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18th CAC. Can Tho Vietnam. 1972/1973

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    Originally posted by john jones View Post
    thanks to john brennan, we now know her current location.
    Better preserved than many, we can presume the south vietnamese did
    not scrape down to paint the bare panel. So it could be the original artwork,
    is still below the post war layers?


      Air to Ground Missile

      The Last few months were very perilous for the remaining Avn assets,
      left in the Deltaregion of Vietnam. John Harris relates the precautions taken
      at the time. Also from Joe Whites Scrapbook, how the fortunes of war smiled on
      him, the day of the shoot down.
      "Less than one week before I arrived at the 18th Corps Avn Co (CAC) at Can Tho, on 31 Oct 72, a CH-47C from our Chinook platoon dubbed the “Hillclimbers”, was shot down by an SA-7 near Don Tam in the Delta, killing all 12 Americans on board; 4 crew & 8 pax returning from Saigon. Immediately afterwards, due to the vulnerability to SA-7’s, USARV put out that no Americans could ride in Chinooks unless it was a tactical emergency. There was a mad scramble and over the next month or so, prototype flare dispensers were obtained from NAS China Lake and installed ASAP on the back ramps of 47’s. There was a fifth CE added to each crew & his job was to stare out the back ramp and look for the telltale smoke launch signature from a missile launch on the ground and/or the smoke trail of an upward spiraling missile as it locked on the engine exhaust enroute to the 47. Once a missile was observed to be inbound, the CE’s were instructed to manually fire a cluster of three flares downward from the ramp dispenser, in hopes that the cluster’s IR signature would be more intense and therefore, decoy the missile away from the aircraft.
      Circa mid-December 72, one of our 47’s was flying straight and level, above 3,000 ft agl when SP5 James Scroggins, a 2nd tour 47 CE who was on the back ramp, observed an SA-7 inbound. As instructed, he fired three flares and the SA-7 did in fact track the flares instead of the aircraft & exploded in flight below & aft of the 47. Our C.O., MAJ Jerry Childers, who was not even 47 rated, was riding in the jump seat when that happened. He put SP5 Scroggins in for a DFC as if he had not both seen the inbound missile and then not fired those flares exactly as directed, the aircraft and everyone would have almost certainly been destroyed. In early Feb. 73, after the cease-fire & during our company’s final A&D ceremony, the highest award given out was the DFC which was awarded to Scroggins for being the first person to ever successfully decoy a heat seeking missile in flight from a helicopter; I believe the 1st Avn Bde Cdr, BG Mackmull, pinned it on himself.
      Sadly, a few weeks later, SP5 Scroggins would become the last Army Aviation Crewmember to be KIA in the Vietnam War as he died from wounds/burns received as the 47 he was crewing was shot down as also, the last US Army helicopter lost in Vietnam. Ironically, they were shot down by the NVA while unarmed and after just having (I’m not kidding) resupplied a group of NVA/VC near An Loc, as part of the “peace keeping” arrangements."

      Very sad. John Harris
      Attached Files


        Air to Ground Missile

        "Just FYI regarding your observation of the engine exhaust cone, you might not have known that by the fall of 1972, all UH-1 and AH-1 aircraft that remained in-country, were modified with IR suppressors to lessen the vulnerability of those aircraft to the SA-7 shoulder fired, heat-seeking missiles. The suppressors were commonly referred to as “toilet bowels” and both shielded the hot section of the exhaust and dissipated the hot exhaust gasses up and into the rotor wash. The mod kit also involved the placement of a heat shield on both sides of the engine compartment, (which you can also see in those color photos of 728,) as well as a shield placed on the belly of the aircraft, in an attempt to reduce the heat signature radiated out from the oil cooler. While not a 100% fix, it did reduce the rate of successful VC/NVA shoot-downs of both airframes."
        John Harris

        Opps. Titles should of course be 'Ground to Air missles'
        Attached Files



          Upon the signing of the peace agreement on the 27th January, the clock started
          to tick for the remaining US forces still in country. 60 days, to wind down the largest Avn unit in Vietnam, whilst still conducting support operations.
          The first request to the 18th CAC, was to provide 6 aircraft for the 4 countries tasked with overseeing
          the 'ceasefire'. A thankless task, which saw a many violations and needless deaths.
          A pretty 'toothless tiger', the men of 18th CAC came up with their own critic of its performance. It Couldn't Control Shit

          The International Commission of Control and Supervision (ICCS) was created during the Vietnam War to replace the International Control Commission (formally called the International Commission for Supervision and Control in Vietnam (ICSC)) following the signing of the Paris Peace Accords ("Paris Agreement on Ending the War and Restoring Peace in Vietnam") on 27 January 1973. The members of the ICCS included Canada, Indonesia, Hungary and Poland. Canada supplied 240 members of the Canadian Forces and 50 diplomats to the commission. They arrived in Vietnam on 28 January 1973, one day after the Peace accord was signed. Immediately members of the ICCS were dispatched to 45 locations across the 1000km stretch of territory to supervise the exchange of prisoners and disarmament of combatants.
          The Protocol to the Paris Agreement detailed the functions of the ICCS. At Article 4 it named the locations of seven regional teams and twenty-six teams within those regions in South Vietnam. It also called for seven teams to be assigned to ports of entry (for replacement of armaments, munitions and war material permitted the two South Vietnamese parties under Article 7 of the Agreement) and seven teams to supervise the return of captured and detained personnel.

          In summary, the ICCS was to supervise the cease-fire, the withdrawal of troops, the dismantlement of military bases, the activity at ports of entry and the return of captured military personnel and foreign civilians. It was to report on the implementation, or violation, of the Peace Agreement and Protocols.
          The force was composed of military and civilian personnel from two communist nations, Hungary and Poland, and two non-communist nations, Canada and Indonesia. As with the old ICSC, there were continuous disagreements between the communist and non-communist nations about the causes of treaty violations.


            Jmc / iccs

            The first order of the day was painting the required aircraft and assigning flight crew.
            I will not put my slant on this, but relate direct quotes from the former menbers of the unit who lived those days and remember things to varying degrees.
            They are : Jerry Childers - Steve Blanton - Jack Winover - Joe D'Angelo - Mike Whiitenberg.
            "I do recall that ICCS couldn’t get their “Stuff” together so we had to make a couple of changes to their paint pattern. However, I believe the orange striping for the JMC A/C was consistent throughout. I don’t recall how many “Birds” we painted with those designs but I believe the VNAF also got those when we left"
            " Immediately after the cease-fire, the initial ICCS paint scheme which was applied consisted of simple white crosses painted on both cargo doors and on both sides of the tail boom. On the tail boom, the United States Army was still displayed, outlined over the white cross on each side. There was no white cross on the nose; the 18th CAC patch was simply painted over with black paint. I can’t remember if a white cross was painted on the aircraft’s belly or not"
            Attached Files


              At least one JMC aircraft, made its final flight of the war during operation
              'frequent wind'. And then on into a watery grave.
              We cannot say 100% it is an ex 18th CAC A/c, as its repainted number is
              either 700 - 708 - 709. However, the unit did have 700 & 709 as tail numbers.
              Attached Files


                Amazing stuff.
                I never even noticed the stripes on the bird even though I have seen the picture countless times.
                Great post as usual and thanks for educating me.



                  Indeed Owen, does not jump out in black and white,
                  only spotted it after the 18th CAC guys showed the colour scheme.
                  Collectables are great, but it is neat to record this info from those that
                  lived it. Their ranks are sadly thinning..



                    Operation Gallant

                    Operation Designation:
                    Name: GALLANT Date: 29/01/1973 - 31/07/1973
                    Canadian Task Force Name Mission Statement: To provide a neutral party to investigate compliance and to conduct monitor the enforcement of the terms of the Paris Peace Agreement.
                    Having participated in the ICSC-Vietnam from 1954 to its dissolution in 1973 and thoroughly disillusioned with both its structure and working mechanisms, Canada doubted whether the ICCS had any better chance of achieving lasting peace and stability. Accordingly, while Ottawa agreed to participate in the ICCS for an initial period of sixty days, Canada insisted upon having the right to withdraw if it found that the ICCS was ineffective. The Canadian contribution to ICCS was to be 240 military personnel and fifty from the Department of External Affairs. As Canada had been kept abreast of the negotiations in Paris, Ottawa was ready when the agreement was signed on 27 January. Firm planning for Operation GALLANT had begun in December 1972, and a two-man advance party arrived in Saigon only days before the formal Canadian contingent itself on 29 January. (It would be led by Michel Gauvin, head of the Canadian delegation and ambassador to Vietnam, and Major-General Duncan McAlpine, the Canadian Forces commander.) All were airlifted from Trenton by 436 Squadron Hercules.
                    So quick was the Canadian response, in fact, that the ICCS operational plan was not ready when they arrived, but the contingent was nevertheless soon transported to its assigned sites. As some were accessible only by air, on 27 February a contract was let to Air America Inc, a commercial enterprise generally accepted as having close links to the American Central Intelligence Agency-backed operation and operating now under the name “ICCS Air Services.” However, the Viet Cong’s refusal to clarify air regulations over territory it controlled resulted in some sites not being resupplied for several weeks or more: ICCS team members at An Loc, for example, had to fend for themselves for seventy-five days.
                    There were casualties. An ICCS helicopter was shot down on 7 April over Viet Cong territory, killing all 9 onboard, including one Canadian, Captain C.E. Laviolette, two Hungarians, one Indonesian, two Viet Cong liaison officers and a three-man crew. All ICCS flights were temporarily grounded. Then, on 28 June, two Canadian officers, Captains Ian Patten and Fletcher Thomson, were kidnapped by the Viet Cong just east of Saigon, but careful negotiations finally resulted in their release after seventeen days. Operationally, conditions were harsh, and unexploded ordnance was an ever-present danger. So were booby-traps left over from the actual fighting. For their part, although guilty of obstructing much of the ICCS’s work, the Viet Cong generally tried to make living conditions in sites as comfortable as possible and some, particularly those near former American bases, were very well-equipped. As a result, a rotation policy was devised to move ICCS teams between them and more difficult locations. Although convinced within the first month that the ICCS was as ineffective as its ICSC predecessor, Canada chose to remain a participant for two months beyond its initial, limited commitment; but when there was no noticeable improvement in the prospects for success during this period, Canada finally indicated it would withdraw effective 31 July 1973. On 31 July, two 437 Squadron Boeing 707s evacuated the entire Canadian ICCS contingent from Saigon, while a 436 Squadron Hercules carried the luggage and other equipment. Iranian forces replaced the Canadians until the work of the ICCS came to an end with the fall of the South Vietnamese government on 30 April 1975.
                    The ICCS was equipped with vehicles from American stores, including Jeeps ( M151s and M151A2.) The colour of these Jeeps has been the subject of much debate on Canadian Military web forums, with some saying they were black, while others thought they were left Olive Drab. Both colours are in fact correct. The spare wheel cover reads: ICCS BASE.
                    Attached Files



                      Days after the signing of the peace agreement, the NVA and VC came for talks
                      and no doubt to survey the real estate, they fully expected to own in the near future.

                      "The first one is just some from around the 18 CAC Company area. The second one is of the aircraft and vehicles of the peace keeping elements that were formed as we departed in 1973 (Joint Military Command and International Control Commission). The markings are unusual and these photos are probably rare. The Jeep and car have NVA and VC in them"
                      Attached Files



                        Gathering of the 'Big-Wigs'.

                        (ARVN Colonel, NVA Colonel, US Colonel, VC Colonel)

                        Attached Files



                          "After a few weeks of flying with the white crosses, aircraft were still taking fire, so it was directed from higher Hqs that the aircraft be re-painted with the letters ICCS displayed on big white rectangles, on both cargo doors and the tail boom. Note: I took the attached photo of Steve Blanton's contract maint crews, re-painting three Hueys with this second ICCS paint job." John Harris
                          Attached Files


                            Very interesting and great update. Much appreciated.
                            Somebody, after all, had to make a start. What we wrote and said is also believed by many others. They just don't dare express themselves as we did. Quote - Sophie Scholl - White Rose resistance group


                              Jmc / iccs

                              Again, after a few more weeks, aircraft were still taking fire, so the third ICCS paint scheme was implemented, by adding the three big yellow stripes to the tail boom.
                              John Harris
                              Attached Files


                                ICCS/Air America.

                                In the early days of March, part of the mission and aircraft, were handed over
                                to Air America. After the final withdrawl, (27/28th March) military Olive Drab,
                                was eliminated from the paint scheme. John
                                Note: "We had previously turned over 4 or 5 Huey’s from the 18th CAC, directly to Air America by flying them to the Air America ramp at Tan Son Nhut. That flight took place on 09 Mar, per my logbook. I flew one of the Huey’s there as the AC/PIC completely solo in a loose formation, with no co-pilot & no one in back, for the first time ever that date. Once there, I went into the Air America office along with WO1 Tom McPherson and we tried to see if we could join Air America on the spot & perhaps get a release from active duty? The AA rep asked how much flight time we both had, and after we told him, he then kind of smirked and said something like: “You boys feel free to recontact us when you each have logged a couple thousand hours.”
                                I flew my last ICCS mission on 26 March then while getting ready to pre-flight on 27 March, the phone call came in for us to drop everything and head to Saigon. But by the time that phone call was received, three 18th CAC ICCS aircraft had already launched about 30 minutes earlier, for missions. By the time the rest of us had assembled on the airfield ramp to get on a C-130 for transport to Saigon & Camp Alpha, those three aircraft returned, dropped off their ICCS passengers, then took off again for a final flyby, streaming smoke in a v of three over our heads."
                                John Harris
                                "I have entries in my daily calendar that read as follows: 9 March ’73, up early-to SGN (I think that means Saigon) to turn-in 6 ICCS ‘birds’ Steve Blanton
                                "Yep, I flew the lead a/c on the smoke run. I have often argued that I would be willing to bet that the three ship ICCS fly by at Can Tho on the morning of 27 Mar 73, was likely the last Helicopter formation flight performed by the U.S. Army in Vietnam". Jack Winover
                                Attached Files


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