While serving with HMM-364 at Phu Bai, I seem to remember an incident where one of our "phrog" drivers returning from a nickel and dime mission, got lost, literally ran his bird out of jet fuel and had to sit it down on the eastern side of the Ashau Valley. This would not have been too noteworthy except for the fact that the Ashau Valley did not belong to us, it was more or less a rest and relaxation (R&R) area for the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese Army as well as a major staging point for enemy incursions into other areas of South Vietnam. It took two days to recover the bird because we first had to insert a Grunt security team to perform a thorough search for booby traps in and around the parked CH-46 prior to an Army CH-47 retrieving it.
Another memory is coming back. Right after I joined the squadron at Phu Bai, we were detailed to pick up 1stLt. Carl C. Stoehr II at Quang Tri. Lt. Stoehr had completed a 90 day temporary additional duty of serving as a Forward Air Controller (FAC) for one of the ground units. Upon landing, we were approached by the sorriest excuse for a human being I had ever seen in my life. Lt. Stoehr had just returned from an extended period in the field without the benefit of a shower and was a walking "clay pit" with waves of body odor, similar to waves of heat coming off asphalt in the summer, shimmering all around him. Due to the sensitivity of both our noses and the delicate nature of our onboard instruments, we asked Lt. Stoehr to seat himself as far aft in the cabin as possible. If we had carried a "sissy belt" I believe we would have hung him outside, off the rear ramp, for the trip back to Phu Bai.
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