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190th AHC - Golden Flight (1st Lift Platoon) 190th Assault Helicopter CompanyDanny,It just came about as chatter on the radio during Combat assaults. I kept sayin Golden, when inserts an liftoffs were synchronous, and generally as they should be. The slicks wereairborne for the end of the TAC Air Prep and were able to roll in withthe gun prep.
The smoke ship, compensating for wind flew parallel andslightly ahead of the slick lead on final blocking the tree line to thenorth from view of the flight. On lift - off Chalk 8 received fire and marked with smoke. The directionand distance of fire was estimated and the area was engaged by theGladiators (Gun platoon).
He was going to put it down on the spot but received AW fire and he moved to a more secure area. Confusion resulted later in the day about the position of the ships in the formation. The AC's have been instructed to take their physical number by countingin the formation and to use that.
All formations are to be by SOP unlessdirected so by flight lead.Whenever possible move the aircraft from the LZ site when in difficultyif the site is not positively secure.
Cancellare 31 December 67 CA 06 + 30 23 sorties Insert and Extract 1st PLT had lead1 LZ, tall trees V of 5 No prep, only suitable LZ in the area -extremely hazardous received AW fire lst lift into LZ 2nd lift receivedsniper fire on approach to PZ in Vo Xu. The timing of all prep and inbound leg of final approachshould be very closely coordinated. 2ndsortie trail around northern edge of LZ along tree line with fullsuppression on left side. Went in cold in conjunctionwith other AHC (Boomerangs) simultaneous insertions from oppositedirections (Ys470928) Simultaneous landings excellent use of airmobileconcept. The smoke ship must be as low as possible and must have sufficientlead on slicks to have its cover at ground level when slicks are onshort final.3.
Opns Officer made jokes about the gravity of the situationand possibility of strong enemy forces in the area. Remarked, "Should bea lot of incident bullet damage." No one appreciated these flippantremarks. 2 LZs and 1 PZ originally set up for 90 sorties only 77actually inserted. LZ 1 was prepped and flight went in. Smoke ship used with good results howevermade five (5) lifts into the LZ- all same heading - could have been amassacre if they had been waiting. One ran into thetail rotor of chalk 8 with a Bangalore torpedo, knocked the tail rotorand 90o gear box off which struck a man running behind him.
Curious thing about this is that it doesn'thappen more often - ground troops always keep their heads down whenrunning or walking near an aircraft.
Connelly 5 JAN 68 CA 32 sorties Insert and extract 08 + 45 The object of theday's mission was to insert search and destroy elements in two locationsand a search and destroy and blocking force in a third location. The refuelfacilities at Blackhorse - the nearest to TAOR (30 minutes) were so slowthat a 160 lb difference resulted among aircraft in the flight. Later inthe day aircraft refueling first were shut down so the other aircraft inthe flight would be at equal levels after refueling.LZ l, 3 flts from Vo Xu 1 f1t from Vo DatCoordinates YT822378 There was an exceptionally good air and arty prep in this LZ, 1 Hrduration total. Elephant grass 8 - 10 ft high wasthroughout the area and 60 - 80 foot trees were interspersed throughoutthe LZ with 60 - 80 ft barriers surrounding the LZ. Troops offloaded rapidly YT830264LZ 2 had 20 to 30 foot obstacles but was suitable for 10 ships. No time was set for pickup and sufficient time was not allowedfor the slicks to take the safest route to the PZ.
80 men. LZ 3 YT825452 was a burned out village very dusty and full of ash anddead tall trees. Smoke was used and gun coverage was adequate.The flight refueled once during the previous sequence of events and onceafter.
The flight stood by at Vo Dat, a very poorly secured and exposedrunway which is extremely dusty.Extractions were commenced at 1500 hours with one refuel stop after thefirst 4 extractions.
After all were loaded a 7 man group wadedthrough 4 - 5 ft grass and chalk 7 was forced to hover up to the group.This caused the flight to spend 4 minutes on the ground in a unsecuredarea. There were no barriers in the PZ and it wentsmoothly except for the time spent in the PZ.The second extraction was at location YT815423. Dust and ash caused 4 aircraft to go around because ofthe obstacles and the IFR conditions produced by the approach of thefirst five ships.The pickup was made down wind and with the existing obstacles was verydifficult for all of the aircraft to negotiate. The flight refueled andthe C&C asked the ground commander to move the troops 200 meterssouthwest to a much more suitable PZ.
On the first extraction in this PZ one aircraft got a treestrike and had to return to Bien Hoa.
Obstacles natural and artificial 8-m- 100 ft tall had to be threaded through to land to the troops. There was norecon of the LZ in advance to forecast difficulties which could have beenavoided. The results were that 2 of the LZ's and one of the PZs wereunacceptable for the number of aircraft involved or the use in anairmobile operation.
This was borne out by the fact that two aircraftreceived blade damage in both insertions and extractions and numerous goa rounds were caused by the obstacles and ground conditions in the LZsand PZs.
Refuel facilities are too far distant for efficient andexpeditious completion of the mission.
If the enemy hadbeen in the area, it would have given him plenty of time to set up forthe flight.
This is going to cause someserious results, one of these days.At FSB Dave which was one of our PZs, the troops were supposed to bepicked up in a staggered trail. The PZ also had many stumps, fences andlarge pieces of wood and ponchos which could easily take off a tailrotor. Crew had wiped thewindshield but done so inadequately, result was impaired vision becomingmuch more apparent during hover and take off. A 180o or 90o turn could put your tail into the followingaircraft even though you remain over the area marked for your skids. Always ascertainyou have adequate room before entering a POL point and make your turnslow enough to allow the crew ample time to clear your tail. The nextincident occurred in PZ #2 and wasn't an isolated incident withoutprecedent- it has happened before.
Just a poor grunt with no FMor UHF receiver, unable to discern what was happening, didn't know whatto do. Finally realizing predicament he went through the usualprocedure of trying; to get on every aircraft but the right one. Duringthe course of events chalk 9's troops decided to unload and at thispoint nobody knew what was happening.
The lesson learnedhere is that before kicking a grunt off ascertain you have a place forhim to go. I often envision the ground forces as beingsomewhat inflexible and thought that asking for a change would betantamount to asking for confusion.
There were numerous times howeverwhich they were requested to realign their troops on different azimuthsin the PZs and did so with little difficulty. The preceding points arethose which remain foremost in my mind on this particular operation.Steven O. Curious thing about this is that it doesn'thappen more often - ground troops always keep their heads down whenrunning or walking near an aircraft. Connelly 5 JAN 68 CA 32 sorties Insert and extract 08 + 45 The object of theday's mission was to insert search and destroy elements in two locationsand a search and destroy and blocking force in a third location. The results were that 2 of the LZ's and one of the PZs wereunacceptable for the number of aircraft involved or the use in anairmobile operation.
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