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Indo China Wars 1945 - 1975. Covering, French Indo China, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, etc.

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Old 11-09-2017, 11:09 PM   #76
BB75
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Wow! I just came across this. The brainpower, resources, manpower, courage, etc., that went into this small but obviously intensive part of the Vietnam Conflict boggles my mind. I was just a wee lad when all this was going on 10,000 miles from my safe East Coast U.S. home. Thanks for putting this up here and sharing.

Brian
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Time to go home
Old 11-18-2017, 09:58 AM   #77
JOHN JONES
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As 1966 dawned, plans were drawn up to withdraw the CH37 from its service in Vietnam, to be replaced with the CH47 and Skycrane models. The Armys inventory, could now cope with demands from the newly formed fully intergrated Aviation units and a refittng programme for the original Transportation Compaines.
These old workhorses had done their job and with the deciation of the servicemen who flew and maintained these aircraft, had filled a vital gap in the Armys TOE, in regards to aircraft recovery in a combat zone. Countless flying and maintence hours, contributed to many 100's of recoveries within each unit. Which resulted in an estimated average $50,000,000 per year of Aircraft recovered for each company, over a 2 year period. And not to be forgotten, the lessons learned and procedures refined over this period, were invaluable for the recovery units that followed as the war expanded.
CH37B Service in Vietnam.
339th Transortation Company, Nha Trang. March 1964 - April 1966
56th Transportation Company, Saigon. December 1964 - March 1966
611th Transportation Company, February 1964 - March 1966

Three Army CH37B aircraft were lost in Vietnam service. "One (from the 339th I believe) was bombed by a sapper when it was parked at Da Lat: one combat loss crash and fire: one (Ferdinan from the 611th) dropped when it was being loaded on the ship to go back to the States" These aircraft were expensive and hard to maintain, even when spending tax dollars, so most were not returned to the U.S.Army inventory.
"I did some research on the FAA website and found that all three of our CH-37’s which were 57-1658 “Wooly Booger”, 57-1659 “Slave Driver”, and 58-1004 “Bad News” were purchased in a large lot of surplus property by a helicopter company called AirCrane, Inc. in Pennsylvania. Our three along with Frank’s three aircraft plus a lot more were all purchased by this company and put into heavy lift operations operating in the Restricted Category, which basically means they were used for cargo transportation only, internal and external loads, no passengers." Scott.
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Time to go home
Old 11-18-2017, 10:05 AM   #78
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Willard Honjiyo, who was the last Crew Chief on our CH-37 57-1659 “Slave Driver” was on the final mission where they were all flown down to Vung Tau and with the 611’s CH-37’s were all loaded onto a ship for shipment back to CONUS. The photo is of the 611th. CH-37 “Ferdinan” resting on the ground with heavy damage. (from Willard) "The sling broke when they were loading her onto the ship and it actually fell into the water alongside of the ship, you can see the drag marks in the sand where they had to drag it out of the water".Pretty sad ending for her after she did her job so well for all those years in that war. I would assume that the 339th aircraft were loaded aboard ship in or near Nha Trang, which had a large sea port.
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Boys with their toys?
Old 11-18-2017, 10:55 AM   #79
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Scott tells me it was an early form of drone technology, but the model and insignia
are unknown to me. Scott has been retired for many years now and still enjoys
the fruits of those tax dollars, invested in the 1960's.
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56th Transportation Co Vietnam
Old 11-18-2017, 11:23 AM   #80
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This is the last material I currently have to hand, but of course the search continues
and any further information or images located, will be added to the thread.
I leave the last word for now to Scott, who's service with the 56th, made him one of, if not the, longest serving member of the unit during its tenure in the Republic Of Vietnam. John

I arrived in the Republic of Viet Nam in mid-October of 1964. Served with the 56th at the Tan Son Nhut Airbase until April 14, 1967, when I was shipped back home and discharged from the Army. I served with the 56th in Viet Nam right at two and a half years.

“Like I have mentioned many times, if you were setting up an aircraft recovery operation today, and were looking for an aircraft to do the heavy lifting work, you certainly wouldn’t select the Sikorsky S-56, which the US Army designated the CH-37 Mojave. With its two Pratt and Whitney R-2800 piston engines it certainly wouldn’t be your aircraft of choice. But I’ll tell you something…those aircraft had “soul”. They had a life inside of them that they shared with those of us who worked on and flew in them. Doing the mission that we all knew was well above what they should be doing. But they were all we had at that time, and we made them work. It is a testament to the pilots who flew them and the mechanics and crew who maintained them that only three were lost during the Viet Nam War. No matter how you look at it, that is an amazing record for an aircraft that shouldn’t have been able to do what it was asked to do. But they did that job and did it well. I have mentioned in other writings that it took somewhere around 30 hours of maintenance for each hour of flight. One of the highest aircraft maintenance to flight hour records. Compare that to the current C-17 “Globemaster III” aircraft of today that takes 4 to 5 hours of maintenance for each flight hour. Two 18 cylinder radial engines, two spark plugs per cylinder, 36 spark plugs per engine; some in really tough places to get at and change. Each engine having a 55 gallon oil tank. Yes, 55 GALLON!! Each engine consuming 20 to 30 gallons of oil for each mission flown.
The starting routine and main rotor engagement process being something that will live with all of us until we pass on…The smell of AeroShell 50W oil burning in the lower cylinders when she first fires up and starts to come to life. The sharp smell of 115/145 Aviation Fuel when you are standing behind the engines with the fire bottle. Those two fire breathing 18 cylinder engines coming to life in a large cloud of blue oil smoke, the shaking of the airframe, at first the uneven rattle of the exhaust note from the two augmenter tubes on each engine nacelle that shortly smooths out and gives you the confidence that they are ready to take you into battle. And bring you back home. When both engines are running smoothly, the cylinder head and oil temps are in the green, the pilot flips the switch to start pumping oil into each of the engines fluid clutches. And the main and tail rotor begin to turn… The pilot brings the engine RPM up to around 2000 RPM then chops the throttle. The two mechanical clutches do their positive engagement and the pilot continues to run up the engines until the main rotor is at its operating RPM. The Crew Chief on the ground taps his head with his finger tips and points both thumbs outward. The droop stops are out. And the mission begins…
Those who haven’t flown a large, lumbering machine like these into battle just won’t understand the attachment the crew has with them. The two fire breathing 18 cylinder engines, the fuselage panels and parts of aluminum, steel, and magnesium that form her body; the miles of electrical wiring and hydraulic lines that bring her to life. The symphony of those two fire breathing engines that say “We can do this!” And she always brings you back. Always. It is a bond that you have with her. I feel blessed that I was able to serve on these aircraft during that war. She truly was the last of her breed. We made our mark Brothers…And the aircraft that we served on certainly made her mark in Army Aviation history. I thank all who served on those aircraft".
We done good boys…

SP/5 Scott J Drew
56th Transportation Company (Aircraft Direct Support)
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Old 11-19-2017, 04:45 AM   #81
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Great history thread John. Again thanks for taking the time to create this thread and posting photos and background about Scott's service in Vietnam.
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56th Transportation Co Vietnam
Old 11-19-2017, 06:16 AM   #82
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You are welcome Ralph,
As the obtaining of an 'item' starts to mean less to me.
This really has been a pleasure!

John.
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