Resupplying a forward listing post in a CH 46.

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Resupplying a forward listing post in a CH 46.

Postby donald » Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:48 pm

This happened in the last week of May or the first week of June of '69. Don't remember the exact day.
I had been in casual company because the sole of my jungle boot came off and I spent four days going bare foot in the bush. I got jungle rot between my toes. I was in battalion area at VCB while I healed up. When the corpsman took me off casual, a company clerk told me to round up the rest of the men in the company who were in the rear for what ever reason and rejoin the company. I got everybody saddled up and we moved down to the resupply LZ.
Shore Party told us that there was a typhoon moving in from the Gulf of Tonkin and they were pressed for time. They had a cargo net loaded up and ready for pickup. They had to drop it off at a forward listening post before the storm hit. A CH46 came in, landed, we got on ( there were about ten of us ) then the chopper rose up, hovered over the cargo net and hooked up.
We headed south over the mountains east of VCB. I sat by the escape hatch on the left side. I could see the front moving in over Qua Viet on the coast. The day was bright and sunny where we were. There was a band of black clouds ,the front, rapidly approaching from the east. The wind was starting to pick up.
The listening post was on top of a volcanic escarpment. It was about a thousand to fifteen hundred high and vertical on all sides. It consisted of a landing platform with those square, insulated, box rooms you would see on the back of a 6 x 6 truck. They had cargo rings at the top so they could be picked up and they were lashed down with cables. They were used for radio shacks and sleeping quarters. There were antennas in arrays. Some straight up some extended
straight out over the side. I didn't see any fighting positions, they weren't needed. All sides were vertical and unapproachable.
As we made our approach the wind started to reach gale force and the jungle canopy was
swaying violently with the wind. The chopper got on top of the platform as the pilot tried to hold it on target the wind made the cargo net swing back and forth violently. There were four marines on the platform trying to wrestle it in to place for release. The crewman was laying on his stomach looking down through the cargo hatch trying determine when to release the load. I turned side ways, leaned out the escape hatch, raised my arm and when the load was over the platform I screamed NOW!!! and dropped my arm. The cargo hit the platform dead center!

When they released the load the chopper rose up, when it did the wind caught it and flipped on it's side. When it flipped on it's side it lost all lift and dropped like a rock. The chopper plunged down the face of the cliff on it's side. I could see the basalt rock columns going by the belly of the chopper, through the cargo hatch, in a blur and ,through the windows, the talus slope at the base of the cliff rushing up toward us.
Everyone in the chopper managed to hold on. I reached down, between my knees, and grabbed the troop seat rail with both hands. While we were on our side, I hung, with only my hands touching the inside of the chopper. A Marine was sitting on the other side with his pack resting in the escape hatch. When we wen't over the pack jerked him toward the opening. He caught himself with his elbows and the back of his helmut. He started screaming, "Oh Lordy Masa Jesus save me, don't let me die Jesus, please save me Jesus. He screamed this all the way down. I could only think, "This is gonna hurt".
The pilots did a great job in recovering. As the rotor blades gained purchase they went chomp, chomp,CHomp, CHOmp, CHOMp, CHOMP, CHOMP,CHOMP, CHOMP, CHOMP. We rolled out of the fall to the right, away from the cliff. They regained some altitude and continued our flight through the storm. We were now in the full force of the storm. The chopper pitched and yawed in the gale force wind and heavy rain pelted the ship. When we got to a resting LZ, Shore Party was waiting for us. They literally flew down to the LZ at full rev. Shore Party lashed us down, then they shut down. Then we got off. On one was worse for the wear.
donald
 
Posts: 44
Joined: Thu Jan 26, 2012 4:55 pm

Re: Resupplying a forward listing post in a CH 46.

Postby donald » Thu Aug 01, 2013 10:58 pm

Correction... LISTENING POST, the computer didn't it right either.
donald
 
Posts: 44
Joined: Thu Jan 26, 2012 4:55 pm


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