SITES AND MIND SOUNDS FROM VIETNAM If the images are
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The photo below 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 photo below was july of 68 and is the fuel dump on fire at Camp
The view below is of a 122 MM rocket hole on Camp Holloway in
Pleiku. We would see the rockets coming up out of the valley between us and the
main ammo dump. If you saw a curve in the red arc it was hitting the ARVN base
camp or the Air Force base. If there was no curve then "Get deep and tight."
The view below is up the airfield on Dong Tam in late 68 looking
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 below is me changing the engine on a Cobra Gunship. It
gives you a good idea of the narrow profile of this helicopter.
The shot below 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 shot below is football player Rosie Grier with Dick Albers a
trampolinist. This was the Christmas show 1968 at Dong Tam on the Mekong Delta.
The shot below to the left is Bob Hope along with Miss World 1968
Penelope Plummer. 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 below 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 base
camp heading out for the day.
The shot below 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. That is Longknife 26 below
with the info on the crash below it.
D Troops main job was to
Peek and Poke in a search area. We would be assigned an area
to check out and if it got bad we pulled out and called in the big guns.
The normal ground element, up until the withdrawal of the 9th Division,
was either our own Grunts or Ground Pounders clled the "Dough Boys". If you
look at my unit's history it was an "OLD CAV" unit hence the name "Dough Boys".
Their web site is at
The Dough Boys
We also 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 Delp , 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 below is for the maintenance group called The
Scavengers 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. Sticking out of the lower left of the LOH
is a 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
The photo below 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 image below are what we saw all to often. It is day's 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..
Below is a normal day in the delta during the monsoon season. The
building to the left is the enlisted mens latrine. This photo is in the same
position as the sunrise photo at the top.
This is one of our slicks being hauled out after it had a hard
landing. It had struck a paddy dike after a hot landing in an LZ. It was flown
back to Bearcat where it was found to be so damaged it had to be sling loaded
down to Vung Tau for upper echelon repair.
The Photo below is a Caribou airplane on the Air Force base in
Pleiku. The aircraft had 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.
Below is me , in the white t-shirt , towards the end of my tour in
May of 69. 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
transferred 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
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 shotting 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 rockets.
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