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

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Horace Cleveland Collins. KIA. 10th Feb 1965
Old 02-10-2018, 05:06 AM   #1
JOHN JONES
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Default Horace Cleveland Collins. KIA. 10th Feb 1965

Some of the recoveries that Scott Drew took part in during the war, involved casualties and these in the main, were medevaced before the recovery ships arrived. One incident lingers in Scotts mind, as it resulted in a KIA and produced a unique bring that item, that sparks those memories. But more of that at a later date.
On the 10th Feb 1965, Scotts team arrived in the Song Be area, to be met with the scene as pictured. A model B Huey from the 118th Avn Co, had crashed due to hostile fire and all but one crew member had walked away. Trapped beneath it was a door gunner, on TDY from the 25th Infantry Division, with the unit on the 'Shotgun' programme. He has recently been identified as Horace Cleveland Collins, aged 19, from Jacksonville Florida.
Certain key details are still vague due to the passage of time, we are some what uncertain if Horace was still trapped at the time this picture was taken. Also the aircraft inventory number is still unknown, but Scotts recollection is that after the recovery, (next posting) that the aircraft was deemed to be damaged too severely for incountry repair and was returned to CONUS.
In the background can be seen a sister ship from the Units 1st Platoon 'Scorpians', which was in formation with the downed ship at the time of the incident. Around this ship can be seen several crew members, those troops aside the downed aircraft, appear to be armed local security forces. The sister ships inventory number can be clearly seen and John Brennan has traced its history back to 1966. However, a record of its service with the 118th is still missing, as is a full report of the incident. Veteran accounts due to the passage of time, are now very hard to obtain. However, one forum posting from 3 years ago, shows how the loss can be felt half a century on. No trace as yet of Mr Lewis, or anyone else who flew that day, but we will keep trying, until all avenues are exhausted. I am sure somewhere in America, Horace's remaining family, are thinking of him this day.
John.

Friend
"I was a good friend of Horace. He slept in the bunk above mine and we both flew with the 118th Aviation out of Bien Hoa V.N. He was a great friend as well as a great Warrior. I miss him today and will grieve again this Feb 10th. I flew on the same mission with him and saw his chopper go down. Wish I could have done more to save him. It hurts a lot."
Added by JackLewis · January 20, 2015
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File Type: jpg horace.jpg (24.2 KB, 243 views)
File Type: jpg Song Be #1B.jpg (169.8 KB, 244 views)
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Horace Cleveland Collins. KIA. 10th Feb 1965
Old 02-10-2018, 05:23 AM   #2
JOHN JONES
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Default Horace Cleveland Collins. KIA. 10th Feb 1965

"As to the Song Be 118th recovery mission, as I recall we would have attached our normal sling to the hole that was machined into the Jesus Nut on top of the mast, the nut that held on the main rotor head. If that nut ever came off, Jesus was your only hope… The nut was about 3 ½ or 4” in diameter on the inside, was a sort of cap affair that had a flange on top of it with a hole in it for attachment of the lifting sling. We used a regular clevis and threaded pin to attach the sling to this lift point. This was the same procedure that was used to remove or reinstall the main transmission, should that have to come out for maintenance.
After the short sling was attached we would have attached another longer sling to that one so that we could get on the top side of the aircraft on its side and do the hover hookup under the CH-37. Then as I recall she carefully lifted the aircraft back upright. Seems that the skids were bent up some, but in the final shots of that final hover hookup she looks to be sitting pretty square on the ground, so they probably weren’t too messed up.

I just don’t remember if SP/4 Horace Collins body was underneath the aircraft or had already been removed. I just don’t remember, sorry. The Unit guys should remember if we can ever find some of them that were in the Unit at that time.
Once the aircraft was back upright, we would have drained what fuel we could get out of the fuel cell, pulled the main battery, and all of the other loose stuff in the cabin and cockpit. Got the aircraft as light as we could make it for the lift.
The Monkey Bar would have been installed to keep the blades in line with the fuselage if they were still in mostly good shape. If not the two blade retention pins would have been removed and the mangled remains of the blades would have been pulled out of the blade grips and either hauled off or left as junk at the scene. Seems we didn’t do much of that leaving of stuff like that though, didn’t want Charlie to make anything bad out of our left over stuff.
Once the aircraft was made ready for the lift, two of us would have climbed up on top and actually sat on the blade grips up on the main rotor head. I always did the grounding of the CH-37 hook to dissipate any static electricity charge that was built up by the rotor system, then I would grab the back of the hook. The other guy, Vic Alanne in this case, would have the top end of the sling in his hand, and would slap it onto the hook of the ‘37’ There was a spring loaded safety “gate” at the opening of the hook to hold the sling in place. He would then give it a good tug or two to make sure that it was secure, and we could climb down to the ground. Of course the Flight Engineer or Crew Chief on the CH-37 would be laying down facing forward, looking down through the Hell Hole, helping the pilot get lined up over the load, and we would give him a thumbs up when we were done, he would return that if he was happy that all was good.
Exiting out under the RIGHT side of the CH-37 for reasons I mentioned a while back. Then one of our other guys would be giving the CH-37 pilot hand signals and looking to make sure that all was OK as he did the lift and flew away with it.
We’d pick up any equipment that we had not used, load it into our helicopter, and fly back home.

Sammie Johnson, God Bless him, would all the time we were on the ground be standing at a good observation point with his M-14 and three mags taped together for quick change reloading. I don’t remember him ever having to return fire on the bad guys, but it did give us a bit of a secure feeling to know that at least someone was watching over our safety and could return fire if needed. In the early years and from all of the photos I have looked at of the later years recovery work, the guys on the ground were not armed. Weapons would have just gotten in the way of the work that they had to do"
Scott
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File Type: jpg HCC.jpg (42.1 KB, 246 views)
File Type: jpg 57 1659 Slave Driver recovering 118th BANDIT UH 1B near Song Be #3 LoRes.jpg (165.6 KB, 244 views)
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Old 02-10-2018, 03:50 PM   #3
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Thanks for sharing his story.
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Old 02-13-2018, 08:20 PM   #4
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I have never read a post as moving as this one. 19 year old kid KIA.
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Old 02-16-2018, 04:41 PM   #5
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Thanks for the thread and sharing, appreciated.
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Old 04-29-2018, 04:09 AM   #6
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Some great 'after recovery' detail from Scott and a link into a unique bring back.
John.

"Yes, after we had done the hover hookup on that aircraft, it would have been brought back to our Company area (56th TC). We grounded those loads in a grassy area that was between our hangar and main taxiway at Ton Son Nhut. Will attach a photo showing that area, showing 57-1659 “Slave Driver” bringing in that Dust Off UH-1B in.This area was a few hundred yards from the concrete apron area in front of our hangar.
Then if the aircraft had a good set of skids under it that would hold the weight of the aircraft, we would put on the ground handling wheels, which were a two-wheel hydraulic unit that snapped onto two steel eyes on each skid back near the heal of the skid. Then it had a hydraulic unit that you pumped up to extend the wheels downward to lift the heal of the skids. Hook a tow bar to the two towing eyes up near the toe of the skids, hook that bar to a ¾ ton truck and with a couple of guys on the stinger to lift the toe of the skids off the ground, the helicopter would then be towed into the hangar. If the skids weren’t in good shape, as was the 118th aircraft, then we would use one of our mobile cranes to lift the helicopter up, remove the damaged skids and cross tubes, and put a good set under it. Then move it into the hangar normally. If the airframe area that mounts the cross tubes was damaged we had a dolly that we could set the helicopter on, using the four (4) jack points under the fuselage to support the aircraft. Somehow they all had to make it inside the hangar to get repaired. When the aircraft first came into our shops they were surveyed by our Maintenance Officer and Tech Inspectors, and maybe some Bell reps, and it they were damaged beyond what we could repair locally they were sent back to the States for repair.
I don’t know for sure, but I would assume that there was a time limit that they looked at, if it would take longer than that for the repair then they would be sent back. I’m not sure of that John, Col. Royals can chime in on that issue. I don’t recall an actual “bone yard” at Tan Son Nhut where destroyed aircraft and parts were stored, but there was one down at Vung Tau.I remember my first flight down to Vung Tao we flew over that bone yard area and there were dozens and dozens of the older CH-21’s sitting side by side, blades removed, having served their time in Hell waiting to go back home. And probably chopped up, melted down, and made into other things that fly hopefully. Hell, some of that metal may still be flying in a military aircraft! Maybe some of it went to the moon…some may still be on the moon! You just never know where recycled aircraft aluminum will end up I guess…
I was involved in a couple of missions that flew junk stuff down to Vung Tao. And yes, I would assume that those heavily damaged beyond theater repair would be sent back to CONUS for repair. Interestingly enough one of our early UH-1B’s, 62-1899 went back for a complete overhaul, and I saw it in a photo many years later! Not in person mind you, but in one of the Time Life books! There she was in a hard left bank sporting a full set of guns! 62-1899. She was our recovery aircraft for a while early on. I think maybe our first. We got her from another Company already in Country in late 1964 and she was in bad shape. Sammie and the rest of the maintenance guys put in a lot of hours getting it fixed up as good as we could, but the Old Man was able to replace it with a newer B model which was 63-12582. That’s the aircraft that is shown in that photo of Sammie doing the recovery of the O-1 Bird Dog. “Hey Boy II!”. His next ship was a D model, but neither of us can remember the tail number. When Dave Robin took Sammie’s position when he rotated back home, the same door art was on the aircraft. Don’t know when it was changed as that last recovery of the Bird Dog was my last with that crew. That’s the one where I severely overheated and was rightfully removed from the crew.
In that photo of “Cherry Boy” 57-1658 lifting that old UH-1 hulk, that large Quonset Hut in the background of that photo is our first hangar. And that hulk on the hook was being hauled down to Vung Tao. On the way down it got to oscillating so badly that it had to be dropped. Alongside of the Mekong river between Saigon and Vung Tao. We flew out and found it smashed flat. I mean FLAT!!! No reason to try and recover any of it, so we hauled in some Jeep cans of jet fuel, poured them over the remains, then hovered off to the side and dropped a couple of Thermite grenade into the mess and burned it in place. I suppose that Charlie could have recovered some of the blobs of melted aluminum and turned them into sets of Recovery wings or some other item to sell back to the round eyes who were in his Country Who know's Like I mentioned above, we used what the Army called a five (5) ton wrecker with an extendable hydraulic boom for all of our heavy lifting work. That is me inside the cab of the boom lifting the 118th ship that the door plate came off of, so we could put a good set of skids and cross tubes under her.
Scott.
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File Type: jpg WRECKER.jpg (65.8 KB, 132 views)
File Type: jpg 57 1658 Cherry Boy later Wooly Booger slinging UH 1 hulk #2.jpg (92.6 KB, 130 views)
File Type: jpg CH-37B with Dust Off at Saigon 1965 LoRes.jpg (156.8 KB, 128 views)
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1st Platoon Marker.
Old 04-29-2018, 07:23 AM   #7
JOHN JONES
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Default 1st Platoon Marker.

Scott did not bring back much in the way of momento's back, but another nice peice
has emerged from his archive. A couple of 2nd Platoon and 2 or 3 crew name
plates have been noted, but this seems to be the only 'Scorpians' to surface so far.
John
Additional quotes and Pictures, courtesy Tom Payne.

"As I recall, that aircraft was not repairable at our level, which was the last level of maintenance before they had to go back to CONUS. It had major damage to the transmission/engine mount area that was not repairable by us and was sent back to the States for repair. Otherwise I wouldn’t have taken the plate. Damned glad that I took it now of course! As to the second plate, I don’t know what happened to that one. I’m not sure why I took that plate that I sent to you, just thought it was neat looking I guess. I doubt that I was concerned about it going back to CONUS and ending up in some lard assed desk jockeys collection. Nothing near that noble John! I probably just thought it was neat looking. That Red scorpion. So I kept it. Hell, had it in my locker for the next couple of years, sent it home with my hold baggage shipment when I shipped back to CONUS in April of 1967, then had it hanging on my shop wall in a couple of different locations as I moved around in my career with CalFire for the next 50 years.
The UH-1B in the background in the last photo may have the same “Scorpion” plate on the door post, as well as the falcon on its rear compartment door. May have been a sister ship to the one that crashed. And I am certain that this UH-1B that I have on the hook of our mobile crane is the same one that this “Scorpion” plate came from. I am lifting it so that they can get a good set of landing skids under her so they can take it in the hangar. I mentioned above that this plate may have come from one of their gunships, but neither the crashed helicopter or the one in the background has that hard mounted gun equipment.'
Scott
Attached Images
File Type: jpg White plate 2.jpg (77.6 KB, 128 views)
File Type: jpg BEERCAN.jpg (43.6 KB, 136 views)
File Type: jpg 118THA.jpg (44.5 KB, 127 views)
File Type: jpg 118th1.JPG (24.4 KB, 123 views)
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118th Avn Company
Old 04-29-2018, 07:43 AM   #8
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Default 118th Avn Company

Further Photo's / quotes, courtesy of the 118th.org webmaster, a great site showing this unit was heavily into Aircraft art in the years 1965 - 1967. The actual approval and usage seems to have varied by platoon, the main consistancy was in nose and tail markings. http://www.118ahc.org/

1st Platoon. Door post plate, Nicknames on pilot doors, but no full Scorpian design.
2nd Platoon, Door post plate, Full design and nicknames on pilot doors.
3rd Platoon, Full design on pilots doors, but no door post plate, other than crew names.

"One of our ships was down for maintenance so we removed the doors and "someone" painted them with the "Chopper" patch. Incidentally, this was how we found out that the emergency door release mechanism on the front door hinges DID NOT WORK. Of course, this resulted in a maintenance rework of all the quick release mechanisms. Shortly after that the "powers that be" nixed the "Chopper" logo on the doors so we resorted to the plates located between the doors. "
2nd Plt "Choppers" decals put on the aircraft of the 2nd Platoon. Designed by some of the crewmembers, it was taken downtown Bien Hoa to be painted on metal plaques to be inserted on the sides of the aircraft between the pilots' door and the cargo door".

Courtesy Fred Holder (1965)
-----------------------------------------------------
"At the end of that same week, I arrived at the flight line early one morning to find that all of the other platoon aircraft were missing their pilot and co-pilot doors. I think my words to SGT Hackney were, 'Where the Hell are all the doors?' I believe that without the doors, the airspeed was limited to 60 kts. SGT Hackney said the doors were in downtown Bien Hoa being painted. I told SGT Hackney to 'Get those GD doors back, immediately!' Seems to me we had the doors back on the aircraft in a couple of hours. It was then that I suggested we paint the Chopper insignia on a plate, the same size as a General's Star plate. We already had a star plate holders on the each post between the pilot and cargo doors."
Keith Pippen (1965)
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File Type: jpg Original2dPltDecal--64.jpg (108.0 KB, 132 views)
File Type: jpg BlPLATE8B.jpg (17.3 KB, 126 views)
File Type: jpg birth control.JPG (14.4 KB, 127 views)
File Type: jpg CHOPPERS.jpg (28.4 KB, 128 views)
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118th Avn Company
Old 05-05-2018, 07:13 AM   #9
JOHN JONES
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Default 118th Avn Company

Here is the finished display.
An early donation to the Smithonians Flight museum seems in order,
as they have related peices, already on display.

John.

https://airandspace.si.edu/collectio...-brian-willard
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https://airandspace.si.edu/collectio...-brian-willard
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File Type: jpg rb 003.jpg (70.4 KB, 99 views)
File Type: jpg POLIV.jpg (27.4 KB, 98 views)
File Type: jpg POLIVA.jpg (31.2 KB, 98 views)
File Type: jpg PollutionIV Crew---Aug68.jpg (111.8 KB, 97 views)
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Vietnam Huey Plate holders
Old 06-10-2018, 12:50 PM   #10
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Veteran Keith Pippen Mentioned the 'Generals Stars' plate holders, I have
yet to locate a picture of one of those in that use, but they must be out there.
The plate holders mentioned are interesting in themselves, originally designed for formation numerals, they became became limited for that purpose by the mid 60's. So far observed on B C D & H models, they were subject to removal, re-position and redesign. this is noted by the size variations, different or absent paint jobs and construction quality. Here is one veterans slant on their use. John.

"Formation numbers were seldom used as such and thus not that common as such, most units used them for other purposes. The brackets/frames were applied at Bell Helicopter plants, but later fell into cancellation for most aircraft. The brackets were used for many different meanings. The were used to indicate formation numbers as you state, but they also displayed a high ranking officer or civilian’s rank or status, such as two white stars for a Major General. They indicated which aircraft a group of men were to load into, which specific aircraft was used for what mission for the day, visual identification for air traffic controllers in the tower to more quickly find the aircraft they were speaking to when there were many aircraft preparing for take off at a large heliport, which aircraft was the C & C bird when the stuff was hitting the fan and also the names of the Aircraft Commander (AC), the ship’s permanent Crew Chief, and also gunner. (Co-pilots usually bounced around on aircraft on a daily basis.) The sometimes held hand painted images of the company’s or platoon’s mascots such as Snoopy flying his dog house." Steve Bookout (120th AHC)
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File Type: jpg 114TH.jpg (123.2 KB, 57 views)
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Vietnam Huey Plate holders
Old 06-10-2018, 01:00 PM   #11
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Default Vietnam Huey Plate holders

2.
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