WE DECIDED WE COULD HOVER CLOSE TO THE SIDE OF A NEARBY HILL
Dad served in WWII as well as my Aunt and Uncle who both served in the Marines during WWII.
My Dad never spoke about the war, but my mom told me about her brother who made nearly every landing in the Pacific. I served in Vietnam. My MOS was with 67F40 as a crew chief on a Huey helicopter flying medivaccharl missions. This picture shows my group just waiting on a mission. Lt. Dan is on the far left with WO Bob McKeegon, myself and my medic assigned for the day.
On October 10, 1969, I was involved in a rescue of the crew of a Marine Gunship that was shot down at the DMZ. We located the helicopter and were not able to land due to jungle conditions. We decided that we could hover close to the side of a nearby hill and I would go down and checkout the down helicopter. I found three of the four crewmen were dead. However the pilot in the right seat was alive. You need to understand that the engine was still running and the helicopter was fully armed. I removed the pilot and carried him over my shoulder over to and up the hill to my Dust Off helicopter. I handed the wounded pilot to my medic and climbed aboard. We flew him to the hospital ship Repose where they treated him. He did survive his injuries. I think about this often and wonder about the remaining crewmen. For a better view of what occurred on that day in 1969, go to the Marine Corps site http://www.popasmoke.com and lookup KIA Vietnam. There is a much better idea of what took place.
I had a lot of issues when I got back from my second tour. When I arrived back in the states, folks at the airport cussed me and tried to start fights with me. Finding a good job was hard. I was lucky that I met a wonderful girl who understood my issues; not that she could fix them but was always there for me.
I was also lucky that we lived on a farm, which helped me better adjust to the world I was now living.”
~ Charlie Whaley, Vietnam Veteran