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February 2023

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A Blast from the Past...

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Post by (B/229) Gizzy Fri 09 Dec 2016, 14:00

"B Company of the 229th AHB 1st CAV Division (Killer Spade) had been tasked to supply helicopter support to Special Forces (actually SOG) at Khe Sanh. The mission required two lift ships, one to do the mission and the second to rescue the first. Two gun ships would supply close gun cover during the missions. These were usually from D Company/ 229th (Smiling Tigers) but were sometimes from other units. The missions were usually to insert and/or extract six man teams into and out of Laos.

Shortly after the Khe Sanh Combat Base had been vacated, I arrived at the relocated Special Forces camp for a SOG Mission. A Special Forces captain informed me that the scheduled mission was cancelled but that the NVA were flying their flag off the main flag pole at the former Khe Sanh Combat Base and then added. "What do you think of that?" Naturally, we would task ourselves with a new, self-appointed mission to "capture the flag." I was happy to be flying this day with a good pilot, Mike LaPierre. He was a new pilot and as he was flying enroute I would roll up the chart and hit him about the head to simulate stress. In the chase ship was another new pilot, Bob Hicks, who later became the unit safety officer. For some reason, we seemed to always have a high turnover rate for these missions.

Our gun team was Two Cobra AII-1G attack helicopters from the Smiling Tigers. As we approached Khe Sanh we could see the NVA flag. The gun ships started firing rockets, then 40 mm grenades hoping to destroy or detonate any booby traps. Unexploded ordnance could be seen lying on the ground. As we came closer, we started to orbit around the flag with our door gunners spraying the area with M-60 and the Cobras spraying miniguns. Just as I was about to nuke my move for the flag, My wing man broke the orbit first and hovered next to the flag. One of his door gunners reached out and wrapping the flag around his arm, pulled the flag from the pole with a sharp tug. I immediately thought of "trip wire." I pulled in full power trying to put some distance between us and the upcoming explosion. No explosion came and we made it back to the Special Forces Camp with our Prize."

A Blast from the Past... Iss-47-1st-cav

Thomas I. Harnisher
US Army, B CO 229th AHB
1st CAV & C Troop 1st CAV

Photo Caption
(Second from left, CW2 Thomas J. Harnisher (Air Mission Commander); third from left, CW1 Bob Hicks, pilot of 2nd helicopter; lower right, CW1 Mike LePierre, pilot of lead helicopter)

Now there is an idea for a mission?

credit: http://www.geocities.ws/ksvredclay/issue-47-short-rounds.htm
(B/229) Gizzy
(B/229) Gizzy
Chief Warrant Officer 3
Rated Senior Aviator
Chief Warrant Officer 3 Rated Senior Aviator

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