"DON'T KNOW MUCH ABOUT B CO 214TH AVIATION, AKA 147th ASHC, AKA B Co, 3-25th AVN HISTORY"
WRITTEN BY LTC PAUL E. BERG
Historic Period: 1965-1972
1965: · (Unit Historian: CW2 Donald C. Uzzle) The 147th was activated on 20 June 1965 as one the first CH-47 Chinook units in Army Aviation by HQDA 3rd Army Order #186. After activation at Ft. Benning, GA, it began a rigorous and intensive training program to prepare helicopter crews and support personnel for deployment to the Republic of Vietnam. The unit was assigned under the 44th Air Transportation Battalion, 10th Aviation Group with 8 commissioned officers, 26 warrant officers and 142 enlisted men. On 14 August the unit was alerted for duty to Vietnam and had until 15 September 1965 to be ready.
· On 2 October, 18 CH47's of the 147th Transportation Company were the largest number of CH47's ever to be flown across the U.S. at once. It took 4 days from Ft Benning to Ft Stockton, CA.
· The Hillclimbers deployed to Southeast Asia on 8 November 1965 after their historic flight from Ft. Benning.
·On 1 December, the 147th Transportation had the honor to have the 1st CH47 to fly in Vietnam at Vang Tau AAF. They were assigned to the 11th Aviation Battalion, 12th Aviation Group, and U.S. Army Vietnam.
·The 147th was the "1st operational Chinook unit" in Vietnam outside the 1st Cavalry (Air) area.
·The instructor pilots cross-trained all pilots to be aircraft gunners.
·The 1st combat mission was on 17th December, where 17 CH47's repositioned 1,756 combat troops of the 173rd Airborne Bde to III Corps and did it in only 5 hours.
· On 22 December, the first aircraft recovery for the IV Corps area was an UH-1D. It was within 1 hour of the "Mayday" call when the CH47 delivered the aircraft home.
· "Operation Big Cheer" on the 25th of December had 6 CH47's fly Bob Hope and the USO entertainers around the III Corps on a goodwill mission. He was impressed with the flight and at the one point sat in the troop commander's seat and observed the flight. Upon completion Mr. Hope thanked the 147th for its participation and support.
· 1st Month in Vietnam 453.9 hours
786 tons of cargo
6 aircraft recoveries
36 medical evacuations
· On the 31st of December, on an emergency resupply mission, CPT Morris Jessup and CW3 Alvey Martz encountered hostile fire and became the first aircraft casualty of the unit by receiving 4 hits of which 2 were critical but the aircraft was able to recover back to rear for repairs.
· (Unit Historian: Major Harold D. Zumbro)
·The unit was assigned for direct support of the 1st ID, 25th ID, 173rd Airborne Brigade, Royal Australian Artillery.
· The 147th Aviation Company had the following units attached to them: the 171st Maintenance Detachment (AVIM) and the 772 Medical Detachment
· The 147th had 16 CH47's and 2 CH47 float aircraft · The first 31 days of 1966: 2,127 sorties 908 hours 2,275 tons of cargo 10,959 passengers · The average aircraft recovery was 1 aircraft recovery every 2½ days.
· The first 8 days of 1966, the 147th moved 5 artillery batteries, 2 airborne battalions, and 1 infantry brigade
· On January 8th, during a mission to recover 2 UH-1D's by CW2 Kenneth Donley and CW2 John Banks, they made the first successful recovery but then received 4 hits in PZ. The pilots then replaced their aircraft with another and called in armed aircraft but as they approached the LZ again. They got hit and received 2 more hits. One round seriously wounded crewmember SPC6 Patrick Convoy. Because of the severity of the wound and intense fire mission, they aborted and SPC Convoy was evacuated to the 93rd hospital to Bien Hoa. Later 1LT Lloyd Ellison and CW2 James Miner recovered the aircraft.
· The 147th recovered a UH-1B 50 miles NE of Phan Thiet, which was not in 147th AO, but they dispatched anyway. The site said they would have to destroy the aircraft if not immediately recovered. They recovered the Huey and were bringing it back and while approaching the runway lights the 3/8-inch clevis holding the sling to the mast failed and dropped the aircraft approximately 20 feet causing serious damage to the Huey.
· On an air assault while extracting the 173rd Bde, 7 out of 8 Chinooks on approach to LZ received hits from VC ground fire. SPC5 George Fifer was wounded, 1 aircraft was damaged and 2 were aborted to make emergency landing. After 1st lift, 7 aircraft met at alternate LZ to estimate damage and 3 were not in flying condition because of the hits in rotor blades and fuel cells. For the 2nd and 3rd extractions, the 4 aircraft compensated for the other 3 by augmenting 53+ troops per lift.
· On January 18, 3 CH47's combined to recover a downed CV-2 Caribou, located 185 miles away. Due to the size, heat, etc. the wings, tail section, and engines were removed to allow it to be slung. The trip took 4 refuel stops and 3 days to complete and the first CV-2 Caribou ever recovered by a CH-47 in Vietnam.
· The month of February:
1 aircraft recovery every 2 days
· On February 6th, 6 CH-47's extracted 160 tons of rice that was captured by 173rd Airborne Brigade on a search and destroy mission. The men of the 147th donated the rice to the children of Vang Tau orphanage.
· Also on February 8th, there were 6 aircraft recoveries by one aircraft on one day (3 x UH-1B's, 2 Navy, 1 x CH34).
· February 11-12, 3 CH47's escorted Vice-President Hubert Humphrey on a tour of III Corps area.
· February 26, the 147th made the first night recovery. There was an urgent mission that could not delay until morning because a UH-1D was unsecure and if the recovery was not made now they would have to destroy the aircraft. 1LT Robert Kibler and CW2 Robert Sword knew it was an extremely difficult to hover over aircraft and hook up in total darkness, no illumination and exposure to enemy fire was great. At 2000 the aircraft arrived at the PZ and a rigging team from the 56th Maintenance was already at work preparing the aircraft lighting to provide light so the rigging team turned their searchlight toward the area. As they maneuvered over the load, they determined there was insufficient light available. Another helicopter landed next to them to direct its light also toward the site. The added light was enough to pick up the load. SPC5 James Stutteville provided directions during the maneuver and after tense moments of hovering in darkness the hook up was good. The aircraft turned all lights off so the VC could not determine the direction of flight. They were escorted by 2 armed UH-1B's but had no hostile fire.
· The unit also had serious grounding due to failures in the combining transmission quill shafts. The entire fleet was grounded except for emergencies. The failed shafts were sent to the states accompanied by CW2 Eugene Sloan to Boeing and he stayed to answer questions.
· The month of March
3,183 tons of cargo
· Due to the high velocity winds from the Chinooks, the units quickly learned that staging areas, and Pick up zones and landing zones should not be adjacent to bivouac or built up areas. The Hillclimbers had disintegrated many temporary structures within 75 feet of the rotors. Many complaints had been sent to the 147th.
· The Hillclimbers sponsored and trained the 178th Aviation (CH-47) on their arrival to Vietnam. The companies' crews were integrated and logged 580 hours of training with the 178th.
· The first quarter of 1966;
8,007 tons of cargo
44 aircraft recoveries
· April of 1966
2326 tons of cargo
1 aircraft recovery every 1 ½ days
· On 4 April, the 147th made the first water rescue when a CH-47 flown by CPT Leonard Wilson and CW2 James Minor returning from a mission heard a "mayday" from a USAF F-100 pilot who gave his distress and direction while ejecting. They spotted the parachute in the South China Sea, and quickly found the pilot. The aircraft hovered over the pilot and tried to use the rescue winch but it failed, so SPC6 Lester Wolfe started to repair it immediately. While repairing the hoist, they landed in the water but the door proved to be too high to allow crew to reach for the pilot. Within 5 minutes, SPC6 Wolfe fixed the winch and rescued the pilot. From the time the "mayday" was called, the pilot was rescued in a total of 21 minutes.
· The 178th Aviation became operational on 10 April 1966.
· 21 April, CW2 Fred Farmer and CW2 James Miner did the first night extraction in Vietnam by a CH-47 for 4 seriously wounded personnel at using the winch. .
· 4 May, Aircraft 64-13138 went out of control and crashed and burned while flying a resupply mission in support of the 101st Airborne Division. The aircraft was totally destroyed and 21 personnel received fatal injuries and 5 soldiers from the 147th died.
· 9 May, aircraft 65-2121 crashed between Vung Tau and Saigon CW2 Robert Watts and CW2 Joseph Algermission were the pilots. All personnel escaped with minor injuries but gunner SPC4 Dickie Trinkler was killed.
· 13 May, the 53rd Aviation Detachment (5 armed CH47's) commanded by LTC William Tedesco was attached to the 147th Hillclimbers.
· June of 1966
490 tons of cargo
6 aircraft recoveries
"5000th flight hour in Vietnam"
· 9 June, a Chinook flown by CPT Harold Gonyers and CWO Charles Davis evacuated 25 wounded by winch for the 101st and hovered for 45 minutes and received 4 hits from the enemy
·17 June, the 147th Aviation Company (Medium Helicopter) and was redesignated 147th Assault Support Helicopter Company (ASHC).
·28 June there was a change of command where Major Don Butler gave command to Major Jack Keaton.
· In July, Woody Hayes head football coach of Ohio State University visited the 147th.
· 11 August, the 147th transported its 50,000th passenger since arriving to Vietnam. It was SGT Roland Sherman from HHC 1-28 Infantry, 1st Infantry Division and received a plaque and 4 day pass.
· The 147th flew flood relief supplies and evacuated animals for the Vietnamese including chickens, pigs, and ducks. There was however an attempt to slingload a cow. Unfortunately it was unsuccessful. The farmer mourned over the casualty and unit paid the farmer for the cow and made steaks for everyone.
· On 1 OCT, Hillclimber 132 flew its 1,000th hour; this was the first operational CH47 to break 1,000 hours in Vietnam.
· On 2 October a Chinook flown by MAJ George Martin and CPT Art Eduid was shot down in enemy territory. It was then secured by gunships and later by ground troops. A CH54 was requested because the aircraft was unrepairable and could not be flown. It would take 3 days to get the recovery team to the site. The S2 reported VC massing units nearby and on 3 OCT at first light the 171st Maintenance led by CPT Leo Wilson was at the site. They stripped down the CH47, first the engines then transmissions, then blades, etc. At 1600, they lifted all the parts out to Phu Loi; the 178th ASHC (CH47) took the aircraft to Vung Tau. This was the first recovery of a CH47 by another CH47 under adverse conditions in the Republic of Vietnam
· The Hillclimbers on November 1st made the first aircraft recovery of a CH-47 being recovered by another CH-47 under hostile fire.
· 7 November, the 147th was transferred from 11th Combat Aviation Battalion to the 222nd Aviation Battalion.
· 12 NOV, during a night gun employment Hillclimber 076 was hit by enemy fire north of Tay Ninh. SPC Charles Kelly returned fire and marked the area with smoke, and later gunships were called in and found 4 enemy dead.
· The only casualty for the quarter was CWO Former, who received facial wounds on an air assault mission, where the enemy shot through the windshield.
· Last quarter of 1966
8,168 tons of cargo
· The total for 1966
Operation rate 76%
27,091 tons of cargo
146 aircraft recoveries
266 medical evacuations
The unit and soldiers were awarded:
Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry w/ Palm
7 Distinguished Flying Crosses
7 Bronze Stars 46 Air Medals w/ "V"
7 Purple Hearts 46 ARCOM's
· On Christmas day, Bob Hope came with mission support and many of the soldiers were able to go see his show.
1967 (Unit Historian: MAJ Raymond Fossum)
· 15 January, the 147th was the first CH-47 unit to surpass 10,000 flight hours in Vietnam.
· 15 January, aircraft 66-0072 crashed near Can Tho and the aircraft was a total loss and the crew of five all died. The aft green blade failed.
· The first naval support mission by a CH-47 was a rendezvous with the naval support ship for operation "Deck House 5" by CW3 Leroy Brendle and CW2 Joseph Miller.
22 down aircraft recoveries
57 medical evacuations
2500 tons of cargo
22 aircraft recoveries
86 medical evacuations
· 1 Feb, MAJ John Moran Jr. took command of the 147th.
· On February 2nd, a CH-47 took 7 hits on a night resupply and 1 crewman PFC Robert Farthing was wounded and received a Purple Heart.
· February 15th, in the Mekong Delta, Hillclimber 075 observed 2 Navy River patrol Boats (PBR) under attack by VC. The PBR's were desperately trying to go to the middle of the river. Hillclimber door gunners engaged the enemy with their M60's. The pilot made several passes over the enemy so each gunner could have their shot to silence the enemy position. The VC wavered under the attack allowing the PBR to gain relative safety on the river. The pilots sent calls for gunships so they could also engage and silence the position.
· March 1967
23 aircraft recoveries
15 medical evacuations
3,011 tons of cargo
· March 4th, recovered 4 UH-1D's, 1 O-1 Bird Dog, 1 OH-23, and an USAF F-5 Freedom Fighter using only one CH-47.
· 12 March, a freak accident happened on aircraft 62-2132 piloted by CW3 Harold Miller; where a fragmentation grenade accidentally exploded inside the aircraft after leaving the PZ with a 105mm slung and a gun crew 8 inside. After the explosion, they returned to the PZ and found the aircraft still flyable but 6 soldiers wounded and one dead. Crewmember PFC William Campbell was wounded. His flak vest saved his life. The crewmembers saved 3 of the 6 soldiers by using CPR and first aid. Both crewmembers received the Distinguished Flying Cross and Boeing Vertol Rescue Award.
· The 147th were notified that all 1962 Chinooks were to be remodeled and turned in and received 1966 replacements.
· First quarter of 1967
7,482 tons of cargo
98 medical evacuations
69 aircraft recoveries
Participated in the following operations "Manhattan", "Dayton", Portsea"
· On April 4th the unit got to meet their enemy when they transported 37 VC prisoners to Saigon.
· Month of April:
3,420 tons of cargo
20 aircraft recoveries
· 30 May, flew their 100,000th passenger
· 24 April, the last of the 1962 Chinooks were turned in when aircraft 62-2124 slung aircraft 62-2120 to the port at Vung Tau.
· On 25 April, Hillclimber 989, piloted by CPT Lloyd Mason and CW2 Marvin Johnson responded to an USAF pilot requesting evacuation. They hovered over the dense foliage for 20 minutes and using the hoist recovered 4 personnel.
· On 3 May, the unit transported 18 KIA's from the 101st from Dong Tam to Saigon.
· 5 May, the unit received all new aircraft consisting of 4 x 1965 models and 12 x 1966 models.
· The month of May
11,276 tons of cargo
28 aircraft recoveries
124 medical evacuations
· 24 May, the 147th slung the first 155mm howitzer in Vietnam for a combat mission
· 30 May, 2 Chinooks set a record for moving 1,203 passengers in 7 hours of flying
· Hillclimber 66-0073 was the first operational landing at sea for the HMS Sydney by a Chinook. The unit's LNO with his pathfinders were mistakenly left on naval ship when it left port and set sail. The ship was 10 miles out at sea when the Chinook arrived to pick up its fellow Hillclimbers. The Australians awarded them a plaque for their achievement.
· May, the 147th carried its 80,000,000th pound of cargo in Vietnam and its 100,000 passenger.
· June 1st, a CH-54 Detachment (3 aircraft) were attached to the 147th with 4 pilots and 20 crewmembers.
· 19 June, the first CH-54 (Sky Crane) flew from the detachment.
· On 24 June, the Hillclimbers worked with the Australian Task Force for a CS gas drop under complete IFR conditions. The aircraft in conjunction with Vung Tau radar on a preplotted course, made 3 CS drops from 3,000 MSL and were observed to hit right on target thus causing much weeping on the VNA regiment.
· 2nd quarter of 1967
17,847 tons of cargo
71 aircraft recoveries
143 medical evacuations
· Month of July:
2,503 tons of cargo
15 aircraft recoveries
· 7 July, a tragedy occurred over the South China Sea as 2 B-52's collided and rained wreckage of men and machine. 2 Chinooks flew 40-60 miles off the coast, and were on station for over 8 hours for 2 days looking for debris and remains.
· The Hillclimbers carried its 80,000,000th pound of cargo in Vietnam.
· The Hillclimbers recovered its 300th aircraft recovery.
· 17 July, MAJ Charles Gillman took command of the 147th. "Figures are distracting at times because they fail to tell the complete story. They fail to tell the assigned pathfinders preparing the loads, working from dusk till dawn, repelling hostile areas to setup LZ's or PZ's. Neither has the story been related to the maintenance crew that worked deep into the night so that the aircraft and operational crew could press on; or the crews that worked long and arduous hours flying 10-12 hours straight! These are the nucleus, these are the guts of the unit that get all types of records and will continue to accept the challenge "No Hill for a Climber!"
· 16 August, another chinook passed 1,000 hours in country but this one was crewed by SPC Gilbert Butts Jr. and SPC Alfred Norton. The aircraft required 10 inspections, required 660 man-hours and a total of 6,000 maintenance hours.
3,911 tons of cargo
16 aircraft recoveries
254,000 cargo miles
4 medical evacuations
· 1 September, a new record was set when 3 CH47's hauled 317.5 tons of cargo in 20.5 combined hours
· There was relief for the Hillclimbers because the 242nd Assault Helicopter Company became operational in the Republic of Vietnam.
· 22 September, Hillclimber 076 crewed by CPT Conley Raymond, CW2 Jake Stevens, SPC John Colglazer and SPC Ronald Force volunteered for 6 weeks on "Project Combat Skypost" · September 769 hours 2,560 tons of cargo 7,660 passengers · Total for 3rd quarter 2,540 hours 38,110 passengers 8,974 tons of cargo 45 aircraft recoveries
· Hillclimber 033 flying down the canal in the Mekong Delta lost power while attempting to place beams on a bridge being built under supervision by the U.S. Special Forces. The aircraft settled into the five feet of water in the canal. The recovery crew removed rotor blades, engines, and rigged for evacuation along with the help of engineer scuba divers. The CH-54 crane due to the weight was unable to gain ETL. Major Machen then hovered his chinook just adjacent to the PZ directing a 90mph rotorwash into the PZ to make the CH-54 flight possible.
· October 3,367 sorties
4,246 tons of cargo
22 aircraft recoveries
· MAJ John Caron took command of the 147th.
· 3 November, CPT Robert Clark, CW3 Jerry Bishop, and Roy Molick returned from 30 days of support for the USAF in Udron, Thailand.
· 7 November CPT Clark monitored a distress call from an artillery unit, which explained a truck full of ammo overturned trapping a soldier underneath. He hovered over and safely lifted the truck far enough to remove the trapped soldier. The effort resulted in the man's arm being saved.
4,084 tons of cargo
25 aircraft recoveries
· December 24, the Hillclimbers on a Good Samaritan mission had 3 loads of personnel to Lai Khe for the Bob Hope show on 24 December and again on the 25th for the show, which was held at Bearcat home of the 9th ID.
64 aircraft recovery
· The year of 1967
· The unit and Soldiers were awarded
19 Distinguished Flying Crosses
1 Soldier Medal
16 Bronze Stars
92 Air Medals
48 Air Medals with "V"
4 ARCOMs with "V"
510 Air Medal Clusters
3 Purple Hearts
1968 (Unit Historian: Major Gordon Hunt)
· The 147th was under the 214th CAB and the 1st Aviation Brigade.
4,780 tons of cargo
6 aircraft recoveries
· 11 January, the 147th became the 1st CH47A Chinook company to fly 20,000 combat support hours in the Republic of Vietnam. The date is 4 days short of a full year to the date the Hillclimbers topped the 10,000 hour mark.
· 30 January, CW3 Carl Vertrees and CW2 Ed Zober were preparing to launch from Can Tho on a tactical flight emergency happened when the airfield came under attack. A round came through the cockpit and hit CW2 Zaber on the helmet. As he rolled down the floor from the impact, another round came directly through the vacant area. CW2 Zaber's only sufficient wounds were from the flying glass.
· After the attack, CW3 Royce Roley and CW1 David Zoller proceeded to Soc Trang for a troop pick up. Arriving at Soc Trang in marginal weather they found it also under attack and returned back to Can Tho only to find it also under attack. It was indeed a frustrating night and will be remembered as the start of "TET".
· 31 January, 3 Hillclimbers 027 (MAJ John Caron, CW3 James Godfrey, SP6 Newton Coryell), Hillclimber 035 (CPT Robert Clark, CWO Sam Taylor, SPC Leslie Carti, SPC Francis Beabout, PFC Tom Epperson) and Hillclimber 038 (CW2 Donald Bartholomay, CWO James Reynolds, SP5 Lewis Parks, SP4 James Cahill, SP4 James Vaness) launched for a tactical emergency to pick up troops and carry them to Saigon to help defend the city. Although Lai Khe was under mortar attack, the 3 chinooks landed and picked up the troops and departed for Saigon. Approaching Saigon, the aircraft came under intense ground fire and the 2 lead aircraft were repeatedly struck. Upon landing, aircraft 027 and 035 had to be shut down for inspection while 083 continued the mission. Aircraft 027 was grounded due to battle damage. Aircraft 035 was still flyable and departed for the 2nd sortie. Aircraft 035 completed the sortie and was then diverted for a medical evacuation mission. Due to heavy sniper fire in the streets, aircraft 038 was unable to find an area to sit down and returned to the PZ. Mission was completed and all aircraft released to Vang Tau.
· February relaxed after "TET"
3,524 tons of cargo
OR rate 76%
· 5 February, Hillclimber 074 was hit by small arms and crewed by CW3 Godfrey and CW1 Cross.
· 10 February, aircraft 007 (CPT Goodloe, CW1 Taylor, SP6 Otis, SP4 Helton, and PFC Jones) lost power on final approach with a sling load going into a LZ in south Saigon. The sling load was jettisoned but hung on the hook. The aircraft settled on the load and tipped over causing extensive damage to the blades and major components. There were no injuries.
· 15 February, CW3 Royce Raley and CW1 Samuel Taylor received heavy ground fire while flying Hillclimber 001 on a resupply mission. One round punctured the aft transmission oil sump and oil began flying everywhere. The FE SPC5 William Lee proved to be "Johnny on the Spot" and he quickly stuck his gloved finger into the hole and waited until CW3 Raley found a secure area to land. After the aircraft was shut down, SPC5 Lee took his finger from the hole and the hot oil poured onto the ramp.
· 16 February, Hillclimber 989 fell victim to enemy fire. The aircraft at 1,000 feet had a round struck and severed the utility line and the #2 hydraulic line. Aircraft safely returned to original drop point with oil spewing everywhere. There was an unsuccessful attempt to repair the ship and it had to stay a night under the stars. Early the next morning a maintenance team arrived and within 2 hours the ship again was flyable. Before both engines were started, the VC began delivering heavy mortar rounds into the area. Aircraft 989 pulled pitch with one available engine. The takeoff was executed just in time to prevent the aircraft from receiving a direct hit just seconds after the aircraft lifted. The other engine was started in-flight.
· Last week of February, the 147th began working with the members of the 271st Assault Support Helicopter Company who just arrived in country. They fully oriented the new company and the new crews with their AO and to instruct them of their duties as combat crewmembers.
· March 1st, MAJ George Leaf assumed command from MAJ John Caron. · March, the Hillclimbers were working in the Tay Ninh Province. The missions saw as many as 12 chinooks and 2 Skycranes in support of the 25th ID. The establishment of the fire support base NE of Tay Ninh required other aircraft from the "Muleskinners", "Geronimoes", "Black Cats" and the "Super Hooks".
0 aircraft recoveries (1st since arriving)
· First Quarter 1968
11 aircraft recoveries
5,743 tons of cargo
· 17 April, the 147th donated 12 barrels of diesel fuel to father Berguet who managed a Lepersarium NE of Bien Hoa. He has been active in the endeavor for over 40 years.
83% OR rate
· 4 May, Hillclimber 027 performed one of the fastest air rescues of the Vietnam Conflict. Major Herbert Degner and CW2 Samuel Taylor were returning to Vung Tau from Xuan Loc after a resupply mission. The FE SPC4 James Choate observed an USAF O-1 crash directly below them. SPC4 Choate informed the pilots and they entered a descent. Landing near the crash site, the crewmembers were dispatched to assist downed aviators. Neither pilot appeared seriously injured. They were loaded on 027 to Vung Tau and the ambulance was called in-flight and standing by. Total time from crash to hospital was 31 minutes.
· The Hillclimbers flew their 25,000th hour of counter-insurgency operations on the 10th of May.
· The first "B" model arrived to the unit when they flew 2 CH47A's from Vung Tau to Bearcat and exchanged them for 2 new "B" CH47's. The Hillclimbers had another mission to orient the newly arrived 272nd Assault Support Company to their new AO in the country Vietnam.
3,999 tons of cargo
82% OR rate
· Second quarter
14,487 tons of cargo
0 aircraft recoveries
· August 1,336 hours (highest ever)
· Third quarter
15,008 tons of cargo
3 aircraft recoveries
8 medical evacuations
· On July 2, the Hillclimber CH47's were involved in first extensive experimentation with airborne fire fighting techniques using a 450-gallon bucket.
· 5 July, Change of Command from Major Leaf to Major Billy J. Patterson.
· The Hillclimbers flew their 100,000th ton of cargo on the 20th of July · 22 July, Major Raymond Fossum on his 90 day commanders evaluation with his IP CW2 Bartholomay. Slinging an 8,000-pound artillery piece, had an engine failure, and then flew to a secure area to release the load from 50 feet. They flew back for a roll on landing. He passed his check ride.
· 22 July, Hillclimber 034 (CW2 Ronald Martin and CW2 Kjell Milsson) received 27 hits from enemy VC. The #1 hydraulic system was shot away and fumes from a fuel leak filled the aircraft, so they landed in a secure area. The crewmembers made the repairs and flew within 4 hours.
4,227 tons of cargo
· 18 August, CW1 James Boschma flying Hillclimber 027 wounded his left arm from a sniper. CW2 John Nicol took over the controls and SPC Lindsey Harrington admitted first aid to the wounded pilot. The mission was continued proving the Hillclimbers "can do" attitude. The wounded CW1 was harassed by the flight crewmembers for staining the seat and bleeding all over the pilot's console.
· 18 August, CW3 Royce Raley and CPT James Fraser while on personnel transport mission, lost their #2 engine and then entered IFR conditions. They contacted "Paris Control" who vectored them for a roll-on landing.
· 20 August, a VC sniper brought Hillclimber 989 to the ground in a ball of flames. While the aircraft was departing a fire support base Dong Son on a resupply 1LT Sherfey and CPT Frasier received small arms and numerous hits. While doing a flight check, SPC6 Yacin stated the aft end of the aircraft was on fire. CPT Fraser immediately entered an autorotation while the 1LT jettisoned the load. A soft landing was made and crew scrambled for safety as the aft pylon fell off the burning aircraft. CW1 Sam Magel and 1LT Charlie Adam working the same mission circled the aircraft while making radio calls and then landed and picked up the crew.
Record 1,336 hours
5,008 tons of cargo
5,773 tons of cargo
· 4 September, CWO Robert Pruess was wounded in the leg on Hillclimber 074; CW2 Nichol took control of the aircraft. Robert was medevac to Japan and later sent back to CONUS.
· 13 September, disaster was avoided by quick thinking by SPC6 Lewis Parks on Hillclimber 038, flown by CW3 Royce Raley and CPT Kenneth Gibbert on a night search and rescue mission. The mission required that flares be dropped from the cargo hole so illumination could be provided to search for downed aircraft. The 70th flare to be dropped malfunctioned and exploded over the hole. PFC Jerry McDaniel was wounded from the explosion, but the main danger was the remaining flares that began to catch on fire. SPC Parks reacted to the situation quickly disposing of the burning flares out the rear of the aircraft.
· 15 September, the Hillclimbers flew their 30,000th combat hour in Vietnam the crew were the following CW2 Walker, SP6 Lewis Parks, SP4 Duane Martesdorf and gunner SP4 Welsh.
· Fourth quarter of 1968, the 147th was newly designated under the 164th Combat Aviation Group.
· 15 October there was a groundbreaking ceremony for the new company day room and was broken in by MAJ Patterson and 1SG Hallman and project manager SP6 Sam Swindell.
64,442 tons of cargo
· 30 November, the change of command where MAJ Gordon Hunt took command from MAJ Patterson.
5,478 tons of cargo
3,840 tons of cargo
· The 147th transferred from the 222nd Combat Support Aviation Battalion to 214th Aviation Battalion located at Dong Tam.
· 12 December, Hillclimber 096 upon take off lost power and crashed. The crew sustained no injuries but the aircraft had major damage and 5 Vietnamese were killed. This was the first accident in over 10 months.
· 24 December, Hillclimber 087 on a resupply mission for the Navy to Poulo Obi Island off South Vietnam landed on the island to unload. The attempt to start the aircraft found that the APU broke. A maintenance aircraft was launched but had to head back due to weather.
· December 25th, Santa Claus came when Hillclimber 128 (crewed by CW2 David Helton, 1LT Patterson, SP6 Harry Frazier, SP4 Paul Michelson, and SP4 Alfonzo Lee) arrived at Poulo Obi Island to bring 087 an APU for Christmas. Also, BG Emil Eschenberg Deputy Commanding General of Capital Military Assistance Command paid the Hillclimbers a visit. He spent the day shaking hands and chatting with the soldiers.
· Last quarter of 1968
15,773 tons of cargo
· The year of 1968
57,505 tons of cargo
24 aircraft recoveries
578 medical evacuations
77% OR rate
· The Unit and Soldiers were awarded
7 Distinguished Flying Crosses
9 Bronze Stars
1 Bronze Star with "V"
87 Air Medals
9 Air Medals with "V"
1 ARCOM with "V"
631 Air Medal "Oak Leaf's"
7 Purple Hearts
1969 (Unit Historian: 1LT Walter Sullivan Jr.)
The unit remained assigned under the 214th CAB.
· 12 January, Mr. Ellis VP of Boeing-Vertol visited the 147th to see how the aircraft were performing in combat.
· 15 January, SPC5 Rufles Hodges of Midland, Texas was killed on Hillclimber 128 while he was working during night maintenance. He was struck on the head by one of the forward blades and pronounced DOA at the 36th Evacuation Hospital. On the 19th, a memorial service was held by the flight platoon.
· 28 January, a new MTOE was inacted for the 147th and the only change was the deletion of the 171st (phase) maintenance Detachment.
· 23 February, the airfield came under attack with 4 rocket rounds and all aircraft departed. The POL dump was on fire and the Hillclimbers primary mission was to deliver fire-fighting work to put out the fire.
· 27 February, "Red Day" for aircraft 61-9090 (CWO Larry walker, CWO Van Peterson, FE Delmer Glaser, CE James Allen, GN (gunner) Frank Chiefa)(The red text indicates a corrected entry by the webmaster based on first hand testimony-in this case Delmer Glaser) when the CH47A departed at 0900 to the east with an external load, they lost one engine. The PIC jettisoned the load and regained control of the aircraft and began to return to the airfield. They lost the second engine and started an autorotation. The aircraft struck the ground and rolled over on its back
· 9 March, The USARV Cobra Training Team was attached and on 17 March (assigned with 8 AH-1S's.) · On 25 March, Major Gordon Hunt (Commander) and 1LT Roger Syverud flew the first "C" Model CH47 to the company area. The aircraft had better fuel capacity and better flying characteristics.
· First Quarter 3,694 hours 12,345 sorties 23,784 passengers 40 aircraft recoveries
· 6 April, The Minister for the Army, Australian Forces visited Vang Tau and the 147th demonstrated the capabilities of their new "C" model Chinook.
· 26 April, there was an award ceremony where the Distinguished Flying Cross and Bronze Star was awarded to CW3 Floyd Blyers and SP6 Donald Bagley. WO1 Bobby Cross received an Air Medal with Valor. Also, SP4 David Hiben and SP4 Alan Stump received an ARCOM with "V".
· 25 May, the 147th flew their 40,000th combat hour, carried their 148,135th ton of cargo, picked up their 337,311th passenger, and recovered their 666th aircraft recovery.
· There was a change of command where MAJ Frank Meegan took command from MAJ Hunt.
· Second quarter
10,496 tons of cargo
434 medical evacuations
34 aircraft recoveries
· The 147th was now redesignated under the 164th Aviation Group.
· 8 July, the 147th participated in its first troop withdraw from Vietnam. They had a combined effort with the 271st Aviation Company. Each company launched 7 aircraft from Dong Tam to Tan Son Nhat for a closing ceremony then to Bien Hoa for their trip home.
2,256 tons of cargo
311 medical evacuations
14 aircraft recoveries
2,147 tons of cargo
19 aircraft recoveries
· September 975 hours (The only month they flew less then 1,100 hours in their entire tour in Vietnam)
1,481 tons of cargo
· Hillclimber 817, CW2 Mark MaClaren and CW2 Robert Gardner doing a G-4 resupply mission acquired a severe high frequency vibration and loud pounding from the drive shaft. The FM radio was broken as usual and they were unable to contact any fellow Hillclimber aircraft. Their flight continued and revealed 2 busted lord mounts on the #4 drive shaft and talked with the ground commander to request permission to secure aircraft for the night. The base security had taken heavy fire on the previous 3 nights and expected a full assault tonight. The ground commander advised the crew that they could not ensure security and the area might be overrun and highly suggested the aircraft to be removed. Technical knowledge was put into play and the broken lord mounts were repaired quickly by using undershirts to absorb the shock of the drive shaft. CW2 McClaren elected to fly the aircraft back and notified the crew that their presence would be strictly a volunteer basis. As the aircraft started up, every crewmember was at his station. Hillclimber 817 departed after dark to return to Can Tho which was the nearest secure area. Severe high frequency vibrations and drive shaft pounding accompanied the entire flight along with continuous ground fire. 11 times the aircraft took heavy fire, 6 times it received moderate fire, and sparatic fire was ever present. The aircraft was called "shot down" on 3 separate occasions by aircraft observing the intense ground fire. The highest height they could maintain was 25-50 AGL. An automatic weapon opened up on the aircraft from 300 feet away, 1 round struck the ship and passed through the door gunners leg. The gunner quickly silenced the position while bleeding profusely. Seconds later, an RPG exploded so close to the aircraft that mud was thrown over the side of the aircraft. After 45 minutes of hell, the aircraft could see the approach lights of Can Tho and they all made it home safely.
· 15 October, MAJ Marvin Cox Jr. took command of the 147th.
· The 147th was assigned a new concept for a mission called "fog dispersion". The idea was that 1 CH47 and 1 CH54 could clear LZ's that were fog bound. In theory, the rotorwash from the aircraft would create large holes in fog banks if they hovered just over the fog bank. Due to the time of year, fog was scarce and the actual activity to use the mission was very slight.
· On one occasion the aircraft were called to clear a LZ. After arriving, the Chinook cleared an area 500 meters by 1,000 meters long in a matter of 5 minutes. Before the aircraft arrived, the fog made visibility 1/8 to zero visibility for the pathfinders.
· The last days of November found the aircraft carrying an Infantry Blue racing stripe on the nose and front pylon. History and origin is obscure as to the significance of the racing stripe but it was an outstanding moral booster.
"No Hill for a Climber-No Mission Too Difficult"
· Last quarter 1969
7,031 tons of cargo
The following soldiers received the Distinguished Service Cross:
MAJ James Clinton
MAJ Marvin Cox
CPT Richard Campbell
CPT James Davis
CPT James Hertsch
CW2 Dennis Abramowics
CW2 Larry Fann
CW2 James Journey
CW2 Mark MacLaren
CW2 Wallace Paddock
WO1 John Fehrs
SP4 Robert Busic
1970 (Unit Historian: CWO Arlo Green)
· The 147th was assigned to the 307th Combat Aviation Battalion at Vung Tau.
2,762 tons of cargo
17 aircraft recoveries
· 5 January, the U.S. Navy's tugboat "Danna Lee" was aground 35 miles south of Vung Tau. The boat went aground because of a 25-knot wind and a #4 Sea State. The boat was in immediate danger of capsizing and breaking up. Hillclimber 842 piloted by CW2 Charles Mathews and CW2 Robert Gardner were dispatched and they saw 9 men on the ship's deck. The waves were breaking over the bow and the aircraft hovered 50 feet over the boat and raised each of the sailors to safety.
· 6 February, the 147th flew its 50,000th hour in Vietnam and was flown by MAJ Cox, CPT Swenson, SPC Snelling, SPC Kriz, and SPC Tomlinson.
· Also at the same time flew its 339,270,000th pound of cargo, carried its 478,976th passenger, carried its 2,338th medical evacuation, recovered its 816th aircraft since its arrival in Vietnam.
2,469 tons of cargo
10 aircraft recoveries
· The busiest period in unit history when every pilot averaged 140 hours a month and departures at 0300 and arrivals at 2400 were extremely common.
103 hours/aircraft 87% OR rate
3,772 tons of cargo
8 aircraft recoveries ·
April 69-March 70 14,676 accident free combat hours
· The 147th moved from Vung Tau to Can Tho AAF.
3,276 tons of cargo
· During the 12 months from April 69-March 70, the 147th flew 14,676.9 hours of accident free combat hours.
· The 147th entered the Cambodian Campaign support for the 9th ARVN from Moc Hoa to forward locations in Cambodia.
4,508 tons of cargo
· June 7th, the 147th moved permanently from Vung Tau to Can Tho AAF.
· 13 June, there was a change of command where MAJ Mark Harbman took command from MAJ Marvin Cox
2,382 tons of cargo
Recovered 8 Cobras,
18 UH-1's, and 1 A-37
· July 2,245 sorties
3,399 tons of cargo
22 aircraft recoveries
2,659 tons of cargo
Recovered 6 Cobra's and 34 UH-1's
· The 147th flew its 60,000th combat flying in Vietnam. "No Chinook Company in the Republic of Vietnam has exceeded this fact and they did the last 10,000 hours in 8 months" The Boeing Company sent the unit a plaque for this outstanding achievement.
3,053 tons of cargo
2,386 sorties 1,187 hours
Recovered 9 Cobras and 31 UH-1's
· 28 October 1970, MAJ James Clinton took command of the 147th.
3,268 tons of cargo
1,294 hours recovered
9 Cobra's, 39 UH-1's, 1 O-1, 1 U-6 (50 aircraft recoveries which was the largest since its arrival in Vietnam)
· The 147th started a new mission called "flame munitions bombardment." On 11 November, 3 Chinooks dropped barrels of mo-gas (Napalm) on a mountain southwest of Chi Lang. Pathfinders stated that the mo-gas landed on target every time. The 147th had a new nickname because of the mission, "Hillburners".
· November was a slow month
2,442 tons of cargo
948 hours recovered
7 Cobra's, 39 UH-1's, and 2 U-6 aircraft
3,184 tons of cargo
1,096 hours recovered 9 Cobra's and 27 UH-1's
· Recap for the year of 1970:
71,181 tons of cargo
315 aircraft recoveries
Flew its 60,000th combat hour 10,000 hours in the last 8 months
· Quote from change of command ceremony 1970.
"In the time frame of a year a lot of statistics are compiled but statistics themselves make a very dry fare, but when viewed from the individual and the unit effort required to do the work the statistics represent; they become fact, not only interesting but impressive. During 1970, the 147th Assault Support Helicopter (ASH) Company flew 23,106.5 hours, transported 71,181 tons of cargo, carried 221,241 passengers, and had 315 aircraft recoveries. The year brought forth opportunities and new records and precedents. One of these was the Hillclimbers passing the 60,000th combat flying hour mark. Another was flying 10,000 hours in 8 months. The execution and perfection of flame munitions bombardment was a real accomplishment. With the combat turnover in personnel, the unit manning to maintain its personality and "can do" attitude has prevailed throughout the changes in personnel. Everyone continues to adhere to our motto that there is "No Hill for a Climber" -----------------Hillclimber 06 (1970)
· The 147th was involved in Lam Son 719 operation, the U-Minh operation and gas drops in 7 sister mountain areas.
· Year of 1971
25,091 tons of cargo
286 aircraft recoveries
· The unit was awarded the Meritorious Unit Citation, the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Palm, and the Boeing Vertol 36,000 hour of safe flying award.
Commanders of 147th:
Maj. James Clinton III, Nov 70-May 71 Maj.
Joel Hinson, May 71-Sep 71
Maj. Donald Sinor, Oct 71-Dec 71
1972 (Unit Historian: CW2 James Holley)
3,429 tons of cargo
· On February 13th 1972, there was one mission for 147th to fly in support for the 21st ARVN at Ca Man. After the flight, MAJ Donald Sinor was given orders to stand down the unit. The news was welcomed and the war was over for the 147th and they were going home. Some were going to other CH47 units in country.
· The aircraft needed inspections, cleaned up, and inventoried before being shipped off.
· Out of the 18 Chinooks of the 147th only 12 were going to Hawaii while the others were going to other units in Vietnam. The unit was only given 7 days to get the aircraft to Vung Tau and ready to be shipped off.
· On the 13th, the unit packed up and loaded on USS Seatrain "Ohio". The majority of the unit got to go to Hawaii, but a few were left back to be reassigned to other CH47 units.
· On the 14th, the "Ohio" departed Vung Tau to Hawaii.
· CW2 Roger Evans was the lone guard with the aircraft while the company got to fly on USAF 747 aircraft.
· The statistic proudly claimed by the 147th and unprecedented by any other combat aviation unit in the world, is the 32,026.7 continuous accident free hours since 29 February 1969.
· Achievements from Vietnam included the
Meritorious Unit Citation;
Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Palm
and the Boeing Vertol 36,000-hour safety flying award.
· This was a quote prior to boarding the aircraft by the commander to his soldiers. "Although the aircraft and personnel had left the war-torn country of Vietnam, the accomplishments of the unit remained behind, vividly to the fact that the aggressive enemy of the peoples of South Vietnam had yet to obtain his goal. For those who measure a unit's achievement by statistics alone "The Hillclimbers" of the 147th compiled an array of figures, which would impress even the most demanding critic. During its war efforts, the 147th amassed a total of 78,372.5 hours flown, hauled 289,148.7 metric tons of cargo, carried 79,834 passengers, completed 2,245 medical evacuations, recovered 1,456 aircraft and received credit for55 confirmed flame drop kills. Such a record is not only a credit to the company and the US Army but also to the entire field of combat aviation. The 147th by record placed itself on the top step of the ladder of professionalism."
· 23 March, the 147th set up a temporary orderly room with the 161st Aviation Company at Schofield Barracks attached to US Army Hawaii.
· The boat from Vietnam docked at Ford Island at 0630 on the 31st March when the 147th officially landed in Hawaii.