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War Stories

Very Hot Resupply & Medevac TET68

Mike Siegel

This is Mike's recollection of his many Supply and Medical Evacuation flights

during Battle of Saigon (Ton Son Nhut Airport in January 1968).


Date: January 1968

I was in D troop from 9/67 to 9/68. I had been in a car accident after flight school (class 67-7, graduated in June of '67) and I came to the unit as a rusty FNG. I flew as as a copilot with Joe Bridges who was more than patient with me. I became an Aircraft commander in either Dec. 67 or Jan 68 and my call sign was Centaur 36. As a slick driver, most of my missions were 'single ship.' I was often flying "Ash and Trash", like driving a cab or bus or truck - taking people and supplies from one place to another. Honorable work, but pretty mundane most of the time. Because I understand a lot of the focus of the 1967-1968 Centaurs may be on the TET offensive, here's my Ton Son Nhut story:

On the night before Tet, I was called to fly a flare mission over other troops of our squadron who were involved in a fire fight on Highway 1 just off Ton Son Nhut Airport at the northwest edge of Saigon. When dawn broke, Bill Gold, A/C of the second Centaurs slick, and I were tasked to bring in ammo to the ground troops and take out wounded. We landed in the ditch just off the highway and the bad guys were in the ditch on the other side of the highway.

Bill was behind me in the 2 ship mission and either crashed or was shot down during the approach. I took him and his co-pilot (can't recall his name) out with a bunch of wounded from the ground troops. We went to Bien Hoa hospital. Upon landing there my co-pilot, Dennis Anspach, and I counted 37 bullet holes -- we had no avionics and oil was leaking from a lot of places. We left the bird there and somehow got a ride back to Cu Chi.

I got another aircraft and repeated the ammo/medevac missions 6-8 times. On one of those, I took a lot of hits as I took off and lost hydraulics. I didn't think I could land at the hospital, so I put it down on the runway of Ton Son Nhut. Not a problem as I was the only aircraft in the pattern. We were only on the ground for several minutes, but it seemed like forever. Someone got us, took our wounded to the hospital and took us back to Cu Chi. I got another bird and repeated the above mission a few more times. We again took hits but got the bird back home ( I kinda remember a tail rotor problem - but not certain). I don't think Anspach was my copilot the entire day as I think he was wounded, but I don't remember any of the other crewmembers that day except for the gunner we called "Super Sarge". His ability with the M60 probably saved us all.

If anyone can fill in the blanks I'd sure appreciate it.