If you have knowledge of this extract, contact Pearston directly.
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Richard Pearston <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Oct 21, 2006 11:29 AM
Subject: Aviation Mishap Reports from Viet Nam
I was given your web address when I asked Bob Morris (of 1st Recon Bn Assn) about this topic, and he suggested that I make my inquiry to you. I am looking for the Aviation Mishap Report that covers the death of my commanding officer in "C" Co., 1st Recon Bn, 1st MarDiv in Mar' 70. 1stForceReconCo had been broken down and those with more than six months went home. Those with less than six months came to 1st Recon Bn. Lt Skibbbe came to "C" Co. along with some good enlisted people who became team leaders. On March 2, 1970, Lt Skibbe took a team out (Call Sign Thin Man) with a Corporal from Force. They made contact and both Lt Skibbe and the Corporal were shot. Extract was attempted, but Lt Skibbe was left in the field (with the second truck bird hovering over him) when the jungle penetrator cable snapped while he was on it. The remainder of the team was brought home. A reactionary team was formed was formed with me as the senior corpsman of "C" Co. and Capt. McVey, and eight others. My Surgeon had given me six 1000 ml glass IV bottles with the direction to start two IV's on Lt Skibbe. We transited to the cite where Lt Skibbe was being hovered over and the crew chief on our helo asked who was going to ride the jungle penetrator down and catch the repelling lines for the remainder of the 10 man team. Capt McVey replied that he would. We had the Capt in the tree tops when we lost the landing lights and interior lights on the helo. Col Drumwright (Recon Bn CO) was standing between the pilot and co-pilot and ordered them to "get the Capt out of the tree tops and then move forward," there was obviously something wrong with the helo. We had the top of the penetrator in the "hell hole," when according to the investigation report of the incident, I was the only person aboard to hear the penetrator cable snap and bounce on the "hell hole." I was sitting on the jump seat with my right leg on the jump seat and left foot on the deck when I heard the cable snap and dove into the "hell hole" thinking I could grab the Capt. I probably looked a jerk, because the Capt was 20-25 feet below the aircraft when I got my head and arms into the "hell hole." The crew chief grabbed my suspender-straps, or I would have followed the Capt. The glass IV bottles, in addition to my normal 125 lb. combat rig made me very heavy, so the crew chief wasn't able to lift me up immediately (another Marine stepped up and helped pull me up). While dangling there, I watched the Capt. fall 1,000 feet to the canopy.
This was not an "average" Aviation Mishap Report because of all the bizarre circumstances. Two Marine Officers were lost on one day because the jungle penetrator cable snapped on two separate aircraft, Col Drumwright was onboard, and I was told that no one else onboard reported hearing the cable snap (even when questioned closely about this point.) Thirty six years have passed since then and not a days goes by that don't think about the expression on Capt. McVey's face, as he fell.
I would appreciate any assistance you could offer in finding this report.
Richard J.(Jim) Pearston (B716010) (I was HM2 at the time)
HMC USN ret.