Heroic Pilots & Crews - Medevac
Greg Linscott, a member of the U.S. Army way back in the
Vietnam War era, provided an eloquent thanks to an unknown crew he’d
encountered in 1968.
Belated thanks to the pilots and crewmen who MEDEVAC-ed our
dead and wounded out under withering enemy fire in late May 1968 in the
Thien Phuoc Valley (Happy Valley), somewhere out west of Tam Ky.
My unit, D, 1/52, 198th Light Infantry Brigade was ambushed
by an NVA unit in the early morning hours. Casualties piled up fas.
Any approaching helicopter was pounded with enormous volumes of enemy
fire, and all attempts to assist were driven away.
As the battle wore on, our situation became tenuous. Several
fly-over ammo drops were successful, but we were desperate to get the
wounded out so we could maneuver.
About four hours into the engagement, one gallant and heroic
MEDEVAC came swooping in and performed what you guys call a downwind, hard,
side flare into a nose-down attitude, something or other (sorry,
aeronautically illiterate). Anyway, just an awesome and very dangerous
maneuver, in and of itself, not to mention the NVA were pouring it on.
If I could have taken a snapshot of this maneuver, the nose
was straight down, and the main rotor blades were only inches above the
ground. Damned hairy flying, but exactly the kind of boldness that was
required under very desperate conditions. Probably the fastest landing and
MEDEVAC action in Vietnam.
I think he came back several more times, again alone, no
gunship support (very possibly none was available). Same reception from the
NVA and same successful maneuver. Finally, we extracted ourselves, ammoless
and whooped. The battle lasted about 8 hours. The pilot pushed his machine
to its extreme limits under monstrous conditions. He risked his life, his
crew, and his aircraft to help a bunch of ground pounders live to fight
another day. If he had been off just the slightest in his control, that Huey
would have been toast, and the LZ was tight.
I hope that crew made it out, and I hope they got a medal,
although I think they are probably the type of men who would unselfishly
diminish their courage and say nothing. The finest. It was an honor and a
privilege to be on the same battlefield with them.