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War Stories

Squadron Log: A Very Bad Day - 18 Feb 1968

..........Michael Peake restores the handwritten Squadron Log for that day..................

It began with an OH-23G Scout Team reconnaissance of the Hobo Woods. The lead helicopter is shot down (Story by Lee Burgess). After the rescue by Slick Pilot Bill Gold, the Troop Commander calls artillery in to destroy the crashed OH-23 and saturate the area. A loaded Centaur Hog Gunship circling at 1500 to 2000 feet is rocked by a massive ground explosion from a cache of 122mm rockets being hit by artillery. Door gunner hit in lower left leg with 8inch piece of shrapnel (Story by Bruce Powell). Later that night Cu Chi Basecamp hit with a mortar attack.

Daily Staff Journal or Duty Officer's Log, 3rd Squadron, 4th Cavalry at XT654145 17 February 1968 shows:

ITEM NO. 44, 1005 hours, Centaur 11 (Lee Burgess) reports received intensive auto fire XT 525355, estimate 4 to 6 auto f wpns-personnel constructing bunkers-one bunker 10'X 10' with slots and no overhead cover.

ITEM NO. 49, 1100 hours, Cen 11 called-needs PRC25 (FM back pack radio)-unable to reach C 65 Centaur 65 Operations).

ITEM NO. 61, 1210 hours, Helicopter down XT533354 request 2 craft to carry centar [sic] 35 to location=1 man moving 1 man inside aircraft-observed by Cen 17 (Walter Cooke-wingman). Downed aircraft is Cen 11.

ITEM NO. 63, 1227 hours, Req from AAG 3 slicks approved scrambled Gun ships, light scout's Ret control of ship to Saber with recovery assist to cover in secure down air craft (Maj. Kelly

ITEM NO. 65, 1231 hours, Cent 17 & 15 on station over down aircraft Cent 11

ITEM NO. 67, 1240 hours, Cent 11 is hit pretty bad Cent 17 request to go in and get but denied by Cent 6. Cent 6 (Centaur 6 ) is calling arty in surrounding area

ITEM NO. 68, 1245 hours, Notified our medics of Cent 11 going to 12th EVAC

ITEM NO. 70, 1247 hours, Crew of Cent 11 extracted en route to 12th EVAC, 12th Evac has been alerted

ITEM NO. 71, 1250 hours, Air craft not savable bubble & blade destroyed transmission 90° gearbox equipment inside Bubble appeared to be beyond repair or serviceable according to maint personnel

ITEM NO. 73, 1255 hours, M60 M79 Car15 recovered from Cent 11 aircraft

ITEM NO. 74, 1258 hours, crew chief said Cen scout was shot down someone is wounded on air craft.

ITEM NO. 75, 1300 hours, 1 man shoulder wound 1 man [remaining cropped from image]

ITEM NO. 76, 1301 hours, SC30 Com lead CP 21. From S6 (Sabre 6 Sqdn Cdr) to Cent 6 (D Troop Cdr) assessment of air craft Tail boom supports Blades skids bulkhead Transmission 90° gearbox, all major components seem to be damaged or destroyed beyond repair.

ITEM NO. 77, 1307 hours, Cent 11 crew 2 wounded with bullet and one with shrapnel wounds

ITEM NO. 79, 1309 hours, Frm S6 (Sabre 6 Sqdn Cdr) to Cent 6 (D Troop Cdr) 'destroy aircraft' the permission from Chief of Staff to destroy Cent 11 Air craft this time Ref Msg 76 wpns on air craft damaged beyond repair radios cannot be saved but from damage to cockpit appear destroyed beyond repair stringers and frames separated most look damaged. Cent 6 plan of destruction (1' [arty] element attempt to destroy first (2" if too much of [power] target for hit with rockets from gun ships (3) burn to destroy radio components estimate portion of air craft it could be removed by Pipe Smoke (Chinook Recovery aircraft) approx 3/4 of ship after [more] work by ground crew

ITEM NO. 80, 1315 hours, Burgess [Leland H. "Smokey" Burgess Jr.], GSW Right Arm, Knighton [Billy G. Knighton], GSW Right leg, Swiewcici [sic, Harry B. Swiencki] Frag in Left shoulder

ITEM NO. 87, 1425 hours, D Trp door gunner got shot in leg making a low-level flight over down aircraft (incorrect)

ITEM NO. 89, 1428 hours, Frm Delta Ref "87" shrapnel wound instead of bullet wound.(and at altitude)

ITEM NO. 93, 1522 hours, S6 called Eligible 53 in regards downed aircraft Req call airstrike with napalm to destroy the remains of aircraft

ITEM NO. 104, 1734 hours, Cent 11 air craft destroyed by arty rockets & napalm.