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Re: May 18, 1969

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  • Re: May 18, 1969

    [SIZE="3"]From Popasmoke email:

    [SIZE="3"]William Barnsley


    Dear Bruce,

    Helicopter Association Request

    A long time ago, May 18, 1969 to be exact, a VMGR-152 KC-130F Tanker was refueling two F-4B fighter aircraft just to the east of the Hue Phu Bi complex. That frequently observed occurrence as well as a routine event soon changed after a single F-4B met the KC-130F in a violent mid-air collision. The wreckage was strewn near the coastline with major components of the KC-130F coming to rest on the bottom of the South China Sea. The two F-4B crew members and the six KC-130F crew members were instantly killed as a direct result of the mid-air. The other two F-4B fighters were damaged, but all crew members made it back to Chu Lai. [Although two did it via their ejection seats and a rescue at sea.]

    During the next several days, the FMAW sent an Aircraft Accident Investigation Team to the crash site in order to conduct an investigation. Various members of that team visited the rescue recovery ship and also trekked across the land in search of witnesses, aircraft parts, and other clues that may assist with the effort to determine the cause of the mid-air. During one of the ground searches, I became separated from other team members; and soon realized that is was not a good thing to be in the middle of nowhere in a flight suit, with a VMGR-152 baseball cap, a briefcase, no weapon and all alone.

    Shortly after becoming aware that I was stranded and needed to come up with a plan on how to get out of that place before nightfall, I heard the sound of a helicopter. As it came within visual range, I frantically waved my arms and used my baseball cap to attract their attention. Luckily for me, the crew saw me, landed, and picked me up. As I departed the aircraft at Danang, I again thanked the pilots and crew for the welcomed ride.

    Many years later while looking over the histories of every Marine squadron flying in Vietnam during those years, no entries could be located relating to that incident. The primary purpose of my research was to find a way to properly thank that crew for saving my _ _ _ and removing me from a potentially very “sticky situation”.

    After almost forty years, it is a long shot, but am wondering if any member of your organization was a pilot or crew member and recalls that incident. Internally, I am not sure how that could be accomplished, but if it can be accomplished it is time to more properly thank those gents. Not everyone would have stopped to help.


    Bill Barnsley

    Brook Stevenson
    9/'67 - 10/'68

  • #2
    What type helo picked you up; UH-34, CH-46, CH-53, UH-1? This might help us figure out which squadron.


    • #3
      From: William Barnsley

      [SIZE="3"]He says that it was a CH-46 and both pilot and copilot were LTs. I asked if he could remember anything else, like markings, etc. ..... waiting for any additional info.[/SIZE]

      Brook Stevenson
      9/'67 - 10/'68