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Chopper Memories

Discussion in 'Vietnam Memories Photo Album' started by Guest, Mar 17, 2003.

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    Mithrandir
    Member
    Posts: 30
    (5/15/01 3:58:30 pm)
    | Del All Chopper Memories
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    CHOPPERS…..



    Anyone who was in SVN knows the sound of a chopper…..

    Some of us can tell a Huey from a Chinook from a Loach from a Crane from a Shikorsky….(even if I can't spell it!).

    Others, such as the SF guys…. only saw/heard them on insertion and extraction missions….

    Still others can’t tell shit!!

    The story begins……


    Imagine, if you will, a very hot dusty environment…. one with almost no breeze and incessant dust hanging low in the air, if not the burning poop pods that were everywhere

    This was Camp Evans…….

    A fairly large, sprawling camp, just chock full of all sort of sounds and smells on any given day..One day.. the sound of outgoing 175’s…..The next day rain……..sometimes a very deafening sound… other times soft and low…. easy on the ears..

    GP Medium tents everywhere….. sometimes with GP small tents attached…double roofed cook tents and GP large’s used for TAC/TOC areas….

    Most of the tents were pitched inside of holes scraped out by a engineer or Seabees ‘dozer…. some on side of hills and some in grave yards with 400 or 500 year old dates on them and scratchings of words we couldn’t read. The poor guys in the holes always had to abandon them when it rained…..they became our “swimming pools”…. cool water…. if you liked leeches!!!!!!

    However, I digress…..

    For those of you who either never heard too many choppers of only an occasional one, this presentation is for you….

    Right about TET, the infinite wisdom of the civilian leaders in the D.C. shit hole… decided to create a new kind of unit….. an “Airmobile” unit.

    Now… instead of creating out of thin air and testing it in the World first… they decided to create it from existing units already on the ground….

    And one of those units was the 101st Airborne Division. So one day, likening to God himself, they said “let there be AIRMOBILE” and all the chicken eagles puked!!!!

    But… like good soldiers from the sky… they did it… they did not LIKE it…. but they did it…

    However, I digress (slap me if I do that again OK??)…

    MISSION : move to LZ betty, provide support in force… ground mission ‘strike six’
    TIME : 0 dark thirty
    MOVEMENT : By rotor… main group by Huey… support by Chinook (today… sometimes it the other way around)


    04:00AM First troops are already up,
    Had potty break (Hey!!! I trying to keep in clean here!!)
    Had breakfast….
    Puked breakfast…
    Ate crackers…..
    Smoked at least ten cigarettes or two cigars or half a chaw…..(always get upwind of those guys!!)

    Now… a very, very low sound is wafting up from the pads behind you……

    Your holding area is at the top of a small hill, along one of the many roads in the area.

    You are looking north… toward your section of wire….. no time to get complacent about a sapper attack!!!

    The sound is coming from behind you in the south…..

    04:30AM Sound from the darkness is louder now….. whining of other engines begins…. you can pick out the Hueys now….

    the Sun starts to rise…….


    BRIGHT….SUDDEN…….HOT……

    the THUMP,THUMP,THUMP the of the Hueys gets louder…..

    You look back toward the south and you can see for miles!! 17 miles…as far back as Phu Bai and the “sisters” hill…the sea just barely glistens in the distance…. The first ten miles are full of Choppers!!! all kinds.....

    God what a sight!!!

    Suddenly… all the loaches are in the air… as if they just “jumped up” and were airborne……zipping here and there…. no pattern… just going out in front….. scouting out….. sniffers come next (loaches with noses, if you will)….. loaches with pods….

    They are all other frikkin’ place!!!!!

    The ground starts shaking now… BAD…..and the dust us rising like a fog off the ground … you look down and cannot see your feet…. too much dust in the air……Shit…. put your kerchief over your face……

    The first wave of Hueys start to cross over you…. slow…. methodical…. purposeful….LOUD!!!! THUMP,THUMP,THUMP,THUMP,THUMP,THUMP,THUMP, you are bustled buy their rotor wash… Damn Tom… keep your cover on!!!!

    36 of them in a wedge formation…. like a giant squad of geese taking off…

    Row two…..
    five seconds later
    Row three….
    five seconds later
    Row four….
    five seconds later
    Row five has the General and staff…….
    Tiger teeth painted on the Huey…
    101st logos on both side six foot tall!! couldn’t miss them if you tried!!! …
    it has Quad chain-guns on it.,…
    the other don’t…..
    Row six

    Row seven

    12 rows is all … 36 chops to a row other than the staff row….396 Hueys……


    As they fade into the distance…. the noise recedes as does the dust…… you are covered with it from head to toe….

    DAMNIT….I HAVEN’T EVEN GOT OUT OF CAMP YET!!!!!


    Now we walk down to our Chinooks….. they begin revving up when they see us moving toward them….


    Our turn next,…….

    How about you guys...... any memories????



    out


    Edited by: Mithrandir at: 5/16/01 11:24:54 am

    Copr6
    Senior Chief Moderator III
    Posts: 173
    (5/15/01 5:29:17 pm)
    | Del Re: Chopper Memories
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    When ever there is a bad accident within our city/county they are always either taken by chopper to Jackson or Memphis. And what kind comes flying in? You got it!! The best sound.

    gorourke
    V.I.P. Member
    Posts: 23
    (5/15/01 8:14:06 pm)
    | Del Re: Chopper Memories
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    Mith,

    I took this photo during an Eagle Flight looking for the bad guys along the Cambodian border. You can see Cambodia on the other side of the Vam Co Dong River. We were working the area around the Sugar Mill on the banks of the Vam Co Dong and a large swamp. They would drop us off, if the LZ was cold we would patrol some, if no action they would pick us up and we would do it all over again at a new location. This day was easy, one guy tripped a Mackerel Can booby trap jumping off the slick and we had to dust him off, other then that I shot my camera instead of my Colt.

    P. Gary
    [​IMG]

    longshot1
    Moderator
    Posts: 33
    (5/15/01 9:45:14 pm)
    | Del Re: Chopper Memories
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    I lived with that sound every single day and we never felt good dropping any of you guys off.
    At least not compared to picking you up, planned or unplanned.

    I saw the picture posted of the slick. How does one do that?

    NickG

    Copr6
    Senior Chief Moderator III
    Posts: 174
    (5/15/01 10:28:06 pm)
    | Del Re: Chopper Memories
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    Nick...I have wondered the same thing about posting a pic. To the left of this message is a link that you click on, but once I'm there I can't understand what I'm reading!

    gorourke
    V.I.P. Member
    Posts: 25
    (5/15/01 10:42:07 pm)
    | Del Re: Chopper Memories
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    Nick,

    First you have to up-load the photo to a site that will host your photo album. I use a site provided by Hewlett Packard called Cartogra. It’s free and it works great. I down loaded a wizard from HP that sends my photos from my hp scanner directly to Cartogra without having to save them on my PC first. Here is the web address of Cartogra,

    www.cartogra.com/home/home.asp

    After you have a photo in your album, right click over the photo you wish to post and select “Properties” from the menu. You will see the Address (URL) of the photo, select and copy the address.

    Now, to post the photo, place the URL as shown:

    "image"URL"/image" replace the " " with [ ] in your post .

    And the photo will appear in the body of your post.

    Good luck, P. Gary


    Edited by: gorourke at: 5/15/01 11:57:51 pm

    Mithrandir
    V.I.P. Member
    Posts: 32
    (5/16/01 8:56:39 am)
    | Del Re: Chopper Memories
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    Longshot1....

    You a rotor guy?????

    From all of us that were in and out of your care while in VN..... thanks.....

    only had two chops come down on us......but that's another story.....

    gorourke...
    thanks for the picture......

    out

    Edited by: Mithrandir at: 5/16/01 11:40:39 am

    Mithrandir
    V.I.P. Member
    Posts: 34
    (5/16/01 11:41:34 am)
    | Del Re: Chopper Memories
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    CHOPPERS…..part II


    Still have no idea why WE are going on this one…..and why the hell are ALL the Hueys in the air???? only about 5 or 6 are still on the ground…… this is NOT NORMAL!!!!!

    As the dust begins to settle…. the SGM emerges from one of the tents close to the road and bellows MOVE OUT!!!!!

    We had already shouldered our rucks and were shuffling down the hill toward the Chinooks……

    Word is… Sticks 1 & 2 go to the first Chinook and 3 & 4 to the next and so forth….

    As my team enters number one…… only one thought enters our minds….

    DAMNIT!!! we got the “leaker” again!!!!! this Chinook has a serious fuel leak in the rear motor housing… the fuel is toxic…….…… why us all the time!! can we go into a CS chamber please????? anything but this bird!!!! …two guys start to puke……my stomach begins turn over in my chest while I consider being next to puke…..we all had decided long ago that the crew for this old bird was either seriously physically & mentally impaired or aliens…. the fuel didn’t seem to bother THEM!!

    After a few minutes the old bird starts to rise, doors open, ramp half down and the wind rushes through the doors and cleans the air for us…. GOOD…… head clears…. stomach settles down…. nausea gone…..will not puke now……

    The alien in the Nomex suit talks to the SGM……

    After a few minutes the SGM calls me and the other stick leader to the front…. We are going to be in the air for two hours, not thirty minutes…. and surprise!!! the mission has changed…….leave all the gear on the bird and dump the Claymores into your rucks… use the bags for mags and drop the 2 & 4 Qt water bladders…..keep the WP & smoke…..

    Now I am getting nervous….. drop the Claymores means no perimeter…we won’t be staying the night….dropping the water means this will be a SHORT mission (well THAT’S good news… I …. I think)… and another alien starts opening the metal cans that sit in a line down in middle of the bird…… now I am beyond nervous… the cans are full of mags…. loaded…… we start taking as many as we can carry…. in the bags, inside our pockets… inside our blouses… this means a firefight….. a guaranteed firefight….A BIG MF FIREFIGHT!!!

    Pucker factor now is officially at 9!! This mission was rated at 4……Who the hell authorized this shit!!!!

    Obviously whatever I had been through up till this mission was nothing compared to what must be coming…. looked over at the NUGS….. they have no idea…. not one frikkin’ clue as to what is going on… the old guys are prepping…. EVERYTHING being tied down, taped up, and so forth…..one NUG is just scratching his crotch… I think that he is the one that had just come in from Korea and may have brought friends with him...

    Alien talks to the SGM again….. OK GUYS…. ALL THE CANS OUT THE BACK… we begin passing the cans to the rear alien who promptly throws the cans out the back….(always wondered how many NVA we got with THAT trick!!- I could imagine some old farmer working in his paddy when one of those cans takes out a couple of his chickens!!)… OK… NOW ….PUT THE SEATS UP…..

    Well shit….. we got to stand for two frikkin hours????… we are Airborne for Gods sake… at least let us jump!!!!

    Now the NUGS are beginning to ask questions…. no one will tell them anything…..Chopper suddenly lurches up!!…. everyone is now on the floor…… OK.. so lean against me for support.. back to back… and try to relax…..

    Alien talks to SGM…. SGM shouts… LOCK & LOAD…. FACE THE BACK……GUNNERS TO THE REAR!!!! the two M60 guys shuffle to the front of the bird and then turn back to be at the end of the line and sit down…..TWO MINUTES…..

    JHC!!!!! what even happened to being in the air for two hours !!!! oh… yeah…. time flies too doesn’t it……

    DAMN!!!! the old bird lurches UP THEN DOWN… then levels out…. we are dropping now….. well now… ain’t that a great sight to behold….. no rear door anymore…..no one hurt but still…. the rear alien seems to have lost his door!!

    HEAD COUNT!!!!!! no one missing…….STAND UP……..ONE MINUTE……..


    The bird is two foot above the ground now….. time to go…….out…… and into standard defense formation……one stick to the left one to the right….. I see the other birds have disgorged our people and are already on the way up…

    wait……

    wait…..

    something is wrong……

    Jesus!!…. bird six is not there…….oh… wait….. here it comes…… just a little slow I guess…….

    Well …..hell… sometime IS wrong with it…. the bird comes in too fast and slams into the ground just shy of bird five……front rotor sails off into the trees……. everyone is coming out……. crew out the back door with them…… oh…. now we see the problem……. no nose……. pilot & co-pilot seats and all are gone……. the bird landed on her own…..(later report was that she took and RPG directly in the nose…. no one else was hurt)


    Perimeter is set….. Chinooks move off…..SGM shouts… NO FIRING…… NOT TILL I TELL YOU……..

    Smoke is thick… but as a stick leader… I go into a kneeling position to look around… SGM is next to me…..

    Damn!…… choppers everywhere……. all busted up………must be twenty or thirty of them……I can see that we are in a very large clearing……mortars begin coming in…… kissing grass now…….SGM says to me….. all we have to do is load the wounded onto the dustoffs as they come in…..and hold this line…..

    I look around… WHAT FRIKKIN DUSTOFFS????? there is no one here but US and a whole bunch of burning chops……

    Mortars getting seriously worse now….begin making love to the grass…. others mumbled something about wishing to smoke it……low laughing heard around the perimeter ….NUG soils himself.....

    Our Officer and Radio dude run up to us… or rather stumbles & fall into us……. OK SGM get your men ready… they are coming with the wounded…..

    Hey SGM…. were the hell are we?? I ask…… A SHAU he shouts… as if I knew were the hell THAT was!! ……..REMINDS ME OF CASSERRAINE!! he says … now I DID know were that was!!! I kept forgetting that he has seen this before…. many more times than I ever wanted too!! this was our first trip here……I knew then that I didn’t like the accommodations….

    Lines of men start coming toward our position…. HERE COME DUSTOFF the SGM shouts…..OK Every other man assist… others stay alert!!!

    We begin to line them up in rows of four or five at a time…. separated by about 50 feet… 10 chops land in a wedge and we begin putting the wounded on them…. …. as fast as they were loaded… they left and the next wedge landed…. loaches began cover firing now…… they would hover 100 foot up, then fire and scan and fire and scan then move to a new position…..mortars still coming in… but not as bad now……obviously they had no spotters because they were not hitting anything…. just harassment fire…

    After a while there were no more DUSTOFF choppers… just choppers…. they were not outfitted for moving wounded…. but they were doing it as they were all we had left….. serious ones on the floor… semi-walking in the seats…. some were even strapped into the gunners seats and few could still function, so they became gunners…..

    Got tired….. switched men… the ones that were loading were now on perimeter…

    Got more tired… switched men again, then again, then again…. it is getting dark… SGM are we done yet???

    Yeah… we will be out on the last load out………. soon

    Mortars had stopped…..

    the firing had stopped……

    time stopped……

    coughed……

    coughed again….

    caught its breath and started up again like a man coming up for air….

    The last wedge came in.

    Our mission was over…….we never fired a shot…. never saw the enemy….. but our mates did…..

    Looking back over the valley I could see chops everywhere…. smoke everywhere… fires everywhere…..bodies everywhere….. and they were not ours because we had just spent 7 hours loading them… our group had loaded only the wounded… other groups had taken our dead out at the same time……

    Our group lost no one… with no one wounded……but the tally for the 101st that day was 175 plus Hueys down…. 16 Chinooks……I will not relate the men lost or wounded……. history has already told the world about that…. I am just relating the choppers story here……

    The first invasion of the A Shau valley had been a disaster…… as it pertained to our use of choppers….The pilots were swooping in like a jet fighters and as they pulled up… they got a RPG up their butt for their trouble……………but we kicked butt….

    AND we came back later to do it again…. we never ever lost that many chops again…….

    Some lessons are learned the hard way…..


    More later….



    wait….









    Edited by: Mithrandir at: 5/16/01 12:51:55 pm

    Tac401
    Administrator
    Posts: 702
    (5/16/01 4:33:37 pm)
    | Del
    ezSupporter
    Re: Chopper Memories
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    Outstanding Mith, outstanding!

    JD
    The Firearms Forum Vietnam Memories Bulletin Board Contact Administrator

    homer4
    Moderator
    Posts: 603
    (5/23/01 8:44:28 pm)
    | Del Re: Chopper Memories
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    Excellent post Mith!,as all of yours have been. Coming in quite a bit late but have snuck some peeks here and there while away.I equally appreciate your skills as a writer...tremendous detail and it all flows nicely.

    I spent what I feel was quite a bit of time in the birds but with the units we as MATS were "assisting",we weren't slickin in hot LZ's but meerly transported to and fro to be positioned as part of a blocking element. Most of the time it was just routine Walks in the Sun or simple ville and compound contacts.

    I loved the slicks! Everything about the sound...the thrill I'd get at Thwap! Thwap! Thwap! Shouting to one another...the smell of diesel fuel.Everything!...except having to jump with my web full and that 25! Have to wonder why some of them pilots wouldn't set her down???

    Along with everyone else here,I too search and rivet in on a chopper to this day.Still love em.


    ...and two hard boiled eggs.

    dap22
    Senior Chief Moderator II
    Posts: 577
    (5/24/01 8:13:04 am)
    | Del Re: Chopper Memories
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    Homer..........dem huey's burned jet fuel (JP-4) which is similar but different than diesel fuel.

    homer4
    Moderator
    Posts: 630
    (5/24/01 7:19:15 pm)
    | Del Re: Chopper Memories
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    Thanks Dave. I still can recall the smell.Man I love them birds! Took several flights since coming home and have pictures of Ole Meantome and my daughter crying her eyes out thru the glass on a flight they took up in Gettysburg.Hehehe.

    A woman pilot by the way with a British accent.A Looker too.
    ...and two hard boiled eggs.

    gene29223
    Moderator
    Posts: 129
    (5/25/01 8:29:20 am)
    | Del Re: Chopper Memories
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    Test:
    of this add a picture thing. If this goes thru it is a Huey over the North end of the Phu Bai Air strip from the 85th Evac side of the wire. From first roll of film I shot with my new ('71) Cannon camera bought at the Camp Eagle PX the day prior. Not the best composition in the world but hey - I was still learning (come to think of it - still am I hope)

    P. Gary if this don't work it's all your fault!!! :)

    [​IMG]

    Take care,

    Gene

    Edited by: Indybear57 at: 5/25/01 9:51:13 am

    gene29223
    Moderator
    Posts: 130
    (5/25/01 8:34:51 am)
    | Del Re: Chopper Memories
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    Okay, Computer guys and gals;

    I typed the URL but when it posted it posted as WWW link which can be viewed. Now how do I get it into the message as you did above. P. Gary, I followed your instructions. Does the photo have to br registered as private or public or should it matter?

    Thanks, and take care Gene

    Edited by: gene29223 at: 5/25/01 9:42:33 am

    Misterstan
    Moderator
    Posts: 174
    (5/25/01 9:28:06 am)
    | Del Re: Chopper Memories
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    Gene,

    Instead of posting a picture as a "link" post it as an "image".

    Misterstan

    gene29223
    Moderator
    Posts: 136
    (5/25/01 10:43:41 am)
    | Del Re: Chopper Memories
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    I thought I did Stan. Let try another, the rest of you please forgive me as I'm kind of slow at this.

    [​IMG]

    and if it works: No, Little Mary is not my wife. Some who were in Phu Bai might remember Mary. Know the truck ain't no chopper but havn't loaded all my images yet - besides the trk was the Army's work horse before choppers.

    Take care, Gene

    Edited by: gene29223 at: 5/25/01 12:07:42 pm

    gene29223
    Moderator
    Posts: 137
    (5/25/01 10:55:12 am)
    | Del Re: Chopper Memories
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    Hot dog! That didn't take long now.
    Thanks, Stan and P. Gary. Another fine example of this VNMBB helping and teaching an old dog new tricks. Love this place.

    Take care, Gene




    gorourke
    V.I.P. Member
    Posts: 38
    (5/25/01 11:18:32 am)
    | Del Re: Chopper Memories
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    Gene,

    Good work! Hope to see more photos.

    P. Gary
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Forum Title Date
Vietnam Memories Photo Album Memories Mar 18, 2003
Vietnam Memories Photo Album Memories Part II Mar 17, 2003

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