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War Stories

A Skilled Hard Landing - 1968

Shot up and leaking fuel

by Bob Acker


AckerSP5 John Albers was my Crew Chief and I was the Door Gunner. We were in a lone slick starting our return to Cu Chi after looking for spots for later LRRP insertions. A LRRP SGT was on board having done the reconnoitering and we were flying low level and fast. I can't recall the names of the Aircraft Commander and Pilot or the SGT's name. I do remember the Aircraft Commander was a 1LT and I believe a "new-ish" WO was in the right seat.

We were flying through a free fire zone and passed directly over at least three enemy soldiers who were hiding in tall grass. They shot us up pretty good. The AC was hit and John Albers tipped the officer's armored seat all the way back down to the deck as we kept flying. He and the SGT tended to our wounded officer who lay on his back in his seat.

John and the SGT stayed with him on the way back to Cu Chi. The Pilot got some first aid and kept us flying. He was aware we were losing fuel fast and wanted a visual report so I laid down on the deck and stuck my head out to see the fuel draining out of bullet holes. I reported it and then I returned to my position in the back of the aircraft.

The Pilot in the right seat was wounded but not too severely to fly the aircraft and he got us back to the Corral. We landed on the pad pretty hard. A jeep from the 12th Evacuation Hospital took our wounded to the hospital. Our pilot had decided not to land on the 12th Evac Dustoff Pad because of fuel leaks and stiffening hydraulics issues. That pilot displayed great skill and a lot of moxie!