Hillclimbers Photo Album #1

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First Hillclimber Commander. Maj Don A. Butler and Maj Clemontene Williams, first Commanding Officer and Executive Officer of the 147th Avn Co, point out their route of flight to Col. J Elmore Swenson, Commanding Officer of the 10th Avn Grp, following the 147th's successful 2,200-mile flight with 18 CH-47 "Chinook" helicopters from Ft. Benning, GA to California enroute to South Vietnam - 21 Oct 65 . Submitted by Don Butler.
Major Butler with Colonel. Col. J Elmore Swenson, Commanding Officer, 10th Avn Grp, congratulates Maj Don A. Butler after completion of the 147th Avn Company's 2,200-mile flight with 18 CH-47 "Chinook" helicopters. Submitted by Don Butler
Major Don Butler in the cockpit. Major Butler in the cockpit of a CH-47 "A" model Chinook. Submitted by Bill Butler.
Major Butler in Operations. Major Butler appears to be in Operations in Vung Tau, South Vietnam. Submitted by Bill Butler.
Hillclimber orderly room sign. Here's a good shot of the Hillclimber Sign, submitted by Mr. Jim Fraser.
Aerial shot of Vung Tau, South Vietnam This picture was made of Vung Tau in 1999. Does this bring back memories?
027, Nancy, lifts off. #027 "Nancy" lifts off from revetment.
072 hours before her fatal crash. Crewmembers relax beside #072 at a dusty LZ, within 24 hours, this aircraft and her crew would be no more.
074 doing a 155 howitzer lift demonstration. Sy Berdux was at the contols of #074 this day as they're demonstrating the lifting of a 155mm Howitzer.
A Hillclimber aircraft parked on a soccer field in Soc Tran, South Vietnam. "Hillclimber" at Ben Tre Socker Field, 5/27/68. Photo compliments of Rick Guidi, "B" Battery, 1/84th Artillery.
Final resting place of Hillclimber 090. The final resting place of aircraft #090.
Aircraft 096 crash scene. 096 and Jim Boschma.bmp: This crash took place in Can Tho on 12 December 1968. None of the crew was injured, but five Vietnamese passengers died. The story behind this incident will be posted shortly in the "Stories" section of the web site. Pictured here is one of the pilots, Jim Boschma, from that fateful day
The very first Hillclimber company patch. A rare item indeed! One of the original, locally made unit patches, featuring the misspelled "Climben"
Aircraft 032 painting by Frank White. "No Hill for a Climber" by Frank White depicts #032 as she makes her way down the streets of Vung Tau enroute to the 36th EVAC hospital, after a Grenade was accidently discharged on board just a few minutes earlier and they just couldn't wait for the Medics.    See the grenade blast damage to the aircraft, HERE and HERE.    Pictures from Richard Davis.
Pilot Frank Grose picking up a load for the Aussies. Hooking up a load the way my uncle, "Max" Grose, use to do it.
Photo courtesy of the ADAA (Air Dispatch Association of Australia)
Aircraft 132 in Saigon being prepared for shipment back to the US. Photo by Newt Coryell - 132 Pylon: 132 a little furthur along in the shipment preparation work.
Aircraft 132 in Saigon for tear down and shipment back to the US. Photo submitted by Jack Keaton.
.Mugshot photos, six in all, of Hillclimber pilots from 1967. Photo by Frank (Max) Grose - During the 1967/68 time period ID shots were taken of all Hillclimber pilots. Here are nine of those Hillclimber "Mug" shots.
Major Fraser in the commanders office in 1968. Photo from Mal Hunt - Captain Jim Fraser relaxing in Major Hunt's room at the Hillclimber BOQ (Tiger Towers) in Vunt Tau, Vietnam 1968.
Vung Tau USO during the Vietnam War. 147th 1stSGT and NCO's in front of the USO.
Aerial view of the Five Canals area of South Vietnam. Photo by Newt Coryell - 5 Canals: This picture is of the 5 Canals area in the Mekong Delta taken somewhere around 1967 or 1968.
Aerial photo of aircraft 989 burning in a rice paddy. Photo by Bob Nagel. Bob was the PIC of the A/C that flew in to pick up Ken Sherfey and Bud Fraser after they left Hillclimber A/C 989 in a rice paddy. Bob took photos of the A/C from the air and on the ground.
Rodney Brown, flight engineer in 1967 and 1968 of aircraft number 657996. Mr. Rodney Brown, Flight Engineer #996.
AJ Bottom and Bob Strange a few days before they were KIA in aircraft 072. CW2 AJ Bottom and CW2 Bob Strange - KIA January 15, 1967.
Vung Tau Army Air Field in South Vietnam. This is the 147th Vung Tau flight line and the 171st Maintainance hanger in the backgroup. Photo is same time frame as above.
BG Burdett addresses the 147th ASHC in Vietnam. BG Burdett in front of the 147th motorpool.
147th motorpool in Vung Tau. 147th ASHC MotorPool - Photo by Jim Fraser.
Aircraft 040 waits for a mission somewhere in South Vietnam. I believe this picture came from "Max" Grose. 040 out somewhere waiting for a mission. Picture is from late '67 or early '68.
A Hillclimber aircraft with a broken damper on one of the rear blades. The 171st had a CH-47 that they used to ferry parts and other related missions. One day a blade damper broke in flight. Centrifical force kept everything in place until shutdown... Luckily! Inspecting the damage is Victor LaBelle.
Early Hillclimber experimental fire bucket drops. This picture is from the time the 147th was experimenting with the then "new" fire drop bucket. We had no need for this in Vietnam. We were experimenting with this thing for some American company. The picture is from the copy of a publication called the "Skymaster." There was some bleedthrough.
Commander Charles Gillman departs in November 1967. Mr. Charles Gillman, 147th CO, toast his departure from Vietnam.
Battle damage at Can Tho airfield. Another view of a stricken "Innkeepers" ship at Can Tho.
CH 47 A model cockpit. Photo by Newt Coryell - "CH-47 Cockpit" - CH-47A Cockpit shot. Looks rather primitive compared to today but the pilots were, and I'm sure today still are, excellent.
Hillclimber Chinook on Chinook evacuation. Another shot of the 62 model evacuation. Photo supplied by Charles Gilman.
Skycrane recovering Skycrane. Crane recovering Crane - (Would anyone happen to have a picture of a Chinook lifting a Crane? UPDATE: Check out the links on the picture of #66-18409 (former 222nd CAB "Skymasters" Crane) below, which shows her being slung under a D-Model Chinook in 2002!
A Hillclimber flys past Back Beach in Vung Tau, South Vietnam. "Hillclimber" flies past "Back Beach" at Vung Tau.
A Hillclimber flys past Back Beach in Vung Tau, South Vietnam. The Flight Engineer, Rodney Brown, and Gunner, Holgar Stapleton, from 996 enjoy the local bar scene.
Another picture of a Chinook to Chinook sling load. This is the a photo of the evacuation of the 62 model Chinooks. This started sometime around March of 1967. Photo supplied by Charles Gilman.
Unit commander Major Hunt. CO Maj Hunt
Captain Smith and CW2 Cal Moore. Photo donated by George Miller - CPT Smith and CW2 Cal Moore.
A Skymasters Flying Crane at work. One of the "Skymaster" Cranes. Photo compliments of Rick Guidi, "B" Battery, 1/84th Artillery.
Hillclimber CW2 Jiles Scates. CW2 Jiles Scates. Photo donated by George Miller
CW2 George Miller with a Tommy gun. CW2 Miller with "Tommy Gun."
A Vung Tau Army air field civilian driver named Hahn. A civilian "driver" named Hahn. Photo donated by George Miller
Acadia, next door to Tiger Towers. Acadia, next door to TigerTowers - Photo by Jim Fraser.
Pilot Fred Farmer who was an oriigianl Hillclimber who came over with the unit. Pilot Fred Farmer posing with a 147th CH-47 shortly after the company arrived in Vietnam. This is one of the 1962 model Chinooks. Notice that the aft pylon has not yet been marked with the 11th Air Assault marking. This is probably late 1965.
Hillclimber air craft showing her nose art. Photo by Frank Grose - A Hillclimber working the Mekong Delta proudly showing her colors.
Hillclimber 073 working. Picture of 073 working somewhere in Vietnam pre September of 1967 (No engine FOD screens). Photo from George Miller
A Hillclimber Chinook slinging a Huey. Photo courtesy of the ADAA (Air Dispatch Association of Australia).
Hillclimber Ken Hoover and Doug Burger. Photo by Newt Coryell - "Hoover-Burger" - Ken Hoover and Doug Burger-Friends in the 147th during 1967/68 they are today related. Hoover married Burger's sister a long time ago.
Can Tho "Innkeeper" Chinook destroyed during an attack. Photo by Jim Fraser... The "Innkeepers" loose a ship at Can Tho.
Jim Allen, a Hillclimber flight engineer. Jim Allen, working Hillclimber CE.
Another picture of Jim Allen. A very young Jim Allen in late 1968. He was originally the CE of 090 until the crash on 27 February 1969.
171st Maintainance Detachment clerk Jim Hams. This is the company clerk (Jim Hams) for the 171st Maintainance Detachment in the 171st hanger sometime in '67 or '68.
Flight Engineer John McCloy sitting in airacraft 034. Flight Engineer John McCloy inside 034. Notice that in 1967 the 147th was still using M-14's.
Operation Junction City Operations center at Phu Loi. Operation Junction City, Ops at Phu Loi.
Vietnamese kids gathering at the back of a parked Hillclimber. Photo by Newt Coryell - Kids: Although some people regarded this as a great bother I came to appreciate this as a sign of relative peace in the area. Generally, but not always, when a crowd of locals gathered around you nothing was going to happen. In my experience, the few times that the locals stood off several hundred yards, trouble always started. R. Brown FE
Picture of LT Kimbrough. This is a picture of LT William Kimbrough signing the paperwork for a direct commission. This photo was taken by CPT Bud Fraser sometime in 1969. Bill Kimbrough was a CW3 and IP in the Hillclimbers and on his second tour. The first was in the CH-21 "Flying Banana."
The flight crew of 032 receiving "The Boeing Award." The "Boeing Award" is presented to FE Newton Coryell and his crew. Coryell and crew received this award twice: Once for actions doing an aircraft rescue and the second time for actions aboard 032 when an explosion occured on board. Coryell is second from right and Major Charles Gillman is on the far left. The Boeing tech. rep. (unnamed) is on the far right.
Gunner Bob Lamar waves our the rear window at 3,000 feet. Bob Lamar waving from 3,000 feet.
Major Hunt takes command of the Hillclimber in November of 1967. MAJ Hunt takes command.
Hillclimber Mike Mares and Australian Warrant Officer Daniel Garlin. Hillclimber FE Mike Mears and Australian Warrant Officer Dan Garlin in Vung Tau sometime in the late sixties. Mike was a two time Vietnam Hillclimber FE - 1967-68 and 1970-71. He was also with the unit for a time in Hawaii.
Picture of My Tho after TET attack in 1968. Photo by Newt Coryell - My Tho: The destruction of the Delta town of My Tho after TET 1968 shows the level of fighting was intense.
Hillclimber aircraft 027, nicknamed "Nancy." Photo by Newt Coryell - "Nancy1" - Another shot of 66-19027 with the unit patch visible on the nose. FE at this time was Newton Coryell.
Another picture of Nancy. Photo by Newt Coryell - "Nancy" - This is a shot of 66-19027. The blue crown on the combing box doors represent the colors of the second flight platoon. This picture was taken sometime between September of 1967 and the summer of 1968. 027 became a VNAF CH-47 and was destroyed by either NVA or VC action on 23 March 1975 somewhere around Da Nang and Phu Cat.
Scenes from around the Hillclimber company area in Vung Tau, South Vietnam. Scenes around the Company Area.
The Hillclimber orderly room during the tenure of Major Hunt. Photo from Mal Hunt - The Vung Tau Orderly Room with the bulletin board area overhang clearly visible to the right of the building.
Hillclimber pilots Frank Grose and Jerry Bishop. Frank Grose photo - Pilots; Frank Grose & Jerry Bishop, pause to enjoy some banana's between missions, circa 1968.
A protective aircraft revetment in Vung Tau, South Vietnam. RVN revetment.
A Hillclimber slingloading a small bulldozer. Slingloading a bulldozer.
Sy Burdux, doing what "Hookers" do best! Sy Burdux, doing what "Hookers" do best!
Hillclimber company area as it appeared in late 1965. 147th ASHC company area around December of 1965. Photo provided by L. Thomas Elliston.
USO show goes on the road. USO Show goes on the road!
Some Viet Cong prisoners who were being moved by the Hillclimbers one day. Frank Grose photo - "This was a bunch of VC prisoners I hauled one day."
Hillclimber at work. Photo by Newt Coryell - Work, Work: Aircraft availability was of paramount importance. Some times we would go weeks without a day off. If it was possible the Flight Platoon Sergeants would try to give us one day ever seven or ten days but that was not always possible. This Hillclimber is flying without its' right front door painted after being replaced. We'll get to it when we have a chance.
Hillclimber XO CPT Jim Fraser. Hillclimber XO CPT Jim Fraser. Photo by Jim Fraser
Another picture of the 074 155 howitzer demonstration lift. Sylvester C Berdux photo - Another shot of the 155 lifting demonstration.
Hillclimbers playing Santa Claus for some Vietnamese orphans. Frank Grose photo - Santa & his 'Hillclimber' reindeer arrive with a sleigh load of toys for the little Vietnamese children.
Hillclimber flight engineer David Gale. Frank Grose photo - Flight Engineer David Gale.
Hillclimber pilots Miller and Latimer in the flight operations room. George Miller photo - This picture of Latimer and Miller was taken in the Vung Tau operations room. The time frame should be early 1967.
Hillclimber pilot Bill Milo. A very young WO Bill Milo arrives in 1968..
Hillclimbers celebrating an historic milestone of passing 1,000 flight hours. Photo submitted by Jack Keaton
A wall of Hillclimber photos. Photo's donated by CW3 Fernitz's son, Kirk -- TOP: - CW-3 Manfred Fernitz proudly points out his "short-timer's" status -- BOTTOM: - My father's CH-47 in Gia Ray, 11 September 1968.
Hillclimber pilots Manfred Fernitz. Photo's donated by CW3 Fernitz's son, Kirk -- CW-3 Manfred Fernitz in front of his CH-47, in Phu Loi, 4 July 1968.
Hillclimber mess hall in 1967. Photo from Mal Hunt - The Hillclimber Mess Hall in Vung Tau, Vietnam at the end of 1968.
Hillclimber Tyree Anderson in 1968. Tyree Anderson in 1968. Tyree was one of a long line of clerks who made the flight hour entries on our records.
Here's a good shot of CH-54 #66-18409, a former "Hillclimber", during her active years. - Photo via Butch Rogers, The 295th Avn. Co. (HH)
*See pictures of #409 being lifted to Ft. Hood in 2002 for display by clicking HERE and HERE*
Vietnamese bar with a big Hillclimber patch on the wall. It was thought that the 147th 1st Sgt operated one of the bars in downtown Vung Tau... ? - photo by Richard Davis.
The 171st Maintainance Detachment hanger office. 171st Transportation Det Maint Officer - by Richard Davis.
Approaching Vung Tau from the air. "I spent the first part of 1967 with the 147th (171st Trans Det). Took a lot of pics and have lots of memories." - Richard Davis
A Hillclimber aircraft taxies out to start work for the day in Vietnam. The following 17 photographs were donated by Mr. Bob Patterson, Hillclimber 3 (OPS) and 5 (XO), 1968-1969 - "One of the Hillclimbers taxies out of the Vung Tau revetments to start a day's work."
A non Hillclimber crash at the Vung Tau Army air field. The Vung Tau AFB Fire Dept fights a fire from a crashed VNAF C-47 that had a gear collapse on take off. The plane actually hit the fire station and was a total loss. The VN ambassador to New Zealand was on board. No fatalities.
A civilian cargo ship that ran aground on Back Beach in Vung Tau, Vietnam. The wreck of the Idannis K on Windy Beach (Right next to Back Beach) in Vung Tau.
Vung Tau Army Airfield control tower. Vung Tau AFB tower. The parked Otter is from the 54th Airplane Co. "Big Daddy."
Three South Vietnamese Army gunboats on the Mekong. Three ARVN gunboats (LCVPs) make their way through the canals of the Mekong Delta well south of Dong Tam.
South Vietnamese Army military compound from the air. Upper left of picture is ARVN-RF/PF (Ruff Puff) triangle shaped compound. South of Can Tho in IV Corps.
Small artillery firebase south of Tay Ninh. Small artillery firebase south of Tay Ninh.
Buddhist temple picture from air near Tay Ninh. Photo of Buddhist temple and grounds near Tay Ninh City in III Corps.
Back Beach in Vung Tau, Vietnam. Back beach at Vung Tau. This was Vietnamese swimming and family beach not used much by US and Australian troops. Upper left point of picture has French bunkers for large guns.
One of the Vietnamese base workers wearing CPT Jim Fraser's helmet in the Hillclimber orderly room. Jim Frazer (as I remember) put his helmet on Poppa San (he cleaned up and worked around 147th HQ). (In retrospect he probably really was a VC!).
147th ASHC HQ 1968-1969. 147th ASHC HQ 1968-1969.
A Hillclimber with an Otter as a slingload. A "Big Daddy" from the 54th gets a lift from a 147th Hillclimber. Bob Patterson was flying this one. It was one of quite a few "Big Daddy's" that the 147th brought back to VT due to the bad Spartan rebuilt radial engines the 54th suffered with in 68-69. A lot of us got a shot at slinging one of these tough loads. (The Otter was built to fly and didn't take well to just *hanging* there! About 51 knots as I recall was tops. Faster and it began to fly ¦ slower and it began to lose lift and pull you down. Interesting load!)
Plantation pad at Long Binh. Plantation pad at Long Binh and Group HQ. The Cobras parked to the right are from the "Blue Max" or "Crusaders". (I think they were Blue Max, does anyone remember?
Plantation pad with Saigon visible in the distance. Looking south as you approached eastward into Plantation. Time to call "Factory inbound for Plantation." Saigon is off to the top right of the picture.
Hillclimber 090 crash scene.

This was a CH-47 (I think it was tail # 090) that crashed at Can Tho when an engine failed on take off. The PIC and crew (CWO Larry Walker-PIC, CWO Van Peterson, FE Delmer Glaser, CE James Allen, and GN{gunner} Frank Chiefa) punched the load off and tried do a 180 to return to the air field, but they lost the second engine. CWO Walker tried to autorotate, but he had little power, little airspeed and very little attitude. As I recall, they hit a dike at an angle and the aircraft separated laterally and broke up. The two pilots (both WO's but I cannot remember who they were) wound up in the nose as shown here, still strapped in, upside down, but alive. One had a cracked back and one had a broken arm. Both rotated back to the states. The FE, CE and gunner all lived through this too! I flew over the wreckage at 500' the next day and couldn't even pick out the junk as a Chinook! I slung part of the aft pylon, floorboard and sides back to VT to the "Boneyard". Pieces fell off all the way home. The slow speed required a refuel stop from Can Tho just to get to Vung Tau! Another Hillclimber brought another chunk of it home. What a mess!

Nui Bha Dinh mountain near An Loc in Vietnam. Looking to the north and at "Black Beauty", Nui Bha Dinh mountain near An Loc and NE of Tay Ninh (to the left). I flew many load to the top of this mountain as a Hillclimber and than again on my second tour as a Blackcat. I recall we owned the top and the bottom, Charlie owned in between. It got over run by the VC at least twice in the two years I was in country.
Artillery damage to the countryside in Vietnam. This photo was taken in the Delta and just shows the arty or air strike craters that scoured the landscape of Vietnam. It looked like the moon in some places. Remember? I understand now very little of this shows.
Hillclimber standing guard duty. A lone sentry with an M-14, stands by one of the "Hillclimbers" - (anyone with info on this picture, please notify me)
Hillclimber "Pray for Peace" nose art. Unidentified crew member stands by the "Hillclimber: "Pray for Piece" - (anyone with info on this picture, please notify me)
Hillclimber 68-15842. Hillclimber #68-15842, on the Fantail of Resupply Ship "USS Jennings County" LST 846 - Ships Motto was "We Can Handle It".. - Photo by Len Swiatly.
Ed Zaber took this picture of a bullet hole in his windshield. Ed Zaber's windshield. Ed was copilot for Carl Vertrees answering a call to go to Soc Trang for troops to help defend Can Tho during the first wave of ground attacks of the 1968 Tet Offensive. Ed was leaning slightly to the left to monitor engine starting, when a bullet came through the center of the windshield. In his normal position, it would have got him between the eyebrows - by "Max" Grose.
A happy Ed Zaber with a pencil in his helmet showing the track of the bullet that came through the windshield. Ed Zaber, 31 Jan 68. Here is a man who is happy to be alive, and a little lucky too! Note the bullet hole in his helmet and the blood just right of his mouth. A piece of plexiglass from the windshield made a small cut. Photo taken in the Hillclimber Can Tho Ops - by "Max" Grose.
Frank Grose and Lind Swensen in 1967 in Can Tho. With CW2 Lind Swensen at Can Tho, late 67. Lind could play a mean guitar.
Utility hydraulic system shot out by this one bullet hole. Look what Charlie did to my helicopter! One of the two hits I got at Tan Hiep on 4 Feb 68. This one shot out my utility hydraulic system.
This one got the brakes. This little piece of lead entered at the little hole, and shot out my brakes. Go Quao, 11 Feb 68.
Hillclimber aircraft on a test flight. The next several pictures donated by Dennis Carter, formerly SP/5, 147th ASHC. "Press on with the Hillclimbers" - One of the 147th Birds during Test Flight.
More bomb crater damage. Taken somewhere between Can Tho and Chu Lang, at the bomb craters. - by DC
Aft transmission. "Who can forget changing their first aft transmission oil filter?" - by DC
Hillclimber with a sling load. One of the Hillclimbers delivering a sling load of supplies. - by DC
Presidential Certificate of Appreciation. Presidential Certificate of Appreciation upon combat tour completion. - by DC
Vung Tau enlisted club membership card. Dennis' "Membership" card to the Vung Tau Enlisted Man's Club." - by DC
Hillclimber orderly room in Can Tho. This is a picture of the Can Tho Airfield Hillclimbers Orderly Room. This photo comes out of the 1972 Hillclimber year book.