Helicopter Boeing-Vertol CH-46D Serial 2376 Register 154025 used by US Marine Corps USMC. Built 1967. Aircraft history and location
Year 1967 to 1968
|US Marine Corps|
|1967-10-25||BV-107M, c/n 2376, ff?|
accepted BuWepsRep, Morton, PA as CH-46D 154025, 25Oct67
xfer HMM-263 08Jan68
xfer HMM-364, YK-06, 18Apr68
w/o 29May68. HMM-263
|1968-05||May68 upon crash at LZ AT805648. All crew and passengers survived. One US Marine on ground died. |
My personal account of the event May 29, 1968:
Our unit had just arrived late afternoon and had finished unloading a very large supply of various ordinance including numerous rounds of 81mm ammo. The CH 46 crash landed around 7:30 pm that evening as many of us were beginning to dig in for our stay.
Myself and a FO radio operator, Jack Howe were in the process of digging out our fighting hole directly in the path of the chopper as it came in out of control. It's engines could be heard making riving sounds as the crew apparently made efforts to gain control. Very quickly the sounds of the engines became mixed with sounds of the rotor blades hitting first the trees and brush, then the ground as it turned over to one side. The blades would have been to our right side as we faced the aircraft.
I remember us frozen in place watching as the aircraft seemed to pitch up and waver from side to side before tipping completely to once side and begin to slide directly towards us. This was all happening very rapidly. We both ran to our left and then down a path leading away from the LZ. I understand that other Marines who remained nearby entered the craft to rescue those inside.
In the time it took to move away from the top of the hill the sound of the first fuel tank exploding could be heard. This was only about one minute or less. Not certain of the sequence of the events but the resulting fire burned through the ammo boxes which led to the ammo cooking off and raining debris upon the immediate area. Most of us spent the night hugging the side of the hill without gear or weapons with no real cover at all. The amount of ordinance destroyed was all but total.
The next morning there was only a portion of the tail section left if my memory serves me with only pieces of metal parts and debris scattered around but no other identifiable structure of the craft remained that I can remember. The body of the craft was completely burned and destroyed and just did not exist any longer. I remember seeing crew members walking around the LZ inspecting the site when daylight came.
Both 81mm mortar tubes along with our personal weapons/gear were completely destroyed and only a very small amount of unexploded ordinance remained as many of us went about gathering any remaining ordinance for disposal.
I am aware that 81mm mortar man FIECHTER, JOHNNY PATTON, LCPL, LONDON, KY, was killed by flying debris. His family has made personal contact with me via email in recent years.
Numerous other Marines were injured. Jack Howe and I were not injured.
Our unit, India Company 3/26 Marines had about just one month prior defended Hill 881 South throughout the Siege of Khe Sanh combat base and the 68' Tet Offensive. Also, the troops aboard YK 6 were with Kilo Co. 3/26 who had also taken part.
By Dwight "Butch" Brown:
Yes, that was quite the day, tragic and sad as it ended. Boy what memories come back looking at that picture.
That evening really comes back fast. The "bird'' about got me, i was one of the last out of the way before it crashed. Then i and Johnny Doan ran back to the crash sight and started throwing ammo away from the fire that followed.
I remember very clearly working right under a big hole in the body of the helicopter that was spewing fuel out of it.
There was a fire very close to us as well. We threw 81 rounds out of the way until someone,
i was told later was the Company gunny yelled "MARINES CLEAR THE LZ". I remember him having white hair and his voice projected
like he was right beside us. Johnny Doan and i didn't have to be told twice, we ran, within seconds the whole LZ started blowing up and continued all through the night. I was hit in the left hip with a softball sized piece of shrapnel. I was laying on my right side, tucked into a tight fetal position. It came down from overhead, striking me in the hit. Did not do any real damage, i thought, but, it was very, very, hot. I am fortunate not to have been hit in the head. Our perimeter was almost non existent. That night we were helped out by having some type of big artillery fired around us, to help keep us some what protected.
The next day, was a total mess. The LZ having been loaded to the max with all types of ordinance had just about totally blew up and burned up the Bird, the only 2 things of any significance were the engines/transmissions, or what was left of them. There were a few other guys injured, and it was a real mess. I was in the area looking for things we , 81's could salvage , but, obviously there wasn't much left. We found Lcpl Pattons body and i helped to carry him out in a poncho, it was a very sad day.