KIA INCIDENT: 19680317 HMM-265 Vietnam

Brothers (& Sisters) Killed in Action in USMC Helicopters or while assigned to USMC Helicopter or Tiltrotor Squadrons

19680317 HMM-265 Vietnam

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Incident Date 19680317 HMM-265 CH-46A 150274+ - Hostile Fire, Crash

Myrick, George Franklin HN Corpsman-Pass H&SCo/1/7 1stMarDiv 1968-03-17 (vvm 45E:013)
Mealy, David Howard PFC Medevac B/1/7 1stMarDiv 1968-03-17 (vvm 45E:013)
Harris, John James Cpl Medevac D/1/7 1stMarDiv 1968-03-17 (vvm 45E:011)

MYRICK GEORGE FRANKLIN : B817902 : USNR : HN : E3 : HN : 22 : LOS ANGELES : CA : 19680317 : hostile, crash, land : Passenger – Corpsman : body recovered : Quang Nam : 01 : 19450819 : Cauc : Protestant/single : 45E : 013
MEALY : DAVID HOWARD : 2337168 : USMC : PFC : E2 : 0311 : 19 : PITTSBURGH : PA : 19680317 : hostile, crash, land : Passenger : body recovered : Quang Nam : 00 : 19480420 : Crew : single : 45E : 013
HARRIS JOHN JAMES : 2240145 : USMC : CPL : E4 : 0311 : 19 : IOLA : KS : 19680317 : hostile, crash, land : Passenger : body recovered : Quang Nam : 01 : 19480703 : Cauc : Protestant/married : 45E : 011

From HMM-265 Squadron SITREP 17 March 1968

171400H: HMM-265 launched 2 CH-46A on MSN #16. A/C flew from MMAF to LZ 495 to AT838623 to LZ495 to AT847663 to 1st MED BN to AT845672 to G4 and back to MMAF. Injure 1-0 received suspected RPG hit and crashed and burned at AT845673 171620H while pulling medevacs out of zone. Injury to crew was Foxtrot, but circumstances to medevacs being hauled out aren't positive yet. A/C received strike damage. RPG fire received 171620H at AT847663 resulting in above."

Submitted by: N/A, 20030818

From HMM-265 Squadron Command Chronology 1-31 March 1968

"17 March 1968: In support of Operation Worth, HMM-265 launched a Section of aircraft which flew a total of 30 sorties lifting 20 troops and 6.2 tons of cargo to companies on the move in the mountainous terrain southwest of DaNang. INJURE 1-2 came under heavy fire at AT993578 and was hit in the aft pylon by a flat trajectory rocket. The aircraft crashed and burned in the valley below. Nine medevacs within the aircraft were killed. The entire crew and six of the medevacs survived the crash with injuries."

Note: Nine men from "B" and "D" 1/7 were KIA that same date and at the same location. There is no direct evidence that they were aboard the CH-46 that crashed but their bodies may have been aboard being evacuated. Their names follow: PFC Robert B. Cannon, 2ndLt George W. Coleman, Cpl John Foldvary, PFC Carl E. Garza, PFC David L. Lipscomb, PFC Donald C. McNac, PFC Larry J. Rodgers, PFC Allen P. Sheehan and PFC James Witt.

Submitted by: N/A, 20030818

From HMM-265 Squadron Command Chronology 1-31 March 1968

• 1st Lt Paul H. Moody received wounds 9 miles S.W. of DaNang on 17 March 1968. Condition Good. Treated and released to duty.
• 1st Lt Robert J. Himler received wounds 9 miles S.W. of DaNang on 17 March 1968. Condition Good. Treated and released to duty.
• Corporal Edgar D. Pitman received wounds 9 miles S.W. of DaNang on 17 March 1968. Condition Good. Treated and released to duty.
• Corporal Curtis E. Fugger received wounds 9 miles S.W. of DaNang on 17 March 1968. Condition Good. Treated and released to duty."

Submitted by: N/A, 20030818

Personal Narrative

Operation Worth (in Happy Valley) - On 3/17/68 the first mission of the afternoon was an emergency medevac on Charlie Ridge. A large number of Marines were hurt and needed to be extracted. Two 46’s and two aircraft from VMO-2 were on the mission. One problem was that a LZ suitable for landing was not available. Because of the large amount of men to be extracted, the hoist method was out of the question.

There was a sheer cliff with a clearing large enough for a “46” to land with its back wheels on the ground with the front of the aircraft hovering over the cliff so the injured could be loaded through the aft ramp of the helicopter. The first “46” went down into the LZ with us providing cover. We could not fire suppressing rounds because of the placement of the friendly troops. The first helicopter made its pickup and departed without any problems. We escorted the second aircraft into the LZ and as we were getting ready to escort it out, I heard someone say “He took a secondary” I started to hear rifle and machine gun fire cracking, and I looked at the helicopter in the LZ.

The “46” apparently took a B-40 Rocket in the right fuel tank area, although at that moment I couldn’t tell exactly what was going on. The “46” lifted up and started to “fall” off the cliff it was sitting on. I could see fuel streaming out of the right side of the aircraft. I heard the pilot come up on the radio with a mayday. The helicopter appeared to be on a relativity stable straight in approach to a landing somewhere in the valley below. It was obvious that this was going to be bad, as no suitable landing zone was available and it was definitely going to go down in enemy territory. As the helicopter approached the ground my aircraft followed at a safe distance behind. From the way it looked to me, I thought that a safe landing on its wheels might be possible. The aircraft touched down with the nose higher then normal and then rolled over to the right and slid some distance cutting through the low jungle grass. As the aircraft came to a stop I could see orange flames first in the aft window then rush forward to the crew area.

Moments later we landed near the burning helicopter. I jumped out of my seat and was jerked backward because I failed to unbuckle my gunner’s belt. Once I got myself under control again I opened the front door of my aircraft and grabbed a fire extinguisher and ran to the burning helicopter. My assistant door gunner (Cpl Wade) followed me. When I reached the aircraft the fire was burning severely and ammo was cooking off all over the place. I promptly dropped the fire extinguisher and started to pull people away from the fire. There was no time to determine who was living or not. I could not pick people up and carry them as many had their flesh burned off so we were forced to drag them out of the aircraft by whatever we could grab. We kept pulling people out until the fire was too great. I ordered my gunner to take cover because I was sure the helicopter was going to explode.

We moved some distance away and lay as close to the ground as possible. Soon the helicopter made one final explosion and the fire subsided somewhat. My gunner and I were only armed with S&W .38 cal pistols. We did what little we could for the injured. I remember they were in a lot of pain and some of them were still smoldering. They were crying and calling out for help and I tried to calm them mainly because I thought their noise would attract the VC/NVA that inhabited the area.

I remember seeing a gunship flying overhead so I felt a bit better though we were alone with all these guys at the crash site. (Jerry Hester was in this aircraft) We had no means of communicating with any friendly’s so we walked our small perimeter armed with our miserable little pistols. We found an enlisted crewmember walking around in the vicinity of the downed “46”. He told me that the pilots of the “46” jumped into the Huey and split. We were picked-up about 30-45 min later. After loading all the injured we could find we departed the LZ in the “46” that was the first medevac aircraft that was part of our original package. I boarded my original helicopter at Charlie Med in Da Nang after we dropped off the wounded, and returned to Marble Mountain.

For all these years I was under the impression that we got everyone out of the “46”. There could have been additional people on board but it was such mess that it is anyone\'s guess. I do recall asking the “46” crewmember if we got everyone out and I believe he said yes.

What I know for sure is not all the people on board were killed. The pilots of the “46” left the LZ on the aircraft I arrived in.

It was St Patrick\'s Day and it was a Sunday. We had steaks in the mess hall but the day’s activities ruined my appetite.

I hope this war story is not too long. It is however all I can remember. If you learn anything additional please let me know.

Submitted by: Peter M. "MAC"McHugh, Crew Chief on mission, VMO-2, 20030818

YouTube Video

Marine Ron Bennington talks about the day Corpsman George Myrick saved his life in Vietnam.

Submitted by: Wally Beddoe, Webmaster, 20090620

Wounded in Action

Cpl Curtis Edgar Fugger, USMC

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Submitted by: N/A, 20170309

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Citation - Navy Commendation Medal

Received for this incident

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