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My first flight in a CH47... Story by Cleve Stanley
My time with C/159th ASHB started half way through my extented tour in Vietnam...Republic Of. One day when we had just came back from humping the booneys an E-6 from our company came around asking if anyone wanted to be a door gunner on the slicks? I asked what do you get and his reply was a bed, hot food everyday, flight pay and lots of time off. Since I had around 1200 hours of flight time in fixed wing and grew up on a small airport I knew I loved flying so I said sure i'll go! ( Well we did have beds and sometimes hot food, but time off? As you know...not much of that ) The spots for gunners on the slicks were filled fast so I ended up going to C/159th ASHB. Of all my days flying I remember my 1st day the most!! Here I am in a brand new nomex flight suit, gloves and with this cool helmet and not knowing what was going on. Well after I lug 2 M-60s to the ship the FE goes out back and starts talking to the pilots about something called a "P" and something about "Pressure" wasn't up. The next thing I know im in the rear of the ship pumping this handle that no one has told me what it is or what it does, but just keep pumping...good old on the job training. After my arm is about to fall off the FE says ok thats good. Finally the engines start and the rotors start turning and we are up up and away!! We flew northward for a while and then picked up a sling load of ammo crates. Now any x-grunt knows what ammo crates are so felt I was one step up as I knew what we were hauling at least. We flew for a while and then I heard the pilot talking to someone on the ground and letting him know we where coming in over the blue. Now everything under us was green or brown except the small river we were flying along and they sure couldn't be talking about the river because it was brown too! Ok now I knew what over the blue meant even though the river was brown. Well I saw a firebase in the distance and figured that was where we were going...good guess on my part. We hovered over the firebase and I saw the FE drop to the floor and look out a big square hole and start saying things like right 5, forward 10, down 10, loads off and finally we were up up and away again. Well that didn't seem to hard and since we had carried all this ammo out to the firebase I figured we were done for the day and now comes all that free time the E-6 had talked about...WRONG! We returned to where we had picked up all the ammo that we had hauled out to the firebase and what do you know they had another load waiting for us. We flew about the same route and dropped off the second load the same place as the first and off we went back to the east. After about 3 or 4 minutes the pilot yelled "where did we take a hit" The FE and the CE started looking all over the place, but since I didn't know what I was suppose to do so I just set in my left gunners seat with my feet propped up on the shelf where all the radios were and looked around and saw no holes. I finally deceided I had better take my feet off the radios before I broke something and what do I just happen to see , but a hole about 2 inches from my left boot!! The 51 cal round had come in from the bottom left of the ship and went up through the radio shelf and into one of the radios and then bounced around the armor plating exiting god only knows where. Now I was no cherry to being shot at, but at least on the ground you could most times find something to hide behind!! Now you know why my 1st day was one I will never forget!!
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