Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Kingbee over "Saigon" Trail


Kingbee over HCM Trail (part-1) Kingbee Project Delta Special Flight Group In the year 2.004, U S Media, the radio had announced the recovery of the full crewmembers- remains of The Vietnamese Air force: Lieutenant Long, Lt Tung, and Master Sergeant Lanh. These were all my dear comrades who’d been listed as Missing- In-Action in 1966; the numbers matched up, a total of Three Queen Bees. Yet they would be making that final journey in flag-draped coffins, carried by solemn honors guard of our brothers in arms. No, it wouldn’t be easy at all. They were buried with military honors at Arlington-Cemetery. Yet as I listened to that song, I mourned our lost comrades who would help me remember the lightest moments of the darkest hours, and details of each man’s life that I could hold in my memories. I nodded and thanked them silently. Now my last salute to theirs final resting place in a clearing surrounded by maple and pine trees. Alas! We never seem to learn from our forgiveness for what they had done. “Sacrifices often are unappreciated by those who benefit from them” I was angry about having sacrificed my young to the Wise-Men’s stratagem (American-First) for many years; my war flying experience still remained like a huge undigested lump in the back of my mind. I did not know what to do with it, when someone asked it with my own know-how-concept. If the real power from US administration had kept their promises, Southern Vietnamese might now be enjoying prosperity and democracy similar to what has developed in South Korea, Taiwan, and Thailand. Even now I became a green-fresh US citizen, but still very clear to me that I am not among the self-loathing Americans who notice people in other countries looking to us for leadership and see nothing but neocolonialism and imperialism; I accept the premise that the United States has a legitimate, even inescapable, role to play in the world today.) Aerial photos on HCM Trail by Helicopter H.34 on treetop snapshot: Vietnam is a vastly diverse land. In the South a vast flooded Mekong Delta, broad coastal plains, thick mangrove swamp, tangled jungles, and it has steep mountains chain from North to South; so every year having flood. The jungle was too dense for large operations, but pretty good suitable hidden place for our SOG reconnaissance teams and the enemy too. You had to literally hack your way through vines and thick foliage, moving very slowly, mostly in small units like squad, team-sized, platoon-sized, may be company-sized patrols. Fighting in triple-canopy rain forest teaches you how to fight in triple-canopy rain forest. Fighting in mountains teaches you how to fight in mountains. And you should learn a lot simply shooting and getting shot at a lot, and working closely with others like team-work on a combat mission. But there isn’t a great deal of carryover from any of that one to the other. The biggest lesson, in fact, is learning how to be open to surprising new experiences a then turning that openness into resourceful and creative ways of dealing with the challenges you face. Recon-team was to interdict the North Vietnamese troops coming down the HCM Trail through Laos and Cambodia and infiltrating through the mountain and rugged terrain of the jungles into the populated regions near the coast. Recon-team did actually encounter large numbers of the enemy in the jungle, but they reported to forward operational base the detail information for bombardment, avoiding in fight contact, except for self-defense.

Their mission was to search for indications of them, their infiltration routes, or base camps or other places they might be using as sanctuaries; and they frequently found unoccupied enemy positions, often clever bunkers tunneled under thick bamboo clumps, providing them with a natural cover so why in battle of Ap-Bac 1963 the enemy had a safe cover in the lest casualty.
At Khe-Sanh, today June 14, two helicopters H.34 assigned to U.S Project-Delta Special Force, unmarked camouflage by color match with mountainous wild-leaves. The weather is OK for this season just light fog will clear very soon. The morning breeze shed out from stone mountain bringing enough cool; surrounding thick foliages were standstill, now and then the fresh sea-wind floating to mainland carried some warmer humidity, few cotton cumulus drifting to west hanging on the crest of mountain; higher some cirrus stay-unmoved in the clear blue-sky demonstrated the weather today should be very good for our aerial photos. We will to compete with higher altitude photos of Woodo R.F.101 and U.2 in contrast to treetop helicopter H.34. With this weather, I feel convinced that might God formed for us appeasing our anxiety. Yes, we plunged over ‘razing-mode- flight’ along HCM Trail and a foremost is snap-shot over Group 559, forward operational base headquarter [Oscar Eight]. In the mission clearance order recommended that we must take picture from west DMZ to the South at Kham Duc, and Ben Het. But I can’t do it, in-fact the very hot spot like Oscar-Eight, I must go this first and the rest later, I don’t want the enemy being ready for welcome us with every kind of anti-aircraft artilleries! About 40 kilometers northwest of South Vietnam is the Ashau-valley, Oscar Eight encompassed the Highway 922 turnoff from Highway 92. More USAF planes were downed at that road junction than any place in Laos which isn’t surprising since burrowed deep into the hills of Oscar Eight, defended by belts of antiaircraft guns, was North Vietnamese General Vo Bam’ 559 Transportation Group’s forward headquarter. This is the HCM Trail’s Control Center. We frequently inserted recon-team over-there, refocused on its operations across the border and tapered off in country missions except in the Ashau-valley which remained SOG haunt, situated beyond a barrier of imposing mountains that masked it from coastal enclaves 60 kilometers away at Phu-Bai and Da-Nang. The Ashau-valley stretched 35 kilometers northwest to southeast ending at Atep high land on the Laotian border. 3 kilometers wide in places, the Ashau bottom was grassy, flat and so open it was eerie; flying overhead you could feel eyes following you. Two abandoned airfields and three ghost camps haunted the valley floor, while its major road highway 548 connected with Laotian highway 922 from adjacent Laotian base areas the North Vietnamese built a network of 40 high-speed trails into the valley.

Northern Ashau’ Tam-Boi mountain contained immense chambers hewn from solid rock and fitted with heavy iron door, so well constructed that they withstood B.52 strikes. The plan was to insert at dusk so the enemy would have no daylight left to dispatch a reaction force or trackers, giving recon-team a full night’s head start. If they stumbled into enemy on the LZ, my courage Queen-Bee pilots would swoop in to extract them while the Huey gun-ships fired mini-guns and explosive rockets for air closed support. In March, 1966 at dusk, when Queen Bee inserted at very hot LZ right in enemy’s heartland. Immediately alerted emergency mission, our Queen Bee plunged in the shower of bullets AK47, picking-up Sergeant Brown and Huston, another Queen Bee dropped rope-ladder due to no space for LZ, picking-up Alan Boyer meanwhile under shower-bullets of AK47, Boyer got hit and fall. Dead or alive, he was in enemy hands. In the middle, 1966, one recon team was encountered a concentrated NVA ambushed. One hour fighting, later, team tried to hide to a hill crest, where there were some rock-stones easy to defend and preferred to Queen Bee pilots to put one landing-gear for picking them up. Apparently, few of them were wounded they would suicide by frustrated captured in the daylight. At night U.S pilots would gave-up. Lieutenant Hung, nickname “mustache”, by himself, an alone Queen-Bee, no copilot, no crew-chief, no door gun, in the dark of night, but just the very himself inserted them in, his conscience pricks him and his knew-how where-about a team located spot. He landed one gear on a hill crest slope picking-up all team members in the red glaring light of from every individual bullets gun, from everywhere concentrated to spot-light LZ. At last, an unmarked H.34 landing on operational home base with 88 holes of AK.47- “unbelievable” Say Major Scotty Crerar: “neither impossible ground fire nor unflyable-weather stopped Queen-Bee pilots…They were absolutely fearless!”

“…An English-speaking North Vietnamese officer told Glenn to watch carefully, then they cut Paul Miguez’s belly open, and his intestines fell to the ground. The officer took a flame-thrower from one of his men, stuck the nozzle in Miguez’s stomach and literally melted him alive, burning him horribly while the young specialist four watched. The NVA officer told him to tell his Green-Beret friends that this is what waited for them in Route 559 [Ho Chi Minh Trail] along corridor Laotian/ Vietnam. A number of recon-men doubted the story, thinking perhaps the One-Two had hallucinated; but they knew never to discount anything. A visiting SOG lieutenant colonel from Danang badgered the traumatized youth, even calling him coward. Then he turned his bile on Zabitosky, demanding to know why he hadn’t landed, and when he was told the Huey had been shot full of holes, he called Zabitosky a coward, too, why the Queen-Bee fearless, carried it out?. “OK, Colonel,” Zabitosky said “ tomorrow morning, I’m going back in there with nothing but three Americans and three Yards, some body bags and ammunition. And if you would like your first tour of Laos, seeing as you have not been to Laos, I want you on the lead ship with me.” The Colonel went along but tried to scrub the insert when they took ground fire; Zabitosky already had talked with the pilot, who disregarded the colonel’s pleas. After all, Zabitosky was the operation commander, not the colonel. The colonel did not get off the helicopter with the recon team. But miraculously, another circle Queen-Bee spotted the missing One-One, Pilton, and extracted him. Meanwhile, Zabitoslky found the team’s back trail, followed it 600 yards to a hill crest, looked over and could see gear strew where the team had been overrun. A little farther on he found black streaks where a flamethrower had scorched the ground and trees, then just ahead something was smoldering., It turned his stomach.

The hideous, sadistic murder of an unarmed man surprised Zabitosky, who explained, “That was the first time I ever knew the NVA to do anything like that.” Several Montagnards lay there, too, burned to death. It was another dangerous day before Zabitosky got Miguez’s body out; enemy pressure was so great he had to abandon the Yard bodies. Chief SOG personally relieved the ‘bellicose colonel’. Paul Miguez, who displayed incredible courage while his captors burned him alive, was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. SOG recon team saw the Miguez incident as proof of what lay in store for them if captured alive; such inhumanity was borne out again and again, with particular confirmation coming from the June 1967 Hatchet Force raid in target Oscar-Eight [ forward operational Base 559 Group]. And another story like below: “….Lieutenant Jerson was carried on; Howard was so drained that he was almost hallucinating. He laid there, silent, holding Jerson and puffing a cigarette a door gunner had given him. One pilot leaned back to give him a reassuring pat, but in his mind Howard kept seeing bodies falling, left behind, bodies of gallant Montagnards that he’d tried so hard to bring out. Almost out of his mind, Howard thought about killing the pilot though he knew that was not right and he didn’t have a weapon. Then, mercifully, he passed out. He awoke briefly in a field hospital to find his hands bandaged, his face covered with ointment, and learned Lieutenant Jim Jerson had died. But nobody could tell Jerson’s family or Robert Scherdin’s family that good men had not given their all for them. The recon company commander, Captain Ed Lesesne wrote Howard up for the Medal of Honor for the third time. There would be no downgrading, no minimizing his role to make a superior sound braver, just the truth. By the time Howard at last received the pale blue-ribbon American patriotism had plunged to its nadir and in the antiwar mood of the times.
The media told no one of his indomitable courage. The networks and major newspapers did not report the ceremony. It was as if it did not happen. In 1955, every school-kid knew Alvin York’s and Audie Murphy’s names. In 1970, no one had ever heard of Bob Howard’s valiant deeds, though his body bore more scars than Navy, Lieutenant John F Kerry, leader activist of antiwar movement with three awards of the Purple Heart for his service in Mekong-Delta combat, but no bleeding, no scars, and no a minute in hospital as Senator Bob Dole said;(Kerry met a criteria requirement such as graduated at Yale university in the prejudice of the First Skull and Bones generation [W A Harriman] and the Second one {George H W Bush] He was selected by them. Thereby upon his return, based on his strong feelings that his fighting men were being sacrificed for a mission in which all generals get lost the objectives, so no longer believed. However he voluntary involved in the effort of veterans to stop the war; it’s also based axiom three that explained the war-solution from earlier 1960 in all universities) . Not surprisingly POW were still imprisoned in the Hanoi Hilton at that time, took a dim view of his antiwar activities. Where they were held, beaten, and tortured for years. They were the honor soldiers, much of that time served after they refused to accept freedom on terms that violated the POW code of honor governing the order of prisoner releases. Howard chest more true values-decorations than either of these acclaimed heroes. Altogether, Howard served five tours in Vietnam, mostly in SOG, never once shrinking from the sound of guns. “Whenever someone asks me that day why I volunteer engaged to become Project-Delta Force, Flight Queen-Bee Group Commander, SO.,

I tell them, it was for the honor of having served beside such SOG’ gallant men…as Bob Howard!” So who brought our Americans fellows in arms having the feeling self-loathing Americans, and the false guilt about the noble cause of the Vietnam War? You sho e recognized who when you finished this “The New Legion” master piece. (Haunting memories of brave comrades, by Stryker Meyer North County Times staff writer, served in the Special Forces from 1968 to 1970) When I die, if the Lord gives me a moment to reflect before I breathe, my first thoughts will be not of my loved ones, nor my children. I’ll reflect on and thank God for Sáu, Hiệp, Phước, Tuấn, Hùng, Sơn, Quang, Châu, Cầu, and Minh. Captains Tưởng and Thinh and lieutenants Trung and Trọng will follow them in my thoughts. Then, I’ll think of my loving wife, our talented and unique children, andour folks. Why the Vietnamese men before my loved ones? Without the courage, strength and fearless verve as combatants in America’s secret war in Southeast Asia, I wouldn’t have returned to the United States. To day, on the 25th anniversary of the fall of Saigon, I’ll pause to salute those warriors , men most Americans will never hear about, including the more than 3 millions U.S troops sent to South Vietnam during America’s longest and costliest war.

There are many who do not respect or salute the Vietnamese who fought in Vietnam. That’s because our country has failed to educate them about the Vietnamese, the country they sent us to and its history and customs. As Green-Berets, we fought side by side with them, laughed with them and learned about theirs families, their dreams and hopes and fears. The first group was members of Spike-Team Idaho, a reconnaissance team that ran classified missions into Cambodia, Laos and North Vietnam under the aegis of the Military Assistance Command Vietnam, Studies and Observation Group …SOG. Green-Berets, Navy SEALs and US Marine Corps Force Reconnaisance troops manned several special operation commands throughout South Vietnam. I joined Spike Team Idaho in May 1968, after six members of the team disapperated in a Laos target area. Three U.S Green Berets and three Vietnamese mercenaries were never heard from again and remain listed as missing in action today. By ’68, Idaho operated out of Phú Bài, 10 miles south of Hue. In May, there were 30 recon-teams there. By November, Idaho was the only operational team left in camp. The enemy troops in Laos, Cambodia and North Vietnam were well-trained, fearless and well-equipped. Captain Tưởng and Thinh and Lieutenants Trung and Trọng were helicopters pilots who flew Sikorsky H-34, which we called “QUEEN-BEES,” into landing zones where enemy soldiers tried to knock them out the sky. For several months in ’68, the Queenbees were the only aircraft flying SOG teams “across the fence” deep into enemy territory. In Laos, the CIA estimated there were between 30.000 and 40.000 North Vietnamese troops keeping the Ho Chi Minh Trail open, bringing supplies from the north to South Vietnam… and fighting SOG troops. During my 17 months on Idaho, we always left targets under heavy fire from North Vietnamese troops. The ride home was in Queenbees and every time we asked for one, it came, regardless of enemy fire. There are many Green-Berets alive today thank to the incredible flying skills of Vietnamese Queenbee- pilots. And without the Vietnamese or Montagnards team members, there would have been more than the 161 killed in SOG operations. Sáu was the Vietnamese team leader on Spike Team Idaho. When I landed at Phú-Bài, Sáu had been fighting for Special Forces nearly five years. Weighing less than 100 pds soaking wet, Sáu had a remarkable sixth nense: He could smell the enemy. In the jungle he moved with complete stealth and silence, often cursing his larger American counterparts. Hiệp was the team’s interpreter, who sometimes corrected U.S troops on their English, as well as speeking Vietnamese, French and some Chinese, Phước, Châu, Sơn and Hùng all signed up with Special Forces when they were 15 or 16. After hundreds of hours of intensive training, their age didn’t matter as they stood tall in combat. On October, 7, 1968, Spike Team Idaho, after trying to escape from North Vietnamese trackers, was attacked by NVA soldiers, who opened fire on full automatic. Sáu had warned they were near. Although none of the Americans heard anything; Sáu, Phước, Hiệp and Don-Wolken were on alert, with their weapons on full automatic, ready to go. In those firefights the first seconds are crucial. The submachine guns we carried fired 20 high-velocity rounds in ½ seconds. Sáu, Phước and Hiệp reloaded and drove the NVA back down the jungle-shrouded hill. We gained fire superiority, but the NVA never stopped coming at us. After a while, they were firing ar us from behind stacks of dead bodies. They came at us from 2. p.m until dusk, time and again rushing us, trying to overrun our position. We had Air Force Phantom jets, Skyraiders and helicopter gunships dropping bombs napalm and cluster bombs and make strafing runs. That was the first time I could recall smelling burnt human flesh. By dusk, we were low on ammo, hand grenades and rounds for our grenade laucher. Captain Thinh flew his H-34 to a slight rise above our position, hovering in deep elephant grass …thick-bladed grass that grew more than 12 feet tall. Because the grass was thick and NVA tried to close in on us again, it took us several minutes to get to the Queenbee.
When I arrived under it, I looked up at Captain Thinh, sitting there looking as calm as a Rocky Mountain breeze in springtime, and he smiled. Finally, we were loaded and he yanked us out of there. Sáu, Hiệp, Phước and I fired off our last magazine of rounds and threw our last grenades as we pulled out of the landing zone, again under heavy enemy fire. With a few minutes we were at 4.000 feet, returning to Phú-Bài. We were safe and unharmed. The Queenbee had 48 holes from bullets and grenades in its side panels and propellers.

The new American on the team quit the nextday. Sáu, Hiệp, and Phước are dinner before I arranged for Sáu and Hiệp to return to their families that night. That scene unfolded hundreds of times over the course of SOG’s history; I carry a deep, haunting guilt for having left them in South Vietnam . “Vocabularies, they absolutely fearless, and some SOG men said ‘It was really rough and tough and rugged… How tough? You could blow cylinders out of it and still get yourseft home’ Sadly, one thing extraordinary happened that it was 100% we got killed because the bad weather, none from enemy with cambat-bullets. But the ever-image of helicopter H-34 crewmembers “Missing In Action that flashed into my mind terrified me and I couldn’t hold my tear shed out because they were died but I was still survive, including Master Sergeant Ralph-Reno, Staff Sergeant Donald Fawcett and Officer Operation, Captain Edwin-Mc Namara… Meanwhile SOG’s MIA numbers continued to climb, especially on Harriman’s Super-Highway corridor. On 31 July 1969 a six man SOG team led by Captain Dennis Neal and Specialist Four Mike Burns, was overrun 20 miles into Laos, near Highway 921. When last heard, one man’s voice radioed, “Help...help…help….for God’s sake….help” Later, our Queen-Bee rescue team found no bodies, no sign of any kind. Then on 13, November 1969, on corridor of Harriman Highway as well, Staff Sergeant Ronald Ray, ‘One-Zero’, and Sergeant Randy Suber, ‘One-One’, were overrun 15 miles west of the Ashau-valley near Laotian Highway 923. Dead or alive, they were in enemy hands. The price was too high for the so called ‘verification check’ the craps: “I feel hatred towards the checking NVA presentation on Harriman Highway in his ambitious narrow interest stratagem.” By way of conclusion, I just determined that Harriman was working a scam, like some wicked wizard from a children’s fairy tale. DeLuca knew SOG’s attempts to ransom POWs. The most unfathomable impediments, Tony DeLuca thought, were political limitations that crippled POW recovery attempts in Laos and Cambodia. For instance, despite a friendly government taking power in Phnom Penh in 1970, U.S,-led SOG teams were not permitted to search Cambodia for POWs after the 30 June,1970, in post-invasion pull-out. Why? Even Harriman retired from a freewheeling diplomat 1969, but his next generation, wise-man George W.H Bush continued on course of his Eurasia Great Game’s stratagem that means still keeping untouched Ho Chi Minh Trail development in manpower and material military equipments build-up there. Naturally, the U.S embassy in Phnom Penh and the Joint Chiefs still reserved approval authority for any Cambodian Bright Light, but not a single U.S-led rescue mission was approved after 30 June 1970. And also the situation was hardly more accommodating for POW Bright Light into Laos. Since November 1969, the U.S ambassador required advance coordination for POW rescues beyond SOG’ 18-mile sector; records do not reflect how many requests were denied, but not a single SOG POW rescue mission was approved in Laos. The plight of the POWs and MIAs grew and grew on DeLuca’s conscience.


The truth was, he concluded, the United States was going through the motions but there was no high-level emphasis; no one would ever be retrieved. In this gut, DeLuca knew something had to be done. In the course of Vietnam War, hundreds, perhaps thousands, of Americans pilots and crewmen had been shot down and captured by Communist North Vietnam. They had parachuted into the waiting arms of the Hanoi, crashed in Laos and been hunted down by the Pathet-Laos, endured years of torment in Hilton prison at Hanoi, and been used as pawns by the Soviets. Very few of them had escaped, few had lost their youth through years of captivity, and few had never come home. And from the moment of each one’s capture, each had surrendered his future to the unknown. None had known when or if they would see freedom again. On 18, February, 1971, the first of 6 SOG recon-teams inserted into the Ashau-valley to support of operation Lam Son 719, to tie down North VN forces and gather intelligence for when the ARVN returned along highway 922 coming out of Laos. Initially the Ashau diversion had been assigned to the 1st Brigade 101 Airborne division, which was to storm the Valley with four battalions, the specter of heavy American casualties apparently scotched that, instead a hand-full of recon-teams were giving job originally planned for a 2,000 men paratroop unit. (This genius Intelligence- War Strategy was repeated in WWII, the perfect coordination command and control between US Ambassador Averell Harriman to Soviet Union and Lieutenant William Colby in the Hot-Spot) The Ashau-valley had never been hotter. Captured documents revealed the North VN had moved 11 counter-recon- companies, there to reinforce Landing-Zone watcher, tracker-dogs rear security units and infantry battalions plus two antiaircraft battalions defended this area. Both SOG and the Air Force had suspected as much with USAF intelligence determining Oscar Eight contained the largest depot outside North Vietnam. Sergeant John Meyer who ran recon near Oscar Eight, recalled, “The area was really hot. I mean, every team that went in there got the shit shot out of it”. Just before the 1967 raid, U.S signal intelligence each day detected 2,300 radio messages emanating from there to North VN, a volume unparalleled throughout Laos. General Westmoreland believed an NVA Field Army headquarters that controlled all enemy operations in South Vietnam’s 1 Corps was located there.
Oscar Eight’s terrain favored the enemy, with the only suitable LZ in a wide bowl, surrounded by jungle high ground containing antiaircraft guns and bunkered infantry. The raid began with a dawn Arc Light by nine B.52s. Flying Covey, Master Sergeant Billy Waugh watched nearly a thousand 500 and 750-pound bombs walk across Oscar Eight, setting off 50 secondary explosions. Incredibly, the bombs had barely stopped falling when he could see NVA running from their shelters to roll fuel barrels away from a fire. Waugh radioed SOG Lieutenant Colonel Harold Rose at Khe-Sanh, “I’ve got people out here scurrying around. That sonvabitch is loaded” As the smoke cleared… Another Arc Light B.52 struck a cargo ammunition depot at the low-level of limestone “Co-Roc” setting off 2 hours secondary explosions.

This is a great NVA command and Control sanctuary headquarter got hit at limestone Co-Roc, creating non communication for two weeks and less-pressure at Khe Sanh at least in during the lunar-Tet. Those craps of Arc Light by 9 B.52 carpeted bombardment on 9 August, 1968 on Oscar-Eight, just damaged few cargo supplies; however no one human-being get hurt thank to Soviet camouflage fishing boat transmitting advance alert message to this headquarter, according to ROE craps. I considered that a “Non-Vulnerable Bomb-Game”. In turn of Soviet’s subordinate [North Vietnam] launched 107 or 122 mm Katyusha rockets, for instant at Danang Air Base. The house-wife of my Airmen family quarters, they had felt a Germany hospital ship “Helgolan” likely a key symbol referee for the “launching rockets-game”. One certain day, when hospital ship Helgolan was leaving Danang harbor to the ocean; they were sure 100% that night Communist Hanoi launching rockets to Danang Air Base. And at the morning of that day, at the breakfast time, some high speaker in U.S Main-Compound was echoed lousy some noise that they didn’t know what the hell’s means. However, they were waiting until at 4 or 5 PM of that day, they came to harbor Danang, if Helgolan ship leaving, they’d hurry up returned to the Air base and harangued to their husbands: “To night! Viet Cong launched rockets to our base, I must escaped in snatching all children to down town if you don’t scare O.K, staying here and died!!!” They’re right, before that happened, about 15 minutes, high speaker at Main Compound once again repeated many time and let G.I have known, having enough time. And how many rockets will hit; but according ROE, there was never more than 50 rockets for every launch-craps- event. Peering through the mist of fog, two helicopter H.34 looking like two whale have been sleeping, for sunbath on the grassy flat slope, their bodies sweated all over with morning moisture from the atmosphere condensed into drop on the cold aluminum camouflage surface. From our shelter-tents, on proceeding to the helipad through the haze dimness visibility, I could see our crew-chiefs busy scurrying around with their maintenance duties. Master Sergeant Mai was busy with his grease gun; he greased the main rotor component; meanwhile Sergeant Vang hand-pumped to refill all tanks. Apparently, we couldn’t care about flying safety operation because a special secret infiltration.

However I reminded Vang must leave a quantity of fuel at the bottom of each fuel-barrel due to water subsided. “Hey Vang! Did you check these expired date of six fuel barrels on this 4/4 truck?” I said. “Yes I did…and the suction-tube of hand pump wouldn’t reach to the bottom, it have a foot above the bottom for safety…no sweat I take care of it, sir!” Vang wore black-pajama garb of peasant made from Okinawa, that remind me in 1962 when we came here [Khe Sanh] all flight crewmembers must worn those black-pajama garb; had turned in their dog-tags, military I.D cards of South Vietnam, even their U.S, cigarettes, which were replaced by Asian brands, absolutely none carrying with U.S weapon made. All crewmembers equipped with Swedish K submachine guns and Belgian-made Browning 9mm pistols, all of which, of course, had been acquired clandestinely so a serial-number check would lead nowhere. And in down-cabin was equipped with one packet of explosive C-4 for self destroying helo when emergency forced landing. Why? Why? Because we worked with a clandestine agency called “Combined Area Studies”. As you see above, Harriman was stubbornly protected a commencing developed HCM Trail with P.O.L parallel. Now, another thing different is in the map geographic named Khe Sanh replaced instead of Huong-Hoa county in the past, its belonging to territory of Quang-Tri province. Population over here [Khe-Sanh] was about 3,000, the most were French coffee planters, habitation along Route 9; but in-fact due to not security, the Diem regime would evacuated them to safety area along Mieu-Giang River to La-Vang Catholic-hamlet, belonging Quang Tri territory as well. I saw Vang look like just get out from the river, he sweat too much from his hair to forehead, all over his eyes like just crying. “Stop pumped! Relax for a while I help you pumped it” I said “For save time and save fuel, I told Lt Hue and Lt Khoi should refill at Dong-Ha for sparing a quantity fuel over-here.” I must have a short briefing to Master Sergeant Donald Duncan and Lieutenant Nha from LLDB [Vietnamese Green beret] I said “All of you must check sure your harness-belt secure while you hanging out of the chopper for snapshot pictured. After take off , I must practiced a ‘Lazy-Eight’ like U-turn but not really U-turn, because we don’t have enough horizontal space for U-turn, around over-there just were stone shield hewn from solid rock both side like giant-tall walls along of large spring, like we are concealed in deep of a canyon, Tam-Boi’s mountain. Thereby only one alternative is vertical I-turn when we couldn’t go ahead because it would crash into the shield rock-wall. I deadly certain sure with all of you that the above us, there’re all belt antiaircraft artilleries ready for shooting down any aircraft flyover. We used tactical flight as the small fishes hidden in the bottom coral sharp rock.


This is only way for survive, rather got hit surrounded by jungle high ground containing antiaircraft guns and bunkered infantry!” “Now Hue and Khoi take-off right away, I will… after 20 minutes. When you all set refueling at Dong-Ha trying contact with us on frequencies…FM…, VHF…, and UHF at guard frequency, Lt Hao my copilot take care of it …if have you any question…Ah one more thing…always radio on even though grounded for refueling at Quang Ngai.” Sergeant Vang recheck for armament, a Queen-Bee H.34 carried a single rusty World War II, belt-fed 30 caliber machine gun hung from a bungee cord in the doorway with a thousand rounds stacked in a old can under the crew-chief’s seat. The H.34 had only one door on the right side, which made it relatively blind on its left, especially to the rear. When enemy A.K 47 bullets slugs hit its carvernous troop compartment, it sound like a wash tub being beaten with a base ball bat; but this tub could take a lot of hits…still O K, as flight crewmember of Project-Delta, this time we are equipped with Carabin M.2 instead of Swedish K submachine guns; meanwhile Duncan equipped with A.R.15, much lighter and more power ammunitions. Because He was tall and strong, so he carrying so much stuffs on his harness belt, more cartridge magazines than anyone, plus flashlight, binocular, maps, first-aid-kit…and camouflage-scarf showed-up his handsome to enemy. Last year, I was checked out by Master Sergeant Donald-Duncan. Duncan and Captain Richarson, J.3 Operation of 1st Observation Group Commandos to explore the growing Ho Chi Minh Trail for becoming a Flight-Group- Leader of Project-Delta Forces. I recalled this very Master-Sergeant Duncan, specialist instructor selected me become the leader, due to recently all my fellow senior pilots were washed-out because to much hesitation and so much safety flying. During two weeks checking-out operational flight-maneuvers. At western area of Dong Ba Thin Camp, Nha Trang were the mountainous, jungle-covered terrain, natural clearings for helicopter landing zones were scarce and likely don’t have any in the most crest-ridge of mountain. Suddenly, while flying, in down cabin, Captain Richarson radioed “infiltration right here”. I didn’t see any LZ available around, my spontaneous reflection, quickly I idled the engine RPM, made a spin autorotation with steep descendent…at last, I made accuracy precise ‘quick stop’ and putting one wheel right landing gear on a big rock, meanwhile left landing gear and tail wheel agitated in the air. I still keep high power 2,800 RPM about 10 second, I hear the echoed voice from Richarson: “Touch and go 10 seconds that’s good enough, We go home now”. Shortly, I was passed this tough-hard flight examination. From now on the 1st Observation Group Commandos in Project Delta put my nickname “The Cowboy Pilot”.


John Stryker Myer stand (row) frist on the left
Hiep sit (row) on the right

8 comments:

Nha Kỹ Thuật said...

Gởi chị Tuyết Phan và anh D.Quỳnh thân
-Xin được gọi bằng chị vì em nhỏ tuổi hơn ,tin tức về trung úy Đặng Quân em biết trong cuộc chiến BMT rất ít ,nghe nói ảnh đã chết trong đêm 10-3-1975 tại phi trường Phụng Dực (sân bay L.19 )BMT.Nhưng những kỷ niệm thời bay bổng với ảnh ,em có thể kể được .Hình như chị Đ.Quân hiện đang sinh sống ở tỉnh Quảng Ngãi VN và đang có khó khăn phải không ?.
Hẹn gặp chị trong bài khác có liên quan đến anh Đặng Quân .
-Anh Đ.Quỳnh ơi !Nghe anh khen làm em nở mũi muốn bể luôn,
Bài "Hoa anh đào "của anh hay quá ! em không nở delete đâu uổng quá .Nếu có thể anh cho em xin password bài hát để làm hiệu ứng chữ thì tốt quá ,để khi nào anh có đi khách sản ngàn sao đã có đồng minh .Thân ái
Xin mời các niên trưởng 219 thưởng thức 1 bản nhạc thời xưa :http://www.mediafir e.com/?tgtiyqntm nf

Nha Kỹ Thuật said...

Toi rat cam on ban L C MINH da ke lai Cuoc Chien Ban Me Thuot voi nhieu hinh anh dinh kem .Truoc tien xin ban MINH bo tuc hoac dinh chinh lai su sai biet ve : Phi Truong Phung Duc ( San Bay L 19 )...Nhin ban do ,ban se thay ro Phi truong Phung Duc va Phi truong L 19 ...Hai phi truong khac nhau va nam cach xa nhau tren 7 Km .Phi truong Phung Duc nam ve Huong DONG ,DONG BAC cua Thanh Pho Ban Me Thuot va cach xa thanh pho nay 7Km ..Con phi truong L 19 nam sat Thanh Pho ve Huong Tay , Tay Nam . De de nho ,moi lan bay ve Nha Trang tu Ban Me Thuot cac Truong Phi Co thuong lay huong 155 Do cua Phi Truong L 19 de bay ve Nha Trang ...Moi lan Biet Doi biet phai cho Su Doan 23 BB thuong o tai Phi Truong L 19 / Dai Kiem Bao Pyramid BMT chu khong phai o PHi Truong Phung Duc , phi truong nay khong co xay cat trai cho Biet Doi o .Truoc nam 1972 , Biet Doi 219 biet phai nam o Trai B 50 < Trai Biet Kich My nam gan Phi Truong Phung Duc >Xin noi ro lai cho ban L C MINH la Hoa Tieu cua Phi Doan 219 / Long Ma biet ve su khac biet cua hai phi truong ke tren . Than kinh . TVSUA / PD 219

SQTB K10B/72 THSQ-QLVNCH said...

De bo tuc them loi yeu cau cua ban L C MINH ,tat ca Nhan vien Phi hanh con lai cua Biet Doi 219 va mot so chuyen vien ky thuat da roi khoi Dai Kiem Bao Pyramid / Phi Truong L 19 gan 3, 4 gio chieu ngay 11 Thang 03 / 1975 ,sau khi phat hien chien xa T 54 bat dau xam chiem gan khu do xang cua phi truong L 19 ...nhung Phi Hanh Doan va ky thuat tra tron voi dan chung di duong bo ve Quan Phuoc An tren 15 Km,huong Dong cua Ban Me Thuot .< gom co D/ Uy Lam Hong Son ,D /Uy Lai Cong An , Tr/ uy Nguyen Tan Luc ,Tr/ Uy Le Phuoc va mot so ky thuat toi khong nho ten ,Toi bi thuong nang o nguc va mat trai ,vi bi nhieu qua luu dan loai tan cong Be ta nem vao vi tri cua toi trong phong ngu cua Biet Doi va tu thu o ham vu khi cua Dai Kiem Bao ,2 lan bi ngat xiu vi luu dan Beta do Dac Cong nem vao vi tri cua toi va roi khoi Phi Truong L19 gan 07 : 00 AM ngay 11 Thang 03 nam 1975 ,duoc dieu tri tai Quan Y Vien Nguyen Hue ..?? Nam ben ngoai vong dai cua KD 62 Tac Chien / SD 2 KQ .Buoi chieu ngay 12 / Thang 03 , ban Hung De vao Quan y vien tham toi va cho biet se bay hanh quan Tai Chiem BMT ngay hom sau < 13 Thang 03 nam 1975 ..va ra di vinh vien cung tat ca PHD bi S A 7 ban trung tau gan Phi Truong Phung Duc .....Tr/ uy Duong Duc Hanh moi thuyen chuyen ve Phi Doan tu Phi Doan 243 / Phu Cat ,la copilot cho D / Uy Le The Hung ,phi vu ke tren ...Truong hop cua tr/ Uy DANG QUAN bi thuong khi Dac Cong VC tan cong vao Phong ngu Biet Doi 219 buoi sang tim duoc mot truc thang con lai va cat canh thi bi phong khong cua BV ban trung khi truc thang da cat canh tren 100Ft khoi vung / Phi truong L19 va roi xuong ..toi da nghe ban Lai Cong An ke lai ..Neu co dip ban MINH co the Dt hoi ban Lai Cong An se cho biet them ...Than kinh . TVSUA /PD 219

Nha Kỹ Thuật said...

Viết để tặng Phi đoàn Mãnh Long 249:

Tặng Đ/u Nguyễn Văn Kim Ngọc, Tr/u Phan Văn Be, Tr/u Nguyễn Văn Tường

Để nhớ lại chuyến chở lính khi ra ở Quận Hiếu Lễ.

Chiếc tàu có số đuôi 070. Phi hành đoàn chiếc Mãnh Long 01 bị bắn cháy, lúc ra ở cao độ khoảng 300 bộ. Lúc đó Đ/u Kim Ngọc làm Auto landing xuống ruộng nước.Tàu chạm mặt ruộng lật ngang. Nhiều tiếng nổ kinh hồn.Phi hành đoàn thoát ra chỉ bị thương vì phỏng.

Trưởng phi cơ Tr/u :Phan văn Be
Pilot: Đ/u Nguyễn văn Kim Ngọc
Cơ phi: Dương Tấn Khải
Xạ thủ:Nguyễn Mạnh Hùng
Xạ thủ: Quên tên

Đ/u Kim Ngọc từ Phù Cát . Phi đoàn Thiên Xứng 241 đổi về một lượt với Th/T Phạm văn Trung, nhưng một tuần sau Đ/u Kim Ngọc mới vào trình diện Phi đoàn(Th/T Trung đã hy sinh,chiếc 010 đã thuật trên CT), được cắt bay HQ với Be, ngồi ghế copilot cho quen vùng thì hôm đó bị bắn rớt ở Hiếu Lễ
Trên chuyến bay đó có chở gia đình bộ binh và lính rất nhiều, súng ống đạn dược đầy đủ. Cất cánh vào khoảng 2-3 trăm bộ thì bị bắn, đạn vào thùng xăng bị cháy, khói lửa mịt mù phía sau, mọi người chạy lên phiá trước để tránh khói và lửa, nhiều người quần áo bị cháy te tua..Vì mới cất cánh còn thấp nên đóng auto landing còn kịp nếu bay cao chắc không còn người nào sống sót.Nước linh láng không đoán mặt xuộng nông sâu nên vừa xuống tới chạm mặt ruộng tàu bị lật ngang Be nhảy vội ra chạy về phiá chiếc chinook Mãnh Long 02 do Nguyễn Văn Tường và Lê Phú Thọ lái Be và khoảng 15-16 người lính bộ binh, cách xa chừng 20 mét nên lên chiếc Mãnh Long 02 được. Mãnh Long 02 cất cánh vội vã vì tàu cháy lưụ đạn nổ kinh hồn, lửa cháy những băng đạn nổ tứ tung, lính và gia đình chết thật nhiều. Gunship bắn mãnh liệt chận không cho VC tiến gần chinook lâm nạn.Mãnh Long 02 cất cánh gunship báo Mãnh Long 02 bị cháy, Tường lại phải đáp emergency như chiếc Mãnh Long 01. Cơ phi check tàu không có gì lại cất cánh( Vì khi đáp xuống nước khi bay lên nước tuông ra nên gunship tưởng cháy) Tường bay về đáp Chương Thiện. Một chiếc UH I đáp xuống, Gunner kéo Đ/u Kim Ngọc, và cô giáo lên. Lân hay Chiếu? Phi đoàn 227 hay 217? Lân bay ra Rạch Sỏi, cô giáo bị cháy không còn mảnh vải che thân. Đ/u Kim Ngọc cởi Jacket cho cô mặc, cô giáo trẻ chỉ độ 22-23 tuổi.Nhắc tới cô giáo khi đáp xuống Hiếu Lễ cô viết vào mảnh giấy" Làm ơn cho tôi quá giang về Rạch Giá" cô đi và mắc nạn...Nói tới Be thật Be là người có phước lớn thoát chết trong chuyến bay chung với Đ/u Hoà, ôngTh/T Trung bảo SQT lấy tên ra điền tên ông vào chỗ của Be bay với Đ/u Hoà. Nếu Be bay không chừng tránh được tai nạn,biết đâu không có ai chết trong chuyến bay định mệnh của chiếc 010 đó. Be còn bay chiếc khác chiếc có số đuôi 105 ngày 06-01-1973 tại Cà Mau(Tổng cộng ba lần thoát chết. Cái số của Be thật lớn, hiện giờ Be ở Canada. Vẫn thường liên lạc với Togia9). Bạn nào có tham dự lần đó xin RE những gì Togia9 còn thiếu xót cám ơn

Nha Kỹ Thuật said...

Mỗi buổi sáng check thấy mail cuả Kingbee tự nhiên anh cảm thấy ấm áp vô cùng.Thời gian gần đây Kingbee LCMinh va Hải Ruồi xuất hiện trên group rất đáng trân trọng.Anh em chúng mình sau mấy chục năm mất tên Saigon cũng đều trên dưới sáu bó cả,có người bảy bó, nên những bài hồi ký nếu có sai sót hoặc không chính xác đó là chuyện thường,không sai sót mới là chuyện lạ,nhưng điều quan trọng nhất chính là tình cảm cuả anh em kingbee chứa đựng trong đó.Cuộc sống tập thể ngày xưa dĩ nhiên cũng có lúc xảy ra mâu thuẫn va chạm cá nhân nhưng anh tin rằng đến bây giờ anh em mình đến với nhau vì tình đồng đội Kingbee một thời nguy hiểm bên nhau,do đó mong tình đoàn kết gắn bó cuả chúng mình luôn được thể hiện khắp nơi nơi và mọi lúc.Thân aí chúc các Kingbee tại VN có ngày họp mặt đầu Xuân Canh Dần 2010 vui vẻ.Năm nay bà xã Mẫn đang ở Seychelles với vợ chồng con gái không biết Mẫn sẽ tổ chức ở đâu.

Nha Kỹ Thuật said...

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CHÚ MINH CHỈ MỚI VỀ PHI ĐOÀN VÀI THÁNG THÔI CÓ KỂ CHUYỆN XƯA THÌ KỂ NHỮNG GÌ MINH BIẾT THÔI ĐỪNG SUY LUẬN SẼ BỊ SAI ĐÓ... CŨNG NHƯ ANH MINH MẪN VỀ PHI ĐOÀN TỪ THÁNG 05 NĂM 1968 MẶC DÙ BIẾT RÕ VỀ PĐ NHƯNG CŨNG CHỈ GIỚI HẠN TRONG PHẠM VI LÀ MỘT NGƯỜI MÉVO NHỮNG MẪU CHUYỆN ĐI SÂU VÀO CHI TIẾT KHÔNG THỂ HIỂU HẾT ĐƯỢC...NHƯ TỌA ĐỘ RƠI CỦA Đ/U HÙNG ĐẾ ANH MẪN CŨNG PHẢI LẤY TỪ TỜ GIẤY BÁO TỬ CỦA ANH HÙNG MÀ VIẾT RA DO BỘ TƯ LỆNH KQ GỬI XUỐNG LÀM SAO NGƯỜI ĐỌC NÓI ANH MẪN SAI ĐƯỢC , VẬY MÀ CHÚ MINH VÔ CĂN CỨ NÓI ANH CHO TOẠ ĐỘ SAI, ANH VIẾT VỀ PĐ CŨNG PHẢI THAM KHẢO NHIỀU ANH EM TRONG PĐ MỚI KỂ LẠI ĐƯỢC VÀ VIẾT PHẢI TRONG PHẠM VI CỦA MÌNH... KHÔNG ĐƯỢC LẤN QUA PHẠM VI HIỂU BIẾT CỦA CHỨC VỤ KHÁC MÀ NGƯỜI ĐỌC SẼ ĐÁNH GIÁ MÌNH NGHE LÓM ĐÓ... NHỚ NHÉ PHẢI THAM KHẢO...
ANH MINH MẪN

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