Terms of Use Agreement

1. You agree, through your use of these public Forums, not to post any material which is unlawful, libelous, defamatory, obscene, vulgar, sexually orientated, abusive, hateful, harassing, threatening, harmful, invasive of privacy or publicity rights, inflammatory or otherwise objectionable. You also agree not to post any copyrighted material unless the copyright is owned by you. You further agree not to use these public Forums for advertising or other commercial enterprise purposes. Any questions directed to, or concerning the administration of this website, will be sent to and not posted to the public Forums.

2. All postings express the views of the author, and neither the administrators nor POPASMOKE will be held responsible for the content of any postings submitted by the Members or anyone else. The administrators of these Forums reserve the right to remove, edit, move or close any postings for any reason. Members who make postings on the Forums which are not in accordance with the Terms of Use Agreement, risk having their posting privileges withdrawn.
See more
See less

1969 LZ Vandergriff

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • 1969 LZ Vandergriff

    From: Patrick Lotspeich, SSG, USA (Ret) <>

    Hello there Leathernecks!

    In April of 1969, I think it was the 9th, a Jolly Green Giant crashed into the ammo dump at LZ Vandergriff, setting the entire dump on fire. Two Soldiers ran into the burning ammo dump and pulled the 5 crew members out, one at a time and took them out to safety and medical attention. I heard that all five of the crew members lived. I have always wondered what happened to those five men. This is important to me because I was one of those two soldiers that kicked in the windshield and drug them out of the flaming wreckage.

    Any information you could give me on this and the possible whereabouts of the crew members or a way of contacting them would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for your time and Semper Fi !


  • #2
    "On 9 April, a CH-53A aircraft from HMH-462 crashed at Vandegrift LSA while attempting an external pick-up. The resulting fire completely destroyed the aircraft as well as the LSA. Three crewmen received major injuries and were evacuated. The fourth crewman received minor injuries. Two ground personnel at Vandegrift received minor injuries and one person received major injuries due to the crash. The following day, additional injuries, including one fatality, were received by ground personnel as ammunition in the LSA continued to explode." MAG-36 Command Chronology April 1969

    "Three personnel were evacuated out of country, as a result of a helicopter accident on 9 April 1969." HMH-462 Command Chronology April 1969

    The 1st MAW CC lists the 53 as BuNo 153738. The loss was classed as operational and the cause was listed as pilot error. None of these sources list the names of the crew or ground personnel.


    • #3
      LZ Vandegrift Crash

      Saw one of the crew the next day at the Phu Bai chowhall with a pretty good sized bandage on the back of the head. Didn't know him.

      Wayne Stafford


      • #4
        I was flying that day in and out of Vandergrift, came back from one resupply mission and Vandy was gone. Got a couple of snap shots from the air.


        • #5
          Anybody have any pictures of the explosions ?

          I was the tower controller on duty when the crash occurred. I remember the story was the pilot hit some ammo crates with his tail rotor.

          That thing burned forever. I remember being up on the hill in the tower and 55 gallon drums were exploding 300 feet in the air.

          It was amazing how few people actually got hurt.

          Semper Fi !


          • #6
            pictures of explosion

            Cpl, message Lymie, and he may be able to help you out. The post behind yours. It didn't take them long to get it back in operation, as I flew out of there a number of times after. Stayed shut down there, and ate C's before a briefing on a Mission they wanted us to do. The army brass didn't want the Crew to be in on it, BUT, my Faithful Pilot wouldn't do it unless we were included. He felt we as Crew needed to know where the blazes we were going in case we had to walk out if we were shot down, and had been survivors. We were right in the middle of it. LMAO at them then for sure. Semper Fi, and READY-APP.