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

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A rare event.
Old 09-23-2017, 08:17 AM   #46
JOHN JONES
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Default A rare event.

"The shot of our three CH-37’s in flight with the main gear pulled up, is when we got all three of them flying. At the same time mind you! Unheard of…We were flying down to our sister company the 611th in Vung Tau to do a flyby with colored smoke to rub their noses in it a bit. Getting all three of them in flyable condition at the same time was damned unusual." Scott
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Self Protection / varied loads
Old 09-24-2017, 11:27 AM   #47
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Default Self Protection / varied loads

Amendum to post 45.
"John, the guy up on the #2 (right hand) engine is filling the 55 gallon (yes GALLON!) oil tank. Those engines were worked so hard that they went through a lot of engine oil. Most every flight required 15 or 20 gallons of oil per engine." Scott

Fixed mounts enabled a switch to twin handled guns, greater accuracy and control.
Note: left hand gunner has Machette, standard kit for jungle and airframe hacking. See post 37, for close up ofcargo door gun mount.

"Gunner and Crew Chief also were tethered when manning there M60's out the window and aft door. We used to call the tethered straps, "John Wayne straps". Frank

"We started out with straps holding the door guns but soon switched to hard mounts. I don’t know for sure but probably like Frank our machinists made what we needed. They were fabricated in country by our very capable machine shop troops. Our allied shops could do most anything that we needed. Certified welders, electricians, instrument repair guys, hydraulic guys and of course the sheet metal guys". Scott
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Old 09-24-2017, 12:09 PM   #48
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"Frank, I don’t remember having those winches mounted in our aircraft. I guess you used it to pull stuff up the ramps in front? And probably when you were doing that drone recovery work?" Scott

"Those are cargo straps to stabilize the winch. Yes Scott, can only remember a few occasions using the winch hauling through the clam shell doors. A very large generator, Huey engines, and Catipiller steel tracks, engine parts and many pallets."

Frank
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Supporting Operations.
Old 09-27-2017, 12:45 PM   #49
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Default Supporting Operations.

"In the early days we would be requested to do recovery standby near where the heli borne assaults were taking place. Remember that at this early point in the war there were not any organized US Army combat units on the ground, we were still in the support Marvin The Arvin who usually had American Green Beret officers with them as advisors. The transport companies were just that, they flew slicks that hauled the passengers and made the insertion. Other companies such as the UTT initially, 68th Avn Co. later, 197th Avn Co. and others flew gunships and provided cover for these insertion flights. So you had a mixed bag of resources under different local command attempting to perform a specific mission. And that of course led to some confusion now and then. Later on in the war when the fully Air Mobile companies got into the war, they brought all of their air resources with them, all under the same command. And the coordination greatly improved when that happened" Frank
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Just in case we cannot land!
Old 09-27-2017, 01:21 PM   #50
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Default Just in case we cannot land!

"339th TC Recovery Section wanted a few young crazy 18 year old's to be qualified to rappel. Later with chain saw, M60 and necessary sling load attachment equipment. That's me, Nha Trang, June 1964.jumping from a UH1B slick." Frank
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Simple but effective.
Old 09-27-2017, 01:33 PM   #51
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Default Simple but effective.

"Here’s the newspaper photo of us installing the monkey bar. Some Army photographers were coming around and wanted some photos of both us installing the monkey bar and sitting up on the main rotor head with the lifting sling in place, ready to hook up to the CH-37, an article appeared in a paper back home."

"When I first started working on the Recovery Crew, on our first recovery the monkey bar bent over. It was just a U shaped piece that attached with U bolts to the loop antenna on the rear of the tailboom of the UH-1’s, had a single pipe going up about 8 or so feet with a tab on the end that attached to the tie down tab on the tip of the rotor blade.
The idea was to hold the rotor blades flat and level with the fuselage so they wouldn’t catch any air and start the helicopter spinning around.Well any boob knows that a single pipe is very easy to bend! So my design used two pipes going up like an A frame, with angled bridge bracing in between them for strength. Never bent another one after that. Then after the monkey bar was installed we used a 2” wide cargo strap with a ratcheting locking mechanism over the front and rear blade. We then Installed a short cable lifting sling to the Jesus Nut on top of the mast, then with two of us sitting up on the blade grips, would do the hover hook up."
Scott
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CH37 The 'Hell - Hole'
Old 09-27-2017, 02:09 PM   #52
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Default CH37 The 'Hell - Hole'

"First, the part about the Flight Engineer being the one laying on the floor looking down through the hell hole onto the top part of the load and the cargo hook is correct. Our procedure was that the FE would lie down head facing the cockpit so that his left, right, forward, and back were the same as the pilots. (note in the pictures he is tethered to the aircraft) Then he would help the pilot locate the aircraft over the load, putting the hook within reach of the guys who were standing or squatting on top of the load with the lifting sling in one man’s hands, and the grounding rod in the other man’s hands. The ground rod that we used was a locally fabricated piece, consisting of some heavy gauge welding rod bent into a hook shape; two pieces of wood slotted and taped around the base of that hook to provide insulation. Again using that great 400 MPH tape that we used to repair bullet holes in the aircraft and rotor blades! There was a long insulated wire, maybe 50’ long or so attached to the bottom part of the hook that went down to a metal stake that we drove into the ground to provide a good electrical ground.
Our procedure was that two of us set the ground rod then climb up on top of the aircraft to be recovered. When we were ready the CH-37 would move in over us and we would make eye contact with the FE who was looking down through the hell hole. When he had the hook positioned over us I would hook the grounding hook over the helicopters cargo hook grounding the static electricity. Then I would grab the back of that hook to stabilize it while the other man would place the ring on the lifting sling over the cargo hook and give it a good shake to make sure that it was secure. I would then disengage the grounding hook, throw it down on the ground, and we would exit under the right pilot seat of the ’37 and angle away in view of them so they would know that we were clear. Once clear the FE would again center the hook over the load and the pilots would start applying power to do the lift.
The reason we went out under the right side pilots butt was that if engine power was lost the helicopter would yaw strongly to nose left. This due to the fact that US helicopters back then all had their main rotors turning counter clockwise when looking DOWN on them from above. The resultant torque would make the fuselage want to turn the opposite way, swinging the nose to the right. So the pilot would have to hold in some left pedal to counteract this from happening and keep the nose pointing straight. When engine power was lost torque was also lost and the helicopter now would yaw strongly to its nose left. The pilot would kick in some right pedal and some cyclic to keep the nose straight and that would make the helicopter drift to its left. Hence we went out to the right. Just a safety precaution for us on the ground."
Scott
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CH37 The 'Hell - Hole'
Old 09-27-2017, 02:16 PM   #53
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Default CH37 The 'Hell - Hole'

"Once clear the FE would again center the hook over the load and the pilots would start applying power to do the lift. There are four cables that attach to hard points around the hell hole that support the cargo hook. And there are both an electrical connection and a mechanical connection that enable the pilots to release the load should they need to. Also a manual release on the hook itself but I don’t believe it is reachable by the FE working down through the hell hole. The hook hung a good four (4) feet below the outside skin of the aircraft." Scott
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'R' (Recovery) Wings
Old 09-30-2017, 01:14 PM   #54
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Default 'R' (Recovery) Wings

4 weeks before Scott contacted me, this 611th Co.(DS) veteran set appeared on Ebay. Featuring a wing previously unknown to me, the veteran made quite a clear identification. Although some slight dispute was noted in the USMF posting, this wing was one of the 1st local made flight indicators, produced 'in theatre' for aviation units. It appears to have been worn and produced independantly, by 2 of the CH37 units, for a limited time period. John.

http://www.usmilitariaforum.com/foru...tran-vn-group/
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'R' (Recovery) Wings
Old 09-30-2017, 01:22 PM   #55
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Default 'R' (Recovery) Wings

"I think that the only guys who wore them were the recovery crew guys. Guys like Dave Robin were the Crew Chiefs of our aircraft and were issued the Aircraft Crewman Badge which was their set of Crew Chief wings. They weren’t around for very long, none of my later photos show them. I suspect that when we lost the ability to do our recoveries with our own CH-37’s they may have faded from the scene.
The one shot of me wearing the wings on my uniform when I was standing over the engine in the shop (post 1) was just because they were on the uniform and I hadn’t removed them yet. I hadn’t flown a recovery mission for at least a year, probably more when that photo was taken. I am sure that someone higher up in the Recovery Section chatted with the Old Man, he approved them, and they had them made downtown Saigon.Later on I was also issued a set of Crew Chief wings when I was cut run up orders for the UH-1’s. But I never in my memory sewed them onto my uniform as I had pretty much quit flying by then, only doing test flights and vibration tests on repaired engines. What wings that do show up on my uniforms are the recovery wings. I guess that someone, somewhere, maybe Sgt. Hammerich our NCOIC of Recovery thought that the rest of us needed to have a set of “wings” and one day they just showed up"
Scott

"All members wore the patch. I don't remember the CH37's having the Vulture nose art. Our section wore the Vulture patch. I'm not sure what happened to the CH37 members when we started using the chinook. When I was there we did not have the "R" wings. May have come after me, I was there from 1965- 1966."
David Robin
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CE Wings
Old 09-30-2017, 01:26 PM   #56
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"I was one of several Crew Chiefs for the 339th Transportation Co recovery Team. It was a additional duty for us. I have not seen the wings with the R. I think that those were probably something that some of the units had made up locally. We had Crew chief Wings (CE) wings, both medal and cloth, made by the locals for our unit, until the Army designated issue American Crewmember flight wings. I served from late 1965 to 1967." Mike Edwards
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Recovery Crew.
Old 10-04-2017, 03:34 AM   #57
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Default Recovery Crew.

The 'shack' for the Recovery Crew. Very much a plywood add -on,
to the side of a hanger and a Converted conex to house the teams equipment.
Note the MACV patch, which was the 1st shoulder patch the unit used. Several
months on, the unit reverted to the USARVN patch.

Dave Robin outside of the shack, the 56th Company patch, now appears below the window.
Note the set of 'Mission' wings, above the entrance.

John.
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Dust Off
Old 10-29-2017, 02:31 PM   #58
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Default Dust Off

Here’s another shot of one of our helicopters “Slave Driver” bringing in a UH-1B “Dust Off” medical helicopter into our hangar at Tan Son Nhut. One of my more favorite photos. Scott
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339th Transportation Company
Old 10-29-2017, 02:41 PM   #59
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Default 339th Transportation Company

2 Nice Artwork shots from Frank Ferry.
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Recovery Section Huey
Old 10-29-2017, 02:49 PM   #60
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Default Recovery Section Huey

A nice set of images from Former commander Gerald Royals.
John.
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