Incident Date 19680321 VMO-2 UH-1E 152429+ - Hostile Fire, Crash
Romero, Ronald James Cpl Crew Chief VMO-2 MAG-16 1968-03-21 (vvm 45E:051)
Lakey, George Leo Capt (PP) Pilot VMO-2 MAG-16 1968-03-21 (vvm 45E:048)
From VMO-2 Squadron Command Chronology
From VMO-2 Squadron Command Chronology:
On March 21st, a single Hostage aircraft while in support of Operation Worth was shot down while lifting from a zone in a hot area. The pilot and crew chief died in the resulting crash. This was a very saddening day for VMO-2. [Two passengers survived]
MAG-16 Command Chronology – 21 Mar 1968
Submitted by: N/A, 20030818
One VMO-2 UH-1E was destroyed by enemy mortar fire at coordinates AT855663. The aircraft had just lifted from the zone when three mortar rounds struck the zone. The pilot [George Lakey] and the crew chief [Ron Romero] died as a result of the crash.
George was flying the Regimental CO and Sgt Maj to visit troops in contact on Charlie Ridge west of Da Nang. Drop off was made in a clearing several hundred meters down ridgeline of where Marines were. Huey was hit by what I suspect was RPG as he was lifting off the ridgeline. I arrived on scene about 5-10 minutes later. Huey was on the side of ridge and burning badly.
Made numerous low passes but nobody could have survived that crash. I thought everyone was dead but during the passes I spotted the Regimental CO and Sgt Maj up on the ridgeline all alone. Eventually picked them up. They had minor injuries from the Huey explosion.