Incident Date 19701030 HMH-463 CH-53D 157133+ - Hostile Fire, Crash
McNeil, Bruce Alan Sgt Crew HMH-463 MAG-16 1970-10-30 (vvm 06W:029)
Burdette, Clifford Gerald LCpl Passenger SubUnit1/1stANGLICO 3rdMAF 1970-10-30 (vvm 06W:028)
Command Chronology - HMH-463 Oct 1970
HMH-463 Command Chronology Oct 1-31, 1970
30OCT70: Ten CH-53Dâ€™s flew 179 sorties in 42.1 hours, transporting 3,840 passengers end carrying 6.0 tons of external cargo, during mandatory rescue missions in badly flooded areas. One CH-53D crashed due to direct enemy action and suffered substantial damage. One crew member suffered fatal injuries.
31OCT70: Six CH-53Dâ€™S participated in mandatory evacuation and resupply missions of flood victims, flying 36 sorties in 15.1 hours. 243 passengers and 53.7 tons of cargo were carried. One CH-53D took three hits on a mandatory evacuation mission, suffering limited damage. One CH-53D received twelve hits while on an emergency resupply mission, suffering limited damage. One passenger was wounded. Two CH-53Dâ€™ s suffered limited damage in operational accidents, one on an emergency resupply mission and ono on an emergency troop extraction mission.
MAG-16 Command Chronology
On 29-31 October 1970, rising flood waters inundated the flatlands in
the Danang TAOR, threatening the lives of thousands of Vietnamese. Aircraft
from MAG-16 squadrons were called to assist in rescue operations
involving flight in wind driven rain, low ceilings and extremely low visibility.
Flight crews heroically responded to the task with compaSSion,
braving flight at low level over hostile areas. During the day of the
30th, over 40 MAG-16 aircraft and crews were perfonning SAR efforts. Crews
near exhaustion performed these tasks until darkness precluded further
efforts. Acts of individual heroisn and compassion were commonplace.
Again on the morning of 31 October, as the flood waters began to recede,
aircrews flew much needed food, clothing, and other items of comfort to
the flood evacuees. )66 hours and 1120 sorties were flown in support of
this humanitarian effort, rescuing 11,057 persons and prOviding for 56.3
tons of food, clothing, etc.
HMH-463 Squadron Website
Sgt. Bruce McNeil was killed during HMH 463's heroic efforts in saving many South Vietnamese civilians in a village outside DaNang that was immersed in flood waters during the monsoon season. Bruce McNeal was swept out the cargo ramp by raging flood waters as he was rescuing drowning villagers. HMH 463 was later awarded the Vietnamese Cross Of Gallantry for these rescue missions which was personally presented to HMH 463's commanding officer by the President of the Republic of South Vietnam, President Thieu. Thanks to Sgt. McNeal's supreme sacrifice, many civilian lives were saved and veterans of HMH 463 proudly claim their right to wear the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry."
Submitted by: Alan H Barbour, Historian, USMC Combat Helicopter/Tiltrotor Assoc, 20170926
During a flood of the Republic of Korea [ROK Marines] Marines base area, in an attempt to rescue 1500 ROK Marines using MAG-16 and US Army helicopter assets, a CH-53D from HMH-463 crashed in the flood waters. A Marine Sgt, a LCpl from 1st ANGLICO (AIR NAVAL GUNFIRE LIAISON COMPANY) and several ROK Marines were drowned in the flood waters.Source: MAG-16 and 1st ANGLICO Chronology, Oct 1970
Submitted by: Alan H Barbour, USMC Combat Helicopter/Tiltrotor Assoc, 20170926
I was a crewmember on that ill-fated flight on 30 October 1970.Submitted by: T. (Tom) W. Wasden, Sr. MSGT USMC (Ret), Air Crewman (Left Gun), 20040413
Any additional information would be appreciated. Have heard several versions of what happened in the crash and what caused it.Submitted by: Craig McNeil, Brother of Sgt Bruce McNeil, 20170918