Thu, 2 Nov 2006 SUBJECT: CH-3Cs TO NKP
76 was one of the two original CH-3C's transferred from TAC with crews to Det 1, 38th ARRS, NKP in July 65. The other one was 85, which was shot down with Lilly's crew! I had probably the only combat rescue unit with both 43's and H-3's! With the old engines, it couldn't pickup much, and we could out run it at 10,000 ft with a H-43, because of it blade stalled at about 65kts. I have pictures of it at NKP (looking painted black) but I seem to remember that was a dark green, the only canned spray paint we could get our hands on to sheep dip it! George Martin can confirm this. He, Phil Stambaugh, Fred Liebert (dead now) were the original Jolly Greens who flew missions along beside us (Naked Fannies). We picked up 8 pilots out of NVN (H-43 - five; H-3- three) from May thru October 65. I think I had a mission in it with Freddie Liebert in Laos. He wouldn't take the time to let me off at a Lima Site and I became a gunner in the back. Of course it could have been 85 as we can't find our "Mission Reports", either! (JOE BALLINGER)
Sat, 28 Oct 2006 SUBJECT: PFLASH
This system (PFLASH) shows a lot of promise for our guys forward in the middle East. We've lost far too many folks and acft to brown out conditions since Desert Storm, though most in Iraq and Afghanistan, post 9/11. This system is being developed on our Pave Low MH-53s and if test kit protoype proves successful, and funding continues to be a non-issue, we'll have it on our last remaining 53s in 07-08 when the last of them ocassionally based here at Hurlburt, when not if the fight, are supposed to be sent to the bone yard. Much as many of us hate to see the Sikorsky war chariot, that it's proven to be, phased out, at least it's leaving service as it entered, born in battle and, it'll fly it's last missions in combat in the middle East before the final journey West. Quite a legacy it leaves, as many of us can testify. As to Jim's question, it'll work in snow as well, not that 53 will ever see snow again unless it's in the mountains of Afghanistan. Two guys in my shop were on that test and say it's awesome, as the briefings support. I'll try and get a picture to send some time soon. It's still pretty propietary. (TOM GREEN)
Thu, 19 Oct 2006 SUBJECT: MARS
I was MARS at DaNang in 68. Flew 59 missions 1/2 of them were in NVN. Yes there are plenty of stories to share. One quick one. The Bug aborted early, went into the Chutes just off of Tiger Is NVN. It became a race to try and get it before it went into the water. We were at orbit 10K ft. and many miles away. We went into a high speed decent with our poles deployed (scary) max speed should be 50 kts. We did get up over 70. The catch was done with the bug about 20 ft from the water. Then with it half way to stow position the winch stopped, so we flew for the next hour with the bug over 100 feet below us. What I never can forget was the radio on guard calling Bandits heading south from Squid and Oyster the 2 biggest MIG bases. But we made it back and delivered the Bug intact. We always flew twice a day on these. Sometimes they went clean and neat. (HARVEY MELTZER)
Mon, 9 Oct 2006 SUBJECT: JERRY "MAD-DOG" MICHAEL SHRIVER
I have seen this before but did not save it. Then when I went looking for it again I couldn't find it. Thanks....I've now saved it in my "Shriver" file. By the way, I've heard Shriver say "I’ve got ‘em right where I want ‘em-surrounded from the inside." on more than one occasion. One time was on the mission where I got my first DFC. During my Green Hornet tour we probably put Shriver and his team into the field 20 times or more and I don't ever remember us pulling him out on a normal extraction. His were always 'emergencies'. He seemed to always stir something up and get into fire fights. He loved to run into bambo thickets (said "Charley" was scared of bambo snakes and wouldn't follow the team) and get pulled out on the strings. I remember to this day how his eyes looked as he would talk about how many of the enemy he had killed on a mission. I can only describe them as the eyes of a killer who loved what he was doing. Truley a warrior and I'm extremely proud to have known him. Jerry gave me my MACV SOG plaque (which I still have) one day at FOB II after we had pulled him out of the shit the day before, might have been after the DFC mission or some other one, but I don't remember anymore.
By the way, I don't mean to imply that my bird put him in and pulled him out over 20 times, but my bird did get it's share of it and I think I've probably put him and his team in 'indian country' at least eight or nine times. Probably pull him out just as many times as well. (JIM BURNS)
Fri, 1 Sep 2006 SUBJECT: ALASKAN HH-3Es
There were fifteen 69-model H-3's built and when I was with the 5040th (73-75), we had the last 12 or 13 H-3's built (69-05800 thru 69-05812). 69-0598 & 0599 went to Thule, Greenland. These birds were built with factory modifications for the arctic mission. I remember that they had higher output heaters, additional insulation and I think there was something additional with the hydraulic system (but CRS on this one). Maybe Lew can find some references to this in his T.O.'s.
Shortly after the 5040th de-activated and the 71st ARRS took ownership of these birds, several of them ended up being transferred to Florida and Arizona bases....it just always struck me as kinda funny and ironic that several of these birds built with extra's for the Arctic mission ended up flying from tropical or sub-tropical locations.... (JIM BURNS)
Wed, 23 Aug 2006 SUBJECT: FIELD ENGINE CHANGE
I don't remember any thing about a special rig for engine change self contained on the bird. But I do know that all helicopter people can figure out just about everything. I once changed an engine out in the US using a local tow truck, and rigging a "jin" pole and hand winch. (HARVEY MELTZER)
Wed, 12 Jul 2006 SUBJECT: HIGH FLYING
I also remember that a short time after the over 30k altitude record was set, while on a local flight out of Suffolk County AFB, N.Y., my pilots decided to see just how high we could get. We gave up and stopped climbing (not because the bird wouldn't climb, but because we had had enough) at around 12k. We were over the North shore of Long Island at the time and when he stopped climbing he entered an auto-rotation, down to about a 100' over a potato farm field. It seemed like it took forever to get back down. We probably violated all sorts of regulations doing this with no chutes or oxygen on board.....but what the hell!!!....it was fun. Flying over the 'trail' at altitude while at NKP reminded me of that flight in the HH-43B and also reminded me that I didn't especially like being that high in the HH-43B and I sure as hell didn't like being that high in the CH-3E, especially when we were getting shot at with AAA. (JIM BURNS)
Mon, 10 Jul 2006 SUBJECT: H-43 RECORDS
The following is from Wayne Mutza's book:
"The H-43B distinguished itself in the record-setting arena, breaking eight world records, four for E-1 helicopters (all gross weights) and four for Class E-l.d helicopters (3,858 to 6,614 pound gross weights). The first record was established in FAI class E-1.d on 9 December 1959 when a H-43B piloted by two Air Force pilots attained an altitude of 29,846 feet! The standard H-43B, in mission configuration, topped the previous record held by a Soviet MI-4 helicopter, which flew to 21,982 feet on 12 March 1959. On 25 May 1961 a H-43B reached an altitude of 26,369 with a 2,204-pound payload aboard, exceeding the previous mark of 24,491 feet set by a Soviet MI-4 on 26 March 1960. The type then went on to claim three time-to-climb records on 24 October 1961. The successive distances and times were 9,842 feet in 2 minutes, 41.5 seconds; 19,684 feet in 6 minutes, 49.3 seconds; and 29,426 feet in 14 minutes, 30.7 seconds.
In the Class E-I.d category, a H-43B achieved an Altitude Without Payload record on 18 October 1961 by attaining an altitude of 32,840 feet. For Distance in a Closed Circuit, a H-43B traveled a distance of 655.64 miles on 13 June 1962. And for Distance in a Straight Line, a H-43B traveled a distance of 888.44 miles." (JIM BURNS)
Sun, June 18, 2006 SUBJECT: HOT REFUELING
I came across this shot and it reminded of the times when we went from NKP into Nam and hit the hot refuel pits. There was always a guy with a dozer or some other piece of heavy equipment standing by to literally shove or take you off the pits if you failed to depart as soon as you refueled. No screwing around here. We refueled from the bladders as I recall.
I seem to remember when we stopped to refuel normally watching the Hueys slicks hot refueling. The pilot would hop out for a quick smoke while the other guy refueled. I don't remember if the Army slicks had a GIB or not want to say just the two in the cockpit. Could be I CRS.
Tue, 9 May 2006 SUBJECT: M. A. S. T.
M.A.S.T is for Military Assist in Safety and Traffic. We had the program in Montain Home, Idaho. Coordinated with the highway patrol or state troopers, whatever they were called. We would land right at the accident site then transport to the hospital. Probably a precurser to "Life Flight". That was quite awhile ago. (JERRY BUCKNALL)
Mon, 8 May, 2006 SUBJECT: SUSPECTED GROUNDFIRE
Yeah both Pickering & Conover were good guys.I have a funny story about Maj. Pickering. We were on a mission somewhere in the delta & I was sitting in the back of the Pedro, we didn't have doors on the back & the PJ Clyde Ross was sitting by the side door. This was everyone's first combat tour & we very rarely had to fire the M-16's. Well I saw this flash just outside the rear of the chopper & heard a loud bang at the same time, I rolled back on to the floor & said we've been hit. Pickering said the controls feel funny & he was getting excited. Well ole Ross pipes up that he saw some one in a rice paddy & he shot at them. I said are you crazy. We couldn't convince Pickering that there was nothing wrong with the flight controls for the rest of the mission.Funny now but not then.
27 Apr 2006 SUBJECT: NEVADA NUCLEAR TESTS
The Huey was used to support the nuclear test site in Nevada . I use to fly up there on occasions to provide aerial photo coverage of the underground test. You ask, what was there to photograph? Upon detonation the ground would rise up and shutter simultaneous with a brilliant light from a mile plus underground. After about 20 minutes the ground would start to settle and when finished settling there would be a large/deep cone shaped depression. On a couple occasions that one mile deep core blew right out of the hole. One hell of a sight to witness. (KELLY DAY)
Sat, 22 Apr 2006 SUBJECT: H-13
We used H-13s at Edwards to give Astronauts 50 hours of training as a precursor to flying the Lunar Lander. (KELLY DAY)
Sat, 22 Apr 2006 SUBJECT: APOLLO CAPSULE
How about Launch Site Recovery at Cape Canaveral during the Apollo Program. I was involved in that program when I was with the 48th ARRS at Eglin AFB in Florida. We staged out of Patrick AFB and were Orbiting just outside the Launch Area just in case there was a screwup. We were supposed to recover the Astronauts in the event they had to Jettison the Capsule for some reason or the other. We never had to recover anybody but we were there in case. There is an interesting story about this Mission. I wasn't on this one but during the initial testing to see if the HH53B could actually pick up the capsule out of the water they used a mockup of the Appollo Capsule made out of Boiler plates. Well when they dropped it from the C-130 it must have gotten damaged when it hit the water and started taking on seawater. Before the Helicopter could get over the capsule, drop the PJ and attach the sling it really took on a lot of water. Subsequently when they tried to pick up the Capsule it was too heavy and they almost overtemped both engines as well as coning the main rotor blades at a very steep up-angle. They finally dragged it to the beach where the mission was aborted. The Helicopter had to have both engines, rotor blades and Main Gearbox changed. To the best of my knowledge, we never tried that again. (J D ADAMS)
Thur, April 20, 2006 SUBJECT: FUEL TRUCK INCIDENT
That's interesting! That was the time period that I was at Tyndall. I graduated from Basic Helicopter School In June 1960 and was sent to Tyndall as 43130 (three level). Left Tyndall in Dec. 1960. Maybe you remember me as the dummy who ran head-on into a refueling truck with a Coleman. That happened about three days before I was due to leave. There were two or three other guys from my class that were there at the same time. One was Marvin Eads & Billy Smith. I can't recall the others. Something else, About 6 of us flew X- country in an H-21 all the way to Pittsburgh, Pa. That is where I was born & raised. So my Mom & Dad came down, picked all of us up and spent the night with them. Then we flew back the next day.----I should say the next THREE days.
Mon, 17 Apr 2006 SUBJECT: YH-16
The YH-16 was being developed for the USAF as a long range rescue bird for B-36 crews possibly being shot down over Alaska. You know in basic training, about half way through, they tell you what you'll be doing after basic, school, etc,etc. My assignment was for B-36 center fire control on, but that was CX,because the B-36 was CX. The YH-16 was cx because the B-36 cx & possibly because of the crash. Anyway, I was sent to Eglin right out of basic with a direct duty assignment as a OJT 43010 for the YH-16 program. So were about 15-25 other mechanics right out of helicopter school. Here we sit with one H-19, shitload of mechanics, no YH-16. Some were transferred out, some went to T-33's, I went to be A/c/c on a B-25 for about 3 months, then latter went back to the H-19, C/C, flight status. (RON SMITHAM)
Sun, 16 Apr 2006 SUBJECT: PRESIDENTIAL SUPPORT
To the best of my knowledge, Eisenhower was the only President the USAF transported. As I said, the secret service wasn't happy with the single pilot concept. This is all second hand history I got from Jerry"Speedy" Larsen as he was in the original H-13 presidential outfit. The Army & Marines both had H-34's, two pilots & at one time the Army & Marines took turns transporting the Pres.. The Army had a bad accident record with the Presidential birds & lost the service, the Marines taking over the complete mission, "Marine One". USAF had "Airforce One", Army & the 1st HS took what was left.