BigWindow BackArrow
War Stories

Photo Story Down in War Zone C - 1968

Pat Eastes, Tom Fleming, Bruce Powell, Bruce Wood, Dave Bossory, Jack Rospert, Reggie Slater


Pat Eastes 2011 - Submitted this photo (Slide dated Feb 1968):


Tom Fleming 26 Apr 2011
I think I recall this incident. It took place in Northern War Zone C east of Katum the crew got out and ran like the wind east about 100 ñ 200 yards to where we could pick them up at a clearing on the road. In their debrief they stated that they ran past VC/NVA who were on the side of the road and that they just stood there and looked at them dumbfounded. I think it happened in Dec 1967. I remember I was in the C&C observing them running down the road hoping they would make it. We all must have been on a LRRP mission. The A/C was the same pilot that rolled over a C model hovering downwind from south POL (I seem to remember)


Pat Eastes Sep 2012
The Charlie model on the road in War Zone C was flying my wing when he had an engine failure, as I recall. They were lucky to have a road of sorts to put it down on, but I think the tailboom was a bit worse for the wear, as were the rotorblades. The VN Mag article was under the 'Arsenal' section. If you can't find it, when my page scanner is back up, I can get you a scan of it.

Enhanced Photo:


Bruce Powell 12 Sep 2012
With your photo enhanced I think I see all four crewmembers. The two obvious ones by the tail boom, one under the tip of the front main rotor blade, and one squatting on the front right of the aircraft. Upon enhancement, the squatting person appears to be an M5 system on the front.

With enhancement the bent stinger seems to really be the narrow shadow of the tail boom (note the sun angle). The branched tree or whatever it is, sort of mucks up everything, but its branch is clearly shadowed on the ground. Could the stinger be hidden in the tail boom shadow?

Looks like the aircraft is setting straight and not damaged. Must have been a great autorotate into a confined area.

Pat Eastes Sep 2012
The 'tail number' thread got me to thinking about 459 and the engine failure. The above photo is (I believe) 459 on that day. The slide is dated Feb 68, so the timeline is right. The crew put her down on the one and only road for miles around; this was somewhere in War Zone C, but my brain doesn't recall exactly where. The photo shows the skid knocked askew, so the landing was pretty hard. No margin for error on either side of the road, either.

I'm pretty sure that is an M5 on the nose. It looks to me that the skid is bent, not the stinger. It also looks like the left rocket pod is off the aircraft and in the road. Unless somebody on board can respond or remember, we can't confirm that this is 459, but the 'tail number' thread did show 459 as having an engine failure in either Jan or Feb 68 with Bruce Wood as AC and Tony Wolfe as P. I can see three of the crew. Too bad 35mm slides from a bouncing C model aren't a bit clearer. No doubt that was an exciting ride to the ground, in the middle of bad guy country.

Dave Bossory 13 Sep 2012
Can you tell if this photo was taken in the area of the Razerback's, I can remember a downed aircraft ( not sure if it was one of D-Troops) in that area.  As I recall, there was a long, straight road leading to a fire support base in that area.

We put together ( re-armed ) an aircraft, and 6 flew it out to the site.  I don't remember others on board, however I know a WO. rode in the CE. position.

I also know that 65-09459 was configured as a heavy weapons (hog) gunship, although the aircraft in the picture seems to be armed with a flex-gun system.  Also, I could be wrong, but I don"t seem to remember any gunships in our troop with painted tailplanes.

Perhaps 6 can recall the above, as I'm pretty sure it happened in mid. Jan 68.  ( I left country on 27-Jan-68, and I believe he was to rotate shortly thereafter. ( although I understand those plans were changed!)

Pat Eastes 13 Sep 2012
In my vague memory, it seems like this happened NE of Nui Ba Den, so that would be in the general area of the Razorbacks. The picture appears to me to be a hog (note the M5 on the nose), and we definitely did paint the stabilizers with the Cav colors like seen in the picture. This is definitely one of our aircraft, as we were flying as a fire team when he went down. I think a round rocket pod (xm156?) is laying on the road next to the aircraft, another sign of the ship being a hog.

Bruce Powell 13 Sep 2012
I'm editing some of the videos from the reunion and found a comment from Jack Rospert, (Maintenance 1967), about Reginald Slater. He was known as the guy that did most of the decal painting on the Centaur aircraft, including the stabilizers. He could probably tell us a lot about that.