for the States today
13 Feb- CA Heavy Team support of 49 Marchia 10 Tan Uyen
DIARY-Had off in AM so went to the line to work on rockets and ammo. In PM CA to Tan Uyen. 49 Marchia called artillery strike on his position after being surrounded by VC. Airlifted 21 stranded troops from jungle north of Tan Uyen.
14 Feb- PsyWar escort Phouc Vinh
15 Feb- PsyWar escort Tan An & Bao Trai
In PM went to D Zone to check on Dawson and Life reporter. We brought C's but they did not show. Will check again tonight.
16 Feb- PsyWar escort Hon Quan
DIARY-Later went to D Zone to pick up reporter & photographer with Dawson. They were happy to see us.
DIARY- No scheduled fly day. In PM T-bone and I fly Dawson & his dog & photographer to D Zone. Dawson told us 2 VC battalions were in the area. The bodies of 3 captured Americans at Duc Phong were found mutilated from torture.
18 Feb- PsyWar Tay Ninh
Capt, Knisely & I were scheduled PsyWar chase all day but AM was cancelled. PM session ended due Vietnamese observer got airsick.
19 Feb- PsyWar escort Xuan Loc & Baria
DIARY- the government underwent another coup today. Khanh was ousted from his post. All Saigon traffic ceased. At 1900 hours while on airfield recon we got a return to base call since Thon Son Nut was being attacked by its air force. The Army stayed loyal to Khanh and the Air Force sided with General Ky.
20 Feb- Light Team Phouc Vinh
DIARY-Went to check on 4 Shell fuel trucks that had been stolen. Did not see them. Capt. Newsome took first hits today on PsyWar escort. Thon Son Nut reopened for traffic and all back to normal.
21 Feb- Light Team Xuan Loc
DIARY- mission aborted due to peculiar throb in cyclic.
22 Feb- PsyWar Escort Baria
DIARY-late in day party for a few guys leaving soon.
23 Feb- PsyWar escort Thu Dau Mot
DIARY-trouble getting up this morning after last night champagne party. First time drinking to excess. Usually stay straight in case something comers up. 5:30 get up.
24 Feb- Fire Team Phouc Vinh
DIARY- convoy escort from Binh Me to Binh Ca. One ARVN stepped on a mine & we escorted Dustoff into the area to evacuate him. At noon all but one rifle team left Tan Uyen for parts unknown. Lt. Mo gave Koon a VC knife as if it was his last chance to do so. Something is up but don't know what it is yet. At noon extracted a Special Forces team just north of Phouc Vinh. All except two Cambodes of a whole company deserted their Captain because they heard they would soon be up against a battalion of VC.
Later that afternoon an aircraft crashed near Bear Cat. We escorted the Air Force rescue choppers in. One body was found and believed to be VNAF.
25 Feb- PsyWar escort Baria
26 Feb- CA Binh Ghia
DIARY-First CA in about 3 weeks. Lifted 400 troops into Binh Gia area. VC activity high but took no fire on the way in. Now with blocking forces at Binh Ghia and Xuan Loc and an eastern point the VC are practically surrounded. If no contact tonight another lift will be made early AM.
27 Feb- CA Binh Ghia 125 Helicopters largest to date
DIARY- largest operation to date with over 80 slicks and 40 gun ships. Lifted 800 troops. No contact was made today but tomorrow and Monday will tell.
Pre-strikes by B-52's was a first. A VC regiment is expected in the area and there are rumors of Chinese in the area also.
28 Feb- TDY PsyWar chase Baria
DIARY- 3rd day of Phouc Tai mission near Binh Gia. I was TDY to Baria so was not involved.
1 Mar- TDY Psy War chase Baria
DIARY-No fly until 1400. Left Vung Tau villa early AM for the beach. Flew the PM mission & then a 2000 we flew a night PsyWar over operational area of Xuyen Moc.
2 Mar- still TDY Xuyen Moc for PsyWar
DIARY- Last day of TDY trip. Hit the beach early AM since our report time was not until 1400.
We were alerted to Bo La when returning to Bien Hoa. They were under attack. 17 Gun ships were over the area assisting. We laid the fire down pretty heavy but quite a lot was also coming back also. Today a light team was sent to Bo La to assist in getting the communications & forces together. No American casualties. 32 ARVN rangers of the company on patrol were found dead. Evidently the VC policed up their dead and wounded since no bodies were found in the area we hit.
4 Mar- CA to Xuyen Moc
DIARY- Airlifted the troops from Xuyen Moc to Gia Ray. The VC hit the area yesterday and slaughtered the ARVN in the compound. I guess the troops were going to bury the dead & then get the place straightened out. Then they will comb the area in search of VC.
5 Mar- CA to Thu Dau Mot
DIARY-Our efforts today proved to be worth while. A VC platoon was reported to be there. Also the man who mastermind many of the Saigon Bombings had his headquarters there. The ground & boat forces killed 2 VC, captured 2 and collected documents, weapons, mines and grenades. It was successful.
6 Mar- Light Fire Team north of Trang Bang
DIARY-We were scrambled early to Trang Bang. A hamlet just north was overrun. We received small arms fire over the area but nothing to speak of. There was 1 KIA & 3 WIA ARVN type. We escorted Dust-off in for the Med-evac.
7 Mar- Psy-War escort.
DIARY- Off during day. PsyWar mission tonight. Began at 1900 & ended at 2145. We worked near Cambodian border. After the mission I went on villa OD until 0600 the next morning. The guys had a party with booze given to us by the troops we rescued 13 February north of Tan Uyen.
8 Mar- escort VIP a/c General Palmer
DIARY--we had a 2 ship escort beginning 10:30 lasting all day. We escorted Lt.Gen. Palmer & his party to place in the corps area. Things were so rush rush that I didn't even get to see the General let alone take his picture.
9 Mar- Light Fire Team
DIARY--Light Fire Team in the Xuan Loc area. In late afternoon we escorted a slick into a hamlet along the river north. The slick brought them a radio so as to re-establish commo with control at Xuan Loc. We reconned the area near the village along the eastern sector border on Route 1. A VC regiment from Tay Ninh was reported in the area but we didn't receive any fire.
10 Mar--Psy-War night training
DIARY--Our mission today was Psy-War. This morning we covered the Tan Ba & Bien Hoa north area. In the afternoon we headed north to Chahn Than. Tonight we had night assault training practice at Bear Cat.
Bear Cat was mortared again tonight. There were other fire teams on station so we were not called.
11 Mar--Heavy Fire Team into "D Zone" Dong Bo
DIARY--We ran a heavy fire team into D Zone. We had quite a shoot 'em up all day long but no fire was returned. We destroyed quite a few hooches, a garden or two. a sampan, & got 1 confirmed kill. We dropped a few satchel charges on 2 areas. They were right on target.
12 Mar--CA & Lt. Fire Team in afternoon.
DIARY--We pulled pitch at 6:45 headed for Song Be. We made 3 lifts for a total of 210 troops of the 36th Rangers. They had negative contact in the area. Actually we didn't expect any action since the VC had cleared out days ago. One of these days the ARVN might get up enough courage to go into an area while the VC are still around.
13 Mar--Psy-war to Phou Loi and later Heavy Fire Team to Phu Hoa Dong.
DIARY--Psy-war morning and afternoon. Escorted a RAG convoy along the river from Phu Hoa Dong to Thu Dau Mot. On the way up the river a boat was blown up from a mine. The troops remained up river for 2 days since they were afraid to return. We safely escorted them back.
14 Mar-- Lt Fire Team to Song Be.
DIARY--We shot up some VC trees today in the Song Be and Hon Quan areas. The areas we shot in were reported VC positions but didn't run into any trouble near them.
15 Mar--Psy-war in Nha Be in AM and Xuan Loc in PM.
DIARY--This morning we went south of Nha Be as speaker escort. Yesterday 2 unidentified armed ships fired on a sampan and killed 5 of 8 civilians on board. The province chief spoke to their relative from the air first and then we landed. He expressed his sympathy and offered them money. I don't know the facts behind the shooting but if the ships received any fire at all they were justified in doing what they saw fit.
16 Mar-- Tan An CA and Lt fire team to Long Hoa.
DIARY--this morning we had the usual early get up that goes along with a CA. We supported transport elements to an area north east of Tan An between the river there and the Ben Luc river. Later on in the day VC were reported along the river south of Long Hoa. They made contact. VNAF bombed the area, armed ships followed and then a lift was sent in. We took a little fire but no hits.
17 Mar--Duc Hoa CA . Long An and Cu Chi Fire Team
DIARY--I was on a Lt Fire Team mission to Long Hoa. We picked up Major Benedict and went down to the area south that was hit yesterday. It was a pretty hairy feeling landing there since just hours before the place was swarming with VC. The VC had built a very good mud fortification and evidently had planned to stay for a while. The village was still smoldering and was in shambles. We found one dead VC apparently the rest had been toted away in sampans.
18 Mar--Psy-war to Phou Loi --
DIARY--No AM flight since I had AOD last night. The 118th & 501st had a lift to an LZ north of Ben Cat. Everything was quiet and it ran smooth. Flew Psy-war this afternoon. Heard a rumor that we might all move up north to Ban Me Thuet. I hope not. Living in the woods for 8 more months isn't too swift.
19 Mar--Fire team to Xuan Loc--destroyed a village killing 25.
DIARY--we began the morning on a light team out of Song Be. At 0900 Easy Aces ordered our team plus two others to go directly to Xuan Loc. The ARVN has some wild mission that their American counterparts didn't like and therefore planned to run the plan alone. The ARVN convoy went north on Rt. 20 just north of Rock City. While the troops marched towards their objective a village SE of the highway the VC started to burn and flee. We caught this action before any of them could make it. We accredited ourselves with 75 kills, many wounded, 40 sampans and a whole town of structures.
20 Mar--ca to Loc Ninh near Cambodia.
DIARY--this morning we ran an 8 ship 3 lift CA midway between Loc Ninh and Hoa Quan & west of both near Cambodia.
This is the only area that we missed several months ago and instead caused an international controversy with Cambodia. The first time we were about 5Ks over the border. This time we found the right LZ.
21 Mar--Light Fire Team Cu Chi- was shot in transmission and hydraulic lines and forced to land Tan Son Nut.
DIARY--Bill Petty and Earl Palmer went home today. We had a short party at 145th last night for them. Well the Cong got my cherry today. We were taking fire when reconning a VC village at 1200ft all afternoon. We fired back with machine guns & rockets several times but continued to take fire. We called for Air Force and artillery but could not get it. The 501st finally came with a troop drop. Just prior to the lift landing we dropped down to the deck to thoroughly check out the LZ. We followed the lead a/c Capt Knisely over the trees at 100ft . Just as we finished our low recon and started a left break we got hit. The next thing I knew was that I had hydraulic failure & I could not get any more that 20 psi torque so we tried a cyclic climb in order to gain altitude. We got to 800 ft which is much too low for that part of the country. We were low on fuel so we had to make a decision of where to land soon. For a minute there was thought we'd have to land right in a rice patty were all the fire was.
Since all the gages were looking good we decided to go to Saigon. An emergency landing was called. We made a running landing and touched down safely. We found 5 holes (4 in the trans. and 1 in the hydraulic sump).
23 Mar--DIARY nothing very exciting happened today. Yesterday an airman was shot down town in a bar by one of the White Mice. That's the bad news. I hope the CO of the airbase doesn't let this pass too easily. Today some dink threw a grenade into the barber shop at the end of our street.
One barber was killed.. No Americans were in at the time..
24 Mar--DIARY--Last night local time the first American 2 man capsule made successful orbits of earth. Grissom & Young were the two astronauts. The rocket averaged some 17,000 miles per hour. The next plan now is a 1970 moon trip & 1971 Mars flight. Haven't heard much of the local news since I have been here at Vung Tau. I did here that the fighters and bombers are still working out up north.
25 Mar--DIARY--the radio today gave the first reports that Russia was asking for volunteers to fight with the North Vietnamese. If there are any volunteers it will be because they have a gin in their backs and don't have a choice.
26 Mar-Tay Ninh but forced to land Saigon Psy-war.
DIARY--Psy-war late this afternoon. We worked in the Bo Loi Forest at night. I was kind of leery about flying in the Iron Triangle at night. It's bad enough flying at night let alone over that area.
27 Mar--CA from Tay Ninh to Mt. North.
DIARY--we had a 96 copter lift of over 200 troops into an area of reported anti-aircraft units northeast of Tay Ninh Mountain. B-52's and A-1's made a prestrike and we followed with the lift. The LZ was quiet. We got small arms fire but nothing serious.
28 Mar--CA Tay Ninh (Psy-war cancelled)
DIARY--we stood by at Tay Ninh strip in support of yesterdayís operation. We were not used and left for home at 1300. A-1's were called out of the area since they made a strike and killed a few friendlies.
29 Mar--CA Warzone D, CA Duc Hoa, extraction D zone.
DIARY--this morning CA was composed of 16 slicks and 9 guns ships. We staged Due at Ap Bo La at 0830. Due to weather we couldn't pull the operation until 1000. The LZ was northeast of Tan Uyen in War Zone D. This afternoon we lifted troops from Duc Hoa to an LZ east of the Horn.
Both morning and afternoon operations were quiet. There was only small arms fire in both areas. We extracted troops from the 1st LZ in late afternoon. 60 women and kids were found in the area but not brought out.
30 Mar--CA 501st west of Tay Ninh 2 Clicks from Cambodia. The operation was totally successful. 30 VC were captured, 1o confirmed dead, 160,000 lbs of rice seized, 60 batteries found, plus much more supplies. The area was reported to be a regimental size VC supply depot. Armed ships were credited with 8 kills, 4 or 5 large boats, 4 houses, many hooches and a few buffalo.
31 Mar--Light Team to Song Be in AM and Hon Quam in PM
DIARY--Just heard on the radio that the Air Force bombed and burned most of the Bo Loi Forest today. It's been a bad area for a hell of a long time. It's about time something was done about it. Many of our men have taken hits, got purple hearts, DFCs in & around the areas in the iron Triangle. Just last week I was shot down while working in the area. Tregle, gunner on 66 was wounded while on a heavy fire team mission near Phouc Vinh. The bullet came through the fuel cell, through the seat and into his butt and out his stomach. Last report was that he will pull through.
1 Apr--Light Team to Xuan Loc, CA to Duc Hoa. 501st gunner killed many wounded.
DIARY--Light Team to Xuan Loc AM & into PM. No action & negative fire. At noon we had a fly by of new Support Commander Gen. Oden. After the fly by a CA to Duc Hoa. The loop at Duc Hoa has always been bad and today it proved itself again. No suppressive fire was used on the first lift and on the 2nd all hell broke loose. A 501st gunner was shot in the head & died instantly. Also four other pilots and crew members were wounded. This particular LZ was supposed to be pacified but you just don't know.
2 Apr--2nd day at Duc Hoa killed on the ground and Dust Off crew chief killed.
DIARY--We lifted more troops in the area south of the river and west of the loop. 4 American ground pounders were killed. On the extraction many of the troops had no weapons which mean that they left them for the VC & ran. You can probably chalk up 4 more American deaths to yellow back ARVNS. Dust Off crew chief was left on the ground since they had a full load of ARVN wounded. The crew chief's body was found the next morning. I really can't begin to imagine any reason for leaving the crew chief in the middle of VC.
3 Apr-- Extract and drop off to north of river west of the horseshoe at Duc Hoa.
DIARY--For the 3rd straight day we went into Duc Hoa. There was quite a bit of ground fire as usual but no one took any hits. We extracted the troops south of the river and carried them to an area of a VC battalion size north of the river.
4 Apr--Didn't fly... Navy and Air Force fighter bombers tried to knock out a large bridge up North. The bridge wasn't destroyed. 2 US planes were shot down by MIGs. Johnson said that any other occurrences with MIGs will lead to their destruction and also their home bases.
5 Apr--CA south of Tay Ninh 3Ks from border. Captured 20 VC
DIARY--This morning we and the 501st had a CA in the same LZ as the gas mask operation on Christmas Day. We airlifted the 5th recon battalion from Phu Loi.
LZ time was 1000 and by 1400 the ARVN had captured 20 VC and killed a few more. There were only light casualties on the friendlies. The bridge the US knocked out today up North was only in use one year. It was hit before in the early 50's but from 1958-1964 was under repair again.
6 Apr--Light Fire Team to Minh Thanh.
DIARY--A light day for me today as far as flying goes. WE HAD A LIGHT TEAM recon mission north of Minh Thanh Special Forces Camp. Our mission was to pick out a suitable LZ for tomorrow morning CA. We were to lift 2 squads into the area the next morning.
7 Apr--Lgt Fire Team D Zone
Diary--I missed the CA this morning north of Minh Thanh. Instead I was on a Lgt Team out of Phouc Vinh working in War Zone D. The UTT Raiders were also working the area with us. We uncovered new rice caches, more hooches and a few more trucks. We called in the fighters for a few strikes and destroyed a few structures. The area is such thick jungle though that if you don't mark with smoke & hit immediately that you will lose the target.
8 Apr--Psy-war escort
Diary--Psy-war escort to Tan An in AM and to Tay Ninh in afternoon. Our battery burned up in flight causing light smoke in the cockpit. Load Master brought us a new battery and we were on our way again.
9 Apr--today was a standby all day for the Duc Hoa operation. We weren't called out so most of my day was spent working at the ammo dump. At about 1400 a 4 trailer wagon type bomb carrier left the dump. About 3 minutes later I saw and heard a loud explosion. It's not official but it is suspected that the VC blew up the trailer and fled.
10 Apr--CA Warzone D. Lift 1200 Troops
Diary--Our CA this morning was in D Zone south of Song Be River. We lifted 1 airborne Brigade Battery and 2 Battalions of the 48th Infantry. Over 1200 troops in all. No fire was received in the LZ. We had been working fire team missions in there all week long with fighter and bomber support. The VC had ample time to move out.
11 Apr--Xuan Loc. Lgt. Fire team. Directed 4 fighters for bomb runs on two suspected bivouac areas.
Diary--This morningís mission was ended early and the rest of the day was ours. Our Lgt. Fire team directed 2 fighters bomb and strafe runs near Xuan Loc. The areas were supposed to have been VC bivouac or training areas.
12 Apr-- CA west of Bao Trai in AM. Extraction of 48th Battalion from Phouc Vinh to Tan Uyen and Binh Ca in PM.
Diary--This morning at 7:45 we cranked and headed to Bao Trai for a two company lift. The first area we went into had reports of a company size VC unit. We suppressed on this area with rockets and guns on the way in but received no fire. The 2nd area was reportedly a platoon size VC force. Again we did not receive any fire. In late afternoon the extraction of the 1st & 2nd Battalions of the 48th Infantry from Phouc Vinh began. The operation they had begun two days prior was successful. They found million pounds of rice and burned 85% of it. They also found Chinese recoilless rifle ammo which they destroyed. Four more fuel trucks were also found.
13 Apr-- Search for missing Dragon a/c. Found it shut down at Long Thanh.
Diary--almost negative activity all day today. We had a Lgt Team on III Corps standby. I managed to get my annual physical out of the way. In late afternoon a Dragon a/c was reported missing. We found him at Long Thanh on the ground fat, dumb and happy.
14 Apr--Heavy Fire Team to Phouc Vinh AM. Tan An in
PM. Jon Landstrom Shot in arm by our gunner.
Diary--we spent the entire morning reconning the areas surrounding Phouc Vinh in all directions. We didn't find anything special but we did level a pretty good sized hooch. Also got a few water buffs. In the afternoon our heavy team worked out of Tan Uyen. We directed artillery fire for a while and then started on a recon north east to west of Tan Uyen. Landstrom was shot in the left arm with our door gun on our first pass on a wood line target.
15 Apr-- Psy-war Bao Trai to Tan An
Diary--Not much to talk about on my flight today. My mission was Psy-war to Bao Trai to Tan An. We received a few rounds but took no hits. Fighters and bombers from Air Force and Navy flew 500 sorties today north of Tay Ninh Mt. A VC regimental head quarters is expected in there. Now that the bombers have hit and let the VC know we are coming in the morning the area will either be real hot or real quiet.
16 Apr-- 115 copter CA north of Tay Ninh Mt. Lifted 1200 troops into reported VC regimental HQ for entire area.
Diary--an early get up at 0300. 0440 we pulled pitch and headed to Tay Ninh. We plus 4 other Air Mobile companies and VNAF 34's lifted 2 battalions and I regimental size units to an LZ north of Tay Ninh MT. about 5 K's from Cambodia. A VC regimental size HQ was supposed to be there. This HQ is supposed to control all activity in the entire area. The troops made no contact today so maybe tomorrow something will turn up.
17 Apr--Standby for extraction at Tay Ninh west.
Diary--standby at Tay Ninh until 1500. No contact was made as of that time. Airfield standby at night. Brought Dawson out to Zone D to make a recon of the area his brother went down in. If he comes back out of there it will be a miracle.
18 Apr--Extraction Tay Ninh; Lifted 150 troops from Phu Hoa Dong to Phu Loi
Diary--extracted the troops this afternoon at Tay Ninh. They didn't make contact but found rice, documents, weapons, mines & indications the area was used as a signal school center. Later in the afternoon we extracted troops from Phu Hoa Dong & dropped them off at Phu Loi.
19 Apr--CA east of Tan Uyen "D" zone.
Diary-- CA north east of Tan Uyen in War Zone D. We lifted the 3rd of the 48th out of Tan Uyen and the 2nd of the 48th out of Binh Ghia. They made contact with a few squad size units but broke off. We had one ship hit by sniper fire in the 2nd LZ. The friendlies captured 19 women & children in and around the LZ. They burned about a dozen hooches and killed about 6 buffs. Our other fire team burned about a dozen hooches also.
20 Apr-- Psy-war at Tan An & Bao Trai
Diary-- We began with Psy-war to Tan An. We first went to the split in the river east of Tan An. Our job was to chase the Psy-war ship naturally but there job was to tell the people of the village to leave to the north. If they didn't leave they were considered to be VC and would be bombed by the fighters or shot by the troops that landed by boat after the bombing. Quite a few VC were captured but many escaped because of the prior warning they had.
21 Apr--Lt Fire team to Long Hoa and Duc Hoa
Diary--Psy-war all day from Duc Hoa to Tan An. The people at Duc Hoa wanted us to home in on a VC radio station and find their location & shoot 'em up. I've never heard anything so ridiculous. Bombs & artillery don't scare the VC out of the "Loop" and they want us to use our 2.75" rockets. We convinced them it was a waste of time & forgot the idea.
22 Apr--Diary--III Corps standby all day. We weren't called out so I managed to finish my flight physical by late afternoon. Found out today the 9 American crew members shot down at Quin Nhon on the 13th were 2 armed ships flying too close in formation. They were hit with 50 cal cross fire.
23 Apr--CA north of Tan An & a CA west of Leprosarium.
Diary--CA north of Tan An along the river. We carried in 300 troops since a company size VC force was reported to be in the area. No contact was made in the morning. The afternoon was very successful. We lifted about 60 troops into an area north of Phu Loi and west of the Leprosarium. Were reports that VC would come into the town for lunch & siesta every day. I quests they were caught with their pants down since 10 VC were killed, 2 captured. 5 carbines & documents were also taken.
24 Apr--CA supporting the 501st north of river in Iron Triangle.
Diary--Light fire team to assist 501st CA staging out of Ben Cat. It was a 3 battalion size operation into the southern end of the Iron Triangle. It's a real bad area but luckily we didn't take any casualties or hits.
25 April--PsyWar to Iron Triangle.
Diary-PsyWar Chase today over the Iron Triangle. We took a little fire but nothing big. The PsyWar ship told the people if they kept firing at us that fighters would bomb them some time in the near future. They kept on firing and within 5 minutes we had A-1s leveling the village. I'll bet that was an effective PsyWar mission.
26 April--PsyWar to Tan An & Bao Trai.
Diary--PsyWar afternoon and evening. Nothing exciting on the mission. Just the same old monotonous boring orbits. WO Sellers, fixed wing pilot who used to live here was killed today at Bear Cat. A VNAF L-19 flew right into his wing tearing off one wing with his landing gear. He just fluttered in and crashed.
Diary--This morning I was not scheduled so I went to Saigon with Don, Dick and Pat. Our afternoon mission was PsyWar out of Bao Trai. After out mission ended we headed back to home plate. As we approached we saw a huge cloud of black smoke rise off the runway. An A-1 broke its landing gear on takeoff. As his wing hit the ground the napalm under his wing exploded. Don't know if there was an American in it but no one got out of it. That's for certain.
28 April--PsyWar along with CA at Go Dau Ha. PsyWar after Tan An
Diary--We went on PsyWar chase along with a lift west of Go Dau Ha near Cambodian border. As the troops were dropped in the LZ near a town, the speaker ship told the people to stay put or we'd shoot them. 31 suspects were captured.
29 April--Lt. Fire team to Phu My. Med Evac blind American.
Diary--I was on a Lt. Fire team to Phu My. We supported 22 & 23 Symbolic. They didn't make any contact today.
We Med Evac one American in 22's group. All of a sudden he went blind which we contributed to the heat.
30 April-- CA & Heavy Team
Diary--CA Onion Tai. Our mission was to mark the LZ & remain on station after the lift. Two of our a/c were hit but nobody was hit. We were lucky again as been the case in the past few months. The area we were in South of the Iron Triangle down to Phu Hoa Dong is all VC. They have hit and knocked down quite a few of our ships in there in the past.
1 May--Fire Team Tay Ninh & Zone D Eagle Flight
Diary--Lt Team to Tay Ninh.
Covered Sneaky Pete operation east of mountain. No contact but m1 American was blown up in a booby trap. We Med Evac him down to airstrip. Afternoon we had 4 slick, 2 gun ship Eagle flight Warzone D. Primary reason was to pick out a suitable LZ for VNAF H-34 CA at night in the near future. It would be a first. Secondary reason was to try to locate Dawson & Collette the Frope he took along for his interpreter. They had made the contact with 10 Cong officers. As it stands now we think they're being held captive but who knows for sure.
3 May--Second day at Vung Tau R & R trip. The weather was great all afternoon. At night we got a real good wet season rain. 3 New companies moved into Vung Tau yesterday. A of the 82nd, A of the 101st & a unit from Benning. One company remained at Vung Tau. 101st went to Soc Trang and one went to Ban Me Thuet. Along with the 3 aviation companies about 700 maintenance, engineers, & other people came over.
4 May-- my 3rd and last day at Vung Tau. Read in today's paper that a battalion of 800 Australian jungle troops will be in action by the end of June.
The 173rd Airborne Brigade from Okinawa moved in today, about 2700 in all. Some are at Vung Tau and some at Bien Hoa around the north end of the airfield in tents.
5 May--Fire Team to Hon Quan and Song Be- night enroute Vung Tau.
Diary--Lt.Team to Hon Quan & Song Be today. We covered a convoy along Highway 13 from Hon Quan to Loc Ninh. That morning before we got there one truck loaded with explosives hit a mine & made like the 4th of July 2 months early. The convoy got through safely the rest of the way.
6 May-- Lt.Team to Rock City
Diary--Lt Team to Rock City Area. We destroyed about 10 hooches in the jungle just north. We spent most of the afternoon on a recon of Highway 20 where the VC had road blocked with trees and dirt. The road was finally cleared by about 1630. Today we got our 1st taste of bad weather causing us to have a late take off.
7 May--21:05 PsyWar Chase
Diary--PsyWar escort to Xuan Loc today. Nothing really exciting happened. We flew our 5 1/2 hours and returned to home plate. Heard today that 3 more Marine Battalions moved in. The head count now numbers around 40,000 for all Americans in country.
8 May-- Went to Phu Hoa Dong.
An H-34 was hit and exploded.
Training flight at Trung Lap LT. Irvine was killed in ST area.
Diary-today turned out to be a pretty gruesome day. We had a 4 company CA west of Phu Hoa Dong. On the first lift 2 of our ships were shot up pretty bad. A VNAF 34 was hit on short final by an automatic. It caught on fire and flipped over on its back. When it hit it blew up completely.
This afternoon we had a training flight with troops at Trung Lap. In Vietnam there's no such thing as a training flight & I guess a few people learned this today. As the troops loaded up in a supposed secure area they got sniper fire. Lt Irvine the gunner platoon leader was shot in the chest and died shortly afterwards.
9 May--I began the day by having it off. That was too good to last though since we were scrambled at 0900 to Duc Hoa. An ARVN company was wiped out. We got there really too late to do much good.
At 1800 the whole Aviation Battalion was scrambled to Phu Hoa Dong. We had about 40 slicks and 25 armed ships lifting the reserve force in to assist the troops we had brought in yesterday. It seems they made contact with the VC and had over 200 casualties. Our lift was after dark which makes a 1st for a night CA.
10 May-- PsyWar chase this afternoon. Nothing really exciting the rest of the day.
11 May-- CA Song Be Compound area overrun --5 Americans dead and 15 wounded.
Diary--With an early morning take off we headed to Chanh Thanh to pick up the troops. The drop off was to be in an area east of Quan Loi plantation where a unit of 2000 VC were reported. While enroute we were diverted to Song Be since the VC had hit the airstrip and compound early this morning. There must have been a pretty good sized force that hit the area but they did a pretty good job of resisting. 5 Americans were killed out of the 23 there. About 15 ARVN were killed & 40 wounded. 57 VC bodies were found & it is assumed that more were killed but were drug away and hidden. According to todayís paper the Song Be battle was a victory for us.
May12-Psy-war chase today at Song Be
Diary-Psy-war chase in yesterdayís battle area. We evacuated a few Americans & wounded ARVN from Dong Xoai. A force of Cong was 4kís away when we pulled them out.
May 13- Duc Hoa Psy-war chase.
Diary- night chase at Duc Hoa. The war up at Son Be seems to be looking up every day. Today a patrol ran across 20 VC bodies. Upon doing so they had a skirmish and killed 24 more VC. The estimate of VC casualties so far runs from 600-1000.
May 14-D Zone worked with Navy A-4ís and F-8Uís
Diary-Heavy fire team in War Zone D. We directed Navy F-8 and A-4 fighters on bomb runs. Apparently they had some pretty good intelligence on the area since they hit the area continuously all day. I think they expect a regiment to be in there. The area we hit about 7kís north of Song Be & Dong Nai River intersections where Dawson went down. If the VC havenít killed him yet they probably will just in retaliation for the bombing that is if the bombs didnít already do the job.
May15- Song Be Psy-war chase
Diary-Psy-war chase BinhChanh in AM and Song Be in PM. Airborne BDE ran its first practice CA into D Zone in AM. Latest count now on KIAís of VC at Song Be stands at 200 and many more are expected to show up. Col.Parks is off the critical list now. He was shot in the tail and evacuated to the mess hall with the other wounded. VC crashed the mess hall and got him again in the lung.
May 16-Lt.team to Bao Trai. An L-19 crashed. Took heavy fire. Killed 20 VC. Bien Hoa B-57 pad blown up. 21 KIA. 37 WIA.
Diary-Lt.Team to Bao Trai. Ground unit made contact with VC. Last count was 20 dead VC. L-19 overhead was shot down by artillery fire. Both pilots uninjured. The B-57 ramp at Bien Hoa blew up this morning. Cause unknown at present. Parts of the enlisted compound were destroyed by flying debris so they were moved out and into tents in back of the Bandit hooch.
May 17-flew 2:40 but no records
May 18-flew 4:15 but no records
May 19-East & North of runway in Airborne Bde area (AM) convoy cover.
Diary-Don and Cpt. Knisely left for states today. This morning we had a heavy team on convoy escort for the Airborne Bde... We worked east & north of the airfield but with some difficulty due to heavy ground fog. Very quiet day. No activity at all.
May 20-Warzone DóCA Airborne Bde.
Diary-CA Airborne Bde. In War Zone D north and west of Song Be & Dong Nai Rivers. A CA had never been run in this area before. This is the area where Dawsonís brother went down & where Don is suppose to be now. We directed Navy bomb runs in there last week so it could be that they were looking over the area to see what kind of damage the bombs did.
May 21-CA 501st AM. Psy-war PM near Song Be.
Diary- CA with 501st staged out of Phu Loi on the east side of the open field. We received negative fire in the area. PM mission was Psy-war in Song Be.
May 22-CA to Tan An. Heavy Team to Song Be. VC hit convoy
Diary- CA early afternoon to Tan An. About 40 VC suspects were taken captive by the ground forces.
After CA on the way home we were sent to Duc Hoa to check out a VC boat force that had left the Tan An area and were proceeding up the BoBo canal toward Duc Hoa. We shot up a few Sam Pans, hooches and Water Buffalo but received no fire from this area. A heavy team was scrambled at 2130 to report to Dong Xoai. A convoy traveling between Dong Xoai and Song Be at night without air cover was hit. 2 Americans were KIA and 1 MIA. A Ranger force of 100 men was wiped out north of Ben Cat of which 4 were Americans.
May 24- Heavy Team skunk hunt on river by horseshoe at Duc Hoa. Sank 5 40ft Sampans.
Diary-had off most of today duty officer all yesterday. At 2200 we took off with a heavy team headed to Duc Hoa. Our mission was what we call a Skunk Hunt. A Mohawk with SLAR was to detect any movement along the river in the horseshoe area. When possible targets were spotted a C-47 (Goony Bird) with flares would light up the area. We move in and check it out. On several occasions we had shots at sampans. We damaged or sank 5.
May 25- CA with 501st.
Diary- Late afternoon CA dodging in and out of thunderstorms. A small outpost south of Tay Ninh was overrun. The American adviser there was captured. Today was the 1st time I saw D models being used on a lift. They carried 2 extra troops and they were still flying when the Bís were landing for refueling.
May 26- Lt.Team standby overnight at Phouc Vinh and early t/o to Song Be.
Diary- Lt Team scramble to Phouc Vinh last night. Another attempt on either Song Be or Hon Quan was and still is expected in the very near future. Activity was picked up on SLAR in 29 different areas around Song Be last night. We checked it out early in the morning but received no fire or definite indications of an attack.
May 27- airfield standby
Diary- had AOD last night and given day off. Conflict with log book.
May 28- Piper, Fillers, Pfoust, Childers and both crews killed in a mid-air. Ed Piper was a company Instructor Pilot.
Diary- Lt.Fire Team to Phu Loi. Covered a road clearing operation from Thu Dau Mot to Ben Cat and up to Chanh Thanh.
Ed Piper, Lt. Childers were landing at Bien Hoa when Lt.Fillers & Mr.Pfoust were taking off from III Corps soccer field. The two aircraft collided and exploded bursting into a ball of flames. The crew chief in Lt.Fillers aircraft was thrown out which is what save his life. 9 lives total were taken from both aircraft.
May 29- Resupply escort near border.
Diary-resupply near Cambodian border. 9th Regiment was shipping out of Tay Ninh today enroute to Song Be. Something very big is brewing. Can Gio was attacked and overrun today. Company memorial services tonight for now 10 men killed in the crash yesterday.
May 30- Recon to Tan An
Diary-Lt. Team sent to Phouc Vinh then diverted to Tan An. We made about a long recon there and were released. The village east of Xuan Loc was overrun.
May 31- convoy escort Chanh Thanh? Ran into 50cal. war zone D.
Diary- Convoy escort with Lt.Team from Chanh to southern sector border. Le Jeuneís fire team picked it up from there to Thu Dau Mot. They ran up against small arms fire & Le Jeune was hit in the chest. He is in good condition and should make it alright. We had a good bit of excitement today on our team also. After being released from PBT we asked if there was somewhere we could expend our ammo. They gave us a coordinate of a suspected regiment. This is usually the case and we just shoot at trees. After expending our rockets and pulling out we heard and saw huge streaks of fire coming from every which way. We were at 2500ft and they were just whizzing by. Sure enough they were 50 cal. tracers. The lead ship took a hit big enough to stick your thumb through. We lifted the Airborne Bde. Up to north of Hieu Liem again today.
June 1- convoy escort from Bien Hoa to PBT. Directed airstrikes for A-1Eís in D zone on enemy positions.
Diary- Convoy escort from Bien Hoa to Phouc Vinh. We took very light fire at one point on the route. In mid-morning we directed A-1 strikes in D Zone. We received light weapons fire while in search of the 50 cal. that opened up on us yesterday. Bombs and napalm were used on the wood line while we drew fire.
June 2- PsyWar
Diary-PsyWar chase to Tay Ninh this afternoon. We worked over the western edge of the Bo Loi Forest. We took some 50 cal. fire and got 30 cal. hit in the tail boom of the Psy-war ship. 50 cals. Are becoming common place these days that it terrifies me to just think about it.
June 3- CA near the Leppersarium. Heavy Team to Song Be. CA extraction of 173rd Airborne.
Diary-Very short lift this morning near Leppersarium. 5th Recon was brought into the area. After the lift a heavy team broke off and went west to Song Be. We gave them one full load of time in support of the Special Forces operation east of the mountain.
Late afternoon we extracted part of the 173rd Airborne from the area on the south side of the river south of Hieu Liem. The rest of the troops were hauled back by convoy which we escorted. We didnít take any fire all day.
June 4- Psy-War Thu Dau Mot and Ben Cat
Diary-Psy-War chase to Di An the Korean Compound in AM.
Afternoon mission out of Xuan Loc.
June 5- Psy-War Thu Dau Mot & Ben Cat
Diary- Psy-War chase to Thu Dau Mot. Worked the river from TDM to Di An south. Worked Ben Cat and Dau Tieng plantation to the north. As of today we are back to logging AC time on our 12ís.
June 6-Psy-War chase to Phu Loi
June 6- trip to Vung Tau
Diary- 6 day R & R
June 7-Gia Ray got hit during the night. Our standby team was dispatched to the area.
June 8- Vung Tau-saved for another day.
Diary-VC forces estimated at battalion 1500-2000 hit Dong Xoai just 40 miles north of here. 14 American Special Forces were killed and 13 wounded. 2 Seabees escaped down the road and walked to Phouc Vinh. The town and compound was a shamble. At least seven 50 cal. Positions were located throughout the area. The VC had all types of weaponry including flame throwers. The VC used human waves of troops to attack as one row fell another would follow.
The lift that followed contained over 125 helicopters. 2 LZís were used. The 1st on the road north of Dong Xoai and the 2nd the landing strips at the plantation. Of the 500 troops lifted in about 250 are unaccounted for. In LZ #2 the 82nd had 1 slick shot down on the approach. Kovac and Wills were the pilots.
As slicks landed mines began exploding and the area was under mortar fire. As they pulled pitch Don Saegaert and Lt. Hallís ship lost RPM and crashed into trucks and buildings and burned to nothing. and Sgt. Compa gunner Platoon Sgt. Were also aboard. The troops left off here were also wiped out.
June 12- slick mission with Major. I never thought I would get to see June 13.
Diary- Today was my worst day in VN to date. The mission was all volunteer deal to get the bodies of the men who were killed 2 days prior. We had a slick. The Major was right seat. Quatse was crew Chief. Lt.Scott was door gunner. I was leery of the mission from the start since I was flying with the Major who I had flown with 2 times before in a gunship. Both times he almost got me killed because of poor judgment and tactics. I think we put more stress and strain on that chopper today than the Bell test pilots do.
We left Bien Hoa at 1200 and picked up Dragon 36 and his heavy fire team at Phouc Vinh. We contoured along with the fire team from Phouc Vinh to Dong Xoai which added to my terrified state. Upon landing at the destroyed compound we were told Red Hat 7 was at LZ 1with 20 ARVN bodies and would not move unless the bodies were taken away first. So here we are 1 slick hauling 20 corpses. They were now 3 days old and bore an odor that I will never forget. Some of them were without limbs, some with bashed in heads, no eyes, skin and flesh decayed or hanging loose and all were stiff and bloated to about double normal size.
After the bodies were removed to Dong Xoai the troops moved to LZ 2. When they were a mile from the area the VC opened up on them. They were hit hard and began to retreat. We advised the 3 American to get to a safe landing spot so we could pick them up.
While all of this is going on the Air Force is bombing the plantation at the airstrip. An Air Force F-100 was hit and the pilot bailed out in the rubber trees 2 ks north of the plantation. We went to assist him and another slick went to pick up Red Hat 7. The pilot sent up a flare to mark his position but the nearest place near him was a tiny opening in the trees about 200 meters away. We made about 3 orbits and landed without escort and no security of any kind. The Major grabbed his AR-15 and got out and the gunner followed. He told me to wait a few minutes and if they did not return to leave them since I was almost out of fuel. I waited about 5 minutes and then they appeared from the trees running frantically and panting. They were probably the longest 5 minutes I will ever spend. The Major ran with a limp and he looked hit. They dove into the chopper and I took off pulling everything I could get out of that bird. They shouted the pilotís dead. They killed him. (Maj. Lawrence T. Holland 2012) We saw it. On take-off I found out later we took many hits. In the tail boom and in the oil cooler blades.
The fuel was looking bad but we made it back to Phouc Vinh. The Major did not want to med-evac. He said heís being alright.
At this time we heard of a lift that was on its way to Phouc Vinh so we refueled and got airborne. We tagged along with me now in the right seat. The weather was looking worse every minute with rain storms and clouds. Once again I got a hair raiser while the Major was flying. His mind was elsewhere and he zeroed out the airspeed. I grabbed the controls and got things level again.
The slicks dropped off their troops and now the weather was really bad. Flights were getting separated, fuel was getting low and it was just a mess. We finally got back after going IFR a few times.
An 82nd ship with Mike Hammer and Mr. Wile were not so lucky when they went IFR and crashed near Bear Cat. All were killed. A 501st ship with Jim Dixon and Mr. Gault went IFR and crashed. Jim got a broken leg and thatís all.
The 173rd Airborne is at Phouc Vinh waiting for the word to go in. It could be tomorrow or Tuesday.
June 13-Air Force leveled the plantation and VC still own the area.
June 15-flight to Vung Tau for a day off.
June16- Psy-War chase to Tay Ninh- 8000 VC reported at Dong Xoai.
Diary-Psy-war chase Thu Dau Mot and Tay Ninh. 82nd Hog shot down and platoon leader Capt. Ginter was killed.
3 US Infantry Battalions due in country to bring the total to 70,000.
US passenger terminal at Tan Son Nut blown up (34 injured)
June 17-recovered 4 bodies of 82nd ship that was shot down south of Dong Xoai.
June 18- CA Ben Cat northwest ĖUsed SAC B-52 bombers.
Diary-CA NW of Ben Cat-Used B-52ís for the pre-strike. Dropped 1530 750lb.bombs for: 30 mines. The lift was relatively quiet.
June 20-CA Phu Reign Plantation, 120 copters.
Diary- CA north of Dong Xoai at the Phu Reign Plantation. Remainder of the VC regiment reported to be in the area. No contact was made. The plantation was leveled. Not a building was left standing after the bombing. We had about 120 helicopters including some from III Corps 119th & 117th
June 21-Psy-war chase
Diary-Psy-war chase Phouc Vinh and Song Be. Defense Department announced today that 20,000 more combat troops will be here in the next few weeks bringing the total to over 70,000. Possibilities of the total going to 100,000 are very likely by the end of the year.
Now that the 11th Air Assault is now a recognized division there is a possibility that if will be moved as an entire force.
June 22- Fire team called out for renewed attack on compound. No action in the area.
Diary-Off today. Spent the day at Vung Tau. Was scrambled at 2230 for light team to Dong Xoai. They reported VC digging in near the road airstrip west of town. Fighters strafed the area with 20MM and we went in to check it out but received no fire.
June 23- Day off after last night. Standby at airfield at night.
June 24- Airborne Bde into D zone. 1 KIA
Diary-Lifted 173rd Airborne north of river in D Zone. They brought back 21 VC POWs. One American was killed and his body was left out there. After the lift we too a heavy team to Phouc Vinh for a skunk hunt to shoot up the countryside. Made the extraction of the 173rd in late afternoon. They looked pretty beat after being in chest high water filled rice patties throughout the day.
June 25- Airborne BDE to D Zone to look for KIA. Aussieís first lift SE of Bien Hoa.
Diary-lifted 1 company of 173rd
Into D Zone to bring back the US KIA. They couldnít find the body. It is believed that he may have been shot by accident by one of the other Americans since they werenít able to find the body.
Lifted the Aussieís for the 1st time to an area east south east of the airfield. More of an admin. Lift.
June 26-CA to Cu Chi cancelled. Fire Team
Diary- CA to Cu Chi cancelled because the LZ was compromised. Extracted Aussies from SE of Bien Hoa. 2 Aussies and 1 American were KIA from grenade explosion. Reconned TDM and Ben Cat areas for future LZs. Floating restaurant in Saigon was bombed. 12 Americans killed.
June 27- Fire Team Ben Luc and Duc Hoa.
Diary-Fire team to Duc Hoa to support 2 battalion size operation. Hunted for 3 strike troops in D Zone near Zoom Con. They had been on patrol and had been ambushed. They split up and planned to rendezvous at the river but never showed up.
June 28- CA to D Zone- lifted 2000 troops with 140 aircraft. 173rd Airborne BDE and ARVN Airborne.
Diary- CA into Zoom Com area of Warzone D. Lifted about 2000 troops of 173rd Airborne and ARVN Airborne. Aussie BDE in reserve 3-4 day operation. Remains of 2 Cong Regiments are suspected in there. Largest lift yet with about 140 ships.
VC stole 5 Deuce and a half trucks in Saigon and claim they will load them with explosives and blow up a few BEQís. DaNang was mortared last night. Only ARVN casualties.
C-123 crashed south of Bien Hoa for no apparent reason.
June 29- CA lift in Aussies and extract ARVN Airborne.
Diary- CA extraction of ARVN Airborne BDE from D Zone. Small amounts of contact was made during the night. 14 VC were killed. 1 American KIA and 2 WIA.
B-57 downed near DaNang. Pilot still missing. Pilot still missing from B-57 downed north of Saigon.
June 30- CA extracted 173rd Airborne.
Diary-Extracted 173rd from LZ near Zoom Com. VC hit with light mortar fire and sniper and sniper activity. 29 VC killed for the entire operation. Rice caches and small hospital found. No weapons were found. My A/C 969 took a hit in the tail pylon.
July 1- Fire Team to Vung Tau.
Diary- Fire team to Can Duoc. 600 VC regulars were reported along the river west of Can Duoc. 6 ARVN battalions set out after this 1 battalion. The troops closed in on the village from the north, east and south and RAG boats were blocking force to the west.
We took a few sniper rounds but couldnít return fire because of the friendlies. F-100s struck the village damaging most of it but the ground troops wouldnít give the OK to finish the job.
July 2- hard landing on tall stumps north of the airfield.
Diary- III Corps airfield stand by. We were called out in mid-afternoon to escort 501st Slicks into D Zone. As we landed at the staging area in the 173rd area north of the runway I had trouble finding a suitable place to set down due to tall tree stumps. I began losing RPM after snatching the aircraft off of some stumps and then for sure we had to set down quickly. The aircraft finally struck a tall stump hidden in tall grass. I had a very hard landing breaking the skid off pylon and breaking the chin bubble.
July 5- Fire Team made strike on village along river south of Long Hoa.
Diary- Fire Team to Duc Hoa. Called out at 0800 to strike a VC village on the river south of Long Hoa. The village about 500 meters to the east of the one hit today was leveled by an A-1 Sky raider about 3 months ago.
The rest of the afternoon we spent on standby at Duc Hoa. They had 2 battalions changing positions around the Horseshoe.
July 6- Light Team cover RAG convoy Ben Suc to Zau Tieng.
Diary- 1 boat had been mined during the night as it passed under a bridge with the river at low tide. We escorted med-evac ships making the pick up while the boats docked at Ben Suc. All friendly forces evacuated Ben Suc today.
The rest of our company lifted Aussie & 173rd into D Zone. Bien Hoa is now protected only by a skeleton crew.
July 7- CA to D Zone cancelled. Lt. Team cover RAG convoy. Extraction Xuan Loc, CA Ty Hung.
Diary- CA early morning staged at Phouc Vinh. B-52s pre-struck the LZ area and troops were to make a damage assessment. Called off due to low ceiling not allowing fighters to pre-strike.
Lt. Team to cover RAG convoy on Saigon River between Thu Dau Mot and Ben Suc. Demolition team was sent to blow up the sunken boat hit earlier that morning by the VC.
Airfield Standby team called out to escort Dust Off and re-supply ships into D Zone where the 173rd is located. 7 Americans were killed and 14 wounded in contact made earlier in the day.
July 8- D Zone
Diary- Scrambled again at 0030 for extraction of ARVN troops from Xuan Loc to Bien Hoa. 390 troops were lifted.
The same troops were lifted this morning to Ty Hung to form a blocking force to the east of the 173rd and Aussies further to the west in D Zone.
July 9- Vung Tau early this morning. Convoy hit near Phu My (something like RiT 15?)
3 armed cars were destroyed by 57 recoilless rifles and mortars. No American casualties.
50 Cal. guns taken from the cars. 1000 VC are reported from Phu My to Binh Gia again.
July 10-13 R & R Vung Tau
1st Divisionís 2nd BDE landed today at Cam Ranh Bay.
July 14- Standardization Ride
50% of the infantries Big Red 1 left Cam Ranh Bay this morning. They flew to Bien Hoa and are camped 10 miles east of here on the road to Xuan Loc.
July 15- Heavy team to Xuan Loc but called to Phu Loi for a lift north of Ben Cat to destroy a convoy.
Diary- Heavy team to Xuan Loc. Mission was to provide overhead cover for truck and APC convoy on route 20 near II Corps border. We were diverted from this mission to Phu Loi for a lift to a village where a convoy was hit north of Ben Cat on Rt.13.
4 or 5 APCs were knocked out and 50s and 30 cal guns were taken. 2 American were KIA and 5 WIA. 50 ARVN were KIA and about 50 WIA. It was a neat well executed slaughter.
July 16- Psy-war chase
Diary- Psy-war chase escort to Xuan Loc this morning but called off due to weather. Afternoon Psy-war delayed due to weather, but completed when weather lifted. The convoy from Phu Loi made it to Hon Quan today. 3 trucks were damaged by mines along the way but other than this minor activity was encountered.
July 17- Light Team overhead cover to Phan Thiet
Diary- Lt.team to Ham Tam for overhead cover on ground operation. No activity encountered. Refueled at Phan Thiet and went to Vo Dat afternoon for recon. No activity again.
July 18- Convoy escort Hon Quan.
July 19- Psy-war chase to Phan Thiet.
Diary- 2 company lift to Bu Dop. Compound was being overrun by VC in early morning. Fighters and armed choppers provided overhead cover by hitting wood lines and wave of VC troops climbing the walls. 5 confirmed 50 and 3o cal positions around the airfield. Bu Ja Mop evacuated and then destroyed by Special Forces.
July 21- Lt.Team to Phu Loi to cover training operation at Ben Cat
Diary- Lt Team standby at Phu Loi to cover ground operation at Ben Cat. No contact was made.
July 22- Lt Team Big Red 1. About 2 VC had a hundred troops jumping through their butts.
Diary- Called out to provide cover for Big Red 1 south and west of Trang Bom. One or two VC were flushed out by a few hundred troops. Our troops are going to have to come a long way if they plan to get anywhere over here.
Slick piloted by Capt. Waters and WO Lombard landed in target line of US troops and was hit by grenade. The whole crew received wounds but Lombard is the most serious.
July 23- Psy-war chase. Called out for night flight to D Zone.
Diary-Psy-war chase to Phu Loi in AM. Afternoon mission to Dong Phong and Dong Xoai.
Bodies from Bu Dop attack found to be Chinese. 150 bodies were counted. The bodies were left alone until somebody from Corps came up to see that they were Chinese. The dogs in the area had a feast on all the meat and really made a mess of things.
July 24- Lt. Team hit the village NW of Can Duoc.
Diary-Lt Team to Ben Luc. Hit large village NW of Can Duoc where C 315 was reported to be located.
Had afternoon off. Went to Saigon to BX.
July 25- Psy-war chase.
Diary- Psy-war chase to Tan An and Bao Trai.
July 26- Heavy Team to Phouc Vinh and Dong Xoai.
Diary- Heavy Team to Phouc Vinh for skunk hunt. Worked in D Zone and quadrants around Phouc Vinh. After lunch we went to Dong Xoai on a hot mission so they said. They claimed 5000 Cong were camped out in the area to the east. I think the figure was probably closer to 100. We destroyed a few hooches and shot up a few villages.
July 27- Lt Team to Song Be but diverted to Dong Xoai for VR.
Diary- Lt Team to Song Be but their operation was called off. Instead went to Dong Xoai for Visual Recon. Carried a Cong prisoner who had defected. He was to point out the location of a large VC force camped out east of Dong Xoai. The jungle was too dense in that area making it especially hard to spot something from the air.
July 28- No data
Diary- Standby Fire Team for III Corps area. Were not called out. Early this morning 3 F-105 Jets knocked out 2 SAM missile sites up north. They were Russian operated. 2 sites were knocked out but the 3 ships were shot down doing it. No report of any crew at present.
July 29- Lifted Airborne to Baria Mt. area.
Diary-Lifted 2 battalions of 173rd Airborne into LZ north of Baria Mts. VC force of D800 the unit from Binh Ghia was reported in the area.
B-52s pre-struck the area causing VC KIA and 1 WIA. No contact was made at last report.
July 30- Lifted Big Red 1 to Baria.
Diary-Lifted Big Red 1 to area south of Baria Mts. Formed a blocking force in support of 173rd Airborne operation in the pass. Also their 1st lift in Viet Nam.
Farewell to our CO tonight. III Corps provided floor show and entertainment.
July 31- Convoy escort.
Diary- Lt Team cover small truck convoy from Bien Hoa to Long Thanh and back. Then to Xuan Loc. Vietnamese refused to load goods on the trucks so the Americans said the hell with them and went back to Bien Hoa.
August 1- Extracted Airborne from Baria.
Diary- Shuttled about 600 troops from Phu Loi to Dau Tieng. No activity encountered.
Congress asked for use of Nationalist China in Viet Nam war. Korea and Philippines another possibility .
August 2- Extracted Airborne from Baria.
Diary- We extracted the Airborne from Baria Mt. Area. They made negative contact in their 4 day jaunt through the jungle. Itís really hard to believe because the roads going into their plainly show that the area is heavily traveled, probably a supply route from the sea to the inland supply points.
August 3- Psy-war aircraft.
Diary- Flew Psy-war speaker ship. We worked out of Tan An this morning and Tay Ninh this afternoon.
August 5- Standby Big Red 1
Diary-What a big waste of time. Standby Big Red 1. Flew a total of :20 minutes. The travel time to and from their area.
August 6- Lt Team overhead cover operation south of Ben Loc (no activity).
Diary- Lt Team overhead cover and standby bear Ben Luc.
Had a 2 battalion size operation. They ran into nothing and no activity was reported.
August 7- Off all day. Airfield standby at night.
August 8- Lt Team Big Red 1 standby. Escort and recon for slicks on resupply runs.
Diary- Lt Team standby Big Red 1. Recon and escort for slicks making resupply runs.
T-Bones last day. Captain York went to Hawaii And I was appointed acting section leader.
August 9- Phouc Vinh 5:40
August 10- Psy-war chase Ham Tam
August 12- Lt Team Phu Loi
August 13- Saigon 1 hour
August 14- Heavy Team 1st Div.1st Div
August 15- Lt Team troop resupply 1st Div
August 16- Heavy Team Troop lift and retraction 1st Div
Diary- Heavy Team escort Big Red 1 in AM. Extraction in afternoon. One suspected VC and documents captured and brought back.
August 17- Song Be Troop shuttle from Thu Duc to Dong Xoai. From Tay Ninh to Song Be and back home.
August 18- Psy-war Chase. Wed-evac escort Binh Ca.
Diary- Psy-war chase Ham Tam. Fire Team for airfield standby called out at night to Tan Uyen.
Escort Dust Off in Binh Ca. A platoon size patrol was ambushed. 4 WIA and 4 KIA. All ARVN.
August 19- Lt Team 1st Div Eagle flight.
Diary- Lt Team Eagle flight lifting 48 Red 1 troops. Battalion size VC force was reported in area 2 or 3 Ks north of Bear Cat.
August 20- 1st Div 2:00hrs
August 21- 1st Div 2:200 hrs
August 22- Song Be. Left seat HOG.
August 23-28 Bangkok R & R
Diary- Bien Hoa was mortared at or near midnight. Casualties were very minor. Two crew chiefs from 1st Platoon tried to take off with their ships and carry them to Saigon. They both crashed and totaled the ships. Written off as combat losses.
August 29- Escort H-13 near Tan Uyen
August 30- Fire Team near Leppersarium. Took 2 hits.
Diary- Lt Team southwest of Tan Uyen. Supported ground operation in search of company size force. We drew continuous fire and took two hits while flying over the same area all day.
August 31- Lift near Ben Luc. Slick rolled over and killed crew chief Donnell.
Diary- Lift staged at Tan An. LZ was east of Ben Luc. Very poor visibility again. We flew in clouds on instruments more times than necessary.
Jack Lynchís aircraft has trouble in staging area. The ship turned over on the crew chief that either jumped or was tossed out. He was killed on the spot.
September 1- Dong Xoai mission was cancelled. 197th gun ship blown up and Mangold was killed.
Diary- Lt. Mangold and his crew of 3 were killed near Ben Cat. It seems they got too low and a heavy caliber automatic got them. The aircraft was seen blown up in the air. Lift to Dong Xoai was aborted due to poor visibility and low ceilings.
September 2- An Ahn Tay- Our slick blown up south of Ben Cat by 37mm. Foley and Tooloose killed.
Diary- Lift 5th recon unit from Phu Loi to An Ahn Tay. B-52s pattern bombed the area prior to the lift. Fighters also pre-struck.
Red Bird 1 a slick had mechanical trouble enroute to the LZ. He dropped out of the formation and began descending. Next thing we heard on the radio was that the aircraft had fallen apart and tumbled to the ground. Lt. Foley and Mr. Tooloose the pilots and their crew were killed. I strongly believe that the 37mm canon in the Ben Cat area shot them down.
That makes 4 1st platoon ships in two weeks.
September 3- Lifted Red 1
Diary- Lifted Big Red 1 into LZ north of Bear Cat. Just a routine lift. No Activity.
September 4- III Corps recon
Diary- Red 1 standby
September 5- morning off. Flew to Saigon for PX run.
September 6- Psy-war Ham Tam
Diary-Psy-war chase to Ham Tam and Long Thanh. Both missions were ended early due to poor weather and visibility.
September 7-Vung Tau
Diary- carried 949 our Frog ship to Vung Tau for weight and balance check.
Spent a few hours on the beach. Had dinner and came back home.
September 8- Heavy Team to Phouc Vinh and Song Be.
Diary- We were skunk hunting NW and SE of Phouc Vinh but found nothing.
We were later called to Song Be to escort a truck convoy from Duc Phong to Song Be. They had been attacked earlier and had 4 men dead.
September 9-1st Div lift to area ESE of Bear Cat.
Diary- Lifted 1 company of 1st Div into an area SE of Bear Cat. It was a 2 day operation. They got 3 defectors and about 60 suspects.
September 10- 1st Div lift. Received fire. Took 1 hit.
The 2nd day of the operation we lifted Red 1 from the 1st LZ to one further south.
We flew overhead cover and received fire in the area all day. I took 1 round through my door which was loud as hell and just about scared me half to death. Got some shrapnel burns on my neck but nothing serious. We had another mortar scare tonight and we all evacuated Bien Hoa. Bien Hoa wasnít hit though.
September 12- Tan Son Nut
September 13- Lt Team Tan An river indoctrination
Diary-Fire Team to Tan An. Worked on a new river program designed to stop unfriendly movement on the rivers.
Regulations were set up on the rivers and canals regarding anchoring, parking and traveling the waterways. We shot up all boat not complying with the regs.
Surprisingly though the system is working because we had very few targets.
September 14- CA lift of 173rd NW of Ben Cat.
Diary- Lifted more than 1000 of the 173rd AB and Royal Australian Reg. into an area NW of Ben Cat. VN airborne jumped into the DZ north of Phouc Vinh. Units will sweep the area from Ben Cat to Song Be on a 14 day operation. The distance to be covered will be about 60 miles.
B-52s pre-struck the LZs for about :30 minutes.
1st CA with D model slicks.
September 15- Psy-war chase. CA with 501st west of Phouc Vinh.
Diary- Psy-war chase in AM and early afternoon. Aborted early due to adverse weather conditions.
CA with 501st early evening. Lifted VN sneaky petes (SF) in an LZ west of Phouc Vinh. Sniper fire was taken in and near the LZ.
September 16- Lifted Red 1 to LZ west of Tan Ba.
Diary- Lifted 1st Div into LZ west of Tan Ba. Objective was to secure and occupy the area while Mr. Lodge gave a speech at the airbase.
Made little contact. Found 81mm mortar and 75mm canisters. We drew fire south of the Leppersarium and called A-1s in on it.
September 17- 1st Div
September 18- 1st Div
September 19- CA Bao Bang to Quan Loi. CA Lai Kye to Dau Tieng.
Diary- Battalion size operation. Lifted 173rd from Lai Kye to area near Dau Tieng. Repositioned 1000 ARNV from Bao Bang to Quan Loi.
118th moved to Phouc Vinh for 3 day in the field.
1st Cav and 117th at Quin Nhon got shot up pretty bad. They had 2 pilots, one a CO killed. 20 aircraft were hit. A Chinook and Crane were hit.
September 20- Extracted 173rd from area near Dau Tieng . We took quite a bit of automatic fire on short final. We didnít get hit though.
September 21- lifted ARVN Quan Loi to LZ north. Lifted 173rd west Lai Kye.
Diary-CA from Quan Loi to LZ north. Thunderbird lead really screwed up the show. Sure glad Iím not flying a slick.
Lifted the 173rd from CP west of Lai Kye to LZ about 8ks NW. VC were in the LZ. We caught them on the run but couldnít shoot them because of friendlies nearby.
September 22- CA extraction 173rd (503) to Lai Kye. Left one company in the LZ due to weather.
Diary- Lifted elements of New Zealand artillery from site back to Bao Bang.
Extracted 173rd (503rd) from LZ west to Lai Kye. Left one company in the LZ overnight. Had to abort due to adverse weather.
173rd uncovered weapons cache of 600 carbines, 8000 grenades with handles presumably Chinese.
September 23- Extracted remaining 173rd company. CA with Red 1 (received fire) made contact.
Diary- Battalion operation to pick up remaining company of 173rd. Lifted Red 1 into LZ NW of Tan Ba. Took fire on the let down and suppressed with rockets, M-5 and guns. Two ships took hits. One Bandit had hydraulics shot out and made a running landing on the taxi-way. Red 1 has suffered 3 critical casualties so far.
To top it off Capt. T got his tail chewed royally for expending rockets because they are so scarce.
No telling how many lives may have been saved though by using rockets on the approach.
September 24- Lt Team standby at Lai Kye 173rd
Diary- Lt Team standby for 173rd at Lai Kye. The bombers hit a mile or two west of Lai Kye and rocked the ground the whole morning. We sat on the ground for about 3 hours and then left for home.
September 25- Lt. Team overhead cover Big Red 1 search & destroy operation Leppersarium.
Diary- Lt Team overhead cover for Red 1 west of Tan Uyen near Leppersarium. They found tunnels, boots, cotton and food. We took fire same area 3 days ago where a gunner was wounded. No hits or injuries in our case though.
September 26- flew 4:50 day and 1:00 night but no data.
September 27- CA battalion size to Bao Bang NW of Lai Kye and east area.
Diary- lifted 3 Red Hat battalions in AM to LZ between Bo La and Lai Kye. Low leveled almost the entire route due to weather. Slicks took fire and threw smoke. I responded with a pair of rockets into the area fire was received. A few commanders were kind of annoyed since the command was not to use any rockets since production had stopped on them.
September 28- Extraction of 503rd and Aussies.
Diary- Extracted elements of the 173rd Airborne and Aussie units from Lai Kye plantation and Bao Bang.
September 29- Local
Diary- Had the day off from flying but spent the day working on ammo basic load.
September 30- CA Tay Ninh
Diary- CA NW of Tay Ninh Mt. Lifted 240 ARVN troops into an area of suspected regiment size VC force. B-52s carpet bombed the woods around the LZ and in the objective area where a field hospital was reported.
October 1- River indoctrination program and airfield recon.
Diary- Lt Team river indoctrination program Tan An.
Shot up 6 sampans.
October 2-4 Vung Tau R & R
October 3- 3 companies of 173rd AB were lifted into D Zone 8ks east of Tan Uyen for 3 day operation.
October 4- 5 men out a 6 man patrol of the Big Red 1 were killed in a VC ambush. They were returning from a recon and were walking down the middle of the road as I only thought the ARVN did. Zap, they were caught off guard and nailed.
Also 5 men were injured one seriously from the 173rd AB.
October 5- Lt Team Cover 173rd operation.
Diary- Had Lt Team with 173rd AB. We escorted Dust Off and Air Force rescue choppers into D Zone to carry out med-evacs. 173rd had 24 men casualties today. They estimated running into 2 Cong companies.
October 6- Lt Team III Corps standby.
Diary- Lt Team III Corps emergency stand by. Called out to check out 50 cal and M-79 fire near Red 1 CP near university. Checked out to be ARVN maneuvers. Extracted 173rd from D Zone.
October 8- CA near Iron Triangle. Lifted 2 battalions of 173rd.
Diary- 5 company CA into Iron Triangle west of Ben Cat. Lifted 2 173rd battalions. Took quite a bit of fire around the LZ but no hits reported.
October 9- Reports- Red 1 convoy on road near Phouc Hoa traveling at night was hit. They took 26 WIA and 1 KIA. Armed ship cover added to some of the casualties by firing into a friendly area.
October 10- Lt Team standby
Diary- Lt Team standby at Phouc Vinh in support of Red 1 staged at Phouc Hoa.
October 11- CA staged at Phouc Hoa. My aircraft was hit in fuel cell. Fuel completely drained.
Diary- CA staged at Phouc Hoa with Red 1. Slicks took fire first just off the west end of the runway. My ship took one hit in the right fuel cell crossover sleeve so we had to land right away. The tanks completely drained in about :20 minutes.
We got another ship and joined the flight. The LZ was 7 ks NW of Phouc Hoa just west of Song Be River. Fire was also received in the LZ area.
October 12- Reports- the 173rd still in the Iron Triangle have now killed 85 Cong and captured over 100. About 100 casualties were reported from the 173rd. Concrete bunkers were reported in the jungle area.
October 13- CA to extract 173rd from Iron Triangle.
Diary- Extracted 173rd from Iron Triangle. They got into it a little bit deeper than they could handle. The Aussies remained east of the river.
The F-100 support today was real fine. The napalmed and strafed the road area west of the LZ while the extraction was going on.
October 16- training lift with 3rd Brigade 1st Div.
Diary- no data 10/16-10/20
October 17- day off
October 18- Psy-war chase afternoon Tan An
October 20- flew 912 to Vung Tau for Rocket wiring repair.
October 21- Psy-war chase . Pitch change link 949 broke loose causing severe vibration.
Diary- psy-war chase. a/c 949 developed severe vibration on take-off. We could barely read the instruments. After immediately landing and surveying the problem we found bearing gone and metal to metal contact of pitch change link. One bushing was all that held the blade together.
October 22- Lt Team standby CA for convoy.
October 23- Lt Team overhead cover CA to Duc Hoa.
CWO Van Sherrill KIA at Duc Hoa.
Diary- CWO Sherrill on approach near Duc Hoa going in for med-evac. Was shot in the neck and killed. Lift into Duc Hoa in the afternoon. 2nd lift in the LZ 5 mortars hit the LZ. WO Matlas was wounded seriously. A 120th ship burned in the LZ. 3 Bandits were hit. 32 got his controls shot up and had to make a running landing.
No more data for the remainder of the tour.
The pages that follow were researched, copied and documented here as tribute to those who were lost or still missing from the 1964-1965 time frame.
These report are listed in chronological order.
An entirely new document called Remembrance will be included. Because of the 2 column formatting the next pages will all be single column.
to view chart of those KIA during Ralph Orlando's tour †
†Click here to view Remembrance info Ralph put together
†Back to to HISTORY REPORTS page