"Hillclimber" Performs Speedy Rescue

Wonewoc Reporter, June 27th 1968

Submitted by: Herbert Degner's son

While returning from a routine ammo resupply mission to their home base at Vung Tau, Vietnam the pilots and crew of aircraft number 027 of the 147th "Hillclimbers" Assault Support Helicopter Company, recently performed an on the spot crash rescue.

Just south of Baria, at an altitude of 3,000 feet, crew chief Specialist Four James Choate of Miller, MO, spotted an Air Force L-19 "Birddog" as it crashed to the ground below him. Specialist Choate immediately informed the aircraft commander, Major Herbert Degner of Wonewoc, WI, and Warrent Officer (WO) Samuel Taylor, Hopkinsville, KY.

WO Taylor immediately put the big Chinook into an emergency decent with the intention of aiding the downed crew. Major Degner's crew and several Australian passengers secured the area and assisted the injured crew of the Birddog from the wreckage.

Vung Tau Tower was notified and an ambulance from the 36th Evac. Hospital stood by to pick up the injured crew at the airfield. Only fifteen minutes elapsed between the time of the crash and touch down at Vung Tau.

Slightly edited for clarity - Webmaster