SITES AND MIND SOUNDS FROM VIETNAM
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The photo at the left is from Camp Holloway in the central highlands
of Vietnam. The blanket was on top of the man and he jumped up and dove out the
screen just before the 122 mm rocket hit. The one on the right is the fuel dump
on fire at Camp Bearcat .
The photo right is another 122mm rocket hole on Holloway. The shot
on the left is Dong Tam in the Mekong Delta. The view is up the airfield across
the Greyhounds area. The water is from the previous days rain. This was the
view a FIRST LIGHT MISSION would see as they left for the day. We often refer
to this time as "Dark o' thirty." The truck in the foreground of the picture is
a fuel truck. To the left of that big puddle is the 4 seat toilet that the
enlisted men used.
The shot on the right is me on the extreme right with Dave Yutz
center and Marlo Vansickel left as we head off to another night of mortar
attacks on the airfield. That is an M-14 on my shoulder. I was one of the few
on Dong Tam that still had one. During the Monsoon season the M-60 was to damn
heavy to carry in the Delta. The shot on the left is me changing the engine on
a Cobra Gunship. It gives you a good idea of the narrow profile of this
The shot below right is football player Rosie Grier with Dick Albers
a trampolineist. The shot below to the left is Bob Hope along with Miss World
1968 Penelope Plummer. This was the Christmas show 1968 at Dong Tam on the
The area in the background was the section of the base used by the
Navy. This area was for the Brown Water Navy or as that were called "The Mobile
Riverine". The Navy Seawolves also operated out of this base.
The image on the left is from a Charlie model slick which has the
M-60 hanging from a Bungee cord. It was taken just as I was leaving out of a
basecamp heading out for the day. The shot on the right is Ace Cozallio's snake
with 250lb bombs on it. We made this setup in Aug of 68 at Bearcat. The bombs
were dropped by firing the pod ejection bolts.
Delta Troup 3/5 CAV was made up of several sections of helicopters.
One section was comprised of slicks called Long Knives
which were the troop carrying slicks. The normal crew ,up until
the withdrawal of the 9th Division ,was either our own Grunts called
Boys or we carried the L.R.P.S
that were attached to the 9th div. The next element was our scout
ships or LOH's. That group was called the Warwagons.
The 3rd section was the heavy weapons power of the Crusaders
which was our Cobra gunships.
The wrecked ship , above , has the crew chief , Edwin Rita AKA
Pineapple, holding the ships log. Unfortunately several of the Dough Boys were
killed on this day. Ronald Marvin Delph , on the Vietnam Memorial Wall on Panel
41W, Line 072 was hit first as they moved in on a tree line after the initial
insertion. Dough Boys Pat Fisher and NCO James Flynn pulled Delph back and as
they got him over a paddy dike Delp was hit again and died in Flynn's arms. The
medic Wayne Joseph Benes Panel 41W, line 004 was working on the wounded RTO ,
when he was hit and mortally wounded but before he died he finished patching
the RTO's sucking chest wound. The Slick had come in hot to try and extract the
wounded Dough Boys. They did not hear the warning to not land because of heavy
radio traffic or ignored it. PFC Michael Dominic Paonessa , on the Vietnam
Memorial panel 40 W line 4 was killed when the slick crash landed on him after
it was hit by an RPG in the tail boom.
I recently found some
documentation on just one days operations. We started at "Dark O'thirty" and
went to work with the 3rd brigade of the 9th Division , we then were released
to work with the 1st Brigade of the 9th , we then were released to work with
the 2nd Brigade of the 9th. That means we went down to Vinh Long then
Blackhorse and finally Tan An and all the space in between. That covered the
morning because we then went up to the Xuan Loc area to work with the 199th LIB
then the 1st Division operating near Lai Kai and finally operating near Cu Chi
with the 25th and getting released to return to Dong Tam at 19:30. For a
clearer idea of D troop operations check out
The web site gives you more precise numbers of actual day to day composition of
In the Photo above the white dots in the ceiling on both sides of the
Warwagon section logo are shrapnel holes from mortar attacks.
The patch is for the maintanance group called The
Scavangers which maintained all the aircraft. The light has a
hole in it from a Mortar attack. The little bird in the hanger is an OH-6
Cayause or a Warwagon. The object sticking out on the
lower left of the LOH is the mini-gun. This was taken at the Dong Tam base
camp. It shows up as pad C in most of the nightly mortar attack records. The
truck is in front to block out the snippers from shooting at us and to stop the
shrapnel during the mortar attacks.
The photo at the left is a slick that I was
working on. Dave Yutz was servicing the short shaft and I was replacing the
fuel control. I needed a gasket and asked Dave if he wanted to take a break. We
both climbed off the ship and went for parts and about 2 minutes later it blew
up. It had a base ball grenade wrapped in tape with the pin pulled in the fuel
cell. The ship's fuel cell had just been topped so the blast had no air to
start a fire. We lost a LOH and it's crew 2 days before to this same thing.
The images below are what we saw all to often. On the left it is days
end looking across the field at the Cobras and in the sky to the right is a
formation of slicks coming in for the night.. On the right is a normal day in
the delta during the monsoon season. The building to the left is the enlisted
This is one of our slicks being hauled out after it had a hard
landing. Actually it is pushing the Chinook up because the crew chief had to
much food in the refrigerater.
These are the last two photo's. The left one is a Carabou airplane
that started out in the Vietnam War as an Army Aircraft before it was
transferred to the Air Force. It had Short Take Off and Landing ability or
STOL. It flew more like a powered glider. On the right is me , in the white
t-shirt , towards the end of my tour. I had started out at Pleiku , in the
Central Highlands as an engine mechanic but they had no openings for me. I then
requested to fly as a door gunner with the other units of the 52ND CAB on
Holloway. After a few crashes I requested to fly on Evac flights instead until
a bad day on Evac. I was then transfered to Delta Troop 3/5 CAV at Bearcat and
then to Dong Tam. I was assigned , as a test , to be THE engine mechanic in a
combat unit to see if it improved their reliability. Unlike a normal Direct
support function I went where they went. This included going out on operations
in case they had troubles.
More info below
We were swapping out an engine on a Cobra Gunship. You can get an
idea of it's narrow profile. The truck in front of the ship was to stop both
shrapnel from mortar attacks and the constant shooting of snippers. Just a few
days before we had started disarming all aircraft going into the hanger because
of the constant mortar and rocket attacks. I was sitting in front of the rocket
pods doing some work when the Avionics guy swapped out the radios on the snake.
I then heard him say "Dong Tam tower , Dong Tam tower " and it was accompanied
by a series of plinking noises. He did this twice and I asked what the hell he
was doing. He said he was testing the radio by pulling the red button on the
thingy that sticks out of the floor. I advised that on a Cobra that is not the
mike button but rather the weapons firing button. I looked and the arm switch
was set to salvo so if we had not started disarming the Cobra's the day before
I would have been smeared all over the field by about 48 ro ckets.
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