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War Stories



Once in a while everyone messed up. Sometimes funny, sometimes near tragic. Lets add your story to these.

Jack Nemeyer, TJ Lange, Bruce Powell, Larry Patterson, Tom Fleming, Jim Rodgers

Tom "Sam" Dooling & Eric Brethen


Jack Nemeyer:

When I first started crewing #850 , I thru a couple cans of turbine oil 23699-B into the baggage compartment.

One day we were flying and one of the slicks came up on the Radio and said "21, your trailing smoke, better get it on the ground ASAP !!".

By that time smoke was coming into the cabin . We landed outside of Fire Support Base Washington, got their big assed fire extinguisher on spoke wheels. It didn't work.

I got the extinguisher from the aircraft. We got the baggage door open and the smoke just rolled out. I reached in and pulled out a smoldering Helmet bag.

One of the cans of oil had rolled up against an Electrical buss that had a broken plastic cover, shorted a hole in the can and started the oil to smoke.

Hell of a mess trying to soak up that damned oil, most had run down under the panels......JN

Thomas "TJ" Lange:

TJ gave us a a video storiy before he died, about messing up with his gunship 462: "The Day I screwed Up".

He had told that story earlier at the Tucson Reunion which was included on the Centaur Brothers DVD.

Bruce Powell:

I was flying the aircraft, that TJ Lange talks about above, that lost the left cargo door in flight. I was so damn smart in those days.

For some reason it was easier for TJ to hang on to the door when we were in a right turn, and slowed down.

When it became apparent that we were going to loose the door in flight, I started a climb (save the rotor blades) and a sharp left turn, and had TJ release it (he was Crew Chief and on the left side). It went right straight thru the tail rotor blades. I still haven't figured that one out. I think that it was more "Oh Shit!!! than "OOPS".

Larry Patterson:

While flying an OH-23 Scout ship on a Dusk Patrol mission, we were performing a low level sweep around the Division Base camp one afternoon.

One of us on the ship discovered what we sure was a Spider Hole. I flew over it several times to see if we could detect anyone in the Hole. We even fired a few rounds into the Hole to try to arouse anyone.

The Hole was well fortified with a tree trunk laid across the top for protection and a well defined firing position under the tree trunk.

After several attempts to arouse someone in the Hole I got the brilliant (at the time I thought it was) idea to hover up close to the Hole and have one of the crew members throw a CS grenade into the Hole. THAT will get anyone in the Hole to raise their heads.

Do you know ( I do now!!) that when hovering over a CS grenade, the chemicals get caught up in the rotor wash and fill the cockpit with CS smoke????

All three of us immediately began to tear up and cough.

I did a pedal turn and executed one of the fastest, longest sideways helicopter flights in history!!! I also pulled lots of “pitch” (power) so we wouldn’t hit a tree or the ground. The smoke finally cleared out of the cockpit and we hurried back to the safety of The Corral!

Tom Fleming: Tells the story of a very nervous OH-23 pilot who bounces his aircraft off of the Maintenaced hangar during an emergency landing: "Stuck Throttle".

Tom Fleming:
Re the story about Terry Vaughn losing the M-16.

I was the pilot when your rifle fell out of the aircraft during a MedEvac extraction (I think you know why I would not go back and get it). - Thomas Fleming - Centaur 6

Jim Rodgers: When working on a ship, a quick way of going from one side to another  was to duck under the tail boom.  This was regularly done.  One of the maintenance 67N’s was working on a OH6.  I don’t recall who that was but I remember he as a hefty guy.  He needed to get to the other side and started to do that.  He stuck his head under the boom and jerked it back.  The ship was running!  Burned off his hair, eye lashes and eye brows.  Gave him a real nice burn without the sun.