Pleiku Air Base, RVN    1965-1966


The following review is edited from stories and mission reports published in “Kaman Rotor Tips”, bi-monthly magazine of the Kaman Corporation, as well as from information gained from the many documents made availabe by the USAF archive, the AF Historical Research Agency (AFHRA), Maxwell AFB, AL. The archive also is a great source for the many Rescue Mission Reports, often written by the pilots involved. In the past I was able to do research at the AFHRA myself. I have to thank Mr. Randy Asherbranner for his recent research efforts undertaken at the AFHRA. 

I would like to thank Mr. Fredrik Bergold (Lt.Col USAF, Ret.) for his unique photos, Mr. Terry Sage (crew chief 1965-66) for his personal story and photo, and Mr. Allen Stanek (Pararescueman 1966). 

Johan D. Ragay

USAF Rotorheads and Pedro Rescue Helicopter Association H-43 Historian  

For organization of HH-43 units in SEA, please visit my website page: 

        H-43 USAF Units PACAF  (  )


Update 06 Mar 2023   (chapter 04.17.1 ; 04.17.5 photos ; 04.18  photos)

Update 07 Jul 2023     (chapter 02.  - removed the HH-43F photo with 155th AHC info - story transferred to the Bien Hoa Review, chapter 04.04)

Update 26 Dec 2023    (chapter 01.02  -  history 63-9712 ; arrival date changed into 20 Feb 67)


624525 A1E 1190Pleiku Air Base  Summer 1966    HH-43F   62-4525  and  A-1E taking off   - photo by Capt. Bergold


 01.       Kaman HH-43F Huskie -  based at  -  Pleiku Air Base, Thailand    1965-1966        


01.01  Organization 1965-1970






01 Oct 1965  activated

08 Jan 1966


08 Jan 1966

08 Feb 1969

DET.9, 38 ARRS, 3 ARRG, 41 ARRW

08 Feb 1969

16 Feb 1970

relocated to Nakhon Phanom AB



01.02   Aircraft assigned 



from Nakhon Phanom AB  25 Nov 1965  - 28 Oct 1966  lost, enemy action



from Nakhon Phanom AB  25 Nov 1965  - 29 Oct 1966  enemy action;

                    damage repair       Nov 1966

                                                xx Nov 1966  - 20 Feb 1967

between 20Feb67 and ca04Mar67  overhaul/camouflaged at Tan Son Nhut

                back at Pleiku  ca04 Mar 1967 -  07 Feb 1968  lost, enemy action



Replacement for 62-4525 during its overhaul at Tan Son Nhut

from Da Nang AB   20 Feb 1967  -  04 Mar 1967  to Tuy Hoa AB



from Bien Hoa AB   20 Feb 1967  -  26 Jan 1969   lost, enemy action

Between 01Feb68 - 23Feb68 probably damaged  *)



*)  Possible replacement for 63-9712:

from Bien Hoa AB  04 Feb 1968  -  09 Feb 1968  to Nha Trang AB



Replacement for 62-4525:

from Nha Trang  11 Feb 1968   at Pleiku,  13 Feb 1968    to Nha Trang

from Nha Trang  26 Feb 1968   at Pleiku,  01 Mar 1968   to Nha Trang

from Nha Trang  08 Mar 1968  at Pleiku,  22 Mar 1968   to Nha Trang

Permanent assignment:

from Nha Trang  23 Mar 1968  at Pleiku   06 Feb 1970    to Phu Cat AB



Replacement for 63-9712:

from Tuy Hoa AB     27 Jan 1969  - 20 Feb 1970   to Nakhon Phanom AB

HH-43F  63-9712 : 26 Jan 1969 Received small arms fire, engine lost power, aircraft crashed and  was damaged beyond economical repair.


01.03    Overview of  DET.9  RESCUE  MISSIONS      1965-1966


                                              Mission date        mission number                         objective                                                                                         chapter

28 Nov 1965


F-4C  crashed

2 combat saves


07 Dec 1965


F-4C  crashed , 2 deceased



14 Dec 1965


B-57B crashed , 1 deceased

1 combat save







29 Mar 1966


C-130B crashed

2 non-combat saves


04 Apr 1966



5 combat saves


02 May 1966


VNAF A-1H crashed

1 non-combat save


18 May 1966



5 combat saves


24 May 1966


SAR  for O-1E ; pilot KIA

MedEvac, 1 combat save


25 May 1966



6 saves  non-combat


27 May 1966



7 saves  non-combat


02 June 1966



1 save   non-combat


03 June 1966



1 save   non-combat


07 June 1966



1 save   non-combat


08 June 1966



18 combat saves


09 June 1966



7 combat saves


10 June 1966



unkn. saves  non-combat


10 June 1966



2 saves   non-combat


06 July 1966



2 saves   non-combat


20 July 1966



9 saves   non-combat


28 July 1966


UH-1B crashed

4 combat saves


13 Aug 1966



2 combat saves


13 Aug 1966



1 save    non-combat


15 Aug 1966



5 combat saves


16 Aug 1966



2 combat saves


17 Aug 1966



1 combat save + 2 non-com s.


26 Sep 1966



1 combat save


27 Sep 1966


SAR O-1E  crashed

1 combat save


07 Oct 1966



2 combat saves


28 Oct 1966



HH-43F “Pedro 42” shot down


29 Oct 1966


2 HH-43 pilots, one Army soldier

3 combat saves


29 Oct 1966


wounded soldiers

3 combat saves


08 Dec 1966



1 save      non-combat


11 Dec 1966



9 saves    non-combat










02.      Prior to assignment of the Huskie to Pleiku Air Base -  October 1965

In the evening of 22 October 1965  RB-66B 53-0452 of 6250 CSG based at Tan Son Nhut AB crashed in the surrounding of Pleiku AB. The next morning two US Army O-1E aircraft searched for the crash site. However, after the crash site was located, helicopters could not be sent to the site for an inspection. There were no landing sites, no hoist equipped helicopters or armed escort aircraft available in the area, due to extensive Army operations in the area on the 23rd and 24th of October. Two DET.7, 38 ARS HH-43F helicopters from Da Nang AB were sent to investigate the site. They arrived in the area at 24/0735Z and searched until the Huskies ran out of fuel. They diverted to Pleiku AB. The RB-66 appeared to have burned on impact and the three crewmembers were killed. Army Special Forces recovered the remains later.

Much later the following photograph was taken of the crash site:

624525 NARA342C K21854

HH-43F 24525 photographed during April 1966, location is the crash site of RB-66B 53-0452, crashed on 22Oct65   ;   USAF photo, NARA-342C-K21854



03.      Det.9, 38th ARS was activated on 01 October 1965

This detachment became operational on 25 November 1965, when 2 HH-43F aircraft had arrived from Thailand. Detachment 9 became manned by TDY personnel. Pleiku Airfield (Cu Hanh) was situated in the Central Highlands of Vietnam, 200 miles North of Saigon. 



The TDY unit constructed a building from top to bottom utilizing only detachment personnel except for minor guidance, painting, and electrical work supplied by the Civil Engineer. The building consisted of 1334 square feet of office space, supply and maintenance area, alert quarters and  crew lounge. 


Pleiku 1965 Facebook TerrySagenewspaper clipping provided by Terry Sage;

in the photo (bottom left/right) A3C Terry Sage and  2 Lt. James E. McLain

Operational conrtrol was vested in the 2nd Air Division, Tan Son Nhut AB and excercised through the II Corps Direct Air Support Center and the 38th ARS  JSARC for Aircrew Recovery (ACR) Missions, and through the 6254th Combat Support Group, Pleiku AB, for LBR Missions. 

The primary mission of DET.9 was Aircrew Recovery (ACR), while LBR was its secondary mission.  

Minimum flying training requirements for Aircrew Recovery units were received from the parent unit. Training flights were scheduled upon arrival of aircraft to check out each Rescue Crew Commander on the “F” model helicopter, particularly with respect to operation with the Fire Suppression Kit attached. Pleiku was located at an altitude of 2400 feet and the surrounding terrain went up to 5000 feet. Helicopter operations were critical at this altitude, temperature, and helicopter gross weight. All pilots had been given extensive training in high altitude helicopter operations and limitations. Extensive ground training in survival and personal equipment had been given.

Mission Aircraft:   two HH-43F helicopters

Special Mission Equipment :

  1. Forest penetrator seat (for personnel recovery by hoist through heavy foilage)
  2. 217 foot hoist cable
  3. Fire Suppression Kit (for establishing rescue path through flames on burning aircraft - normally used within 15 nm of base)
  4. Armor plating -800 lbs -  (for protection of crew and vital portions of aircraft including engine, fuel system, etc.)
  5. Auxiliary Fuel Tank (1000 pound capacity) 


03.01       FIRST GROUP  of  personnel  (TDY)  10 November 1965 -  February 1966

Source: AFHRA file K318-2-ARS Hist. Jan-Dec 1965-Vol.11, IRIS 00491713, in USAF Collection, AFHRA, page 21  - and  Hist. 1Oct-31Dec65  Det.9, 38th ARS, pages 137 thru 148  

Capt. Richard R. Cowles         (P)  Det.Co. *)

Capt. Leonard L. Hills              (P)

Capt. William F. Clark              (P)

Capt. Glen L. McFarlane         (P)

Capt. Charles S. Purviance    (P)

2nd Lt. Curtis K. Bayer            (P)

2nd Lt. James E. McLain        (P)

MSgt.  Carlton B. Gammons  (NCOIC)

TSgt.  Thomas J. Brown Jr.

SSgt.   Clifford L. Johnson      (HM, FE)

SSgt. Thomas E. Madden        (HM)

A1C  Howard T. Mathies**)      (MT)

A1C  Hubert E. Smith, Jr.        (RS)

A1C  James W. Bayles            (RS)

A2C  Joseph M. Carter            (HM)

A2C  Wendell D. Cranstaff      (HM)

A3C  Robert J. Pfannenstiel   (HM)

A2C  Jessie L. Herrell              (HM)

A3C  Richard L. McNeese       (HM)

A3C  Ronald G. Stewart           (HM)

A3C  Chester W. Gilbert Jr.     (ENG)

A3C  Tom D. Mullin Jr.            (Clerk)

A3C  Terrell L. Sage                 (HM)



*)   Capt. Cowles became Det.Commander effective 10Nov65                 **) Airman Mathies returned to CONUS 22Dec65               

This TDY unit gathered on 27 Oct 65 for M-16 training at Hamilton AFB, CA. Briefings from Western Air Rescue Center were given on 27 Oct with M-16 training on 28 and 29 October.

A special airlift was scheduled but did not materialize, and 23 personnel were sent to Vietnam in increments on a space availabe basis. On arrival at Tan Son Nhut, the 38th Air Rescue Squadron, informed that due to airfield security, the operational activation would be delayed. For the next week the unit received briefings, gathered local purchase items, maintenance equipment, and forms and regulations.

On 7 Nov 65, a special airlift was arranged via C-130 and the personnel departed for Pleiku. Two HH-43F aircraft, one from Udorn and the other from Nakhon Phanom, Thailand, arrived on 25 Nov 1965. The aircraft were ferried utilizing detachment personnel augmented by two qualified pilots from Thailand units with HH-43F experience.

Since arrival at Pleiku, personnel of the unit had been involved in assuring that PCS replacements would be able to smoothly transition into the detachment. The unit was operational and capable of performing both primary and secondary mission on the day the aircraft arrived. This was due to ARS standardization procedures and the policies placed in effect by the unit. The validity of that statement is proven by the successful Aircrew Recovery accomplished on 28 Nov 65, three days after the aircraft arrived.

Operations during November and December 1965:  The unit participated in 15 LBR scambles, 3 ACR missions, and was alerted for 2 ACR missions which were subsequently cancelled for various reasons. 


03.02               Rescue Mission on 28 November 1965

Source: AFHRA file K318-2-ARS Hist. Jan-Dec 1965-Vol.11, IRIS 00491713, in USAF Collection, AFHRA  -       Hist. 1Oct-31Dec65 Det.9, 38th ARS, page 140  

Rescue Mission     9-38-1-28Nov65                                              DET.9, 38th ARS

HH-43F   unkn serial no.               primary aircraft                           saved Capt. Street

Flown by  RCC  Capt. Glen L. McFarlane (P);  2/Lt. James E. McLain (CP); A1C Hubert E. Smith, Jr. (RS); A1C James W. Bayles (RS)                           *)

HH-43F   unkn serial no.                secondary aircraft                     saved 1Lt. Knoch

Flown by  RCC  Capt. Leonard L. Hills (P);  2/Lt. Curtis K. Bayer (CP);  A3C  Terrell L. Sage (HM) ; A1C Howard T. Mathies  (MT)                           *)


SAR Objective :  F-4C  64-0729  pilot Capt. Robert D. Street ; 1Lt. Henry James Knoch  -  557 TFS, 12 TFW

crashed 5 miles  NM  North of Pleiku

*) Capt. McFarlane, Lt. McLain, Capt. Hills, Lt. Bayer and A1C Bayles were awarded the Air Medal for meritorious achievement while participating in aerial flight on 28Nov65 (SO G-214, 2nd AD, 14Mar66)

Narrative of Rescue Mission:

On 28 Nov 65, at 1342L the Base Ops crash phone rang with information that a F-4C had an engine fire on one engine and a flame-out on the other. The primary crew scrambled to their aircraft, becoming airborne at 1344L. The secondary crew was notified and also scrambled, becoming airborne at 1345L. During the scramble a large column of smoke was seen coming from an area north of the field.

Both aircraft were airborne within 3 minutes after notification heading toward the column of smoke from the burning aircraft. The crash was approximately 5 miles north of the base. The helicopters proceeded northwest from the downed aircraft to search for survivors. The parachutes were all white and thus difficult to locate. A pengun flare was spotted approximately 1 mile northwest of the crash site. Shortly after, the secondary crew orbited both survivors to insure no unfriendly forces were in the area while the primary crew made their approach. The crewmembers were approximately 100 yards apart. After determining that there were no unfriendly forces in the area, the secondary crew made their approach to the remaining crewmember.

The primary crew landed in a clear area close to a spot where one of the pilots had wandered. The Rescue Specialists quickly departed the helicopter and brought the pilot on board. The primary crew immediately took off to fly cover for the secondary crew.

The secondary crew found the remaining survivor lying in tall elephant grass still attached to his parachute. An approach was made to this area; as the helicopter landed the rotor blades were within 2 to 4 inches of the grass. The crew chief and medical technician departed the helicopter to assist the pilot. They soon discovered him to be only slightly dazed but otherwise alright. He was brought on board the helicopter, which immediately departed the area accompanied by the primary helicopter. 

On the way back to Pleiku AB, fuel fumes were very strong in the cockpit of the secondary helicopter. A firetruck was requested to standby. On touchdown, the rotor wash sprayed fuel over the aircraft and an immediate shutdown was made. After evacuation of the aircraft it was determined that the aft fuel cell had sustained a bad puncture from either an anti-helicopter stake or a sharpened stump, causing the loss of more than 800 pounds of fuel. The recovered pilots were delivered to the USAF flight surgeon.

After landing, US Special Forces personnel notified the detachment that the crash area had been heavily mined by unfriendly forces. 

First Mission 28Nov65 LaPointe

Both F-4C pilots at Pleiku AB, 28 Nov 1965 - photo AF Museum collection, via Robert LaPointe (his CD file) ;  Pilot in the middle is 2nd Lt. Curtis K. Bayer, co-pilot on the second HH-43F. 

Personal account by Terry Sage (HM), 57 years later:  “I think it was about 7:30 AM. I was pre-flighting the helicopter and I looked up and saw an F-4 trailing black smoke and then about that time, I saw them punch out. I started yelling for everyone. We hadn't even got an alert yet.  That was our first saves. I was crew chief on that flight and that was my first Air Medal.” 


03.03               Rescue Mission on 07 December 1965

Source: AFHRA file K318-2-ARS Hist. Jan-Dec 1965-Vol.11, IRIS 00491713, in USAF Collection, AFHRA  -       Hist. 1Oct-31Dec65 Det.9, 38th ARS, page 141 

Rescue Mission     9-38-??-7Dec65                                          DET.9, 38th ARS

HH-43F   unkn serial no.  

Flown by  RCC 


SAR Objective :  F-4C   64-0723    Capt. J.D. Sala (KIA);  Capt. R.W. Wranosky (KIA)  -  557 TFS, 12 TFW

crashed 49 miles North of Pleiku, near Kontum, RVN

Narrative of Rescue Mission (in short):

At 1002 hours II Corps Direct Air Support Center advised the unit that an F-4C had crashed north of Kontum with one parachute spotted. Alert crew scrambled at 1009 hours and coordinated headings and rescort through GCI. An O-1E  FAC aircraft which had been directing the objective on a bomb run at time of the crash was still orbiting scene and advised the HH-43F crew that no signals had been received, and one chute had been observed seconds before impact. Upon arrival at the site, and after two slow passes over the wreckage, the HH-43F attempted to lower the medic down the hoist to check on a chute that was spotted 15 yards south of the wreckage. Winds prevented the maneuver and the crew decided to let the medic off on a ridge above the site and let him work his way down to the wreckage, however this was unfeasible due to time and distance to the wreckage. Another hover attempt was made and was successful. The medic was lowered into the site using 200 feet of hoist, and confirmed one deceased in the parachute. It was impossible for the HH-43F to recover the remains and the next day an Army Special Forces ground party secured the area and recovered both bodies.


03.04               Rescue Mission on 14 December 1965

Source: AFHRA file K318-2-ARS Hist. Jan-Dec 1965-Vol.11, IRIS 00491713, in USAF Collection, AFHRA  -       Hist. 1Oct-31Dec65 Det.9, 38th ARS, page 141 

Rescue Mission     9-38-??-14Dec65                                       DET.9, 38th ARS

HH-43F   unkn serial no.                                                                                                                 *)

Flown by  RCC  Capt. Richard R. Cowles (P); 1stLt. James E. McLain (CP); TSgt. Thomas J. Brown;  A1C James W. Bayles (RS); A1C Howard T. Mathies (MT); A3C Robert J. Pfannenstiel (HM)


SAR Objective :  B-57B  52-2565   Capt. R.J. Moroney (KIA);  Capt. J.P. Joyner (recovered)  - 8TBS, 405 FW

crashed 34 miles SW of Pleiku AB

*) all crewmembers were awarded the Air Medal for meritorious achievement while participating in aerial flight on 14Dec65 (SO G-232, 2nd AD, 22Mar66)

Narrative of Rescue Mission (in short):

At 1000 hours GCI advised a B-57 had crashed 34 miles southwest. The alert crew scrambled at 1005 hours and upon arrival at the scene were informed that an Army helicopter had picked up the navigator in good condition but that there was no sign of the pilot. The medic was let down 80 feet into the crash, but the intense heat and fire from the wreckage prevented close examination. After recovering the medic, the HH-43F searched the area for half an hour with no results. Later that day when the wreckage had cooled the crew had returned to the site and recovered the pilot remains. 


03.05      Air Medal Award   -  1965

From:  Kaman RotorTips, issue  June-July 1966, page 4   -  "Honored For Vietnam Falor"

Capt Glen L. McFarlane was recently awarded the Air Medal, the first Oak Leaf Cluster to the Air Medal, and the Air Force Com­mendation Medal in recognition of services performed while on temporary duty with Det 9, 38th ARSq, Pleiku AB, Vietnam.

Captain McFarlane received the Air Medal and Cluster for the "successful accomplishments of important missions under extremely hazardous conditions, " and for distinguishing him­self while serving as a rescue combat crew member in South­east Asia when "he was required to remain in an HH-43F over hostile territory under extremely hazardous conditions, includ­ing the continuous possibility of hostile ground fire."

The Commendation Medal was awarded in recognition of the Captain's meritorous service as operations officer of Det 9 where his "outstanding professional skill and initiative aided immeasurably in identifying and solving numerous problems encountered in accomplishment of his duties."



04.     SECOND GROUP , PCS personnel, January-February 1966                                                                 Feb. 1966 -  Jan. 1967

Capt. Dale R. Tyree                (P)    Det.Co.

Capt. Lawrence F. Marcum    (P)

Capt. Richard L. Cardwell      (P)

Capt. Darrell A. Lowery         (P)

Capt. Fredrik M. Bergold       (P)

Capt. Charlton P. Vermeys     (P)  *

1stLt. Gordon O. Tooley         (P)

1stLt. David Stevenson           (P)

1stLt. Michael E. Davis          (P)

2ndLt. George H. Bonnell III  (P) *

Capt. Al Asendorf                   (MC)

SSgt. George E. Schipper  NCOIC (RS/PJ)*

SSgt/MSgt. James E. Johnson     (HM )

SSgt. Bertrum E. Brundridge      (HM)

TSgt. Kenneth B. Thompson       (HM)

A2C  William L. Houghtaling     (HM)

A2C  Harry J. Hull                       (HM)

A2C  Francis D. Rice  *               (HM)

A2C Robert L. Rybak                  (HM)

SSgt. Charles L. Barrix                 (HM)

SSgt. Charles Jenkins                   (RS/PJ)

A2C  Roy E. Kelsey                     (RS/PJ)

A2C  Allen R. Stanek                   (RS/PJ)

A2C  David A. Carl                      (RS/PJ)

A2C  Michael J. Rosler                (RS/PJ)


PCS personnel were scheduled te arrive between 25 Jan 1966 and 28 Feb 1966.   Note: the duty symbol RS (Rescue Specialist) was entered for all 1966 flight records. Later, the PJ (Pararescueman) initial was used in flight records.

*Capt Vermeys was sent to Phan Rang AB to help establish a new Detachment there. After three months he returned to Det 9.

*2ndLt. George H. Bonnell III started his tour on 19 Aug66. His Huskie was shot down in Ia Drang Valley on 28 Oct66, he was seriously injured. Lieutenant Bonnell died 2 weeks later at Clark AB, PI.

*A2C Francis D. Rice started his tour on 10 Feb66. He was killed when his Huskie was shot down on 28 Oct66.

*SSgt. Schipper left DET.9 during September 1966. 

624511 Mar66 EdLemp 1280

HH-43F  62-4511   Det.9, 38 ARRS with FSK at Pleiku AB - photo by Ed Lemp, collection Wayne Mutza


04.01         Rescue Mission on 29 March 1966

Source1: unknown Newspaper article, filed in AirForceMuseum Archive, collection R. LaPointe - “Rescue Unit Helps Save Seven Lives in Seven Days”

Source2: Rescue Mission Report  9-38-7-29Mar66, in USAF Collection, AFHRA (on microfilm REEL31113, frame 1053-54)

Source3: Kaman Rotor Tips, issue Jan-Feb 1967, page 20 

Rescue Mission     9-38-7-29Mar66                                       DET.9, 38th ARS

HH-43F   unkn serial no.                                                                                                           *)

Flown by  RCC  Capt. Lawrence F. Marcum (P); 1st Lt. Gordon O. Tooley (CP); A2C Roy E. Kelsey (RS); AlC Lester E. Long (FF)

HH-43F   unkn serial no.

Flown by  RCC  Capt. Dale R. Tyree (P), 1st Lt. David Stevenson (CP); SSgt. James  E. Johnson (HM); A2C Allen R.  Stanek (RS)


SAR Objective :  C-130B  61-0953  2nd AD                                                                                      2 non-combat saves

crashed on landing approach, one mile East of Pleiku AB

*) Capt. Lawrence F. Marcum, A2C Roy E. Kelsey an A1C Lester E. Long were presented the Kaman Mission Award


Source1: unknown Newspaper article, filed in AirForceMuseum Archive, collection R. LaPointe - “Rescue Unit Helps Save Seven Lives in Seven Days”           (note :  2 saves on 29Mar66, and 5 saves on 04Apr66)

“Pleiku - Detachment 9 of the 38th ARRS, located at Pleiku AB, recently saved seven lives in seven days. The first emergency took place when the detachment was notified at 5:50 am that a C-130 had crashed on a landing approach, one mile east of the Pleiku runway.

The alert crew was airborne in five minutes and proceeded to the crash scene. Because of early morning ground fog, the wreckage could not be seen until their H-43 helicopter was within 200 yards. The rescue commander, Capt. Lawrence F. Marcum, landed as near the flaming cockpit as possible. Co-pilot 1st Lt. Gordon O. Tooley, fire-fighter A1C Lester Long and pararescue man A2C Roy E. Kelsey started toward the aircraft, finding two survivors groping their way out of the wreckage.

The survivors were taken to the helicopter while others continued to search for survivors, aided by a second rescue helicopter crew of Capt. Dale R. Tyree, 1st Lt. David Stevenson, SSgt. James Johnson and A2C Allen Stanek. Exploding detonator caps in the vicinity did not deter them from the search. No other survivors were located, and Captain Marcum and crew returned the two injured persons to the Pleiku AB dispensory. They received emergency treatment there and were then air evacuated to a hospital. Both have since recovered. 

                                      1966 03 29 KamanRT photo



Source3: Kaman Rotor Tips, issue  Jan-Feb 1967, page 20

MISSION AWARD-Capt. Lawrence F. Marcum, cen­ter, and A2C Roy E. Kelsey, pararescueman, from Det 9, 38th ARRSq, Pleiku Airport, RVN, are pre­sented Kaman Mission Awards by Col. Arthur W. Beall, commander of the 3rd ARRGp at the time.

The awards were given in recognition of the successful rescue of two crew members from a downed C-130 Hercules air­craft. The third member of the HH-43 rescue crew, AlC Lester Long, firefighter, received a similar award. (USAF photo)



04.02         Rescue Mission on 04 April 1966

Source1: unknown Newspaper article, filed in AirForceMuseum Archive, collection R. LaPointe  - “Rescue Unit Helps Save Seven Lives in Seven Days”

Source2: AFHRA file K318-222-3-Hist-3ARRG-Vol.1-Apr-Jun66-IRIS492414 page 18 -Combat Save 

Rescue Mission     9-38-8-4Apr66                                       DET.9, 38th ARS

HH-43F   unkn serial no.                                                                                                 *)

Flown by  RCC  Capt. Richard L. Cardwell (P); Capt. Fredrik M. Bergold (CP); SSgt. Bertrum E. Brundridge (HM); A2C Roy E. Kelsey (RS); and  ??  (doctor)

HH-43F   unkn serial no.                                                                                                 *)

Flown by  RCC  Capt. Lawrence F. Marcum (P); 1st Lt. Gordon O. Tooley (CP); MSgt. James E. Johnson (HM); SSgt. George E. Schipper (RS)


SAR Objective :  MedEvac  5 wounded US Army soldiers                                                                         5 combat saves

*) All crewmembers were awarded the Air Medal for meritorious achievement while participating in aerial flight on 4 Apr 66


Source1: unknown Newspaper article, filed in AirForceMuseum Archive, collection R. LaPointe  -  “Rescue Unit Helps Save Seven Lives in Seven Days”                (note :  2 saves on 29Mar66, and 5 saves on 04Apr66)

“The second mission took place six days later just after sundown, when an emergency call to Detachment 9 informed its members that five American soldiers were suffering from heat prostration and needed immediate evacuation from the Chu Pong mountain area. One in fact was so near death that he was receiving artificial respiration. These soldiers had been clearing a landing strip in enemy territory and their water supply had run out. The clearing was not yet large enough for Army helicopters to land on it, so the Air Force was given the call for help.

The alert crews, Capt. Richard L. Cardwell, Capt. Fredrik M. Bergold; mechanic SSgt. Bertrum E. Brundridge, and Airman Kelsey; and Captain Marcum, Lieutenant Tooley; mechanic, SSgt. James Johnson, and pararescue man SSgt. George Schipper, departed Pleiku after a quick mission planning and briefing. A-1E’s provided escort.

They evaded trees surrounding the cleared area that reached as high as 150 feet, with Captain Cardwell landing first with the doctor. After 20 minutes of first aid treatment for the soldiers, Captain Cardwell took off with two of the sick men and then Captain Marcum eased his helicopter into the confined area and picked up the three remaining.


04.03         Rescue Mission on 02 May 1966

Source: Rescue Mission Report  9-38-9-2May66, in USAF Collection, AFHRA (on microfilm REEL31113, frame 1062-64) 

Rescue Mission     9-38-9-2May66                                       DET.9, 38th ARS

HH-43F   unkn serial no.

Flown by  RCC  Capt. Richard L. Cardwell (P); unknown co-pilot ; SSgt. Bertrum E. Brundridge (HM); A2C Roy E. Kelsey (RS)     *)


SAR Objective :  VNAF  A-1H  call-sign “Thunder 23”   1 pilot                                                              non-combat save

crashed on take-off from Pleiku AB

 *)  SSgt. Brundridge and A2C Kelsey were awarded the Air Medal for meritorious achievement while participating in aerial flight on 2 May 1966

Narrative of Rescue Mission (in short):

HH-43F landed at crash site, just outside the airfield. Survivor was loaded aboard the helicopter in 8 minutes total time from engine start and was delivered to field hospital in minutes time. Survivor later Med Evac to Qui Nhon Hospital by Army helicopter following emergency treatment.


04.04         Rescue Mission on 18 May 1966

Source: AFHRA file K318-2-Hist-3ARRG-Vol.2-Jul-Sep66-IRIS0491723 page 38

Rescue Mission     9-38-10-18May66                                       DET.9, 38th ARS

HH-43F   unkn serial no.

Flown by  RCC  Capt. Richard L. Cardwell (P); 1stLt. Michael E. Davis (CP) ; SSgt. Bertrum E. Brundridge (HM); A2C Allen R. Stanek (RS)     *)


SAR Objective :  5 wounded soldiers 

*)  All crewmembers were awarded the the DFC for heroism while participating in aerial flight on 18 May66


No details about this mission yet.



04.05         Rescue Mission on 24 May 1966

Source: Rescue Mission Report  9-38-11-24May66 , IRIS No. 01009287, in USAF Collection, AFHRA

Rescue Mission     9-38-11-24May66                                       DET.9, 38th ARS

HH-43F   62-4511    “Pedro 42”       primary aircraft

Flown by  RCC  Capt. Lawrence F. Marcum (P); 1stLt. Michael E. Davis (CP);  SSgt. James E. Johnson (HM);  A2C  David A. Carl (RS)

HH-43F   62-4525    “Pedro 56”       secondary aircraft

Flown by  RCC   Capt. Fredrik M. Bergold (P);  Capt. Richard L. Cardwell (CP);  A2C  Harry E. Hull (HM);  A2C  Allen R. Stanek  (RS)


SAR Objective :    O-1F   57-6028    “Baron 09”  pilot KIA    - 21 TASS, 14 ACW   Nha Trang                                                                 In stead, one seriously injured soldier of the ground party was rescued, as well as two deceased persons.


Narrative of Rescue Mission:

Captain Marcum, primary RCC, received a call at 1235 local hours from Major Bruster, JSARC, stating he had received information of a FAC  O-1 aircraft had been downed, call sign “Baron 09”.  While talking to II DASC, CRP called confirming the incident. CRP stated “Baron 01”, another O-1 FAC aircraft, was on scene directing a strike and searching for the downed pilot in “Baron 09”. When air cover was requested from II DASC, we were informed that three A-1E aircraft were on scene at the time.

“Pedro 42” and “Pedro 56” scrambled from Pleiku AB at 1245 hours. Enroute weather was forecasted to be 2,000 scattered, 8,000 broken with 7 miles and rain showers. Pedro aircraft arrived at crash site at 1305 hours. “Pedro 42” started a low level search near the crashed aircraft while “Pedro 56” remained high for top cover. “Pedro 42” and “Baron 01” had to remain west of the crash site due to A-1E’s making strikes on NVA troops a few meters to the East of the crash.

Special Forces ground party, “Savoy 61 Alpha”, was moving in from the West to look for the pilot. When ground party arrived at the O-1 crash site, they reported the pilots’ helmet still in the aircraft and there were no traces of blood. The ground party made a concentrated search of the immediate area while “Pedro 42” and “Baron 01” continued with the air search.

“Savoy 61 Alpha” called, requesting med-evacuation of three personnel in ground party who were casulties of an earlier ambush. One soldier was seriously wounded and two were deceased. “Baron 01” requested Pedro aircraft Med Evac the casulties after being on scene for approximately 45 minutes and there was no sign of the downed O-1 pilot.

“Savoy 61 Alpha” secured a landing zone near the casulties and “Pedro 42” and “Pedro56” landed to pick up casulties. Both Pedro aircraft were airborne at 1350 hours enroute to Pleiku. Casulties were taken to C Team Special Forces Camp at Pleiku since they were Montagnard forces. 

“Pedro 56” needed maintenance work, so “Pedro 42” returned to the crash site after refueling. When on scene, Baron FAC aircraft advised “Pedro 42” that the O-1 pilot had been found deceased approximately 300 meters from the crash. “Pedro 42” returned to Pleiku at 1540 hours to terminate mission. Flying time: 4 hours and 15 minutes ;  4 sorties were flown. 


04.06         "SEA DET Records Year  Of  Humanitarian  Service" 

Source: Kaman RotorTips, issue Jan-Feb 1967 - page 6

Pleiku (7AF) -Although its first permanently assigned personnel reported for duty only a year ago , in January 1966 -  Det 9 of the 38th ARRSq(MAC), has already estab­lished one of Southeast Asia's most outstanding records. By the end of October 1966 the detachment had made 92 com­bat pickups, of which 60 were logged as combat saves. This total represents one fifth of all combat saves logged in SEA during the first 10 months of 1966. It is even more remarkable when it is noted that Det 9 operated with only two HH-43F helicopters and an average of six pilots, four crew chiefs, and four pararescue specialists during this period.

Operations Hawthorne, Paul Revere II, and Paul Revere IV, all waged in Vietnam's central highlands, presented the busiest operational challenges to the unit.


04.07         Rescue Missions on 08 and 09 June 1966

During Hawthorne, 25 members of the 101st Airborne Division and one North Vietnamese were retrieved from the battle­field. This required seven night sorties, five of which were flown by Capt Lawrence F. Marcum. Two day sorties were flown during the operation by Capt Darrell A. Lowery.

Two other sorties were flown into the area in an effort to extract wounded, but heavy 50-caliber fire prevented the hovering that was necessary.  Source: Kaman RotorTips, issue Jan-Feb 1967 - page 6

Source:  K318-2-Hist-3ARRG-Jul-Dec66-Vol.2-part-Oct-Dec66-IRIS491723, page 36,44

On 08 June 1966   18 saved: 

Rescue Mission     9-38-17-8Jun66                                       DET.9, 38th ARS

HH-43F   unkn serial no.                                                 saved 9 wounded soldiers

Flown by  RCC   Capt. Lawrence F. Marcum (P); Capt. Fredrik M. Bergold (CP); MSgt. James E.Johnson (HM); SSgt. George E. Schipper (RS)                                *)

HH-43F   unkn serial no.                                                 saved 9 wounded soldiers

Flown by  RCC   1stLt. Michael E. Davis (P);  Capt. Dale R. Tyree (CP); A2C Harry J.  Hull (HM); A2C David A. Carl (RS)                                                                        *)


SAR Objective :       wounded soldiers                                                                       18 combat saves 

*)  Capt. Bergold, Capt. Marcum, MSgt. Johnson and SSgt. Schipper were awarded the the DFC for heroism while participating in aerial flight on 8 Jun66  (SO G-953, 7thAF) ; Capt. Tyree, 1stLt. Davis, A2C Hull and A2C Carl were awarded the the DFC for heroism while participating in aerial flight on 8 Jun66  (SO G-796, 7thAF) 


And on 09 June 1966     7 saved: 

Rescue Mission     9-38-18-9Jun66                                       DET.9, 38th ARS

HH-43F   unkn serial no.

Flown by  RCC    Capt. Darrell A. Lowery (P);  Capt. Richard L. Cardwell (CP); A2C William L. Houghtaling (HM); A2C David A. Carl (RS)                                      *)


SAR Objective :       wounded soldiers                                                                       7 combat saves 

*)  Capt. Cardwell and A2C Carl both received the DFC  (1 OLC)  for heroism while participating in aerial flight on  9 Jun 1966 ;  Capt. Lowery  and A2C Houghtaling both received the DFC  for heroism while participating in aerial flight on  9 Jun 1966    (SO G-796, 7AF)



Stanek 1966 LaPointeCD



1966 - Allen Stanek’s comment: Looks like me in the back. Don’t recognize the SSgt. However, he most likely was one of our flight mechs. Photo from collection Robert LaPointe (CD).

From the “End-of-Tour” report of SSgt. Schipper, NCOIC of the Pararescue Team:

Initially we had no Stokes litters and were unsuccessful in attempts to borrow some for training purposes. Therefore, PJ training was accomplished by tieing patients onto a straight pole litter used for mountain evacuation. We tested this on the ground with a man in the litter to get the suspension ropes correct. The carrying handles needed to be cut to get the litters in the door of the HH-43. We then made hoist pickups with sand bags in the litter for weight. After adequate testing, we set up one litter per aircraft. This method was soon proven successful when we went in at night (08Jun66) and evacuated seven litter patients from the 101st Airborne out of Dak To (this chapter 04.07).


04.08         ca.   JUNE- JULY 1966

Capt Dale Tyree 1000HRSpilot Award

Col Arthur W. Beall, left, commander, 3rd ARRGp, presents 1000-hour award to Capt Dale Tyree, Commander of Det 9, 38th ARRSq, Pleiku Airport, RVN. Photo published in: Kaman Rotor Tips, issue Nov-Dec 1966 - page 19 


04.09         Rescue Mission on 28-29 July 1966

Source1: file K318.2-Hist-3ARRG-Jul-Dec66-Vol2-part-Jul-Sep66-IRIS0491723, in USAF Collection, AFHRA

Source2: Rescue Mission Report  1-3-52-28Jul66 , IRIS01009288, in USAF Collection, AFHRA

On 28 July 1966     2 saved: 

Rescue Mission     Det1-3ARRG-52-28Jul66                                       DET.9, 38th ARS

HH-43F    62-4511    “Pedro 42”             

Flown by  RCC   Capt. Darrell A. Lowery (P);  Capt. Fredrik M. Bergold (CP);  TSgt. Kenneth B. Thompson (HM);  A2C Allen R. Stanek (RS)


SAR Objective :   crewmembers  US Army UH-1B call sign “Conto 100”                        2  combat saves   on 28Jul66


And on 29 July 1966     2 saved: 

Rescue Mission     Det1-3ARRG-52-28Jul66                                       DET.9, 38th ARS

HH-43F   62-4511    “Pedro 42”     primary aircraft 

Flown by  RCC   Capt. Richard L. Cardwell (P);  Capt. Dale R. Tyree (CP);  A2C Harry J. Hull (HM);  SSgt. George E. Schipper (RS)

HH-43F   62-4525    “Pedro 56”     secondary aircraft   

Flown by  RCC   Capt. Darrell A. Lowery (P);  Capt. Fredrik M. Bergold (CP);  A2C  William L. Houghtaling (HM);  A2C Allen R. Stanek (RS)


SAR Objective :   crewmembers  US Army UH-1B call sign “Conto 100”                         2  combat saves   on 29Jul66


Narrative of Rescue Mission on 28 July 1966:

Captain Lowery, primary RCC, received notification of a downed aircraft from Det 1, 3rd ARRGp at 1823L, 28 July 1966. The call sign of the downed aircraft was “Conto 100”, type was unknown. Since one of our HH-43F helicoptes had just made a precautionary landing with transmission chip detector light on, it was decided to launch with one HH-43F using A-1E aircraft as RESCORT. II DASC was called for aircover and “Pedro 42” launched at 1835L.

We proceeded on course with GCI monitored track accompanied by A-1E aircraft. Shortly after takeoff we heard aircraft over the crash site on the radios and immediately established contact. An Army UH-1B departed the crash site and met us 5 NM northwest of Kontum, and escorted us into the area. After we joined up with the UH-1B the A-1E’s went on to the crash site to provide aircover. “Pedro 42” arrived at the site at 1940 hours.

Upon arrival at the scene a CH-47 helicopter was hovering over the crash site. He was not able to get in close enough to the survivors to allow a rope ladder to be lowered. The on-scene-commander told the CH-47 to clear the are for “Pedro 42”. “Pedro 42” established a hover, lowered our Pararescue Specialist to the ground, then recovered the two survivors via the forest penetrator. Both survivors were suffering from shock, multiple bruises and lacerations and were in considerable pain. It was decided to proceed to an open area then transfer the two survivors to a “Dustoff” helicopter for evacuation to Dak To Medical Area. This was accomplished with no problems. 

“Pedro 42” then returned to the crash site. It was dark, ground fog was moving in and a haze made it impractical to use flood lights other than when the aircraft was just above the ground. Thru the use of flares, flashlight and emergency radio, utilized by our RS on the ground, we located the crash site and retrieved our RS via forest penetrator. He reported that he was unable to locate the crashed aircraft due to extremely dense jungle growth. To avoid unnecessary hovering we took off and an AC-47 was asked for flare drop by the Army on-scene-controller, “Aligator 6” (a UH-1B). The flaredrops were called off by “Aligator 6” after two flares as it was impossible to attempt further search under the eisting conditions. All aircraft were released by “Aligator 6”. “Pedro 42” returned to Dak To for fuel. “Pedro 42” was not able to make a visual sighting of the crashed aircraft at any time during this mission. 

Before leaving Dak To we were asked to Med-Evac the two survivors to the 18th Surgical Hospital at Pleiku. We consented. The survivors were off loaded at 18th Surgical Hospital at 2135 hours and “Pedro 42” terminated at Pleiku AB, RVN at 2145 hours, 28 July 1966. We would continue the mission tomorrow at first light.

Problems:  The old problem of too much radio chatter was a prevailent as ever. It is felt that after it has been determined that there are no hostiles in the area the amount of RESCAP could be reduced or possibly even released. The Army had more gunships over the crash site than necessary. By a minimum of aircraft, I mean one or two rescue vehicles plus two or three gunships. All others should clear the area. It is just asking for trouble when pilots have to keep a concealed crash site in sight plus maintain visual separation from ten or fifteen other aircraft in a very small airspace. 

Narrative of Rescue Mission on 29 July 1966:

Due to closing weather and darkness the rescue mission on 28 July (1-3-52) was suspended overnight. As primary Rescue Crew Commander on 29 July, Captain Cardwell made plans for a 0630 takeoff. Weather enroute and in the pickup area was 4 hundred overcast with visibility of two miles. Once at the Aviation Company Headquarters we were informed that the mission would be delayed until the ceiling lifted and an assault company could be heli-lifted in for area security. By 0945 the ceiling was reported as ragged with 7 miles visibility and we were dispatched to the area. Upon arrival the crashed aircraft was located and a colored flare observed through the heavy undergrowth. SSgt Schipper was lowered on the forest penetrator with a crash entry kit.

Following our take off, the secondary crew RCC made an approach and lowered A2C Stanek and a stokes litter. The two pararescue men found one crewmember free of the aircraft and prepared him for pickup. He was paralyzed from the waist down but was alert and able to identify his injuries and assist in getting into the litter.

I made another approach and lowered a second stokes litter prior to raising the injured crewmember. He was brought up at approximately 1015L and flown immediately to Dak To aid station about 12 miles to the east. While I was there, I refueled at the Army Aviation fuel dump.

The secondary rescue crew continued to orbit the crash, while Schipper and Stanek attempted to extricate the pilot of the downed aircraft. He was to tightly pinned that it became necessary for our secondary crew to land at a nearby LZ and pickup an Army crew chief who had volunteered to be lowered by hoist to assist. Sgt Schipper reported that approximately one hours work was needed to free the pilot. 

From the “End-of-Tour” Report by SSgt. Schipper, AFHRA file K318-2131, IRIS00492027:

The pilot was pinned in the helicopter with a large tree on top of the aircraft. The weight of the chopper and tree pinned his leg behind the rudder pedal. We cut trees by hand and had to eventually lift the Huey to get the weight off his leg. This was accomplished by cutting a large pry-bar (15’ long by 6-8” in diameter) and placing it under the nose of the chopper. We also tied onto a tree with a sling rope, hooded in a snap link, and tied the mountain climbing rope onto the helicopter, ran the rope up through the snap link, improvising a block and tackle. Thankfully, the 101st Airborne was able to land around the area and give us troop support as well as set up a perimeter. It was a time consuming effort, taking from 1 ½ to 2 hours to complete.


Our secondary aircraft decided to fly to Dak To for refueling during this time. Our two crews rendezvoused at the refueling point and decided that the primary crew should take on full fuel and return immediately in case the remaining survivor was freed earlier than expected. If not, we would still be on the scene with adequate fuel for pickup.

We departed Dak To ahead of the secondary aircraft and shortly after arrival were called in by Sgt Schipper. Members of the Army Security force had made their way to the crash and assisted in getting the injured man out. He was hoisted up without incident and flown to the aid station. Captain Lowery (secondary RCC) arrived back on the scene with his crew and picked up our pararescue men, the Army crew chief, and all equipment. The two survivors, who had spent the night in the crash, were given emergency treatment for their injuries at Dak To and then loaded aboard our aircraft (primary aircraft) for the flight to the Army Surgical Hospital at Pleiku. Both were in critical condition but expected to survive. 

No problems of any significance were encountered during the mission. Army gunships flew cover during the operation and were extremely helpful in providing ground security. No enemy contact was reported and no groundfire received by our aircraft.

The pickup area was a heavily forested hillside that completely obscured the crashed aircraft. At no time was any portion of it visible from the air.  Although the general area was known, the flare ignited by the injured man was invaluable in pinpointing his position. It is felt that a 3-5 thousand pound block and tackle would be a useful piece of equipment to add to the standard loading configuration of a rescue aircraft. Sgt Schipper stated that the pilot could have been freed much sooner if this item had been available. Also noted is the fact that a chain saw has been on order for this detachment since 8 May 1966 but has not been received. The Army ground forces that made their way to the crash had one in their possession and it was put to use as a method of clearing the area and for cutting lifting bars.


PJ SSgt Schipper PJ A2C Stanek

Pleiku AB  between Feb-Sep66 - two Pararescue Specialists showing a stokes litter and a forest penetrator - at left  SSgt. George E. Schipper (RS/PJ) and A2C Allen R. Stanek (RS/PJ) - photo from Facebook/ Allen Stanek. 


Stanek hoist late66 LaPointeCD

Stanek photo cap LaPointeCD





Summer 1966 - A2C Allen R. Stanek, rides a forest penetrator up into a hovering HH-43 during a training operation. SSgt Charles L. Barrix operates the hoist from the chopper. USAF photo ; from the collection Robert LaPointe (CD)


04.10         Rescue Mission on 13 August 1966

Source1: Rescue Mission Report  9-38-23-13Aug66, IRIS01009281, in USAF Collection, AFHRA

Source2: Kaman Rotor Tips, issue Jan-Feb 1967, page 6

Source3: 7th Air Force News - Friday September 9, 1966 :“Huskie Helicopter Crews Evacuate Battle Wounded” 

Rescue Mission     9-38-23-13Aug66                                       DET.9, 38th ARS

HH-43F   62-4511   "Pedro 42"     primary aircraft

Flown by  RCC   Capt. Fredrik M. Bergold (P); 1st Lt. Michael E. Davis (CP); MSgt. James E. Johnson (HM); A2C David A. Carl (RS)                                           *)

HH-43F   62-4525   "Pedro 56"      secondary aircraft

Flown by  RCC   Capt. Dale R. Tyree (P);  Capt. Darrell A. Lowery (CP);  A2C  William L. Houghtaling (HM);  A2C  Allen R. Stanek (RS)                                                 *)


SAR Objective :    wounded US Army soldiers,  35 miles SW of Pleiku      -     2  combat saves 

*)  Capt. Bergold was awarded the Air Medal (2 OLC) ;  Capt. Lowery, Capt. Tyree and  1stLt. Davis all received the Air Medal (1 OLC)  - for meritorious achievement while participating in aerial flight on 13 Aug 1966    (SO G-961, 7AF)

Narrative of Rescue Mission:

During Paul Revere II, the detachment was called on to assist the lst Air Cavalry Division in the evacuation of wounded. The enroute weather to the Chu Pong Mountain area was IFR and though GCI and Skyspot control was available, tracking was intermittent due to lack of positive radar identification. This reemphasizes the need for the immediate installation of IFF/SIF equipment of the HH-43F. The radio communications with the ground FAC and the personnel at the incident site were excellent. The use of FM radios at the site allowed the ground personnel to direct the helicopters into the pickup point.

After descending from IFR conditions to an area 5 miles Southeast of the pickup point  UH-1 gunships were able to escort us to the immediate area. However, as the first pickup was made the site and hovering helicopter became obscured to the other helicopters. Visibility during the first pickup for the hovering  helicopter was 50 to 75 ft. The first helicopter remained over the pickup point until the second HH-43F made its approach. After the second pickup was completed both helicopters climbed through an 8000 ft. thick cloud layer to reach on top conditions. During this portion GCI was unable to track the HH-43Fs and did not have positive contact until 8 miles south of Pleiku. At this time Pleiku was IFR and in sight. The wounded soldiers were brought to the 18th Surgical Hospital at Pleiku.


PLEIKU - The Air Force H-43 Huskie helicopter whirles in close to the mountain side, hovers over the thick canopy of trees and lowers a Stokes litter on cable. Moments later crew chief MSgt. James E. Johnson winches the litter up through the dense forest with a wounded soldier of the US Army’s  1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) strapped securely to the aluminium and wire frame. The rescue is complete --- almost.

Less than 100 yards up the mountain a strong force of North Vietnamese regulars are dug in. So far they haven’t fired at the rescue chopper, but the small aircraft is still in range.  With the wounded soldier safely aboard, the chopper crew speeds him to a hospital at Pleiku. “It’s a difficult operation” says the pilot, Capt. Fred M. Bergold. “These Chu Pong Mountains are rugged and we know enemy soldiers are all around. We have M-16’s and 38 revolvers with us, but you can still feel lonesome out there”.

Captain Bergold’s unit, Detachment 9 of the 38th ARRS has been flying helicopter rescue missions since Operation Paul Revere began August 1st. Operating day and night, they have gone into 600 square mile block southwest of Pleiku to extract wounded from the jungle and rush them to Pleiku for treatment. “Most of the wounded are picked up by the Army choppers”, continued Bergold, “but when they can’t get in to land, we are called in to use our specially designed cables, litters and jungle penetrator seats”.


04.11         Rescue Mission on 14 and 15 August 1966

Source: Rescue Mission Report  9-38-25-15Aug66, IRIS01009281, in USAF Collection, AFHRA 

Rescue Mission     9-38-25-15Aug66                                       DET.9, 38th ARS

HH-43F   unkn serial no.                              primary aircraft, saved 2 wounded soldiers

Flown by  RCC   Capt. Richard L. Cardwell (P);  Capt. Carlton P. Vermeys (CP);  A2C William L. Houghtaling (HM); A2C Allen R. Stanek (RS)                                                     *)

HH-43F   unkn serial no.                              secondary aircraft, saved 3 wounded soldiers

Flown by  RCC   Capt. Fredrik M. Bergold (P);  1stLt. Michael E. Davis (CP);  SSgt. Bertrum E. Brundridge (HM);  A2C David A. Carl (RS)                                                                  *)


SAR Objective: wounded US Army soldiers                                         -       5  combat saves

                          Airlifted to 18th Surgical Hospital (Army), at Pleiku

*)  1st Lt. Davis was awarded the DFC (3 OLC) ; Capt. Cardwell the DFC (2 OLC) ; Capt. Bergold the DFC (1 OLC) ; and Capt. Vermeys the DFC -  all for extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight on 14 and 15 Aug 1966 (SO G-1132, 7 AF)

Narrative of Rescue Mission:

On 14 August at 1855L, Capt. Cardwell was called by a Major Mol, Air Liaison Officer with the 1st Cavalary Division at Operation Paul Revere II. He stated that our rescue helicopters were needed for medical evacuation on the Chu Pong Mountain. As he was calling on a field phone from landing zone Cat, communication was very weak. I referred him to DASC Alpha for rescue coordination. Both Pedro aircraft were standing by and were launched (1935L) at the advise of Captain Phelan, JSARC duty controller. Weather at Pleiku was four hundred feet overcast with scattered fog banks. The same conditions prevailed over most of the route to landing zone “Cat”  although we were frequently in and out of moderate rain showers and fog.

Upon arrival at landing zone “Cat”  at 2010L we were met and briefed on the mission by Major Mol. There were four critically wounded patients who needed evacuation that night and four ambulatory wounded who were in no immediate danger. The mission was delayed until 0245L (15 August) because the Army platoon with the wounded were forced to withdraw approximately 500 meters to the east of the last known enemy position. During the five hours we were delayed at “Cat”, the weather closed in to zero zero both at the strip and in the pickup area. At approximately 0200L communications at the pickup site revealed that fog had lifted to the point where they had six to nine hundred feet straight line visability with patchy fog overhead. Three UH-1D gunships departed “Cat”  ahead of us and radioed back that a flare ship (an AC-47, “Spooky 22”) was on the scene and that flashlights from the pickup area had been spotted. 

Using instrument take-off procedures, both Pedro aircraft departed “Cat”  and flew to the pickup area. To pinpoint the exact location, the ground personnel vectored us in on FM radio by visual sighting. Capt. Cardwell came to a hover over the flashlights and lowered two stokes litters but not my pararescue technician. The same platoon had prepared the litters a few days before and we were confident they could accomplish it again in less time than it would take to lower and then pickup our own man. Two wounded were lifted aboard in less than 15 minutes while Captain Bergold and crew orbited overhead.

When we departed the area, Captain Bergold came in and hoisted two stokes litters and one of the ambulatory patients that they felt should come out. During the pickups “Spooky 22”  dropped flares over the area. Without flare assistance, Capt. Cardwell doubt the pickups could have been made before morning. This was apparent during periods when flares had extinguished and new ones had not been dropped.

About halfway through Captain Bergolds pickups, the condition at the scene became completely IFR and I started back to Pleiku to avoid the orbiting gunships. When the secondary bird completed his pickups he was escorted back to Pleiku by the gunships, also IFR. 

Capt. Cardwell: “No significant problems were encountered during the mission other than the possibility of our over extending ourselves during the poor weather conditions. Considering the amount of IFR experience we are allowed to gain, I feel under similiar circumstances I would be more selective on the conditions under which I would launch. No actual difficulties were experienced while flying instruments to Pleiku but considerable vertigo and disorientation were experienced during the orbiting of the area during periods without flares. Our experience showed that even though considerable glare is present when the illuminating flare is in fog, it lights up the trees below for an adequate reference.

The intergrity of the platoon commander is to be commended. His report on the weather conditions was extemely accurate and he did not call us in for the pickup until it reached in point stated above”.


04.12         Rescue Mission on 16 August 1966

Source:  Rescue Mission Report  9-38-26-16Aug66, IRIS01009281, in USAF Collection, AFHRA 

Rescue Mission     9-38-26-16Aug66                                       DET.9, 38th ARS

HH-43F   62-4511    “Pedro 42”     primary aircraft

Flown by  RCC   Capt. Dale R. Tyree (P);  Capt Lowery (CP);  SSgt. Bertrum E. Brundridge (HM);  A2C Roy E. Kelsey (RS)

HH-43F   62-4525    “Pedro 56”     secondary aircraft

Flown by  RCC   Capt. Richard L. Cardwell (P);  Capt. Carlton P. Vermeys (CP);  A2C Harry J. Hull (HM);  A2C Allen R. Stanek (RS)


SAR Objective :    wounded US Army soldiers                                           2  combat saves 

Narrative of Rescue Mission, written by Capt. Tyree:

At 0540L, 16 August 1966, Captain Lowery took a call at the BOQ from JSARC. A 1st Cav. Div. at Landing Zone Cat had an element on Chu Pong Mountain with 15 WIA, some who were going into shock. A hoist equipped helicopter was required to extract them from the jungle. Capt. Lowery relayed the information to Lt. Davis at Detachment 9 Operations. Lt. Davis checked the weather which was measured 500 broken, 6000 overcast, 3 miles, light rain showers and fog. He called JSARC and advised the weather forecaster felt it might break by 0800. By 0630 the rain was intense. 

The crews arrived at Detachment Operations. At 0730L contact was made with Oasis, an Army Battallion Headquarters located between Pleiku and LZ Cat. Oasis was zero zero in rain and fog. The weather stayed down at Oasis and LZ Cat and then went down at Pleiku. The weather then gradually lifted at LZ Cat and at Oasis, but remained practically zero-zero at Pleiku. At 1030L the weather at Pleiku was up to a reported 500 broken with 5 miles in rain and fog. Both Pedro aircraft departed at 1040L. Five miles from Pleiku weather was low as 100 feet and one mile was encountered. However, at the 10 mile point, the weather picked up to at least 500 overcast with five miles. 

A landing was made at Oasis to see if gunships were available for the trip into the Ia Drang valley. Non were available there but we were assured that they would be available at LZ Cat. We departed Oasis at 1115L and arrived at LZ Cat at 1140L. Pilotage navigation was difficult, but the LF beacon at Cat was a good aid. Weather at Cat was 500 to 800 overcast. We received a briefing at Cat. We were told that a CH-47 had picked up 23 wounded earlier in the morning. Included was the original 15. However, they had another unit in contact that had two wounded that their med-evac helicopters could’t reach. We were assigned a gunship team of two UH-1’s for escort. Departure for the site was at 1200L. 

We arrived in the pick-up area and UH-1’s established contact with ground party. We requested smoke which appeared shortly. A standard approach was made to the site which was situated on the side of a hill of about 30 degree slope. Sergeant Brundridge lowered Airman Kelsey to the ground, with two stokes litters. Meanwhile, the two UH-1’s set up a race track pattern around our hovering helicopter while “Pedro 56” maintained a higher altitude.

Airman Kelsey had been put on the ground to expedite the litter loading. The hoist recoveries were accomplished in about 20 minutes of hovering as no difficulties were encountered. The hoist operator gave excellent directions. Because the RCC had his radio function switch to interphone only, the continious instructions from the FM radio on the ground were blocked out and no interference was experienced. After the two litter patients were picked up, “Pedro 42” moved out and went into high orbit to wait for “Pedro 56” to pick up Airman Kelsey. The ground party then requested the crew also pick up one KIA, which was accomplished. The pick ups had started at approximately 1220L and were finished at approximately 1255L. 

The four helicopters then departed for the field hospital at Oasis. After about five minutes of flight, the UH-1 lead advised that they had been recalled to LZ Cat for another mission. The two Pedro helicopters proceeded on to Oasis, landing there at 1315L. The crews refueled the aircraft and ate some C-Rations. In the meantime, we had requested LZ Cat be contacted to see if any further requirement existed for our helicopters. We departed Oasis for Pleiku at 1420L after receiving a negative reply from Oasis. Landing at Pleiku was at 1450L. 

The difficulties encountered were few. Communications prior to departure was difficult, so no rescort to LZ Cat was procurred. That was no large problem as the enemy’s positions were fairly well known and they were not overflown going into Cat. More stress will be placed on rescort in future missions. Some artillery impacted in the general area although prior coordination by the UH-1 crews had called most of it off. Radio discipline of the ground party was poor, as they seemed to think hover instructions had to come from them. However, radio coordination between the HH-43’s and the UH-1’s was excellent. Although there was enemy contact 300 to 400 meters south (over a ridge), there was no indication the helicopters were fired upon. Weather was the biggest problem, and not much can be done about that. 


04.13         Rescue Mission on 17 August 1966

Source:  Rescue Mission Report  9-38-27-17Aug66, IRIS01009281, in USAF Collection, AFHRA 

Rescue Mission     9-38-27-17Aug66                                       DET.9, 38th ARS

HH-43F   unkn serial no.                                      Primary aircraft

Flown by  RCC   Capt. Charlton P. Vermeys (P);  Capt. Richard L. Cardwell (CP);  MSgt. James E. Johnson (HM);  A2C Allen R. Stanek (RS)

HH-43F   unkn serial no.                                      Secondary aircraft

Flown by  RCC   1stLt.  Michael E. Davis (P);  Capt. Fredrik M. Bergold (CP);  A2C William L. Houghtaling (HM);  A2C  David A. Carl (RS)


SAR Objective :    wounded US Army soldiers                                           1  combat save and 2 recoveries

Narrative of Rescue Mission:

On 17 August, at 1720L hours, this detachment received a call from a Captain Mitchell of the 1st Cav. Division at Operation Paul Revere II. He stated that our rescue helicopters were needed for Med-Evac of one wounded soldier on Chu Pong Mountain. He was referred to II DASC for rescue coordination. JSARC was notified and requested to confirm that this mission warranted our launching. At 1745L, having received no further information, Capt. Vermeys decided to launch both Pedro aircraft and advised JSARC that any further information could be relayed to us through GCI. Two HH-43F aircraft were launched at 1755L. Weather at Pleiku was 1500 scattered, 2000 broken, 10 miles. Similiar conditions were encountered for the remainder of the mission.

Enroute to Landing Zone Cat, Capt. Vermeys was advised by GCI that the survivor was a critical malaria victim. At 1835L we arrived at LZ Cat, were quickly briefed on the mission, communication and gunship support. Both aircraft departed LZ Cat at 1840L, lead by two UH-1D gunships of the 1st Air Cav. Division. At 1855L hours we reached the area of the distressed personnel, communicated with them on FM radio. They sent up yellow smoke, which we spotted immediately. While coming to a hover over the smoke Vermeys was advised that two additional personnel required evacuation. My pararescue man was lowered with the stokes litter. The ground party then informed me that the forest penetrator was preferred. The penetrator was lowered and at 1920L hours the three survivors were aboard. The secondary aircraft then went in and picked up my PJ.

At 1930 hours, three miles out of LZ Cat, where we intended to drop off the survivors, Vermeys was informed over FM radio and also observed that LZ Cat was under mortar attack. At this point, Vermeys decided to head for home. We arrived at Pleiku at 2010L and the survivors were delivered to the 18th Surgical Hospital. No apparent ground fire was drawn although my PJ reported much firing on the ground.


04.14         Rescue Mission on 26 September 1966

Source1: K318.2-Hist-3ARRG-Jul-Dec66-Vol2-part-Jul-Sep66-IRIS0491723 (page 11), in USAF Collection, AFHRA

Source2: Kaman RotorTips, issue Jan-Feb 1967, page 12; issue Mar-Apr 1969, page 18; and issue Nov-Dec 1971, page 11 

Rescue Mission     9-38-28-26Sep66                                       DET.9, 38th ARS

HH-43F   62-4511    “Pedro 42”

Flown by  RCC  Capt. Dale R. Tyree (P); Capt. Darrell A. Lowery (CP); A1C  Harry J. Hull (HM); and ??

HH-43F   62-4525    “Pedro 56”

Flown by  RCC  Capt. Charlton P. Vermeys (P); Capt. Richard L. Cardwell (CP);   and ??


SAR Objective : one injured US Army soldier                                            1 combat save

Narrative of Rescue Mission (in short):

HH-43F recovered an injured Army soldier from Ia Drang valley, using the semi-rigid litter modified for helicopter use. Light ground fire was encountered; however, pickup was made without incident and survivor was flown to Pleiku.

624511 26Sep66 WideWorldPhoto

(photo caption) MISSION OF MERCY-Preparing to bring a wound­ed lst Air Cavalry man aboard, the HH-43 crew from the 38th ARRSq hovers over the dense jungle near the Cambodian border in South Vietnam's central highlands. Daily the men of the 38th risk their lives in such evacuations. (Wide World photos) published in Kaman RotorTips, issue Nov-Dec 1971, page 11 ; glossy print in Kaman Archive

624511 26Sep66 RT MarApr69

Published in Kaman Rotor Tips, issue March-April 1969, page 18


04.15         Rescue Mission on 27 September 1966

Source: Rescue Mission Report  9-38-29-27Sep66 , IRIS No. 01009288, in USAF Collection, AFHRA

Rescue Mission     9-38-29-27Sep66                                       DET.9, 38th ARS

HH-43F   unkn serial no.                   primary aircraft

Flown by  RCC  Capt. Richard L. Cardwell (P); Capt. Darrell A. Lowery (CP); A2C Francis D. Rice (HM); A2C Michael J. Rosler (RS)

HH-43F   unkn serial no.                   secondary aircraft

Flown by  RCC  Capt. Dale R. Tyree (P); Capt. Fredrik M. Bergold (CP); SSgt Bertrum E. Brundridge (HM); A2C Allen R. Stanek (RS)


SAR Objective : crashed  USAF O-1E   56-2656    21 TASS, 14ACW     - 

                            crew, 2 pilots, one injured and rescued                                 1 combat save

Narrative of Rescue Mission:

On 27 September 1966 at 1315L, Captain Tyree received a call from Captain Partridge, II DASC duty controller. He advised that an O-1E had crashed north of Kontum. After calling JSARC with the information we prepared to launch within five minutes time but were advised by II DASC that an Army helicopter had already picked up the survivors. At 1350L  II DASC called again and advised that they had received erroneous information and that we were needed. Both Pedro aircraft launched at 1353L.

After completing the 10 minute flight and landing at the crash site, we learned that an O-1E had landed at a strip closeby and picked up one of the two pilots aboard. The second pilot was waiting at the crash for us to arrive. He was injured only slightly and was able to board the helicopter without assistance. Following the return trip to Pleiku he was taken immediately to the USAF dispensary for treatment of cuts and bruises.

The entire mission was flown under ideal conditions and is considered routine. No problems were encoutered during any phase of the operation. With the exception of the 35 minute delay caused by a false report to II DASC as to the status of the surviors.


04.16         Rescue Mission on 07 October 1966

Source: K318.2-Hist-3ARRG-Jul-Dec66-Vol2-part-Oct-Dec66-IRIS0491723, in USAF Collection, AFHRA 

Rescue Mission     9-38-30-7Oct66                                       DET.9, 38th ARS

HH-43F   unkn serial no.                   primary aircraft

Flown by  RCC   1st Lt. Michael E. Davis (P);  Capt. Fredrik M. Bergold (CP); SSgt Bertrum E. Brundridge (HM); A2C Michael J. Rosler (RS)   and SSgt. Charles Jenkins (RS) was also mentioned (probably secondary aircraft)

HH-43F   unkn serial no.                   secondary aircraft

Flown by  RCC     ??


SAR Objective :   wounded soldiers                                       2 combat save

Narrative of Rescue Mission:

Detachment 9 was notified at 1910 hours local by the 4th Med, 4th Inf Div, that one Army soldier had a badly cut hand and required medical evacuation as soon as possible. We were advised that the Army Medical Evacuation Unit had been notified but could not accomplish the evacuation since no landing zone was available. JSARC was notified that we would launch our two helicopters as soon as fueling was accomplished and our secondary crew arrived. Re-fueling and launch reaction time was greatly hampered due to the non-availability of fuel truck (out of commission for repairs). This meant we had to fuel one bird from our bladder/pump system and fly it out of the way so the other one could be towed close enough to get fuel. Both crews were prepared to launch at 1920 hours but we ended up waiting an extra 15 minutes because of fueling. We launched at 1935 hours. An AC-47 was provided for RESCORT which proved to be a very essential aid in the successful accomplishment of this mission. No particular difficulties were encountered enroute. Near IFR conditions were encountered because it was totally black except for an occasional light on the ground. No horizon was visible. The AC-47 crew advised us of our position and gave estimates to the site. We were notified enroute that two people were to be evacuated.

Radio contact was made with the ground party and Spooky 23 dropped flares to aid in direction finding. The site was spotted through the use of flashlights held up by the ground party. A low recon was flown and the site was observed to be situated on the very top of a 2500 foot ridge with a sharp drop-off on the downwind side. The terrain was very rough which created highly gusty and variable winds. We were advised that 15 knot winds out of the East prevailed on top of the ridge. An approach was made and a hover established. Without the air-drop flares the site would have presented an even more hazardous approach due to the complete darkness. The top of the ridge was hardly visible without flares. Sgt. Brundridge lowered Airman Rosler to the ground on the forest penetrator. The most critically injured man was sent up first. As he neared the cabin door he grabbed the sides to help himself inside and would not let go. Sgt Brundridge had to knock his arms back out of the way and forcefully turn him around to get him inside. Airman Rosler then put the other injured soldier on the hoist with himself, and both were hoisted into the helicopter. The most critically injured one reportedly had severed an artery. The second was slightly injured. Patients were delivered to Oasis rather than Pleiku.  


04.17         Rescue Mission on 28 and 29 October 1966

Source1: Rescue Mission Report  9-38-31-28Oct66 , IRIS No. 01009288, in USAF Collection, AFHRA

Source2: Kaman Rotor Tips, issue Jan-Feb 1967, page 6

04.17.1     On 28 Oct 1966   -  FIRST mission, “Pedro 42” shot down: 

Rescue Mission     9-38-31-28 Oct66                                       DET.9, 38th ARS

HH-43F   62-4511    “Pedro 42”     (Low Bird)

Flown by  RCC   Capt Carlton P. Ver­meys (P) ; 2ndLt. George H. Bonnell, III (CP) ; A2C Francis D. Rice (HM) (KIA);  A2C Allen R. Stanek (RS )                                                     *)

HH-43F   62-4525    “Pedro 56”     (High Bird)

Flown by  RCC  Capt. Fredrik M. Bergold (P);  Capt. Dale R. Tyree (CP);  A2C Robert L. Rybak (HM);  A2C Michael J. Rosler (RS)


SAR Objective:  to evacuate 9 wounded soldiers, members of the 25th Inf.Div., during the evening, at ca. 2200L hours.   -     Location:  25 miles  WNW of Pleiku

“Pedro 42”  was hit and crashed at 2240L, after the pick up of the three most critically wounded soldiers. A2C Francis Rice and the three wounded soldiers were killed in the crash. Lt. George Bonnell was seriously injured and died 2 weeks later (12 Nov66) in a USAF Hospital at Clark AB, PI.

*) Capt. Carlton P. Vermeys was awarded the Purple Heart for wounds incurred as a result of action by a hostile foreign force on 28 Oct 1966    SO G-932, 7AF

Capt. Carlton Vermeys and A2C Allen Stanek were awarded the Silver Star for gallantry while serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in armed conflict against an opposing armed force on 28 Oct 1966    SO G-1062, 7AF

*) 2nd Lt. George H. Bonnell III was awarded the Purple Heart for wounds incurred as a result of action by a hostile foreign force on 29 Oct 1966    SO G-932, 7AF

2nd Lt. George Bonnell III  and A2C Francis Rice were awarded the Silver Star (Posthumously)  for gallantry while serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in an armed conflict against an opposing armed force on 28 Oct 1966    SO G-1111, 7AF


August 2021 - Mr. Bergold: “Unfortunately, when I think of Vietnam the first picture in mind is seeing that HH-43 get hit with an RPG, burst into flames and fall into the jungle.

January 2023:  “I remember those 24 hours like it was yesterday. Actually it all happened in the span of 18-19 hours!”


The following account of this incident is from the memories of Carlton Vermeys, the pilot of the aircraft.
He recalls the events of 28 October with great clarity. The Pararescueman (PJ), Allen Stanek, had been on the ground some time because they had loaded three US Army Wounded In Action (WIA's) in the back of the Pedro already. Carlton remembers they were asked if they could accommodate one more and he answered yes. They were using the 150 feet of cable for their jungle penetrater to hoist the WIA's out. The 4th Infantry Division guys had formed a perimeter to secure the evac. site, but one of the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) must have come out of a spider hole or gotten very close to the perimeter. The NVA soldier fired an RPG from almost underneath the helicopter. It impacted the bottom of the fuselage near the rear of the helicopter. He remembers trying to increase power but there was no response. The helicopter went virtually straight down and crashed tail first. This helped cushion the fall but then it rolled forward. A2C Rice and the three WIA's on broad either died in the initial RPG blast or in the crash. A2C Allen Stanek was still on the ground when the RPG hit.

When the helicopter rolled forward the front Plexiglas broke. The lack of the front bubble may have helped the Infantry guys get both injured pilots out of the wreckage quickly and lay them on the ground. Carlton said he had three broken ribs, a punched lung, and shrapnel wounds. After the crash an even heavier firefight broke out on the ground. Carlton was in and out of consciousness most of the night. He remembers a B-52 strike that went in very, very close to their position and credits that with getting the NVA to break contact. 2nd Lieutenant George H. Bonnell, II was the CoPilot.

In the morning Det 9's other aircraft arrived to pick them up. They took a 50-cal hit in the blades but successfully completed the recovery. The mental picture of a 50 round hitting wooden blades cannot be comforting! Carlton was evacuated from Vietnam because of his injuries. He was back on flight status in six months, continued to service with the ARS in the States and eventually retired from the Air Force.

                                                    Source :    (website no longer valid)


04.17.2     And on 29 Oct 1966 , the morning mission: 

Rescue Mission     9-38-31-28 Oct66   , mission on the 29th                  DET.9, 38th ARS


HH-43F   62-4525    “Pedro 56”    

Flown by  RCC   1stLt. Michael E. Davis (P); Capt. Darrell A. Lowery (CP); A1C Harry J. Hull (HM); SSgt. Charles Jenkins (RS)                                                         *)


SAR Objective:  - evacuate “Pedro 42” pilots Capt. Vermeys  and 2ndLt. Bonnell from the crash site to LZ-3 Golf. Refueled at Plei Djerang Special Forces Camp and returned to the Huskie crash site to pick up PJ’s Stanek and Jenkins but the site came under attack again. “Pedro 56” was then requested to evacuate one critical injured soldier from another location and flew him to LZ-3 Golf. The Huskie then returned to Pleiku on 1200L to collect horse collars and semi rigid litters. The afternoon flight was flown by another crew.        - 3  combat saves

*) 1stLt. Davis was awarded the DFC (2 OLC) ; Capt. Lowery and A1C Hull received a DFC (1 OLC) ; and SSgt. Charles Jenkins received a DFC - all for extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight on 29 Oct 1966        (all SO G-1131, 7AF)


04.17.3     On 29 Oct 1966  during the afternoon: 

Rescue Mission     9-38-31-28 Oct66   , mission on the 29th                  DET.9, 38th ARS


HH-43F   62-4525    “Pedro 56”              (departed 1300L hours from Pleiku)

Flown by  RCC   Capt. Dale R. Tyree (P);  Capt. Fredrik M. Bergold (CP);  SSgt. Bertrum E. Brundridge (HM);  A2C  Roy E. Kelsey (RS)


SAR Objective:  (1) the two PJ’s at the crash site of “Pedro 42” and three seriously wounded at this location, (2) four seriously wounded soldiers at two other locations. However, situations changed during the mission.

Actually rescued from the jungle floor: first flight - one wounded from the crash site; second flight -the two PJ’s from the crash site ; third flight - two wounded , one died during flight ;

The fourth flight - PJ Kelsey and one heat exhaustion case - is separately listed here below 04.17.4

The JRCC Combat Save listing, only claimed the two PJ’s  from the crash site and one USArmy soldier as combat saves (3x). Not accounted for: 3 wounded and PJ Kelsey (he was left behind on the jungle floor during the third flight)


04.17.4      On 29 Oct 1966, afternoon , the fourth flight   -   “Pedro 56”  hit , and forced landing: 

Rescue Mission     9-38-31-28 Oct66   , fourth flight on the 29th               DET.9, 38th ARS


HH-43F   62-4525    “Pedro 56”    

Flown by  RCC   Capt. Dale R. Tyree (P);  Capt. Fredrik M. Bergold (CP);  SSgt. Bertrum E. Brundridge (HM);  A2C  Roy E. Kelsey (RS)                                                      *)


With PJ Kelsey (left on the jungle floor during the third flight) and one heat exhaustion case, “Pedro 56” left the pickup point and started the climbout. Pilot Tyree: “After flying a short distance and climbing to about 7-800 feet, we came under automatic weapons fire. We heard several shots, then several hits, then several more shots. The enemy gunner had caught us briefly in the middle of a 5-7 second volley.” Moments later:

“About five miles short of the LZ 3-Golf, PJ  Kelsey saw smoke trailing from the bottom of the helicopter. I gave a may-day and began an immediate power-off approach to a US Army artillery battalion, LZ 3-Hotel, which lay conveniently dead ahead.”

“A minimum hover to a power on landing was made and the aircraft was quickly evacuated by one very fortunate crew plus med-evacuee.”                                  

“Pedro 56” was hit by 50-caliber fire. A total of seven 12.75 mm bullets had struck the helicopter. 

RCC Tyree : “The helicopter was secured and stripped of equipment, and the crew began coordinating for a ride back to Pleiku.

“Pedro 98”, an HH-43F from DET.12, Nha Trang had been dispatched into the area and arrived at the scene. The crew, commanded by Lt. William Wirstrom, took three of us with equipment back to Pleiku, and then made another sortie for the remaining three members of our unit.”           (note: “Pedro 98” was HH-43F 63-9717)

*) Capt. Bergold was awarded the Purple Heart  for wounds incurred as a result of action by a hostile foreign force on 29 Oct 1966    (SO G-1043, 7AF)


04.17.5     Narrative of Rescue Mission (in short), published in Kaman RotorTips, issue Jan-Feb 1967 - page 6

In late October, the 4th and 25th Infantry Divisions made heavy contact near the Cambodian border west of Plei Djereng, and Paul Revere IV was underway with Det 9 again called upon to make battlefield pickups.

During this operation two rescue crew members died as the result of enemy action while evacuating wounded soldiers at night. The copilot of the HH-43F 62-4511, 2ndLt. George H. Bonnell, III, was fatally injured and the crew chief, A2C Francis D. Rice, was killed when enemy fire struck the rescue helicopter as it hovered over the canopied jungle. Three wounded soldiers who had been hoisted to the helicopter also perished.

When first arriving at the site, Capt Carlton P. Ver­meys, pilot of the downed helicopter, had been advised that the area was secure since no contact had been made with the enemy for 45 minutes. A flare had been lighted by the ground party to mark their exact position. At the time of the tragedy, A2C Allen R. Stanek, the pararescue­man, was helping load wounded into litters preparatory to hoisting them aboard the HUSKIE. Disregarding their own safety, the pararescueman and several soldiers dashed toward the downed helicopter and extracted Cap­tain Vermeys, who was slightly injured, and Lieutenant Bonnell from the flaming wreckage.

Due to the renewed fighting, the cover helicopter was unable to evacuate the two pilots that night

The next morning an HH-43F crew from Det.9 made an attempt to pick up their downed comrades but were waved off due to the intense ground fire. Undeterred by the obvious hazard, 1stLt Michael E. Davis and his crew made a second attempt, and were able to carry out the rescue successfully. To make the pickup, Lieutenant Davis held the chopper in a 150-foot hover over the tops of the trees while SSgt Charles Jenkins, pararescueman, dropped in­to the hostile area and prepared the survivors for hoist­ing. Ground fire intensified as the helicopter headed for the medical evacuation station. Soon afterward, the same HH-43F crew evacuated a critically wounded soldier from a nearby area. Sharing in the hazardous missions were Captain Lowery, the copilot, and A2C Harry J. Hull, crew chief. Lieutenant Bonnell died later at Clark AB, Philippines, from his injuries. 

That afternoon the detachment's second helicopter, flown by Capt Dale R. Tyree, detachment commander, evacuated six personnel from the jungle. (note: this seems to be incorrect

On the last sortie of the day this helicopter was hit by 50-caliber fire, but made it to a forwarding operating area for a forced landing. This helicopter was returned to Pleiku on 30 October by Chinook helicopter, and detachment maintenance personnel replaced components and patched damage done by eight 50-caliber hits and the forced land­ing.

This was the third time a helicopter had been rebuilt during the year by the maintenance men under the super­vision of SMSgt Elton L. Tisdale.

In praising Det.9 maintenance personnel, Captain Tyree said, "Our mis­sions usually come in big bunches, and these men always had our two choppers available when most needed".  


624525 CH47A Bergold do not copy2

Returning HH-43F 62-4525  "Pedro 56" to Pleiku AB by US Army CH-47A 52nd CAB on 30 October 1966  -  photos by Capt. Fredrik Bergold 

624525 CH47A Bergold do not copy

all photos copyright Capt. Fredrik Bergold 

624525 30Oct66 Bergold6012

Damaged PA horn mount  and hole in glass  -  note pilot's shoulder-level armor plating at right (with red tip)
                                                    all photos copyright Capt. Bergold   (do not copy)

624525 30Oct66 Bergold6013

Comment by Capt. Bergold : All “holes” and the mark on the armour plate at the co-pilots door were from 50 cal. 
Fortunately there was a 1/2 steel plate under the seat which I think deflected the round to impact against the co pilot’s shoulder-level armor plating.  
The crew chief said we were trailing smoke and that is why we landed at a forward artillery base. Also, the crew chief noticed our box of smoke grenades had been hit and was “smoking”, he unhooked the bay and threw it out and as it passed our tail, it exploded! 

624525 Pleiku 30Oct66 clup1

Patch at left from previous attack

624525 Pleiku 30Oct66 clup2

624525 Pleiku 30Oct66 clup3

Seven Bullets1 29Oct66

(part of the Mission Narrative)
624525 rotorblade Bergold6015 
 - hole in rotorblade, 50 cal hit, about three feet from hub 


04.18         Awards presented by the end of 1966

The Detachment had flown 329 missions through the end of October. Of these 252 were local base rescue, 22 aircrew recovery, 13 medical evacuations, and 42 base support. The two helicopters logged 608 hours, of which 205 were in combat, and the in-commission rate averaged 91 percent.

By the end of 1966, the small unit's members had collectively received: 14 Distinguished Flying Crosses, two Airmen's Medals, 21 Air Medals, two Air Force Commendation Medals, and five Purple Hearts. Several other awards, including four Silver Stars, were pending.  

Award Ceremony 1966 Bergold nrs

Award ceremony 1966                                        photo collection Bergold
Position #3 - Capt. Fredrik M. Bergold    ;   #5 - Capt. Dale R. Tyree   ;   #6 - Capt. Darrell A. Lowery   ;   #7 - 1stLt. Michael E. Davis   ;   #8 - possibly Capt. Lawrence F. Marcum   ;   #9 - PJ , possibly A2C David A. Carl
Ceremony possibly for mission 8-9Jun66 

Award Ceremony early1967 Bergold

Award ceremony early 1967                             photo collection Bergold
pilot in AF Blue - Capt. Darrell A. Lowery



last update  26-12-2023