Incident Date 19690621 HMM-165 CH-46D 154811+ - Hostile Fire, Crash
Petroline, Paul Edward LCpl Crew Chief HMM-165 MAG-16 1969-06-21 (vvm 22W:108)
Peters Jr., William Lee 1stLT Pilot HMM-165 MAG-16 1969-06-21 (vvm 22W:107)
Weil Jr., Richard Anthony LCpl Passenger D/1stRecBn 1stMarDiv 1969-06-21 (vvm 22W:110)
Schanck Jr., William Garrett 2ndLt Passenger D/1stRecBn 1stMarDiv 1969-06-21 (vvm 22W:109)
Hall Jr., James Oscar PFC Passenger D/1stRecBn 1stMarDiv 1969-06-21 (vvm 22W:105)
Crites Jr., Robert Lincoln PFC Passenger D/1stRecBn 1stMarDiv 1969-06-21 (vvm 22W:104)
Councill III, Arthur Coby PFC Passenger D/1stRecBn 1stMarDiv 1969-06-21 (vvm 22W:103)
Bosco, Frank Joseph LCpl Passenger D/1stRecBn 1stMarDiv 1969-06-21 (vvm 22W:102)
MAG-16 Command Chronology - June 1969
21 June 1969 at 1130 Hours. 22 1/2 miles northwest of Da Nang, Quang Nam Province, RVN. Crew flying on CH-46D on recon extraction. A/C received small arms fire causing A/C to crash and burn. LCPL W.T. GIBSON, gunner, received contusion to right arm and laceration to right knee, CPL J.E. GAUVIN, gunner, received fractured right "mandible" and dislocation of right shoulder. 1stLT S.W. JORGENSEN, copilot, received laceration to nose.Submitted by: John Lane, USMC researcher, 20030821
This was a recon insert approximately 22 miles WNW of Da Nang. If I remember the mission brief correctly it was the 3rd consecutive day to try for an insert at this position.
Zone was prepped heavily prior to commencement of spiral approach. We came into a brief hover and started to receive resistance [fire] prior to anyone exiting the aircraft. During climb out a loud explosion occurred aft of the cockpit area as we cleared the tree tops. The aircraft pitched extreme nose up and rolled slowly right to a somewhat inverted position with no control input response.
Lee Peters and I both grew up in Iowa about 150 miles apart and had several mutual friends. I visited his family one weekend when I was at Great Lakes Naval Hospital. One of the toughest things I've ever done.
I was medevac’d to the USS Repose. I was strapped in the bed because of a severe concussion and they had doubts as to whether I had sustained a skull fracture or not. It ended up to be a concussion. However, the muscles in my lower back were torn, my nose was broken and lacerated from my helmet visor trying to slice it off, and my left knee had a torn and severed ACL and MCL. The seat separated from the mounting bolts and threw me into the dash panel. They did that surgery on the Repose - Dr./LCDR "Leaping Leo Wilette".
I was there for a week, then to Guam Naval Hospital for a week, and then back to Great Lakes Naval Hospital for around 6 months. Had to have 2 more surgeries on my nose at Great Lakes.
Since that time I've had 2 surgeries on my knee, at my expense I might add since I make too much money to be eligible for VA benefits, and a total knee replacement. I could have gotten around 40% disability at Great Lakes, but opted to stay in the Corps.
This is the report I wrote to my company about the shooting down on 21 June, 1969 of the airplane of HMM-165, flown by 1st Lt. William "Lee" Peters, who was killed. The Gunner [crew chief] LCpl Paul Petroline was also killed.
“At approximately 1045 on 21June 1969, BuNo 154811 was attempting to insert a recon team at position ZC033864. The attempt was abandoned because of enemy opposition, and the aircraft was moving away when the gunner heard a loud explosion from the controls closet area. The co-pilot thinks that they lost boost pressure. (the co-pilot is still in a state of shock from the accident and does not clearly remember what happened. It is suspected that the aircraft was hit in the control closet area by a Rocket Propelled Grenade [RPG]. The aircraft then went out of control and crashed."
"The pilot, crew chief, and six (6) members of the recon team were killed, and the co-pilot, the two (2) gunners, and the remaining two(2) members of the recon team were injured. The aircraft burned and is considered a strike."
"The aircraft is in very unfriendly territory and examination of the wreckage has not been possible. It is unlikely the the risk of sending a team in to examine the wreckage will be taken so that definite confirmation of the suspected happenings is also unlikely.” Submitted by John Dullighan, John Dullighan
I was one of the two recon team survivors. As I recall this, I believe it to have happened early in the morning. We had 2 fixed wing open up an area for us. We had 2 cobras working for us also.
We were just below tree top level in a rough opening when we received machine gun fire. Everyone on board was returning fire when we seemed to hit someting like a tree. I remember seeing the gunner getting hit; my close friend Art Council and I were shooting from the same window and he was also shot. I then remember getting thrown upwards and ended up in the rear of the bird, pinned down by something.
I was sitting on top of Doc Rucker, our Corpsman, when I realized I was getting burned. I started screaming and apparently that brought doc around. He gave me the push I needed to pull myself up using the ribs of the bird to pull myself up. There was ammo on top of Doc; it seemed dark inside. Doc and I crawled through one of the forward portholes.
Two of the crew called us towards them in the front of the bird. We followed them into the bush and as soon as we hit the ground our bird blew up. I heard 2 men scream and then it became quiet. I do not remember seeing anybody else inside the bird. We then heard people calling "hey...hey". One crew member called back and we started receiving small arms fire.
The 2 Cobras we had came in at that time with machine guns and rockets. Afterwards it became quiet again and the other Recon team was lowered and helped us get extracted. God was with us that day. I do not know why I survived, or the others, but God has His reasons. There are other details to this day but I won't cover that now. Should anyone want to contact me please feel free to send me an email. God bless.
I was First Force Recon at An Hoa 68-69 In March 69 we were shot down also. One door gunner KIA and the other wounded. Our Recon team escaped injury. One pilot wounded.Submitted by: Hal Creel, Recon, 20180611
PFC Hall (Jim) was my best friend at MCRD San Diego platoon 2062, August, 1968. I was an 0311 with Bravo 1/5 out of An Hoa most of 1969, and had lost track of Jim. On a rare leave from the bush around Aug I heard Jim was with Recon and I visited their HQ in Da Nang. I was simply told to go outside and look at the wall. They said he was killed during his first insert. It was brutal!
How can I get in touch with his sister, Sheri. Jim and I spent Thanksgiving 1968 with her. Her husband was an E-7 in Nam at the time. Thanks much! I just found this site and couldn't believe it! I also owe you guys a thank you for a few rides of my own including my hot lz medevac from Arizona back to NSA in Da Nang.
Regards and Semper Fi!
NAVY CROSS CITATION – W.L. Peters - 12 APR 69
NAVY CROSS CITATION from a previous mission
“For extraordinary heroism while serving as a Pilot with Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 165 in the Republic of Vietnam on 12 April 1969. First Lieutenant Peters launched as Wingman in a section of two CH-46 transport helicopters assigned to helilift a reconnaissance team into hostile territory. After arriving over the designated location, the lead aircraft inserted the Marines without incident but, while lifting off, the aircraft came under a heavy volume of small arms and automatic weapons fire and sustained extensive damage. Observing that the reconnaissance team was pinned down where it had disembarked and that the Marines were surrounded by a numerically superior hostile force, First Lieutenant Peters circled the area while helicopter gunships and fixed wing aircraft bombed and strafed the enemy soldiers who clung tenaciously to their positions only 20 feet from the beleaguered unit. When the supporting aircraft had expended its ordnance, First Lieutenant Peters, fully aware of the possible consequences of his actions but concerned only with the welfare of the men on the ground, fearlessly elected to attempt the extraction and, as he approached the landing zone, became the target for intense automatic weapons fire. Although numerous rounds penetrated his helicopter, he landed in the fire-swept area and, with calm presence of mind, resolutely maintained his dangerously exposed position, despite a fanatical assault by two North Vietnamese Army soldiers who were killed by the reconnaissance team. Assuring that the ground unit was safely aboard, he then quickly lifted from the zone under an increasingly intense volume of fire from the frustrated enemy which damaged a vital control section of his helicopter. In a brilliant display of superb airmanship and unwavering devotion to duty, First Lieutenant Peters saved his fellow Marines from serious injury or possible death and thereby upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.”
The Virtual Wall - online
Per Bill Myers ("Honor the Warrior") 1stLt Peters also was the recipient of the Silver Star. As of 26 Dec 2004 three of the eight men involved in this incident have been remembered on The Virtual Wall:
* 1stLt W L Peters, Jr. - http://www.VirtualWall.org/dp/PetersWL01a.htm
* 2ndLt W G Schanck, Jr. - http://www.VirtualWall.org/ds/SchanckWG01a.htm
* Pfc R L Crites, Jr. - http://www.VirtualWall.org/dc/CritesRL01a.htm
We would welcome the opportunity to help remember the other five men, or indeed any of our Vietnam dead.
Today I CRIED FOR marines WHO DIED, BUT FOR one MORE SO THAN OTHERS,\r\nTHIS navy vet, in service spent, we\'re all considered brothers,\r\nFROM savanna HIGH WAR WOULD TAKE HIS LIFE AND CHANGE THE LIVES OF OTHERS\r\nwhen SMALL ARMS FIRE and an RPG took sons from Dads and Mothers.\r\nIn\r\n memory of LCPOL Richard (DICK) Weil and members of his recon unit\r\nJune 21 1969. \r\n\r\nGod bless them.Submitted by: Mike Velko, Went to SAVANNA HIGH School Anaheim CA With Dick, 20150522
PFC Arthur Coby Councill III
PFC James O. Hall Jr., USMC
Miss him. Wonder what it would be like having him in my life.Submitted by: Carl Bosco, My brother, Frank, 20100331