Air Force Museum Photos


The National Museum of the United States Air Force is often listed as one of the most haunted places in the Dayton area, and in the entire state of Ohio. Sensitive's and psychics who visit The National Museum of the United States Air Force often claim to feel an unsettling presence, a feeling of helplessness and depression, or see the ghosts wandering through the museum. Even those without psychic abilities have been known to see ghosts, or experience overwhelming feelings inside.


There are very few places in The National Museum of the United States Air Force where activity doesn't occur, but some areas are known to have more ghostly activity than others.


The CH-3E 63-09676 "Black Mariah" was a aircraft used during the Vietnam War. She was used to rescue soldiers, and was used in many top secret missions. The body is covered with bullet holes, and there's no way of knowing exactly how many people died inside. Visitors to the Air Force Museum sometimes hear voices and moans from inside, said to be coming from the soldiers who died there.




I dug thru my stash of ole H-3 pictures and found pictures of 63-09676 with the same shark mouth sheet tucked in the nose compartment door.  I also talked to my boss (Henry Shaw) today and he reminded me that, besides the sheet, the shark mouth was also painted on the nose door using water colors around 1987 or 1988 on 63-09676 when the 302nd SOS relocated here at Davis Monthan AFB, AZ. and became the 71st SOS, and the aircraft was flown with it painted on. The pilot was Lt. Col. Jon Hannon, an ole H-3 rescue pilot, and our commander at the time.

(Chuck Ruth)




Pictures of 63-09676 shortly after being gained at Luke, notice the gray paint peeling off of the leading edge of the sponsons.

(Chuck Ruth)


CH-3E 63-09676

"Black Mariah"

Delivery Date: 31-12-63



                              20th Heli Sql Udorn RTAFB, Thailand

June 15, 1966 - 1969

                              21st SOS, Nakhon Phanom RTAFB, Thailand

1969 - 1970

                              56th SPOPSW, Nakhon Phanom RTAFB, Thailand

1970 - 1971

                              6200th ABW, Clark AB, RP

1971 - 1974

                              405th FW, Clark AB, RP

1974 - 1976

                              302nd SOS, Luke AFB, AZ

March 31, 1976 - 1986

                              304th ARRS, Portland IAP, OR

December 30, 1986 - 1987

                              71st SOS, Davis Monthan AFB, AZ

October 1987 - February 02, 1991

                                   C/C TSgt Henry Shaw

                                   Last C/C TSgt Doug Lesho

                              Helo left for National Museum of the USAF

February 15, 1991

                              National Museum of the United States Air Force

February 19, 1991


According to George Martin (one of the CH-3C pilots) this helicopter, CH-3C 63-09676, made the second combat rescue of the Vietnam War while it was assigned to Air Rescue.  This aircraft was one of the first two CH-3C's that were sent from TAC to NKP as an interim.  One of the birds, 63-09685 was shot down on 6 November 1965.  Three of the crew members became POW's and the fourth (the FE) was able to E & E and was later rescued.  See the POW page for details.

CH-3C 63-09676 was painted flat black to determine the color feasibility for the mission. It soon was given the nickname of "Black Mariah", the Night Wind. It was the only black H-3 to serve in SEA and is now on display at the National Museum of the United States Air Force at Wright-Patterson AFB, Dayton, Ohio.



(Courtesy of Jim Henthorn from the history of the 20th)


According to the Squadron History the paint scheme was supposed to make it harder to see at night. It was painted this way for the two attempted night infiltrations. The infiltrations were deemed too hazardous and stopped.


The 20th SOS conducted one night infiltration and one night ex-filtration, details of which are highly classified. The crewmembers concluded after the missions that night missions were so hazardous that unless a dire emergency existed, operations of this nature were not worth the potential loss of men and machines.


The infiltration was unsuccessful, largely due to a lack of light. The ex-filtration was conducted with the assistance of two “Moonlight” flare ships and was successful. However, lighted missions are particularly dangerous. Operations conducted under flares can be observed by the enemy several kilometers away, eliminating the element of surprise and subjecting the operation to ground fire.


Note: Anyone having further information please contact





(Courtesy of Jerry Clausius from his personal recollection of the 20th)

I was with the 20th SOS "Pony Express" 66-67 crewing and flying 63-09676.  I was with John Coleman as flight mechanic and crew chief on the ACFT.


I have seen questions as why the ACFT was painted black.  I was told by MSgt Leroy Diggs who helped bring it over from the states that when it arrived from the states it was painted olive drab green with all the required markings, and they were told to get the markings off. The only paint they had was flat black so it was painted with paint brushes to cover all the markings and get rid of the olive drab paint. When I had it at Udorn it was getting to look real bad. There was an Air Force W-4 Warrant officer, Mr. Brenner, at NKP that knew the history of the ACFT and he sent a 5 gal bucket of flat black paint to Udorn to repaint it.   We were told that we could not repaint it but could touch it up. So two painters from the paint shop came out to touch it up, they did a real good job of touching it up from nose to tail. Only thing we were made to do was put the warning markings on with flat red paint, this was directed by our line chief MSgt Jetter. The ACFT stayed black until it went to depot in Bangkok where it was painted with standard colors.


Sgt Coleman and I left with the ACFT stuck up on LS-98 where a crew came in to low and hit some rocks with the tail rotor. Next place I knew of it being was at Clark with the survival school before it came back to the states to a Guard or Reserve unit out west. I was really surprised when I saw it at the Museum at WPAFB. The program manager Mr. Ed Tuttle at Robins tried for years to get it in the museum because of its history.


It was one of the first H-3s into Viet Nam and one of the last to leave. It had a lot of different configurations while it was at Udorn, from stiff legs, to having one 63 and one 65 sponson on it.  It went from a CH-3C to CH-3E., and we always tried to keep one white/gray topped blade on it. We flew a lot of support during the buildup of the radar site at LS-98, and pulled a lot of rescue alert at barrel city for the Jollies because they were always broke. I hope this gives a little more history of OLD Black.



(Courtesy of Doug Lawson from his 03 March 2011 email regarding CH-3C 63-09676 getting its black paint job and email traffic with Jim Mardock about it)


My name is Doug Lawson, MSgt. USAF Retired and I was assigned to NKP where CH-3C 676, the Black Mariah, was painted black.


It was not the lack of paint.


I was directed to have all insignia, etc. painted out and all lights to be disconnected to prevent inadvertently turning on a light. One of my maintenance crew decided to use Black paint and just slopped it on. When I seen what he had done I told him to paint the whole aircraft Black. It was miserably hot that day and he was very unhappy! (as was I).


I don't remember the tail number of another CH-3C, the first aircraft sent to Thai-Am for repair, but I believe it was #689. It had went down in Laos and we done some repairs and flew it out to NKP. We didn't have the capability to repair it so we trucked it to Bangkok for Thai-Am to repair.


I later went down to check on the repair because it was taking too long. While there I picked up a local English Newspaper with a front page picture of "The Black Mariah" among other CH-3's at NKP with the caption "A sister in mourning".




RotorHeads member Jim Mardock asks Doug the following; Do you recall when this happened at NKP? I was never at NKP, but know some of the guys at Udorn went up there during '66. I assume that since you were disconnecting non-essential lighting, this was in preparation of using 676 for night missions. Although, I don't think the night ops ever took place. Doug replied:


I'm sorry I don't remember the dates. I didn't deploy with the 20th. Major Lethbridge and I followed about a month later. I think we arrived in Tan Son Nhut in January. I believe in March we were sent to NKP because the pilots would not fly their missions because of an alcoholic MSgt. in charge. 676 and another aircraft were already on site. Also we were flying primarily night missions when we arrived. So it wasn't painted because we were going to fly night missions, rather that the mission tasked was extremely dangerous. I believe the aircraft was painted about June? A lot more goes with this story. 676 and the other bird was the only aircraft at NKP belonging to the 20th until after a lot of waves had been made and I got a call from Communications that I had 16 aircraft in-bound. We didn't have adequate space for this many aircraft and later we moved all operations to Udorn.



(Courtesy of Robert Davis from his 20 October 2014 & 24 October 2014 emails regarding CH-3C 63-09676 getting its black paint job)

Robert Davis commented; I was with the 20th Helicopter Squadron, RVN, Thailand on H-3's and would like to clear up where the "Black Mariah" was painted black, it was while she was at NKP. She was painted by myself and crew chief J. L. Lavana at the time with buckets of flat black paint and brushes.

RotorHeads member Jim Burns asks Robert the following; Do you recall what color CH-3C 63-09676 was painted before you and J.T. Lavana painted her black? Was she painted olive drab, like some of the early TAC H-3's or was she silver?


Robert Davis replied; She was epoxy green (a dark green, not really a drab) and it was coming off in lots of areas.


Note; RotorHeads believes the epoxy green paint was the paint scheme the early TAC H-3's had. We are looking for a good color photo of these early epoxy green H-3's.