Make Medevac A Nightmare
By SSgt. Mike La Bonne
DANANG - Two helicopter pilots will long remember a recent mission to the Que Son Mountains, 25 miles south of Danang.
First Lieutenant Benjamin L. Williams (San Jose, Calif.), and copilot First Lieutenant Roger E. Combs (Stanberry, Mo.), Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 364, were flying night medevac from the Marble Mountain Air Facility.
Their night began with an emergency call from a Marine outpost in the Que Sons, north of Landing Zone Ross. Four Marines were critically injured by a booby trap.
"The weather was rotten," commented 1stLt. Williams. "The ceiling was 200 to 500 feet. Normally we wouldn't have launched, but we had to get the wounded out."
The nightmare began shortly after they were airborne. Between Marble Mountain and Hoi AN, 12 miles to the south, they were fired upon three times.
As they headed inland towards Landing Zone Baldy, 23 miles south- west of Marble Mountain, they were hit by a solid line of blue tracers. Immediately following this, a rocket propelled grenade exploded above the rotors.
Once over LZ Baldy, Lt. Williams orbited while two accompanying AH-1G Cobra gunships reconnoitered the outpost area.
En route from LZ Baldy to LZ Ross the aircraft again took enemy fire. Lt. Williams and his crew were jarred by two air bursts. At LZ Ross they circled until a flare ship arrived, then headed for the out- post.
As the chopper spiraled into the zone, they came under heavy enemy fire. The Cobras silenced the fire.
Due to the tight zone, Williams had to make a two-wheel landing over a six foot drop off. The corpsman stepped off the chopper and dis- appeared. He was helped back into the aircraft then pulled the woun- ded Marines aboard. "We left the zone guns hot," stated Williams.
"I don't know how we made it to that
outpost and back," exclaimed Combs. "That's one night I won't
forget, and one performance I don't care to repeat."
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