Photos and comments courtesy of:

Jerry Jones
crew chief

247th Dustoff Medevac Unit...Army

Phan Rang AB, RVN

Unit sign  (1970)

3 Pilots on left with mechanics/crew chiefs on right.  (1971)

One of the helicopters I crewed.  (1971)

Picture of Right side of helicopter.  I sat on the box with
a armored seat which was filled with M16 clips. The chicken
plate/body armor is standing up against litter pole. The hoist
is on the right which the crew chief operated. A jungle penetrator
clipped on to the hoist which had 3 fold down seats and straps
to hold person being brought up. Only 1 person was supposed to
be brought up at a time but that did not always happen.    (1971)

Me with helicopter.  (1970)

The job of the crew chief was to maintain the helicopter and fly with it.
The crew chief would help the medic and help load patients in and out
of the helicopter. Because the pilots could not see behind them both the
medic and the crew chief were their eyes. When we were doing hoist
missions, or hover holes, we helped keep the helicopter blades and tail
rotor out of the trees by talking to the pilots all the time and telling
them where the blades were. If you weren't talking to them they thought
the worst and you would get a good chewing out! The hoist was run
by the crew chief and had it's own problems that the crew chief had to
deal with while doing one. If the people on the ground, who were hooking
the patient to the jungle penetrator, did not have any experience with a
penetrator, the patient could be hooked on the penetrator all kinds of ways.
If you were not paying attention you could get the patient caught in the
trees which did happen a few times. Of course we were always worried
about getting shot at with a patient on the end of the hoist. We had a
switch that we could throw to cut the cable if need be as a last resort.

I can only remember 3 of the people. Ernie Escobedo (on far right),
Harold Mosley (3rd from right), and Dale Fischer (on far left).  (1970)

Flying with another Dustoff helicopter.  (1971)

Me flying  (1971)

Heading toward Cam Rahn Bay. On the right was range of mountains
that ran along the coast line.  On 11/29/70 a C123K flying from Phan
Rang to Cam Rahn crashed into this range killing all but 2. It took a
week to find the aircraft with the bad weather and remote area.  (1971)

North of Whiskey Mountain.  (1971)

Whiskey Mountain was a rock quarry and it was used to build and maintain
the roads. We did standby for 1 week at a time there because of the large
area our unit had to cover. I did like standby because it got you out the of
normal routine for a while. One of my memories was a little Vietnamese
boy that was adopted by one of the officers there. He was about 9 years old
and he was dressed like all the GIs. He was called Jingle Bells because he
sang Jingle Bells all the time. He picked up all the bad habits of the GIs he
was around. He once told me how the hamlet that he lived in had been attacked
by the VC, which I'm sure was when his parents got killed. In his limited
English he made all the sounds of the rockets and mortars and showed me how
he hid. He then took his shirt off and showed me his scars. I am sure he grew
up here in the states and now he would have to be around 50 yrs old or more.

Whiskey Mountain sign.  (1971)

Dalat Vargus (a crew chief) and Sgt Finch.  (1970)

Wrecked helicopter given to us. Ernie Escobedo on left and Finley on
right. In the center the little boy has a cigarette in his hand.       (1971)

Korean White Horse mission bringing wounded to helicopter. I was not
on that mission and don't remember who gave me the picture.    (1970)

The Korean White horse missions were always of concern because of the
language barrier and cultural differences. The Koreans, once in the field, did
not want to deal with their dead or the excess weapons created by the causalities.
If they could pawn them on our helicopters they would. So some of the time we
would haul all 3 out of the field for them. It was communicated to them all the
time all we want is your wounded. One time one of the pilots had us hide a
M79 grenade launcher that was thrown on the aircraft with the other weapons.
He wanted it as his own personal weapon. A hour or so later, after taking the
wounded Koreans to the 483rd Air Force Hospital in Cam Rahn, we had a call from
the Koreans wanting to know where the launcher was. We did not admit to taking it!

Cobra hovering next to unit area.  (1971)

The cobras had just come out of Cambodia and
stayed the night at Phan Rang AB.           (1971)

Back of houches looking south toward city of Phan Rang. The Po Klong
Garai Temple can be seen...a sure tale sign it was Phan Rang AB. (1971)

Click on Drive-In photo to  return to PRAB home page.