11 November 2008

Some Gave All

There were seven Infantry troops aboard the Huey.
Add Pilot, Co-Pilot, Crew Chief and Gunner, and you come up with 11 "Souls on Board".
If we found something of military interest on our recons, we could insert our "Animals" to investigate more closely. But something out of the ordinary popped up-

The Huey pilot called the team leader,
"Lead, Slick has a problem."

"What's your problem, Slick?"

"My transmission oil pressure is reading zero... segment caution light is on too."

"Well, what d'ya think?"
The Slick was a long way from friendly forces. Making a precautionary landing would put the entire crew at risk on the ground, and would cause lots of complications.
"I think we'll press on. If the transmission oil temperature goes up, I'll know we truly have a problem."

...Fatal mistake.
The transmission oil temperature gauge sending unit receives its reading from a probe that must be in contact with the oil flow to work properly. In a situation where the oil is all gone, it has nothing to read and will not indicate a rise in temperature.
This transmission was dry.

The Slick flew on for several minutes while the gears in the transmission, lacking the lubrication and cooling afforded by its oil supply, got hotter and hotter. It eventually got so hot it seized solid and the rotor came to a complete stop. The slick and all aboard plummeted 2,500 feet to the ground...
Eleven dead because the Pilot and Co-Pilot didn't know how the transmission lubrication system worked.

This incident happened to my Viet Nam unit shortly after I returned home.
The Pilot, a guy I knew well, was a serious, quiet, thoughtful young man.

Along with many others, I think of him and all the rest on that aircraft on Veterans Day.

Our military is the tip of our spear.
All who wear the uniform are at risk.
We cannot say it often enough...
Thank you Veterans.


Anonymous said...

Happy Veterans day War-fighter! The boys and I are carrying the fight forward, inspired by the legacy and traditions of those of you that came before us. So to you and all your readers that served our country so well....THANK YOU! and HOORAH!

jinksto said...

Thanks GB. The welcome that you got when you returned was, I'm sure, less than the one I got. There were no high-school marching bands. No long lines of people wanting to welcome you home. After Vietnam Americans realized the horror of what they had done in forgetting our troops and vowed never to do it again.

Even in todays high tension protests against the current wars the protesters are careful not to step over the line that they crossed 40 years ago.

Your sacrifice saved me that dishonor. I can't apologize for the environment then but I can thank you for making my own homecoming a sweet one. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Thanks to all that served and now serve - especially to those that never came home.

CJ said...

GB -

Thank you is such a humble phrase and certainly not said enough these days. It's never been said enough to you and the people like you who have fought to keep the rest of us safe. So, inadequate as it is:

Thank you. Every single one of you.


Anonymous said...

Being an "Active Civilian" helicopter pilot, I have tremendous respect for all active and retired military pilots. The majority of my training, knowledge and advice has come from them. Their dedication, experience and depth of knowledge cannot be surpassed. I owe a lot to the freedoms they have afforded me and interest and care in which they have advised me. I read to gain knowledge and apply it in the real world. Unfortunately, some knowledge comes from another's mistake.
To all veterans and active
military personal, you have my gratitude and ultimate respect for the sacrifices you have made for all of us.

Epijunky said...

For what it's worth, thank you. Thank you for your service.


Thanks, GB.

OlePrairiedog said...

I am proud to have served with you my friend. Thank You.

Flamingo 91 said...

"The Nation which forgets its defenders will itself be forgotten." Honor our Fallen, Support our Defenders. Thank you, each and every Veteran. Without you we are nothing. God Bless our heroes.

Anonymous said...

Hey brother -

I soloed out a H-1 with a tail from '68 today, and went looking for a photo of a vintage Huey to send my folks. We had that Oil Sys EP in the MASS brief this morning even. Nothing like wet-bulb systems to ruin your day.

Happy Veterans Day.