27 Aug. 70, 1stLt. Bill "Pig" Harris, Pilot, and myself as copilot had to set 153386 Bu NO., CH-46, down in LZ 10 near DaNang when we got an aft transmission light. The transmission case was opened and there were parts of rags in it. Helo had to be airlifted back to Marble via an Army CH-54 "Skycrane." We stayed with the bird until the blades were removed and stored inside the CH-54, then we caught a ride with our chase bird back to Marble.
October 70: I was sent TAD to Atsugi, Japan to fly test hops with FAWPRA or Fleet Air Western Pacific Repair Activity. This is where the damaged aircraft and hangar queens were sent for complete overhaul. This was at the same time that the contract for repair was being transitioned from Kawasaki Heavy Industries in Nagoya Japan to Japan Aircraft Corp. in Atsugi, Japan. There were still at least four aircraft (CH-46s) at Nagoya when I arrived, that needed to be collected and ferried up to Atsugi for shipment back to Vietnam. It was SOP when I arrived that all aircraft from Kawasaki be inspected immediately upon arrival at Atsugi for rags in the transmission cases. Seems there were several incidents of this, too much to be "accidental". There was a strong communist sympathy in Japan during the Vietnam war. In one of the last four aircraft that we ferried up, there was a rag found in the transmission case. Fortunately it had not caused any damage as yet.
March 71: When I returned from Atsugi in Mar of 71, I was reassigned to Group and flew with H&MS 16 doing PMIP flights on the aircraft coming in on barge from Atsugi after repair. Some of these were the same birds I had tested in Atsugi, but some were aircraft that had gone through FAWPRA before I arrived there. I informed maintenance about my experience with the rags in Atsugi and the aircraft Bill Harris and I had put down. We did an inspection of transmission cases and sure enough rags were found in at least one of the aircraft that I know of.
So the battle was not just out in front of us.
It was within and around us all the time. Aren't you glad you didn't
know that then. Just another thing to worry about.
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