Takhli Air Base, Thailand    1964-1966


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.        

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: https://www.ragay.nl/hh-43-sea/h-43-usaf-units-pacaf



 01.       Kaman HH-43B Huskie -  based at  -  Takhli Air Base, Thailand    1964-1966        


01.01    Organization  1964-1974

UNIT       HH-43B



DET.4, 36 ARS  (TDY)

xx Aug 1964

xx Nov 1964    ??

DET.Prov.1, PARC

10 Nov 1964

01 Jul 1965



DET.2, 38 ARRS, 3 ARRG,  41 ARRW


DET.8, 43 ARRS, 39 ARRW  (TDY)

DET.10, 40 ARRS, 41 ARRW

01 Jul 1965

08 Jan 1966

08 Feb 1969


09 May 1972

xx Sep 1972

08 Jan 1966

08 Feb 1969

15 Nov 1970  deactivated


xx Sep 1972  

deactivated Jul 1974


01.02   Aircraft assigned



TDY from DET.4, 36 ARS at Osan AB, Korea   Aug 1964 - Nov 1964



TDY from DET.4, 36 ARS at Osan AB, Korea   Aug 1964 - Nov 1964



from BienHoa AB    10 Nov 1964  - 28 Oct 1970    to Nakhon Phanom AB

damage-repair at TanSonNhut  01 Apr 1965 – 7 May 1965

overhaul/camouflaged at DonMuang  26 Jun 1966 - 04 Aug 1966 (replaced by 60-0278)



from Ubon AB 29 Jun 1966  -  04 Aug 1966  to Ubon AB

from Udorn AB  22 Sep 1966  -  15 Oct 1966   to Udorn AB



from BienHoa AB    10 Nov 1964  - 04 Jan 1968    to Ubon AB

overhaul/camouflaged at Don Muang 19 - 30 September 1966 (replaced by 60-0278)

from Ubon AB  13 Mar 1973  - 13 Jul 1974    to Clark AB / reclamation



from Udorn AB   30 Nov 1965  -  02 May 1967 to Nha Trang  AB



from CONUS/Korat 31 Dec 1967  -  31 Oct 1970  to Korat AB / CONUS



from Bergstrom  09 May 1972  -  02 Apr 1973   to NakhonP /  reclamation



from Bergstrom  09 May 1972  -  23 Mar 1973  to NakhonP /  reclamation



from Ubon AB  28 Feb 1973  -  18 Jul 1974   to Clark AB / reclamation


01.03    Overview of  RESCUE  MISSIONS      1964-1966

                                Mission date                  mission number                                        objective 

15 Oct 1964


KB-50J crashed

5 or 6  saves

02 Jan 1965


F-100D crashed

1 save

22 Feb 1965


two crashed ThaiAF  F-86L

1 save (1 deceased)

15 May 1965


F-105D crashed on take-off

3 saves  Thai Civ. 

30 Aug 1965


F-105D crashed on take-off

1 save

28 Sep 1965


F-105D crashed 25NM  N. Takhli

1 save

22 Dec 1965


F-105D crashed on take-off

no save ; pilot escaped

20 Jan 1966


F-105D crashed on runway

no save ; pilot escaped

04 Jun 1966


US Civilian

1 save

14 Jun 1966


Thai Civilian

1 save

15 Jun 1966


USAF personnel

1 save

23 Dec 1966


US Civilian

2 saves




02.     The  Buildup  of  USAF  Forces  in  Southeast  Asia       

Source1:   file K168-01-3, Plans and Policies, 1964, USAF Historical Division - page 48

Source2:   file K717.0414-1, Vol.1 ChecoReport SEA 1961-1966 , IRIS00517392 - page 1 

All aircraft in SEA in 1964 were under control of Hq. 2nd Air Division at Tan Son Nhut AB, RVN. Its major units were the 33rd and 34th Tactical Group and the 315th Troop Carrier Group in South Vietnam, and the 35th Tactical Group in Thailand. On 7 August 1964 the post of deputy commander 2nd AD was established at Udorn AB. The deputy commander would conduct, control and coordinate all USAF matters in support of air operations in Laos. 

The Gulf of Tonkin incident of 4 August 1964, further modified the planned buildup of SAR forces.

In July 1964 six F-100 were stationed at Takhli AB (for Yankee Team missions) and in August four KB-50J’s from 421st ARS were sent TDY from Yokota AB, Japan to Takhli AB.

The arrival of jet fighter and air refueling detachments in Thailand placed new demands on ARS. As an interim measure, the LBR at Takhli AB, Thailand was assigned to DET.4 of the 36 ARS at Osan AB, Korea. 


02.01   The arrival of the first HH-43Bs    -    TDY     Detachment 4, 36th ARS   (Osan AB)

On an unknown day in August 1964 the two HH-43B assigned to Det.4, 36 ARS - serial numbers 60-0251 and 60-0252 - were transferred to Takhli AB by C-124C.

Source: Kaman RotorTips, issue Apr-May 1965 - page 6    "Southeast Asia"  “36th ARSq Rescues 5” 

Capt.         ?                             (P)   Det.Co.?

Capt. Kenneth W. Dotson       (P)

1st Lt. Larry N. Young            (P)

1st Lt. John M. Parks              (P)

1st Lt. Kenneth C. Franzel      (P)

Capt. Karl J. Stumpf           (flight surgeon)

SSgt.   Bobby G. Call          (FF)

AlC Joseph E. Ivansco (crew chief)

AlC Donald E. Farris           (FF)

AlC Leroy Bruner                (FF)

A2C Lonnie W. Bunting      (FF)



02.02     Rescue Mission  15 October 1964

Source for Mission number and date (15Oct)*: “Evaluation SEA Save Tabulation 1964 - Oct65,  AFHRA REEL 31113 frame 827-838  ; Letter 38 ARS , Subject : Evaluation 

Rescue Mission       3-PARC-65-15Oct64     *                                        DET.4, 36ARS

HH-43B   unkn serial no.                                                         3 saves

Flown by  RCC  1stLt Larry N. Young; 1stLt John M. Parks (copilot); A1C Joseph E. Evansco (crew chief); A2C Lonnie W. Bunting (FF); A1C Leroy Bruner  (FF)

HH-43B   unkn serial no.                                                         2 saves

Flown by  Capt. Kenneth C. Franzel (pilot); Capt Kenneth W. Dotson (copilot); Capt Karl J. Stumpf (flight surgeon); SSgt Bobby G. Call (FF); A1C Donald E. Farris (FF). 

SAR Objective :  5** crew members of  KB-50J  48-0065     -  Det.1, 421st AirRefuelingSqn

                             crashed 12 miles from Takhli AB

* according to the Individual Aircraft History Card the crash date was 14 October 1964

** according to above mentioned source, the number of saves would be six (6), the “Kaman Rotor Tips” report (here below) mentioned 5 crewmembers. The book “Vietnam Air Losses” by Chris Hobson (2001) indicate that there were 6 survivors. 

The following HH-43B crewmembers were awarded the Air Medal for the successful rescue :

Capt. Kenneth Dotson, Capt. Kenneth Franzel, 1st Lt. John Parks, 1st Lt. Larry Young and A1C Joseph Evansco 

Mission Narrative

Source 1: Kaman RotorTips, issue Apr-May 1965 - page 6 "Southeast Asia"  “36th ARSq Rescues 5”

Five tanker crewmen who bailed out of their crippled aircraft 12 miles from Takhli Airfield, Thai­land, during an early morning flight, were hoisted to safety soon after­ward by two HH-43B crews from Det 4, 36th ARSq (MATS).

The pickups were made despite the semi-darkness and a heavy ground fog which obscured the bail­out area. Lieutenant Young landed the HUSKIE to pick up one survivor and the second was hoisted from the thick jungle. Meanwhile the standby helicopter arrived and the crew spotted a pengun type flare in the ground fog. The survivor was al­most directly below so Lieutenant Franzel made a near vertical let­down to keep him in sight. A ver­tical takeoff was made to avoid trees hidden in the fog. Another flare was seen soon afterward and a similar pickup was made. Mean­while, the first HH-43B, which had delivered the first survivors to the airfield, returned and hoisted the fifth survivor to safety. 

Mission Narrative

Source 2: Database website “Thai Air Accidents”by Steve Darke (steve.darke@pswltd.com); and the Book “Vietnam Air Losses” by Chris Hobson (2001)    -   KB-50J crashed due to engine failure, shortly after take-off from Takhli AB - 6 survived - date 14Oct1964.

The following account is from Gary Craig, who was the Navigator:

“We took off from Takhli, AB Thailand about 0500 to perform post-strike refuelling for fighters from Udorn who were bombing in the "Plain of Jars" in Laos. We were not scheduled to fly that morning, but were awakened when both the primary and backup aircraft experienced engine fires and aborted their mission. We climbed to about 8,000 feet and experienced several mechanical problems including multiple engine fires. The fire retardant did not extinguish the fires and we bailed out at approximately 086 Radial/ 32 NM from Takhli. The aircraft continued on autopilot and unfortunately crashed into a small village NW of Takhli, killing all of the residents (17) of the village with the exception of the Chief who had just left, but witnessed the crash.

I was taken prisoner by a group of primitive villagers wearing loin cloths and living in grass huts. They had spears and blow guns. I was greatly outnumbered, so I tried to befriend them by giving them gifts of everything I had on me. It seemed to work.

In a couple of hours, a rescue helicopter dropped down and I took off running, dove into the open door and off we went. I didn't look back to see if they were throwing spears at me. I then directed the chopper to pick up the five other crew members who were dispersed in the jungle. Everyone was okay and when we landed, we celebrated hardily. An inspection of all the KB-50J aircraft at the base revealed that the planes had been sabotaged by cutting the fuel lines. Security had been very lax up to then".


03.     Replacement unit and personnel arrived 10 November 1964

The TDY Huskies from Det.4, 36 ARS, were replaced by two different HH-43B which were flown in from DET.Prov.1, PARC at Bien Hoa AB, Vietnam by C-124C on 10 Nov 1964. Aircraft serial numbers 59-1549 and 60-0258.

According to the article “Southeast Asia” on page 6 of Kaman Rotor Tips, issue April-May 1965, all members of DET.Prov.1, PARC came from Bien Hoa together with the aircraft. They were replaced in January 1965. Detachment Prov.First, PARC remained active until 01 July 1965, on which date the unit became DET.2, 38 ARS. 

This Second Group of TDY personnel, arriving 10Nov64 from Bien Hoa AB were : 

Capt. Robert D. McDougal     (P)    Det.Co.

Capt. Ronald L. Bachman      (P)

Capt. Robert T. Rosvold          (P)

Capt. Billy J. Johnson             (P)

1st Lt. William F. Austin          (P)

1st Lt. Kenneth T. Fujishige    (P)

SMSgt. Ernest E. Creach

TSgt. James E. Johnson

TSgt. John Glenn

TSgt. Roger Reardon

SSgt. Howard M. Lord

SSgt. James Hines

SSgt. O’Niel Vinson

SSgt. Benjamin J. Hyder

SSgt. Franklin D. Cooper

SSgt. Grady L. Jordan

A1C  Franklin Riggins

A1C  Kenneth Scheer

A1C  James Brennan

A1C  Dale P. Jensen

A1C  Ronald Snook

A1C  Loney A. Martin

A2C  James Walsh

A2C  Robert Donlevy


The group returned from TDY to CONUS during the week of 10 Jan 65.

KamanRT Apr May65 Kaman Rotor Tips, issue Apr-May 1965, page 5



600258 and91549 106806USAF





                        HH-43B 60-0258 with FSK and 59-1549 at left in the background , 1965 

                                                                                  USAF photo 106806  NARA collection




          591549 1965 106806USAF


Collage Takhli 1965 Mock Takhli AB  ca.1965,  lower left photo Pedro Pad under construction   -  photos collection Steve Mock


04.      Third Group of TDY personnel arrived in January 1965                       Jan. 1965  -  Apr. 1965

Source:  AFHRA file K318-2-Hist-ARS-Jan-Dec65-Vol.3  ; History EARC   Jan65

Thirteen officers and airmen from various EARC detachments departed for DET.Provisional First in Thailand for 120 days TDY.  

Capt.                                      (P)    Det.Co.

Capt. Ronald L. Haglund      (P)

Capt. Larry D. Salmans         (P)







Capt Ronald L. Haglund qualified for the Kaman 1000-Hour Pilot Award during this TDY    (RotorTips Jun-July65, page 18)

The following report is from a page out of the history of the 331st Air Base Squadron, stationed at Takhli AB:

Air Rescue: Most of the present detachment personnel arrived early in January 1965.  Total flight time for January was 49:05 hours while mission flight time was 12:55 hours. Sixteen missions were flown, plus 10 sorties for host base support. The outstanding mission was on 2 January 1965, when a detachment helicopter picked up a F-100D pilot wo had bailed out after engine failure (474 TFW, serial 56-2908).

Total flight time for February was 62:25 hours while mission flight time was 35:50 hours. Thirty-two missions were flown, plus 7 sorties for host base support. The outstanding mission was on 22 February 1965 when both HH-43Bs searched for two downed Thai F-86L’s after mid-air collision. Both pilots were located although one was dead.  Total flight time on the mission was 7:30 hours.

Total flight time for March was 59:00 hours. Mission flight time for March was 37:55 hours. Sixty-five missions were flown, plus 6 sorties for host base support.

Total flight time for the month of April was 52:00 hours. Mission flying time for April was 35:00 hours. There were 59 mission sorties of which 18 were intercepts and 41 were orbits.

Problem Areas: During March, the Air Rescue Squadron determined that the helicopter landing areas were located too far away from the alert crew area. The parking area also caused a dust problem for the GCA unit located in the immediate vicinity. A plan was submitted to the Civil Engineer to move the parking area to the west side of the ramp in the area northeast of the fire station. The plan included building a hangar for the 2 HH-43B’s. It was also determined that office and storage space was not adequate for proper working conditions nor was the fire station considered suitable for doing good work. A request was submitted to the Civil Engineer for a 20’ x 60’ hut to be built adjacent to the fire station for office space and alert crew area.        (Source: AFHRA-1965-K-SQ-AB-331-HI-Hist-Jan-7May1965-IRIS00410679 ; page 13. Document via T. van Geffen) 


04.01    Accident with aircraft 59-1549 on 19 March 1965 

591549 19Mar65 AeroSafety

                          photo published in “Aerospace Safety”, issue  October 1965,  page 6


Aircraft made a landing from an established five foot hover. Both main gear struts penetrated into fuselage. Stabilizers and rudders were damaged on bottom edges. CAUSE : Pilot factor - pilot in attempting to reduce rate of descent during a landing from a hover, applied aft cyclic control and insufficent amount of collective control to cushion the landing.  Source: AFHRA document from unknown file -Accident-Report - via-T. van Geffen


And AFHRA file K318-2 Hist ARS Jan-Dec65 -Vol.1 page xxiii , IRIS00491703:

19 March 1965 - aircraft accident occurred when the HH-43B, 59-1549, piloted by Capt. Larry Salmans, Det.Prov.1, PARC, landed hard, shearing the main landing gear.


Aircraft was sent to Tan Son Nhut AB, RVN for repair by Det.7, APRFE.

Input date 01April 1965, and repair completed on 07 May 1965. Total manhours required : 685


The folowing report was published in “Aerospace Safety” , issue October 1965, pages 6 and 7.

“Hard Landing Chopper Style”                          by  Lt.Col. Robert E. Englebretson, Directorate of Aerospace Safety

At 1530 local time the HH-43B helicopter took off on a scheduled one hour base support mission. Purpose of the flight was to perform a security check of the base perimeters and to acquaint the base commander with the location of a proposed fire pit training area and building site for relocation of the helicopter alert facilities. A local flight clearance had been filed by the pilot and a TOLD card completed. The crew consisted of the pilot and copilot with a passenger (base commander) occupying the copilot’s seat.

During the first 50 minutes, the base perimeter was inspected with the aircraft remaining within five miles of the base at all times. The helicopter was then flown to one of the hardstands and landed. The building site was pointed out to the base commander and a short discussion held over the aircraft intercom. The pilot then made a takeoff to a five-foot hover and a 270-degree turn to afford a better view of the area. From a position on the east edge of the hardstand and while moving forward at approximately five knots , the pilot decided to land the aircraft on the hardstand again. During this portion of the flight there was no conversation over the intercom and no actions taken that would have unduly distracted the pilot. He decided to touch down while maintaining his forward movement. However, realizing that his rate of descent was higher than normal, he attempted to slow his descending movement by application of aft cyclic stick which raised the nose of the aircraft. As the nose came up, the pilot did not add sufficient collective pitch to slow the rate of descent because he did not think the aircraft was descending fast enough to cause an overly hard landing. The aircraft touched down in this attitude and rolled and skidded forward approximately 8.5 feet.

After the helicopter came to a stop the copilot got out and observed that the main gear shock struts had penetrated the side of the fuselage. He then gave the pilot the shutdown signal. Thorough investigation of the possibility that the passenger distracted the pilot revealed that although the base commander occupied the copilot’s seat, his prescence had no bearing of the accident. At no time during the flight did he fly the aircraft. He did place his hand on the cyclic control to actuate the interphone. However, immediately prior to and during the landing which resulted in aircraft damage, he was not touching any aircraft control nor was he talking to the pilot. Sun glare was investigated as a possible distraction factor but was discounted. The board investigated and ruled out the possiblility of distraction caused by either the prescence of a flight of jet aircraft or ramp traffic.

Finally, the board concluded that at the moment of touchdown the helicopter encountered ground resonance. Close exmination of the main tire marks showed that the left main gear contacted the concrete first, followed closely by the right main gear. The right main gear shock strut and fitting and a small surrounding portion of the aircraft skin penetrated the fuselage after shearing the right main gear attaching bolt. This was followed by a stripping of the threads of the left main gear shock strut attaching bolt in the area of a gear fitting modification, which allowed the left main gear shock strut and fitting and surrounding skin area of the fuselage to tear loose and penetrate the cabin. The fact that the aircraft touched down with more force on the left gear than the right, coupled with the fact that the right gear penetrated the fuselage with more force than the left, indicated the beginning of ground resonance.

One of the prime conditions required to induce ground resonance in the H-43B is that the aircraft be light on the front tires or that the front tires be off the ground. Increased gross weight aggravates this condition. During this landing a nose high attitude and high gross weight conditions were present. Although the weight of the aircraft (estimated at the time of the accident to be 6100 pounds) was not heavy, it was believed by the board that conditions similar to high gross weight were induced by (1) a faster than normal rate of descent, and further aggravated at touchdown by (2) a fairly rapid rotation of the aircraft from a level descending attitude to that of a nose high attitude with simultaneous contact with the ramp.

The following facts are based on the experience of the board members in investigating previous H-43 accidents which indicates that the damage was not caused soley by a hard landing.

  • H-43 accidents that have resulted in main gear damage as a result of a hard landing have had accompanying damage to one or more of the following areas: tail boom, rotor blades and flaps and auxiliary (nose) gear.
  • Conversely, in several instances of H-43 accidents where ground contact was known to be severe, there was no damage to the main landing gear fitting area, although in each case there was damage to other major components.

The possibility of materiel failure in the area of the main landing gear fitting assemblies could not be ruled out. The landing gear main attaching bolt on both the left and right fitting assemblies failed upon intial ground contact. Examination of the fitting assemblies revealed that the aircraft had been modified at a previous station with a steel strap manufactured from 1/8 inch steel stock approximately one and one-quarter inches by five inches.

In addition to this helicopter having been used in a student training program, it had been loaded and unloaded several times aboard cargo aircraft while being airlifted to various ZI and overseas bases. Also it had suffered several shrapnel hits and explosive damage during a mortar attack (*). This combination of unusual stresses possibly could have weakened the main landing gear fitting assemblies.

The investigating board decided the primary cause was pilot factor because the pilot, in attempting to reduce rate of descent during landing from a hover applied aft cyclic control and an insufficient amount of collective control to cushion the landing. This action allowed the helicopter to strike the ground at a rate of descent higher than normal, creating undue stress on the main landing gear shock struts.

A contributing cause was ground resonace. The aft cyclic control applied during toughdown coupled with the harder than normal landing forces induced the beginning of ground resonance which caused the main landing gear shock strut attaching points to fail. A possible contributing cause was materiel failure in the area of the main landing gear shock strut fitting assemblies. 


05.     Fourth Group of TDY personnel arrived in April 1965                                     Apr. 1965  -  Oct. 1965

Source:  AFHRA-K318.2 Jan-Dec'65 VOL.4 , IRIS00491706, History EARC Apr 65:

It was necessary to replace the personnel at DET.PROV. First, PARC, Takhli AB, Thailand. To provide the 5 officers and 8 airmen for this 120 day TDY commitment and to maintain our CONUS LBR structure so that rescue coverage could be provided at least during the local bases' period of highest density flying, DET.2, EARC, Dow AFB, MN was declared non-operational for the period of TDY. The majority of the DET.2 personnel were deployed overseas to the provisional detachment. 

Capt.  Joseph P. McMonigle  * (P)   Det.Co.

Capt.  Theodore E. Angle          (P)

Capt.  George V. Lawler (?)       (P)

1st Lt. Edwin J. Hartke              (P)

1st Lt.                                           (P)

1st Lt.                                           (P)



SSgt. Richard W. Nik (or Nix?)       (RS)

SSgt. Person                        (MT)



A1C  William R. Moyers    (MT)

A1C  Donald R. Spenger     (RS)

A1C  Rouzer L. Kirkset

A1C  Britton    FF

A1C  Huff        FF

A2C  Dennis G. Griffin

                                                *Capt. Monigle remained in Command  until 19 Oct. 1965

Source : AFHRA file K318-2-1965-Vol.11-Support Documents, IRIS 00491713, in USAF Collection, AFHRA  -       Hist. 1Oct-31Dec65, Page 48,49: History Det.2,38ARS


05.01     Rescue Mission  15 May 1965

Source: Rescue Mission Report  Det(P)1st-PARC-219 and 220-15May65 , IRIS No. 01009285, in USAF Collection, AFHRA 

Rescue Mission number Det(P)1st-PARC-219/220-15May65        DET.Prov.1, PARC

HH-43B   xx-xxxx     call-sign  “Rescue 81”  (either 59-1549 or 60-0258)

Flown by RCC 1stLt. Edwin J. Hartke; Capt. George V. Lawler (?) (co-pilot); A1C William R. Moyers  MT; SSgt Richard W. Nik (or Nix?)  RS; A1C Donald R. Spenger  RS


Rescue personnel who assisted on the evacuation helicopter or on ground forces were: The Flight Surgeon and Capt. Joseph P. McMonigle; Capt. Theodore E. Angle; A1C Rouzer L. Kirkset; A2C Dennis G. Griffin


SAR Objective : F-105D 62-4374  “Essex 3”  pilot Capt. Robert Greskowiak  -  563TFS

crashed after take-off on Village Amphoe, Takhli,  one and a half mile from the end of the runway. The F-105 pilot and three Thai villagers were killed , 10 were injured.

3 Thai civilians were rescued by Huskie crewmembers.


Narrative of the Rescue Mission Det(P)1st-PARC-219:

On 15 May 1965 at 0815 hours , “Rescue 81” took off on a precautionary orbit, waiting for departing fighter aircraft. At 0854 hrs the crew saw “Essex 3” taking more runway than usual. As he approached  the departure end of the runway, it became apparent that he was not going to get airborne, but as he crossed the barrier and continued down the overrun, he was able to fly approximately 150 to 200 feet to clear some trees. He could not maintain flight and settled down behind the trees and crashed into a Thai village one-half mile from the end of the runway at approximately 0855 hours. The helicopter crew observed his flight path and followed him, arriving at the crash site in approximately one minute. The fire suppression kit was set down as close to the crash site as terrain and obstructions would permit, but because the wreckage was widespread and no cockpit was readily discernible it was not used. The medic and two firefighters were deployed from the helicopter to search for the pilot and accomplished rescue if possible. The helicopter made an aerial survey of the area in an attempt to locate the pilot, but could only see three buildings as well as trees and shrubbery on fire. The crewmembers separated and began probing the strewn wreckage. A Thai national located the F-105 pilot who was deceased.

With the discovery of the fighter pilot, the helicopter and fire suppression kit were were returned to the base. The helicopter then flew E.O.D. and other base officials (6235th Combat Support Group) to the scene of the crash and again returned to the alert pad.

The medic assisted a woman and her child from the village and treated them for burns. The firemen rescued a one year old child from the porch of a burning building. Base Fire, Police and medical teams had arrived on the scene by this time and the helicopter crewmembers joined in the USAF disaster control team effort. They worked among exploding munitions to bring the fire under control and render first aid to all of the injured.

One helicopter fireman and the helicopter medic drove a member of the more seriously injured personnel to the Royal Thai Air Force Hospital, in a USAF ambulance.

At the RTAF hospital, it was determinded that there were too many critical cases for the hospital to handle, so the flight surgeon again requested rescue assistance in evacuating six of the Thais to two separate local hospitals, Monoro Hospital and Chainat Hospital. (this AirEvac mission became Det(P)1st-PARC-220).

Some off-duty Rescue personnel assisted in this mission, both on the evacuation helicopter and along with ground forces. This Detachment claimed three saves. The two that were removed from the fire by the medic and the one rescued by the fireman. 

06.     1 July 1965 : Activation of 38th ARS , with DET.2, 38ARS at Takhli AB


A major reorganization took place on 01 July 1965 with the activation of the 38th ARS  -  based at Tan Son Nhut AB, Vietnam.   Lt.Col. Edward Krafka became the first commander.

The 38th ARS acted as a headquarters for all ARS helicopter detatchments which as of then became PCS units. All HH-43 aircraft were assigned to the 38th ARS as Detachments:  DET.1 to eventually DET.14. All aircraft which were flown in from CONUS as of Aug 1964, became permanently stationed in the region.


06.01     Rescue Mission  30 Aug 1965

Source for mission number: Letter 38 ARS, dated 18Oct65 “Evaluation SEA Save Tabulation 1964 - Oct65  REEL 31113 page 827-838 ,  in USAF Collection, AFHRA 

Rescue Mission number Det.2-38-616-30Aug65        DET.2, 38 ARS

HH-43B   xx-xxxx    

Flown by RCC Capt. Theodore E. Angle; unknown co-pilot; A1C Britton  MT; SSgt Person  FF; A1C Huff  FF


SAR Objective : F-105D 62-4355  “Essex 1”  Lt.Col Howard F. Hendricks - 36 TFS, 6441 TFW

Crashed after aborting take off due to a binding elevator control. Ran off the end of runway 18 at Takhli AB.


Narrative of the Rescue Mission, published on webpage: http://34tfsthuds.us/resources/Pictures/G-K/Hendricks_Howard_F.pdf   - Compiled by: W. Howard Plunkett (2011) 

About 10:15 a.m. I was in our squadron's operations hooch near the flightline listening to the radio calls from pilots lining their planes up for takeoff. We heard the tower clear the first two planes. A second or so later they appeared roaring down the runway one behind the other.

Then came the radio call, 'Lead's taking the barrier". Each drag chute of the two planes popped out, but the first plane's 'chute didn't blossom and he kept on going without slowing down. We watched for his tail hook to slam down, but when he reached the barrier cable, nothing happened. He slid through the mud into the jungle at the end of the runway and exploded with a 'whumph' into a ball of flame and black smoke.

The orbiting HH-43B rescue helicopter immediately swooped in among the flames and smoke. Fire trucks and ambulances screamed down the runway, but, on reaching the end of the concrete, had to turn back because of the mud. A short time later, the helicopter lifted up from the fire and everyone started clearing out of the area when we heard the plane's 20 mm ammunition cooking off. It had been carrying two 750-pound bombs with delayed time fuses that could go off at any time. Later I went by the medical office and learned that the helicopter crew rescued the pilot. He had only an injured back and was flown to Korat. The pilot was Lt. Col. Hendricks, the commander of the 36 TFS from Yokota." 

"Lt.Col Hendricks managed to get out of the cockpit and travel about 20 feet from the aircraft before collapsing. Immediately, the HH-43 helicopter of Det 2, 38th Air Rescue Squadron, piloted by Capt Theodore E. Angle, moved over the area and forced the flames away from the pilot. The bomb load was scattered around the aircraft and a minor explosion in the crash debris occurred while one medic, Airman Britton, and two firefighters, Sergeant Person and Airman Huff, got Lt.Col Hendricks on a stretcher and into the helicopter for a successful pick up.

Additional details: Hendricks was able to run from the intensely burning aircraft for 20 or so feet, with his parachute still on. At this point he fell ground, merely, in the pilot's words, from being 'give out'. He rolled onto his back, looked up, and saw the HH-43B landing near him. He started to crawl towards the helicopter. At this point, the medic got to him. Summoned a stretcher and got him on the stretcher and aboard the helicopter. Lt Col Hendricks was hospitalized with back injuries and minor burns.

The Takhli flight line was shut down for over a day until the two bombs in the wreckage could be defused or exploded.


06.02     Rescue Mission  28 Sep 1965

Source for mission number: Letter 38 ARS, dated 18Oct65 “Evaluation SEA Save Tabulation 1964 - Oct65  REEL 31113 page 827-838 ,  in USAF Collection, AFHRA 

Rescue Mission number Det.2-38-757-28Sep65        DET.2, 38 ARS

HH-43B   xx-xxxx    

Flown by RCC  Capt.  Joseph P. McMonigle;  and crew


SAR Objective : F-105D   62-4404   Capt. Russell R. Schoonover  -  562 TFS

crashed  25 NM  North of Takhli AB    ;  pilot saved


                  No mission report available


07.     Fifth Group, PCS personnel, arrived in October 1965                              Oct. 1965  -  Sep. 1966 

Capt. Edwin J. Christy   *     (P)    Det.Co.

Capt. David B. Hightower    (P)

Capt. David J. Given            (P)

Capt. Duane L. Smith           (P)

1st Lt.                                    (P)

1st Lt.                                    (P)




SSgt. Richard C. Rhoades                (MT)

SSgt. Jerry W. McCutcheon   (RS)

A1C  David M. Cutillo           (HM)

A1C  Donald N. Wenting        (RS)

A1C  Ronald R. House           (HM)

A1C  James T. Brition            (MT)



A2C  Percy A. Ellis                (HM)


Capt.Walther A. Ceranski  Fl.Surg.

                                                                    *Capt. Christy assumed Command  on 20 Oct65.

Source : file K318-2-1965-Vol.11-Support Documents, IRIS 00491713, in USAF Collection, AFHRA  - Hist. 1Oct-31Dec65, Page 48,49: History Det.2,38ARS


380 SAR Missions were flown during the Oct-Dec65 period. Of these, 71 were aircraft emergencies and the remaining 309 were precautionary orbits for departing F-105’s taking off with maximum weight bomb load. Additional, 23 base support missions were flown.

Equipment: HH-43B : 59-1549, 60-0258 and on 30 Nov 65 aircraft 60-0279 was picked up from Udorn AB.


07.01     Rescue Mission  22 Dec 1965

Source1: file K318-2-1965-Vol.11-Support Documents, IRIS 00491713, in USAF Collection, AFHRA  -       Hist. 1Oct-31Dec65, Page 48,49: History Det.2,38ARS

Source2: Rescue Mission Report  2-38-1106-22Dec65, in USAF Collection, AFHRA (on microfilm REEL31113, frame 1221-23) 

Rescue Mission number Det.2-38-1106-22Dec65        DET.2, 38 ARS

HH-43B   xx-xxxx    

Flown by RCC                    unknown


SAR Objective : F-105D   “Triumph 1”                     (further details remain a mystery)

Narrative of Mission:

While on a routine orbit mission covering departing F-105 fighter aircraft, the helicopter crew, at 0656Z, observed the lead aircraft blow a tire on the take-off role, and when an auxilliary fuel tank caught fire, the entire aircraft was engulfed in flames. The alert helicopter followed the burning aircraft as it proceeded down the runway jettisoning external stores and ordinance. The F-105 engaged the barrier and turned off of the runway onto the grass area adjacent to the runway. The fire appeared to have extinguished itself as the aircraft came to a halt but to prevent a further outbreak the alert helicopter deployed the FSK and firemen and also the flight surgeon, and took a hovering position to direct cooling air to the extremely hot wheel and right wing area of the aircraft until the pilot was safely out of the cockpit.


07.02    Helo Airborne Orbit -  Problem Areas Encountered at Takhli

Source: AFHRA file K318-2131-End-of-Tour-David-Allen-May65-Aug67-IRIS00491938  -  DET Commander, Sep66 - Aug67 ,  38 ARRSq, DET.2    

The detachment at Takhli was well established several years before my arrival in September 1966.

In late 1965 or early 1966, another Thailand Detachment (the one at Korat AB *) had initiated a policy of maintaining an airborne orbit (HH-43B with Fire Suppression Kit attached) for covering armed fighter aircraft during launch and recovery. 

This policy was expanded in early 66 to include DET.2 at Takhli. As the pace of the air war over North Vietnam quickened, the number of fighter sorties dramatically increased, likewise increasing the number of helo sorties and flying hours required to maintain the airborn orbit.

By early 67, DET.2 was expending up to 90 flying hours monthly in support of the airborne orbit. Additional mission flying raised the monthly total to roughly 105 hours. This did not include training flights which were held to a minimum because of the increasing difficulty in keeping the helicopters in commission. The Base Fighter Wing Commander would not consider a cessation of the airborne orbit.

When the 3rd ARRGp Commander was apprised of the criticality of the situation, he conferred with the Wing Commander and the airborne orbit was eventually terminated.  

*) see the Korat Detachment Review, Chapter 02.02




              Article published in Kaman Rotor Tips issue Jan-Feb67, page 20

KamanRTips Jan Feb67 


07.04     Rescue Mission  20 January 1966

Source: Rescue Mission Report  2-38-143-20Jan66, in USAF Collection, AFHRA (on microfilm REEL31113, frame 995-96) 

Rescue Mission number Det.2-38-143-20Jan66        DET.2, 38 ARS

HH-43B   xx-xxxx    

Flown by RCC  Capt Edwin J. Christy; Capt David B. Hightower (co-pilot); A1C David M. Cutillo HM; SSgt Jerry W. McCutcheon RS; A1C Donald N. Wenting RS; A1C Richard C. Rhoades MT


SAR Objective : F-105D  59-1717  Capt. James C Sharp   -  333 TFS

After touchdown, the gear collapsed causing the aircraft to veer off the runway and burst into flames


Narrative of Mission:

At 0849 hrs, 20 Jan 66, control tower crash phone notified DET 2, 38 ARRS of an F-105 with AC generator failure, hung ordinance, and an unsafe gear indication was making an approach at Takhli. DET 2 HH-43B scrambled at 0850 with FSK and proceeded to the orbit area. The distressed F-105 made a low pass and mobile control related the gear appeared safe. On the second pass, the F-105 landed on runway 36, and after touchdown, the gear collapsed causing the aircraft to veer off the runway and burst into flames. The F-105 landed on the ordinance and tiptanks causing the fire.

The HH-43B immediately deployed the FSK and firemen. The pilot had already evacuated the burning aircraft by the time the HH-43B rescue specialist approached the plane. The chopper than proceeded to supply rotor wash to the blaze and assist the fire vehicles and chopper firemen in extinguishing the fire. Just as the FSK was released and firemen exited the chopper, a secondary explosion occurred from the burning ordinance with negative damage to chopper or negative injury to personnel. The EOD personnel on the scene advised all personnel, including the chopper, to pull back to at least 3000 feet. The chopper then picked up the FSK and returned to the pad. The control tower then advised the chopper crew that no more assistance was necessary. At that time, all detachment personnel and aircraft were moved to asafe location. No news releases were made.


07.05     Rescue Mission  04 June 1966

Source: Rescue Mission Report  2-38-03-4Jun66, in USAF Collection, AFHRA (on microfilm REEL31113, frame 1072-74) 

Rescue Mission number Det.2-38-03-4Jun66        DET.2, 38 ARS

HH-43B   xx-xxxx    

Flown by RCC  Capt. David J. Given; Capt. Duane L. Smith (co-pilot); A1C Ronald R. House  HM; SSgt. Richard C. Rhoades  MT; Capt. Walther A. Ceranski  Flight Surgeon


SAR Objective : Thai Civilian doctor


Narrative of Mission:

At 1240L, emergency AirEvac to a Thai Hospital at Bangkok of a Thai civilian doctor with severe gastroenteritis, peritonitis and either typhoid or cholera. This patient would not have survived land transportation and would have died within two days if left where he was. Two sorties, one hour plus 25 min flight hours. 


07.06     Rescue Mission  14 June 1966

Source: Rescue Mission Report  2-38-04-14Jun66, in USAF Collection, AFHRA (on microfilm REEL31113, frame 1075-76) 

Rescue Mission number Det.2-38-04-14Jun66        DET.2, 38 ARS

HH-43B   xx-xxxx    

Flown by RCC  Capt. Duane L. Smith; A2C Percy A. Ellis  HM; A1C James T. Brition  MT


SAR Objective : Thai civilian


Narrative of Mission:

Emergency AirEvac of a Thai National with infuries resulting from a foreign body lodging in the right arm causing secondary infection. Air evacuation to USAF Hospital at Takhli AB was ecessary due to the critical condition of the injured arm and the inaccessibility of the vicinity for land evacuation. A qualified medical physician stated that if the victim was not evacuated within 56 hours, the injured man would lose his arm or his life.  Two sorties, 1 hour plus 10 min. flight hours. 


07.07     Rescue Mission  15 June 1966

Source: Rescue Mission Report  2-38-05-15Jun66, in USAF Collection, AFHRA (on microfilm REEL31113, frame 1080-81) 

Rescue Mission number Det.2-38-05-15Jun66        DET.2, 38 ARS

HH-43B   xx-xxxx    

Flown by RCC  Capt.  Edwin J. Christy; Capt. David J. Given (co-pilot); A2C Pency A. Ellis  MT


SAR Objective : one USAF military personnel


Narrative of Mission:

In complete darkness, A2C Pency A. Ellis – crewchief, removed a USAF airman from the shear face of a mountain near the city of Takhli. The airman was naked, berser from barbiturates, suicidal and at the moment of pick-up, unconcious. The helicopter was hovered within three to five feet, blade clearance, of the cliff wall and 85 feet of hoist cable was used to lower the crew chief on the tree penetrator, where he strapped himself and the subject to the penetrator for return to the helicopter. They returned to Takhli AB hospital. One sortie with 25 minutes of flight. 


08.      Sixth Group, PCS personnel, arrived in September 1966                              25 Sep. 1966  -  30 Aug. 1967 

Maj.  David E. Allen              (P)    Det.Co.

Capt.                                       (P)

Capt.                                       (P)

Capt.                                       (P)

1st Lt. Douglas A. Brosveen  (P)

1st Lt. Charles E. Noyes         (P)



SSgt. Glenn O. Durham                  (HM)

SSgt. Henry L. Wright           (MT)








Capt. D. Charles Olsen  Fl.Surgeon


600258 Oct66 DVanAllenHH-43B  60-0258  Takhli AB   Oct 1966 - photo by Dick Van Allen, via Wayne Mutza




            600258 Oct66 DVanAllen clup




600258 1966 99489USAF

HH-43B  60-0258  at Takhli AB  ca. Oct 1966  -  USAF photo 99489, NARA collection


08.01     Rescue Mission  23 Dec 1966

Source: Rescue Mission Report  2-38-09-23Dec66, in USAF Collection, AFHRA (on microfilm REEL31113, frame 1144-48) 

Rescue Mission number Det.2-38-09-23Dec66        DET.2, 38 ARS

HH-43B   60-0279     “Pedro 21”

Flown by RCC  1Lt. Douglas A. Brosveen; 1Lt. Charles E. Noyes (co-pilot) ; SSgt. Glenn O. Durham   HM ; SSgt. Henry L. Wright   MT; Capt. (Dr.) D. Charles Olsen  Flight Surgeon


SAR Objective : Highway accident between two trucks North of Chanwat Sara Buri Thailand  Severe injuries to three American civilians.  Two of the men required the immediate attention of a neuro surgeon. The closest neuro surgeon was in Bangkok.


Narrative of Mission:

On 23 Dec 66 at 2115L, 1Lt. Douglas A. Brosveen, Alert RCC  DET 2, 38 ARRS, received notification from the 355th TAC Command Post that an unknown number of American servicemen had been critically injured in a truck/bus collision near Lop Buri, Thailand.

One HH-43B helicopter was launched at 2145L. Weather was high thin broken visibility 5 miles. A landing was made on a soccer field at the Lop Buri Special Forces Camp at 2230L. The aircraft was not shut down when it was learned that the accident had occurred near Sara Buri, Thailand and that the American victims had been sent to a local hospital. Three of these victims were not expected to live.

The flight to Sara Buri took 45 minutes, and landing and shut down were completed on a small cavalry post assault strip. Capt. Olson and SSgt. Wright proceeded to the hospital. SSgt. Wright returned after one hour and informed the crew of the following facts :

  1. Ten people (American civilians and Thais) were injured in a headon crash between a panel van truck and a large dump truck.
  2. The most critically injured victims were three American employees of Philco Corporation.
  3. Two of the three men required the immediate attention of a Neurosurgeon. The third man required surgery, but not on an immediate basis.

Because of the limited litter space in the HH-43, it was decided to take the two critical cases to Don Muang AB (Bangkok) aboard the helicopter and send the third man by ambulance.

SSgt. Wright was left at Sara Buri to watch over the equipment which was removed in order to install the litters.

The rest of the crew remained aboard the helicopter for the 45 minute flight to Don Muang AB.

Throughout the flight Dr. Olson administered plasma to Mr. Lynn Johnson, the most critically injured man. Both Dr. Olson and Dr. Chaturaporn Hongsaprabhas, the Neurosurgeon, credited the helicopter with the saving of Mr. Johnson’s life.  Gene L. Armger, the second injured man also received immediate surgery, but it was not on a life-or-death basis. Dr. Olson remained with patients in Bangkok.

After refueling at Don Muang AB the helicopter returned to Sara Buri to pick up SSgt. Wright and the equipment which had been left there. The one hour return flight to Takhli AB was uneventful. The helicopter landed at 0515L. David E. Allen, Major, USAF, Commander.


09.       End of this review - however,  Det.2   continued to fly Huskies from Takhli AB


            A follow-up of this review for the period  1967 - 1974  will be published later.


600258 1967 KE26708

HH-43B  60-0258  Takhli AB    1967   -  USAF photo KE26708, NARA collection


last update 23-11-2022