J. Pat "Swift Chuck" Kenny Remembers

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.

With the exception of the Transient Officer's Quarters that I spent my first night in (with Kevin Kuklok), this is a photo of my first assigned hootch at Marble Mountain, Vietnam.  Of the 5 or 5 living there, I only remember  Allyn Hinton of HML-167 and Purple Fox 1stLt. Hank Hoshino.  I ran across this photo on the internet.  I wasn't in this hootch more than a few weeks when I moved into the more luxurious Quonset huts which had a/c.  What I remember about this hootch is that it was my first experience with mosquito netting, the 3 inch roaches and the rats.  It was also my first experience of a mortar attack.  I had just moved in, I think it was my first night.  I had set up my mosquito netting, tucked it in under the mattress at the sides to keep the vermin out and had just fallen asleep.  The sound of the mortars was ear deafening and the shouts of those in the hootch even louder.  "INCOMING".  As I tried to awaken, hit the floor and try to get up and run, I was all tangled in the netting.  By the time I arrived into the outside sand bag bunker I was quite a sight.  I had netting wrapped all over me, my helmet on, and very skinned up knees and elbows.  My uniform at the time was underwear.  Semper ubi sub ubi (always wear under wear) as my dear old mom always told me. You never know when you are going to end up in the street in only your drawers.

As I was letting my memories slide easily over a glass of Bushmel's Irish Whiskey on Nov 10, 2001 a very vivid memory came back to me and I wanted to share it with you.  As anyone will remember and you can probably picture it in your mind, I was sitting at the bar in the Officers Club at Marble Mountain next to 1stLt. Jerry "Weasel" White.  We were feeling no pain and Weasel was in that red, weepy-eyed state sort of hunched over and he looked at me and smiled and said, "F%#@ it, just F%#@ it."  I can still see him just as if it were yesterday.  Too bad Weasel passed on to another duty station shortly after reurning from Vietnam.

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