April '66 Command Chronology
(Narrative of significant events.)

1 April: Operations from MCAF Ky Ha, Chu Lai complex.  Two aircraft picked up the Commanding Officer of Mike Company, 2nd Bn, 4th Marines an aerial observer and a U.S. government agriculture specialist from LZ Robin (BS536028).  The flight conducted a reconnaissance of the Song Tra Bong Valley west of Tra Bong.  The reconnaissance was terminated because of an artillery spotting mission, when the aerial observer sighted 10-15 Viet Cong in khaki uniforms running along a road at coordinates BS568914.  The artillery was terminated after fifteen minutes of accurate fire so that a flight of Oxwood A-4s controlled by a Klondike TAC (A) (UH-1E) could be utilized for the mission.  No estimate was given of the VC killed by artillery and air.
     On an administrative/liaison flight from the Asst. Division Commander’s helipad to the ARVN 2nd Division Hgtrs. At Quang Ngai, ground fire was received from BS640820.  The flight was at 2,700 feet above the ground yet the tracers from the automatic weapon were easily distinguished.  After the drop at Quang Ngai, the flight returned to Ky Ha.
     Four aircraft retracted Mike Company 2/4 from BS556905.  The first and second waves into the zone were greeted by sniper fire from the vicinity of BS558903 as they landed.  On the third trip into the zone automatic weapons fire was received from BS557914.  The flight leader requested permission from the DASC to utilize two Oxwood A-4s overhead to suppress the enemy fire during the final lift from the zone.  The request was denied.  On the final lift, the flight was just getting airborne when several automatic weapons opened fire.  Suppressive fire was returned by the helos with unknown results.  Two aircraft sustained minor damage from enemy fire.  There were no injuries.

2 April:  Four aircraft carried 1,500 lbs. of cargo and 29 troops from AT968746 to Thong Duc (ZC150541) in support of U.S. Army Special Forces and I Corps to Da Nang.
     Four aircraft were utilized for field carrier landing practice at Ky Ha.  During the period, sixteen pilots were initially qualified or requalified.

3 April:  Mike Company 2/4, consisting of 156 troops, was retracted from BS553912 and taken to LZ Robin (BS536028) by twelve aircraft.  Light small arms fire was received from BS564950 and BS573946 causing minor damage to one aircraft which continued the lift.
     The medical evacuation stand by was launched at 1655 to rescue an injured Marine who had fallen from a seaside cliff at BT516157.  It was necessary to lower a corpsman to the scene by hoist to prepare the injured man for evacuation.  Following first aid, the corpsman and evacuee were hoisted aboard the aircraft and taken to Bravo Medical Company at Chu Lai.

4 April:  During a Med-Evac stand by for I Corp at Quang Ngai, two aircraft were launched three times to evacuate seven casualties which were taken to Quang Ngai hospital.  Fire was received from BT240168.  No hits were received.
     Several administrative/resupply flights were flown in support of ground units in the Chu Lai complex.  A total of 9,000 lbs. of cargo was delivered.

5 April:  The squadron flew a limited schedule in preparation for the pending shipboard deployment aboard the USS PRINCETON (LPH-5).  Primary squadron activities consisted of packing equipment and performing aircraft maintenance.  Shortly after midnight, two stand by Med-Evac aircraft were launched to evacuate eleven wounded Vietnamese civilians fro Bihn Sohn to the Quang Ngai hospital.

6 April:  Eight aircraft were utilized to carry 72 Vietnamese civilians from Quang Ngai to the 1st Marine Division CP at Chu Lai.  The Vietnamese civilians participated in ceremonies decorating Marines for action against the Viet Cong.  Following the ceremonies, the civilians were returned to Quang Ngai.  This was the last mission by the squadron prior to deployment.

7 April:  The squadron performed maintenance work on the aircraft and completed final packing for shipboard deployment.

8 April:  At 1230, eight aircraft began a shuttle of squadron personnel and equipment aboard the USS PRINCETON.  Two aircraft proceeded to Da Nang to escort an aircraft just arrived from O&R to Ky Ha.  The final squadron personnel arrived aboard the Princeton at 1730.  The ship sailed for Subic Bay, P. I. shortly thereafter.

9 April:  While underway to Subic Bay, the squadron flew two carrier qualification periods.  Twenty-two pilots were initially or requalified.

10 April:  The USS Princeton arrived Subic Bay shortly after midnight.  Liberty commenced at 0900.

11 April:  All squadron aircraft were flown ashore to the seaplane ramp at NAS Cubi Point for a fresh water wash and comprehensive maintenance while the ship remained in port.

12 April to 18 April:  During the stay at Subic Bay, several VIP flights and numerous administrative missions to Clark AFB, Baguio and Manila were flown.  From the 12th to the 26th the 1st Battalion, 5th Marines was supported during small unit training exercises in the Subic Bay area.

14 April:  Four aircraft led by LtCol. SOMERVILLE departed for NAS Sangley Point for the rehearsal of a VIP flight the following day.  The flight remained overnight at NAS Sangley Point.

15 April:  The four aircraft participating in the VIP flight from NAS Sangley and Manila to Clark AFB carried President MARCOS, Admiral SHARPE (CINCPAC), U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines Mr. BLAIR and a number of other dignitaries.  Following ceremonies and briefing at Clark AFB, the party was returned to Manila.

18 April:  All squadron aircraft, maintenance equipment and personnel were returned to the USS Princeton in preparation for departure.

19 April:  At 0825 Princeton sailed for Da Nang, RVN, in company with Pickaway and Alamo.

20 April:  Day carrier landing practice and instrument training flights were flown while underway.

21 April – 26 April:  Princeton arrived off Da Nang early the morning of 21 April.  Daily administrative flights were made to Chu Lai, Da Nang and Hue Phu Bai during the period prior to the commencement of combat operations on 27 April.
     On the nights of 23 and 24 April, night carrier qualifications were conducted.  During the two periods, forty-six pilots were night carrier qualified.

27 April:  At 0600 Operation Osage commenced when 16 aircraft led by the squadron commander, LtCol. SOMERVILLE lifted two companies of BLT 1/5 into HLZ Crowe (ZC135975) and one company into HLZ Hawk (ZD130007).  Two additional aircraft were used for SAR and maintenance airborne stand by.
During the troop lift/strike, light sniper fire was received from ZD1329996.  No hits were received.  During the afternoon several medevacs were flown by the medevac stand by A/C and also by A/C that were diverted from other missions.
     After the troop lift the troops were resupplied with eleven aircraft.  A 134 man Howtar team and three Howtars were moved from the LPH-5 to LZ Eagle.  Besides the Howtar team, 33,860 lbs. of ammo and supplies were moved from ship to shore.  While trying to deliver these supplies to the troops, one aircraft was lost and another was damaged extensively.  Both of the aircraft were hovering over high trees trying to deliver supplies by hoist.  The aircraft that was destroyed (YK-8) began to settle while hovering and as the pilot attempted to take off the aircraft struck a tree and bounced into another one, finally coming to rest right side up about 500 meters from the drop zone (ZD153005).  The section leader picked up the crew members by hoist after dropping his gunner, copilot and all removable gear on the beach.  All four of the crew members were kept in sick bay over night.  The pilot and copilot were released the next morning, however, the crew chief and gunner were kept for treatment.
     The strike damaged helicopter was destroyed by burning after removable gear had been lifted out.
     The second aircraft did not receive as much damage and none of the crew members were injured.  This aircraft (YK-1) was also trying to lower supplies by hoist into a zone in which it was impossible to land because of high trees.  As the aircraft was hovering it struck a tree with a main rotor blade and the aircraft landed striking another tree as the rotor was disengaged.  One of the main rotor blades broke off and struck the tail pylon causing extensive damage.  The crew removed the rotor blades to prepare it to be lifted out, then were accompanied by a squad to a clear area so they could be picked up.  Shortly after reaching the clearing the crew was picked up and returned to LPH-5.

28 April:  The second day of Operation Osage was filled with medevacs, resupply, recon, maintenance hops, and one troop lift.  The first aircraft launched were to take maintenance personnel to the two aircraft that went down yesterday.  Crews were lowered into the two zones by hoist.  A maintenance crew disassembled YK-1 into four sections to be lifted out by CH-46s and taken to Da Nang for preparation for shipment to O&R.
     During the day 42,870 lbs. of supplies were delivered to the troops in the field.  Most of the supplies were picked up at the LPH-5.  Troop movement by aircraft was at a minimum with only 190 troops being moved.  Alpha Company was picked up at LZ Hawk (ZD131005) and taken to LZ Red Bird (AU842042) by eight aircraft.

29 April:  At 0630 14 aircraft took off for a troop lift from LZ Hawk to LZ Red Bird.  Two of the aircraft acted as TAC (A) during the lift and were not involved in the actual troop movement.  The 257 troops of Charlie Company 1/5 were moved in four waves by the 12 aircraft.  No fire was received during the hour an a half lift.
     During a resupply mission to LZ Eagle, two aircraft picked up an ARVN General and two members of his staff and took them to the USS Princeton.  At 1300 the General was taken to Phu Loc (ZD085008).  The same aircraft took CO 1/5 to each of the company CPs and then returned him to LZ Eagle.
     Four aircraft carried 18 medevacs from AU828073 to the Princeton.  During the pick up one of the aircraft received one 30 cal. Hit through the aft fuel cell.  The fire was not returned.
     While on a medevac mission two aircraft received automatic weapons fire from AU8250856 and while in the pick up zone at AU833075.  No hits were received.  One KIA and 3 WIAs were picked up and taken to the Princeton.
     In less than 35 minutes five aircraft moved the 198 troops of Delta Company from AU803033 to AU832048.  the company was moved in as a blocking force for a sweep of the peninsula to the northeast of the zone.  The aircraft returned to the Princeton 40 minutes after taking off.

30 April:  Today was a day or resupply and medevacs.  Eighteen aircraft were involved in seven different resupply missions.  A total of 37,050 pounds of cargo was moved from the LPH-5 to the troops in the field.  On the return trip to the Princeton from the resupply missions the aircraft carried a total of 12 medevacs of which 4 were non-combat casualties.  During one of these combination resupply/medevac missions one of the aircraft was hit by a .30 cal. Round.  The bullet passed through the tail pylon.  The fire was received from the vicinity of AU835062.
     One administrative medevac was taken to the USS Repose which was in the Da Nang harbor.  Two 60mm mortars were retracted from AU834048 to the Princeton along with the 23 troops of the mortar sections.

Back Browser  or  Home