Incident Date 19660723 HMM-362 UH-34D 149349+ - O-1E (USAF) USAF 57-6268 - Mid-air Collision
Smith, William Ward Capt Pilot 505th TacCtrlGrp, 7thAF 1966-07-23 (vvm 09E:064)
I flew on a search mission trying to find a Bird Dog that went down after a midair with an H-34 out of Dong Ha immediately after it happened. I did not see the impact, but I remember seeing a puff of black smoke in the air after the impact. I did find the O-1. It was not easy to find or see. What led me to it were scrape marks on a tree, at the top of triple canopy. I was in a HUEY gunship and could not really hover at that altitude. However, we were able to see the wreckage at the bottom of the tree.
I do not remember exactly what happened after we found it but I think there was some concern about dropping a smoke and causing a fire to close to the O-1E. I believe I was asked if the wreckage looked survivable, by whom I do not know. I said, "No.” It was in a ball. I think I may have tried to direct another helo to the spot to get them to see the wreckage. “If the correct coords for the impact are 9564, that I would look for the O-1 on a line from 953642 to 958642 to 963643 and from 955642 to 952638. I am assuming the H-34 hit at approximately 957644.” Mission numbers for that day were: 7-5004, 7-9005, 7-9002 and 7-6005)
A UH-34D and O1E Bird Dog Collided NW of the Rockpile in Grid 9564. Both aircraft down in the zone. Helo crew extracted. The AF Bird Dog was never found during the war and the pilot; Capt. William Ward Smith is listed as KIA-BNR. The Marine helicopter included the CO, HQComp/4thMarines and Task Force Delta Psywar Officer who were both medevaced.Submitted by: George Neville, “A” Comp, 3rdReconBn, 3rdMarines, 20030803
LOSS COORDINATES: N16 51 28 E106 50 54Submitted by: N/A, 20030803