08-18-99 YK-13 Slams Into the Hai Van Pass at Night
I was assigned to HMM-364 in late summer of 1969 when HMM-362 was disbanded. At the time of SSgt. Swain's death I was a corporal. On the afternoon of 28 December, I was told by SSgt. Swain that I was scheduled to fly a administrative passenger run to Phu Bai/Quang Tri area and back. I preflighted my aircraft which I believe was YK-13. That night just before I was scheduled to go fly, SSgt. Swain came and found me in my hooch and asked if he could take my flight as he was short of flight time for the month and needed to get his hours. I told him, " yea, go ahead" and he thanked me and left the hooch. Later that night I found out that they had gone down in the Hai Van Pass. When YK-13 was found, I was scheduled to fly recovery of the bodies. While we were orbiting waiting to go in and pick up the bodies, the gunner who was flying stinger for me that day, Sgt. Clair(sp) Sox motioned for me to come back to the ramp. When I did he pointed to his sleeve which was soaked in oil. I looked into the hatch above his head and found out it was full of oil. I told the pilot and we hauled ass back to MMAF. When we got back and got shut down I think I put seven or eight quarts of oil into the aft mix box and transmission.
This is the first time I have ever talked about what
happened that night. The guilt feelings I have carried for many years
over his death I know now are unrealistic. I think that many of those
feelings were from the fact that SSgt. Swain went to bat for me one time
when I really needed somebody in my corner.
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