2008 Calendar

This is the fifteenth calendar produced by the VHPA. Turner Publishing of Paducah, KY printed, marketed, and distributed this issue. This issue, as did many previous issues, commemorated the 2,198 helicopter pilots who died or were declared MIA (missing in action) in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam Era (1961 through 1975). Please note that this number varies slightly as we learn more. The goal of the VHPA Calendar is to refresh the memories of all those who flew and worked on helicopters in Vietnam, and to record, preserve and display the events and activities that were important to those who served in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War. If a reader has additional information about any photo in this calendar, please submit it to Mike Law in care of the VHPA or law@vhpa.org

Click on an image to see the full size image

Owner Pete Baxter, Copyright owner The VHPA
Cover Photo

VHPA member Pete Baxter took this photo during a C Company, 227th Aviation Battalion, 1st Air Cavalry Division combat assault about April 1967 southeast of Bong Son in II Corps. While the Huey’s door guns are not firing, some else was. Notice the tracer round near the heel of the left skid!

Owner Ed Lemp , Copyright owner The VHPA
E/82nd Arty’s Flight Line

Battery E (Avn) 82nd Artillery, 1st Air Cavalry Division at the ‘Golf Course’ - May 1966. This photo was taken by VHCMA member Ed Lemp who served as an OH-13S and UH-1B Crew Chief with E/82nd Artillery. As best we can determine, Battery ‘E’ had 12 OH-13S (one for each of the 1st Cav’s tube artillery batteries, 4 UH-1s (they flew Command & Control for Division Artillery and the Artillery Battalions), and 6 O-1s Bird Dogs (after Dec 1965). You can easily see that these were still the days of white name tags and colored patches on the uniforms. This is the January photo for this calendar.

Owner Ed Lemp , Copyright owner The VHPA
Preflighting OH-13S

An E/82nd Arty crew preflighting an OH-13S on the Golf Course flight line. This is a small photo for the January calendar.

Owner Ed Lemp , Copyright owner The VHPA
Transporting a captured VC

An E/82nd Arty crew is preparing to transport a VC prisoner captured near an artillery fire base to the interrogation point in an OH-13S. This is a small photo for the January calendar.

Owner Jim Messinger , Copyright owner The VHPA
A 174th AHC Combat Assault

1st Platoon, 174th AHC (Assault Helicopter Company) conducting a Combat Assault (CA) north of Duc Pho - Summer of 1967. These photos were taken VHPA member Jim Messinger. He wrote, “Our company had two lift platoons. One platoon had a CA nearly every morning. Between six and nine Hueys would insert a rifle company. On this day I was flying with a new Aircraft Commander, so I was in the right seat and left him with all the flying while I snapped the pictures. For some time I wanted to get a sequence of pictures during a CA, but most of the time it was just too hazardous to be working with a camera. This day I was successful.” This is the February photo for this calendar.

Owner Jim Messinger , Copyright owner The VHPA
LZ Prep Complete

One of the first photos in the sequence Jim took during this CA. This is a small photo for the February calendar.

Owner Jim Messinger , Copyright owner The VHPA
Grunts Delivered

One of the last photos in the sequence Jim took during this CA. This is a small photo for the February calendar.

Owner Joyce Ussery , Copyright owner The VHPA
In come the Cobras Out go the Bravos

A AH-1G from B Battery, 2/20th Aerial Rocket Artillery (ARA), 1st Cavalry Division - July 1968. These photos were taken by SGT Carol (Carl) B. Ussery possibly at LZ Jane. Carl was killed on 9/28/1968 while riding in a C/227th AHB 1st CAV Huey that crashed and burned during a resupply mission. Prior to his death, Carl met his wife, Joyce, in Hawaii on R&R and gave her some 35-mm film to have developed. Joyce loaned the slides to the VHPA. Though Carl served with HHC and Company A, 1/5th Cav he was fascinated with helicopters and obviously spent some time with B/2/20th ARA. We believe this Cobra is #67-15525. It was destroyed on 12/4/1969.

Owner Joyce Ussery , Copyright owner The VHPA
In come the Cobras Out go the Bravos

A UH-1B from B Battery, 2/20th Aerial Rocket Artillery (ARA), 1st Cavalry Division - July 1968. This photo appears as the left side of the collage that makes up the March photo for this calendar.

Owner Russ Warrier , Copyright owner The VHPA
C Battery, 2/20th ARA, 1st Cav at LZ Evans - 1966 - 1968

VHCMA and Blue Max Aerial Rocket Artillery Association member, Russ Warrier, provided this photo of #64-14054 with a CS gas ejection canister to compliment the 24-shot rocket pod. A larger version of this photo appeared in the 2003 VHPA Calendar. This version is a small photo for the March calendar.

Owner Russ Warrier , Copyright owner The VHPA
C Battery, 2/20th ARA, 1st Cav at LZ Evans - 1968

This photo shows #64-14054 equipped with the Maxwell SS-11 system. Russ took this photo of VHPA member WO Edwin W. Fuller at LZ Evans in 1968. A larger version of this photo appeared in the 2003 VHPA Calendar. This version is a small photo for the March calendar.

Owner Scott Estabrook, Copyright owner The VHPA
A Deuce Lifts A Dog!

A CH-37C lifts UH-34D Bureau Number 150250 from HMM-361 - 6 April 1966. Pop A Smoke member Scott Estabrook provided the two large photos. Former USMC mechanic Earl ‘Frenchy’ Caillouet wrote: “After these pictures were taken, my friend, Dale, and I were stripping the rotor head off to lighten it up because the Deuce failed to lift the ‘34. We took sniper fire, dived off the clamshell and hid behind a rice paddy dike. This started a whole series of escalations and ended up with a company on the ground and '34's and Hueys everywhere. Later a Chinook recovered the ’34.” The faithful UH-34D was formerly known as the HUS; so it had two nicknames “Huss” and “Dog.” They were a joy to fly. All H–34 pilots and aircrews hold a special place in their hearts for the “Dog.” The CH-37C was formerly known as the HR2S; hence the nickname “Deuce.” The Marines deployed about six to eight CH-37Cs to Vietnam in mid-1965. This photo appears as the base of the collage that makes up the April photo for this calendar.

Owner Scott Estabrook, Copyright owner The VHPA
UH-34D ready for extraction

Pop A Smoke member Scott Estabrook provided this photo of UH-34D Bureau Number 150250 from HMM-361 ready for extraction. This photo appears as the left side of the collage that makes up the April photo for this calendar.

Owner Allen C. ‘A.C.’ Daniel , Copyright owner The VHPA
Last flight of the Deuces in Vietnam at Da Nang - May 1967

Former USMC mechanic Allen C. ‘A.C.’ Daniel from HMM-361 took this photo. He wrote: “The last flyable Deuces made a flight over Marble Mountain, landed and taxied to the bone yard where they were left for the junk man. They deserved a better fate.” This version is a small photo for the April calendar.

Owner Brian Foote , Copyright owner The VHPA
This is Shrimpboat 76

Shrimpboat 76 from the 197th Assault Support Helicopter Company (ASHC) - March 1967. VHPA member Brian Foote took this photo at a Pickup Zone (PZ) named “3 Tango” west of Pleiku. Brian wrote: ‘We were supporting the 4th Infantry Division. Our procedure was to send out a number of Chinooks each day. We had the first Chinook take out a jeep with radio and an experienced pilot who we referred to as the Air Mission Commander (AMC). The AMC would be the person who coordinated with the units/people on the ground on the loads they had and their destinations. The AMC would then pass that info (unit coordinates, unit call signs, FM frequencies, etc.) to our aircraft flying the missions. I was the AMC this day. This Chinook (CH-47A #65-07976) picked up a 105 Howitzer as you can see. The strap under the Howitzer was connected to an additional load (in a tarp) that contained about 20 rounds of 105 ammo plus the 105 crew's sectional equipment (aiming stakes, etc.). The pick up procedure was to approach the load from behind, hover up to the Howitzer and hook it up. The Flight Engineer or Crew Chief (who was laying on his stomach looking down through a hatch just above the cargo hook) would then direct the pilot to move up (taking the slack out of the strap) and above the secondary load - hence the name "a Piggy Back" load. Our primary customer in those times was the Artillery. I would say 80-90% of our missions in those early years were devoted to Artillery Support.’ The VHPA Helicopter database states that 976 crashed, burned and was destroyed on 7 May 1967 after taking a hit in an engine from an enemy round. This is the May photo for this calendar.

Owner Brian Foote , Copyright owner The VHPA
This is Shrimpboat 76

This is the small photo for the month of May in this calendar. It shows another view of the same pick-up operation described in the main photo for the month.

Owner Greg Ferris , Copyright owner The VHPA
Welcome to the USS Iwo Jima (LPH-2) HMM-363’s home in early 1968

UH-34Ds from HMM-363 on the USS Iwo Jima (LPH-2) off I Corps - February 1968. Pop A Smoke member Greg Ferris took these photos while serving with HMM-363. The USS Iwo Jima (LPH-2) was the first ship designed from the keel up as an amphibious assault ship. It was commissioned in 1961 and made six deployments to Southeast Asia. The ship carried a squadron of 24 Marine helicopters (at this time it was HMM-363) plus a Battalion Landing Team of 1500 Marines (at this time it was the 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines). The combined unit of the ship, helicopters, and infantry were called a Special Landing Force (SLF). For several years there were two SLF’s based off Vietnam. You are looking at SLF - Alpha. The helicopter crews ‘enjoyed’ their time on the LPHs because the living conditions were better than on land plus they didn’t get mortared! This photo is the base for the three photo collage that is the June photo for this calendar.

Owner Greg Ferris , Copyright owner The VHPA
Refueling an HMM-363 UH-34D on the USS Iwo Jima (LPH-2) - early 1968

A UH-34Ds from HMM-363 refuels on the USS Iwo Jima (LPH-2) off I Corps - early 1968. This photo is the left photo for the three photo collage that is the June photo for this calendar.

Owner Greg Ferris , Copyright owner The VHPA
Landing on the USS Iwo Jima (LPH-2) - early 1968

Landing on the USS Iwo Jima (LPH-2) off I Corps - early 1968. This photo is the right photo for the three photo collage that is the June photo for this calendar.

Owner Greg Ferris , Copyright owner The VHPA
Landing on the USS Iwo Jima (LPH-2) - early 1968

A UH-34Ds from HMM-363 lands on the USS Iwo Jima (LPH-2) off I Corps - early 1968. This photo is the small photo for June in this calendar.

Owner Dan ‘Bink’ Binkley , Copyright owner The VHPA
Love at first sight!

A Robinhood UH-1H from the 173rd Assault Helicopter Company at Lai Khe - July 1967. VHCMA member Dan ‘Bink’ Binkley provided these photos, the pocket patch, and his story. “I remember walking down the revetment area with my platoon sergeant to be assigned my Huey. It was a case of ‘Love at first sight’ for sure! I was glad to be a Robinhood! I will never forget the 1st of September. I had the day off because my ship was down for its PE (periodic examination - a detailed inspection every 300 flight hours) but was told, ‘Bink, you’re flying today as Bart Jarvis’s gunner.’ We were going to fly ash and trash and I was OK with that. We made a few sorties before finally coming to Dion to haul supplies out to the field. We were directed to pick up some wounded ARVNs, a few Americans, some blocks of ice and bananas. The AC was CW2 BA Nakamura and WO1 KL Demaranv the other pilot. The CE was PFC Lanny Bart Jarvis. Fully loaded and the air was hot, we pulled pitch and seemed to have enough power. As we attempted to get some forward airspeed the over speed noises came screaming from the engine, the rotor started losing RPMs and the tail came around to the left as we approached a dirt pile. A second later our skid hit the dirt pile and we rolled over into a ditch. I found myself crouched over in the ditch with the aircraft over top of me and some of the passengers. I was standing in JP-4 and noticed the engine was still running. Bart helped me out of the ditch. While he helped pull the rest of the passengers out, I got CW2 Nakamura out of his seat. I remember yelling at everyone that it was going to blow and WHAM, CAPOW - it did. The last time I saw UH-1D #65-09591 it was burning fiercely and cooking off ammo. One of the Robinhood aircraft picked us up for a ride home to Lai Khe. When we landed, my aircraft was sitting in its revetment and we were in the air in less than an hour with the same crew.” This is the base photo of a two-photo collage that make up the July photo for this calendar.

Owner Dan ‘Bink’ Binkley , Copyright owner The VHPA
The end of UH-1D #65-09591

UH-1D #65-09591 burning up near Dion - 1 Sep 1967. This is the right insert photo of a two-photo collage that make up the July photo for this calendar.

Owner Dan ‘Bink’ Binkley , Copyright owner The VHPA
Bink’s office

A view of Bink’s M-60 machine gun on a Robinhood UH-1H - 1967. This is the small photo for the month of July for this calendar.

Owner Scott Estabrook , Copyright owner The VHPA
You are looking at an Angel! (place in the water area at the top, center of the photo)

A US Navy UH-2B Seasprite from HC-1 on the Princeton - August 1966. This photo was taken former USMC crew member Scott Estabrook while landing in a UH-34 on the USS Princeton off the coast of I Corps Vietnam. VHPA Member George Kirsten, who provided the HC-1 patch and flew Seasprites on two cruises in the Tonkin Gulf, states: ‘Everyone in HC-1 used the radio call sign Angel. The HC-1 patch was special - note the hand reaching from the sky to the bleeding hand reaching up from the sea! Normally each Detachment had three UH-2s, with eight pilots, a maintenance Warrant Officer, and 32 enlisted men. Whenever the carrier conducted landings and takeoffs, one of our ships was aloft for SAR (Search and Rescue). Night or day, good or bad weather, we pulled four-hour missions. During a standard nine-month cruise I logged about 500 hours.’ This aircraft, bureau number 150153, was destroyed on 4 Oct 1967 while on an over the water rescue and recovery mission. George flew the twin engine UH-2C. This image was the August photo for this calendar.

Owner George Kirsten , Copyright owner The VHPA
HC-1 Det-1 on the USS Enterprise

The HC-1 Det –1 team on the USS Enterprise - 1968. This was one of two small photos for the month of August in this calendar.

Owner George Kirsten , Copyright owner The VHPA
A UH-2C lifts off the USS Enterprise

One of HC-1 Det-1’s three UH-2C Seasprites - 1968. This was the second small photo for the month of August in this calendar.

Owner Dave Rittman , Copyright owner The VHPA
A Wagon Wheel CA!

UH-1Ds from C Company, 229th Assault Helicopter Battalion, 1st Cavalry Division - August 1967. VHPA member Dave Rittman took these photos. The large one shows a combat assault (CA) some place in II Corps. Over the years the VHPA has published literally dozens of Dave’s photos. We can only hope that Dave was as good a pilot as he was a photographer - because he took some outstanding photos! This was the September photo for this calendar.

Owner Dave Rittman , Copyright owner The VHPA
A UH-1D with a spraying rig - 1967

A UH-1D from C Company, 229th AHB, 1st Cav working out of Phan Thiet in southern II Corps. This was one of two small photos for September in this calendar.

Owner Dave Rittman , Copyright owner The VHPA
A UH-1D at the refuel point - 1967

A UH-1D from C Company, 229th AHB, 1st Cav working out of Phan Thiet in southern II Corps. This was one of two small photos for September in this calendar.

Owner Ed Lemp , Copyright owner The VHPA
PEDRO 42

Air Force HH-43B at New Pleiku Air Base - March 1966. The color photo was taken Ed Lemp, a Crew Chief in Battery "E" (Avn), 82nd Artillery, 1st Air Cavalry Division. It shows HH-43B #62-4511 serving with Detachment 9 of the 38th Aerial Rescue and Recovery Squadron. The primary mission of these two aircraft detachments was local base rescue and recovery, but they also did combat medevacs. On 28 October 1966 pilot CPT Carlton Vermeys, co-pilot 2LT George H. 'Spike' Bonnell, III, flight engineer A2C Frances David Rice and PJ Allen Stanek were the crew of PEDRO 42 in this aircraft on a mission in the Ia Drang Valley about 35 miles west of Pleiku to medevac critically injured US Army 4th Infantry Division soldiers. Allen was on the ground loading the fourth man onto the hoist when an RPG hit the helicopter. Rice and the Army wounded were killed immediately or in the crash. Carlton and ‘Spike’ were seriously injured but rescued by the Infantry. Sadly ‘Spike’ died a few days later from his injuries. Both Carlton and Allen completed full careers in the Air Force. Mike McMillan, also a PJ, provided the insert 1970 photo of Tuy Hoa based Det 11, 38th ARRS. This collage was the October photo for this calendar.

Owner Mike McMillan , Copyright owner The VHPA
Air Force HH-43B on a training flight

This was one of two small photos for the month of October in this calendar.

Owner Mike McMillan , Copyright owner The VHPA
Force HH-43B in flight

This was one of two small photos for the month of October in this calendar.

Owner Jim Oden , Copyright owner The VHPA
Big Mother

CH-54A #67-18418 from the 478th Heavy Helicopter Company at Da Nang - October 1968. VHPA member Jim Oden provided these photos that describe one of the most interesting helicopter stories from Vietnam. The full story appeared in the Nov/Dec, 1996 VHPA Newsletter. Jim deployed with the 478th as part of the 1st Cav in 1965 and served one year with them. Prior to his second tour, again with the 478th, he went to Ft. Rucker as part of a joint Army/Air Force effort to use surplus 10,000-lb. bombs to blow instant LZs. They developed the drop tactics and techniques. In Sep 1968 we joined the 478th HHC, the UPTIGHT HURRICANES, based at Red Beach, north of Da Nang. Though they continued to support the 1st Air Cav Division, they were controlled by III MAF. Their first drop was west of Hue where the ground commanders wanted it placed on top of a tree covered hill. What a blast! The concussion shook the helicopter as if all the blades were out of track! Accuracy again left something to be desired as he believes they missed the hilltop by 120 meters. Eventually they dropped three more bombs, all near the western side of the DMZ in late September or early October. Only one, and it fell on a hillside, was, after a little clearing, used as an LZ. It was still was about 90 meters from where they wanted it. There were five people in the Skycrane: Jim was the AC, CWO Merle Handley the other pilot, CWO Marc Wilson the bombardier, SP5 Johnson the C.E., plus an Air Force observer name not recorded. The Air Force man took many of the pictures and gave copies to Jim. This collage was the November photo for this calendar.

Owner Jim Oden , Copyright owner The VHPA
Big Mother en route

This photo appears as the left most series of five small photos at the bottom of the collage for the month of November. It shows CH-54A #67-18418 en route to drop a 10,000-lb bomb.

Owner Jim Oden , Copyright owner The VHPA
Bomb leaving Big Mother

This photo appears second from the left in a series of five small photos at the bottom of the collage for the month of November. It shows the 10,000-lb bomb seconds after being dropped with the parachute beginning to deploy.

Owner Jim Oden , Copyright owner The VHPA
Bomb in the air

This photo appears third from the left in a series of five small photos at the bottom of the collage for the month of November. It shows the 10,000-lb bomb descending toward the ground.

Owner Jim Oden , Copyright owner The VHPA
Bomb near the ground

This photo appears fourth from the left in a series of five small photos at the bottom of the collage for the month of November. It shows the 10,000-lb bomb descending toward the ground.

Owner Jim Oden , Copyright owner The VHPA
Bang!

This photo appears as the right most in a series of five small photos at the bottom of the collage for the month of November. It shows the explosion of the 10,000-lb bomb.

Owner Jim Oden , Copyright owner The VHPA
The Bomb Sight

This is the first of two small photos for the month of November. It shows CW4 Jim Oden & Marc Wilson holding bomb sight used to the 10,000-lb bombs.

Owner Jim Oden , Copyright owner The VHPA
A 10,000-lb bomb at Fort Benning

This is the second of two small photos for the month of November. It shows a training flight with a 10,000-lb bomb in the States.

Owner Steven James , Copyright owner The VHPA
A Snake in the grass

A collage from H Troop 17th Cav taken at Kontum in early 1972. VHPA member Steven James provided these photos. The large photo shows AH-1G #68-17084 at Kontum ready to be rearmed. The photo was taken about June. Note the ‘toilet bowl’ - it defused the engine exhaust into the rotor wash. This helped defend against the heat seeking SA-7 missiles. This Cobra is armed with the 20-mm gun system. Concerning the need of a paint job, Steve says, ‘They didn't have time to make them pretty. They were being flown almost every day by one of a very few pilots. The reason the blade wasn't tied down was that we were subject to incoming at any moment and no one wanted to waste time before they could start up.’ The lower left photo shows OH-6A #67-16333. The pilot on the left is CPT Craig Smith, Scalphunter 15, then CPT Steven James, Pallbearer 32, and CPT Walter Moss, Scalphunter Lead, on the right. The lower center photos shows the remains of UH-1H #68-16498 shot down on 24 Apr just north of Kontum. VHPA member 1LT Frank Shipton, Pallbearer 38, was flying this ship. The lower right photo shows a line of OH-6As with CPT Melvin Finch walking away from the camera. On 30 Mar his OH-6A was shot down, he was captured and died as a POW. This collage is the December photo for this calendar.

Owner Steve Shepard , Copyright owner The VHPA
Firing off a pair!

A pair of 2.75” rockets fired from an H Troop 10th Cav Cobra - early 1972. VHPA member Steve Shepard provided this photo. It is one of two small photos for the month of December in this calendar.

Owner Steve Shepard , Copyright owner The VHPA
Steve’s Office!

The rear cockpit of an H Troop 10th Cav Cobra - early 1972. VHPA member Steve Shepard provided this photo. It is one of two small photos for the month of December in this calendar.

Owner Ed Lemp , Copyright owner The VHPA
Destroyed Helicopters OH-13S

This is the top left photo of the collage for the first bonus page for this calendar. It shows the remains of an E/82nd Arty OH-13S taken in Nov 1965 at LZ Falcon during the famous Battle of Ia Drang Valley. CPT Jimmy L. Person flew a code book to the artillery battery on the Falcon late in the afternoon the day before this picture was taken. While there the LZ was mortared and they got his ship. He is the African-American seen on the right side of the picture.

Owner Roger Patterson , Copyright owner The VHPA
Destroyed Helicopters UH-1D

This is the bottom left photo of the collage for the first bonus page for this calendar. It shows the remains of UH-1D #66-16565 from C/229th AHB 1 CAV taken on 28 Mar 1969 at Tay Ninh West. It was hit during a mortar attack the night before.

Owner Scott Estabrook , Copyright owner The VHPA
Destroyed Helicopters UH-34D

This is the top right photo of the collage for the first bonus page for this calendar. It was taken after the famous 27 Oct 1965 sapper attack on the Marine Corps airbase at Marble Mountain. It shows the remains of one of the six UH-34s destroyed in that attack. Nine others had major and 17 more minor damage during the attack.

Owner Scott Estabrook , Copyright owner The VHPA
Destroyed Helicopters UH-1E

This is the top right photo of the collage for the first bonus page for this calendar. It was taken after the famous 27 Oct 1965 sapper attack on the Marine Corps airbase at Marble Mountain. It shows the remains of one of 13 VMO-2 UH-1Es destroyed during that attack. Two more UH-1Es sustained major damage and another pair suffered less severe damage. The official USMC history states: ‘VMO-2 had only four flyable aircraft after the attack. Replacing the UH-1Es was especially difficult since the Marine Corps only had 18 UH-1Es that were not already in Vietnam.’

Owner Dave Rittman , Copyright owner The VHPA
Decca Nav Display

The Flight Log Display Head (or map) for the Decca Navigator Mark 8A AN/ASN-72 system mounted in a US Army UH-1D - August 1967. This photo was taken by VHPA member Dave Rittman during his tour with C/229th Aviation Battalion of the 1st Air Cav Division. Dave wrote: 'This photo is of the display map of the Decca Navigational approach to An Khe Golf Course in August 1967. The system was highly accurate and often invaluable in our day to day flying.' According to a Nov 1965 version of the Operating Instructions manual, the system had its own ground based radio transmission equipment, an aircraft mounted receiver and control box plus a computer that drove the flight log display head. Only a few aircraft in some units had the Decca equipment installed. Odds are that the average Vietnam helicopter pilot will tell you that he never saw the system working.