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17 Feb 1966 Crash

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  • 17 Feb 1966 Crash

    Trying to locate anyone with HMM-163 that was at the 02/17/66 accidental crash - where both a USMC and Army crypto men were KIA.

    Cpl Calvin Herbert (HMM-163, MOS 6422) DOW on 02/22/66 - and I'm trying to find out if another Marine from 163 was also WIA that day.

    Pls email me at: bruceswander@hotmail.com

  • #2
    I was landing (H-34) on the approach end of the runway at Phu Bai after a recon mission with two Army LtCols. I watched a section of h-34s depart from mid runway. At about three hundred feet, #2 began to descend rapidly, clearly in autorotative flight. As he neared the runway, the main rotor blades were coned about 45 degrees upward. He hit hard and burst into flames. The gear collapsed, but I don't think the fuselage rolled.

    My crew chief (on my orders) threw out our passengers. I lifted and flew forward to the crash, landing on the left side of the downed bird. My co-pilot, crew chief and gunner ran to assist. I lifted to a hover and moved over the fire, hoping to beat down the flames to allow escape. I remained there until the m-60 ammo began to cook off.

    I watched the Army lieutanant crawl out of the cabin door, badly burned. The crew chief was also burned, but survived long enough to be med-evaced out of VN. I think one of the pilots was also burned, but returned to duty in a week or two.

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