BLUE STAR

VOL I

14 June 1966

No. 1

 

UNOFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE

48th Avn Co (Airmobile) (Light)

IN COMBAT, REPUBLIC OF VIETNAM

 

EDITORIAL

This is the first edition of a little "scandal sheet" that some of us in the 48th thought might be of interest within the company as well as to your people at home-- also to some of the people and units we support, perhaps. It’s just a little bit more in the way of trying to give (and get) a little recognition for the outstanding job you BLUESTARS and JOKERS are doing to keep the 48th on top of the heap. I’d like you to use this poop sheet as your outlet for news. Slip your ideas (or rough draft stories cartoons, jokes, etc.) in to me, or your platoon commander or the info Officer (Capt McDowell). This thing will take a little extra work on our part but I think it’s worthwhile. We’ll print this only on one side so you can fold, staple and send it home as a letter. That should help share our exploits with the home folks, and we might even get a little mention in the newspapers via this route -- who knows!

Remember .... you might not think something that happened during the week is very important. But put a lot of things together and its news! Let’s see this thing go!

ROPER

 

48TH PROVIDES DRIVER FOR GROUP CMDR

SP/4 Petellat, a recently promoted gunner from the 2d Airlift Platoon, has been nominated to be the new 17th Group Commander’s driver. Petellat will drive for Colonel John Marr, Infantry, who recently arrived in RVN. Along with the assignment goes a billet in Nha Trang. Some say that place is better than DAK TO -- however, we’re all trying to improve our foxholes and bunkers!

BLUE STARS ON THE MOVE

Well, this month finds the Blue Stars (and the Jokers) in DAK TO after a series of intermediate stops of varying length including PHAN RANG, TUY HOA, PHAN THIET, NHON CO, and CHEO REO. Full time field duty is the name of the game for the 48th but someone said there was some fighting to be done. Speaking of that, the first week up here added up to seven ships hit, including gunship 085 which ran into two explosive rounds of unknown type as well as a cal 50 (or 12.7mm) armor piercing round (the tungsten carbide core was recovered). During the rather hot lifts into the Tomorang outpost (where we got most of our hits) two men were also wounded. We’re all glad that WO Nunn, who took a round through the arm, is getting the good treatment in Nha Trang and should be back with us in 3 weeks or so. SP/5 Kohnert, who picked up some minor hand wounds was back in action the same day.

SKILL, NOT LUCK!

 

"ANOTHER CHOPPER PILOT’S DAY"

Two members of the fighting 48th Aviation Company "Blue Stars" were called on again today to perform another mission.

It started out with the pilots, Captain "Coach" Moen and CWO "Arch" Harrell test firing their weapons and going over the aircraft with a fine tooth comb. The crew, being thoroughly briefed on the situation and flight route (which was carefully selected after much detailed discussion and checking) were ready to depart.

CWO Harrell, after of course getting the all clear from his hand-picked crew chief, old "what’s his name", was ready to hit the starter when Captain "Coach" Moen noticed the starter switch in the "standby gen position". This was brought to the attention of the crew chief, whatever his name was, and immediately he flipped the control switch to the "go" position. "A-OK", he yelled, and you could hear the air rush through the turbine. The tack started to wind and as 6400 was passed the start fuel was closed. The temp now read 672 which was about a normal start for these birds. After several minutes the crew chief advised "Coach" that there was no oil pressure. A quick response by CWO Harrell and the inverter switch was flipped to "main" position. "A-OK", the crew chief yelled, and we were now ready to depart.

Captain "Coach" Moen would make this take off since he had been at the game for a number of years. Sliding the helicopter sideways to give clearance was one of Coach’s favorite and best maneuers. The passengers were really impressed since I’m sure none of them had ever seen this done before.

After aligning the helicopter with the Brigade pad, the RPM was suddenly brought up to 6900 and we were ready to depart. Surely and steadily the collective pitch was brought up and before we knew it, there we were at a hover! The crew chief, what’s his name, pointed out that one of the passengers was outside hanging on to the skids and was trying to get back in. Well, this was solved in a matter of seconds and we were on our way.

After departure, a turn was made over Brigade C.P. and the Colonel ran out and waved at the crew. We waved back. CWO Harrell flipped the radio to 243.0, his standard freq, and called DAK TO tower for landing instructions. Instructions were given that traffic was landing right traffic runway 27. Coach, knowing FAA regulations clearly state "helicopters will avoid the flow of fixed wing traffic", decided to land runway 09 but to follow tower instructions called cross wind as he made a mid field crossing in order to make right traffic.

Just as mid field was approaching a loud noise came from the rear compartment. CWO Harrell said he recognized this as a blade tip stall and Coach decided to increase RPM but apparently it was too far gone because it was now down to 4200. Quick thinking, Coach kicked the right pedal to regain RPM and for some reason the air speed melted to zero and the aircraft suddenly fell out of the sky. Just before the aircraft hit the control tower, Coach applied full pitch and the aircraft gently slid down the side of the tower and rolled on its side. CWO Harrell called for the crew chief, old what’s his name, but apparently he had not gotten in or had gotten out.....well, anyway, he wasn’t there.

Coach looked over at Arch and said, "Oh well, another chopper pilot’s day".

 

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