Incident Date 19681117 HMM-362 UH-34D 149329+ / YL-1 - Hostile Fire, Crash
Anderson, Phillip Russell LCpl Crew Chief HMM-362 MAG-36 1968-11-17 (vvm 39W:077)
During the night of 16 November 1968 I was the Crewchief of YL-1 flying night medevac with my Gunner LCPL Al Cain, and our HAC was 1stLt Al Nitchman. I dont recall who the Copilot was; we also had a Navy Corpsman aboard, name also unknown.
Our Chase plane was YL-4, piloted by two majors and crewed by LCPL Phillip R. Anderson, and a SSGT Gunner from squadron ops. We had flown virtually all night long, and at around 0430, 17 November 1968 we were in the line shack talking; Anderson said "I'm bored flying chase". I said “Take my bird and I'll take yours”. A few minutes later we were called out for another mission (Medevac Mission 5E).
Anderson took my aircraft and I flew in his. We arrived at the LZ and the lead aircraft began its approach. I kept my eye on the aircraft and as they were about 400 feet from the zone, they took fire from both sides of the aircraft. Anderson returned fire but was fatally wounded; by this time the aircraft was on fire and still airborne. Lt. Nitchman flew the aircraft for a great amount of time to a rice paddy and landed, the chase plane landed right near the burning H-34.
By the time the A/C had landed in the rice paddy, the a/c, YL-1, was totally engulfed in flames. Phil Anderson was already dead and it was not safe to try to evacuate him as the rounds under the crewchief seat were going off. I exited my a/c to assist the four crew members. They boarded and we took them to NSA. LCPL Al Cain was subsequently awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his actions during this incident.
I know it was YL-1 that burned because; we took YL-1 in the middle of the night when my original aircraft, YL-6, was having mechanical difficulties. I was required to sign several affidavits stating that it was in fact Anderson on board that a/c, as we did not switch names on the yellow sheet. Phil Anderson and I were good friends and slept in the same hooch at Marble Mountain. He had become a father to a baby girl only a few days prior to this incident and had only found out about it the day before. We had been in country about 6 months. Andy took about five rounds to the chest and was killed instantly; he wasn’t wearing his bullet bouncer. Submitted by Kenneth D. Logue, chase plane Crew Chief (HMM-362).
The corpsman aboard that flight was Charles Hawkins (Chuck). He arrived in-country late August 1969 while HMM-362 was on Princeton and disembarked with squadron to Marble Mountain Air Facility.
Chuck is a farmer living in Iowa. I have spoken to him once since I returned, but it was many years ago. He suffered severe burns from the incident and was medevaced back to the states from NSA.
The 68/69 Crew book has a picture of Hawkins, but his name and mine were mixed up, showing my name under his picture and vice versa. Friend of Andy and Chuck Hawkins