A Discussion with Dustoff Pilot Phil Marshall

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okay good evening vietnam
welcome to veterans live show i’m ronnie
yamiche your host
i serve with b company first of the 502
101st airborne division in december 68
sorry december 67 to december 68 in the
republic of vietnam
tonight we have a special guest
returning too many stories from this guy
and a lot you guys who did helicopter
rides which
we were in the helicopter war you’ll
remember okay
dust off pilot phil marshall we’re going
to discuss the procedures strategies
and experiences of landing helicopters
and hot lz’s
after we talk we will do a live q a with
phil so send in your questions
and comments via the comment section
below this video
we will speak to phil in a few moments
but first i’d like to let you know
that the program is brought to you by
fallen never forgotten
the vietnam memorial book in the usa
vietnam veterans memorial is a tribute
to those who never made a home from
go to fallendemoforgotten.com for more
information or to purchase your copy
now we’re going to go to headlines
okay being on better headlines for the
week of march
3rd the walnut hills will make its way
to the mojave valley in arizona this
the exhibit is coming to bullhead city
on october 21-24
at the mojave high school it will be
open 24 hours a day and it’s free to the
so if you’re in the mojave area mojave
valley area sorry
you may want to stop by for those who
don’t know the wall of eels
is a three-quarter scale replica of the
vietnam veterans memorial
in washington dc okay so now we’re going
to go to vietnam
timeline segment
okay this date in the vietnam war march
2nd and 3rd 1965 operation rolling
that was a big one more than 30 u.s air
force jets strike targets along the
ho chi minh trail in laos five u.s
planes in one
republican vietnam air force plane was
shot down
the operation was meant to last eight
weeks but
instead it lasted three years
the number one song march 3rd 1965 was
by the temptations
any guests out there any guesses
my girl my girl all right let’s go to
photo segment
okay here we go this is one of my
pictures i took
this is a captured vc’s vc woman
in benoit uh being held to
go somewhere to be i guess incarcerated
somewhere somebody with the 25th is on
the right with that cigarette
and the mp is checking his uh cell phone
checking his email
i don’t think so but we didn’t have
emails back then okay next picture
david wood thank you david for sending
us in i may have been one of the last
replacements for the
7 16 mp battalion in saigon october 72
to march 73
three of us went straight from ait at
fort gordon
separated at processing and he never saw
his buddies again
okay when you give it a chance uh can
you put that picture back map
what kind of vehicle was that i know
it’s some kind of little i don’t know if
it’s a track or had we
rubber tires but somebody send us some
info on that uh
vehicle please thank you next picture
alan shaffer carried these 105 rounds on
his shoulder
each box weighed 120 pounds and we had a
contest who could carry the most boxes
at once and he did not win
i can see why man there’s a struggle man
okay next one
salvatore galli gallo sorry photo taken
about may 14 1968
after the 196 light infantry k was
attacked by the end of eight
nva divisions at cam duck operation
you suffered many casualties well hope
everybody recovered
and that too many guys went down nice
bunch of young kids there man fighting
that war all right now we’re going to
talking points
oh another picture sorry about john
siska arriving from quinon and digging
in for the first night
in bong song okay bong song
that’s some trench there
next picture rick langley razorback
ridge near the rock pile
home of the elusive rock apes
yes they do exist september of 66 when
the marines first moved into the area
we were the first marines to occupy this
position good for you rick
semper fi nice picture
okay this is a picture of our uh
i was at a show selling the book thing
there and a couple other things flags
and books that i sell
that we print uh made up um and
i got this box of uh like trading cards
they’re from vietnam it’s crazy
so it tells you what it is on the front
then it gives you explanation on the
back so let’s get to that card mac
the medevac
okay the use of helicopters to evacuate
injured soldiers
to nearby field hospitals saved the
lives of many men seriously wounded in
minute back rescues were usually
dangerous with pilots risking their
lives flying into battle zone
to pick up the wounded medevac crews are
among the most devoted military units
in vietnam and amen to that without a
i got two rides on those things and
there’s a wonderful guest tonight
phil marshall who was a pilot of one of
those choppers
with five of those choppers depending
how many worked and
didn’t work and got shot down or
whatever welcome phil
thank you thank you yep always a
pleasure to be here guys
they’re getting better than this you’re
right man you got plenty of stuff to
tell us man
what do you got there behind you what’s
that picture about up there
uh the aircraft that i actually flew
medical detachment and uh it’s a little
hard to see
but we got the medic over here on the
uh the ground
unit it was their medic uh that was
and uh they asked the medic to help pop
an iv in the guy
uh before they loaded him on the
aircraft so uh normally our medic
wouldn’t get out of the aircraft they’re
they’re just hovering there on the
they’re not on the ground they’re just
hovering there and you can see
uh they’re loading uh another wounded
uh yeah that’s a very iconic photo of
our unit
and uh i actually uh flew that aircraft
that’s crazy right now what was what was
that designation of that aircraft and
what were the other ones
that’s a uh-1h okay
uh i’m sorry i don’t understand uh one
one yeah yeah uh one uh hotel hotel
model that’s what we called it
okay uh-18 and all the medevac
helicopters uh
during my time uh were h models but we
also flew the d models earlier
and then the the b models were the first
dust off helicopters
what about the gun ships what were they
uh those were
b models charlie models mic models and
like like almost like five or ten
different ue models
yeah oh yeah there’s uh there’s a ton of
them the marines had their own
air force had their own okay cool oh
here we go
so something a lan subject about landing
in hot lz’s in medevac
of all the extraordinary things you guys
pulled off
what were some of the preparations such
as intel location terrain etc
that you had to try to make these
missions as safe as possible
well we had our own area of operation
and so
part of the orientation when you first
got to the unit was
fly you around and show you some of the
landmarks and so on so you got to be
pretty familiar with it but uh normally
we would be
on the ground at the unit when a mission
would come
in and we had a map on the wall
and as soon as the mission would come in
the co-pilot
the crew chief and the medic would run
to the aircraft and get it started while
the aircraft commander
went to operations got the sheet which
gave us all the pertinent information
including the coordinates and then we
would go to the map just took a few
seconds to see exactly where it was
uh you could measure uh how far it was
you know 10
10 kilometers away 10 clicks so you knew
it was going to take you
six or seven minutes to get there so
when you uh
got to the aircraft it’s already running
and ready to go
the co-pilot probably isn’t even
strapped in yet he’s just sitting in the
seat getting it started
and uh that that takes a couple of
minutes and uh
so once the aircraft commander jumps in
puts on the shoulder harness and so on
your chicken plate
and he takes off while the co-pilot
finishes getting strapped in
and then as soon as he gets strapped in
he makes a call to artillery to find out
where the
artillery is firing from and where it’s
landing because we either want to be
a good idea fly around it or under it
artillery around through the aircraft
and you know kind of ruin your day so
we wanted to know about the artillery
but as soon as we would get airborne if
ground unit was close enough we’d call
it as dustoff711
inbound your paws your position inbound
your paws
eta 06 minutes because again by looking
at the map i knew exactly where they
and to a point exactly where they were
and uh for you rtos that are uh
listening tonight you radio tele
telephone operators
uh one of the reasons we would keep you
talking when we were talking to you from
the air
that fm radio had a homing device and as
you’re talking to me i know whether
you’re to the left or the right of me
so as you’re as you’re talking to me i
might need to keep you talking until i
get you zeroed in
and now i can fly right straight towards
you and then i tell you okay
again zero six out uh give me a call
when you can hear me
uh so uh that that’s the initial call
and then as we get closer uh what
direction was your last uh
contact uh how long ago uh confirm
you’re wounded
uh if you got three wounded okay that’s
that’s what i’m gonna pick up
uh my guy’s in the back my crew chief
medic they’re constantly listening
to all these radios we’ve got up to four
radios in the aircraft and and
two or three of them can be going at
once it can get kind of hectic
but uh anyway uh they’re listening in
the back
and they know that we’re going in to
pick up three wounded and and maybe the
the the radio operator is going to get a
little more detail to us but
but that’s okay uh we just want to know
how many
and what direction was your last fire
and so on
so uh uh that way as soon as we get
three on the aircraft
they’re yelling go go go we’re we’re on
the go we’re out of there
but uh also uh when uh
when the ground unit can hear us that’s
when you know i’ve asked them to give me
a call i say okay
pop your smoke and i’ll identify color
because the bad guys would listen
were listening to our fm radio as dust
medevac we always use the same radio
frequency so if you were in trouble
you could go to that frequency and
you’ll either get an aircraft in the air
or you’ll get a base unit
and so uh so you pop the smoke i’ll
identify the caller
and now we know that we’ve got the the
correct lz
and i’m going to go in and land i’m
going to go in fast i’m going to go in
so that way i can avoid the enemy as
much as possible make as little noise as
possible because when i’m close to the
you can’t hear that aircraft over right
on top of you right
wow okay um yeah all right that was a
long version
no that’s uh that’s interesting because
you know
that’s how we got to you that’s when the
phone starts
what was your shortest run and what was
your longest
uh shortest round was right outside uh
the main gate i was at camp evans at the
and uh he was right outside the main
gate it was three guys that were on a
mule if you remember what a mule was
and uh they went into the local village
when they shouldn’t have
and that mule they’re driving along the
berm of the road and they hit a mine
and uh unfortunately at least one of
them was kia and the other two
uh uh were breathing when we got to them
and then uh one time i didn’t go into
laos at night
gotcha catch my drift uh i couldn’t go
into laos tonight
uh to pick up a head wound uh
bad weather uh had to drop down through
a hole in the clouds i don’t know
the guy was incredibly lucky because
all i had was a strobe light and we had
98 cloud cover and they said we can hear
you we can hear you
and we can see stars but they were
looking through a hole in the clouds and
purely by luck uh i happened to see the
through a hole in the clouds i was still
a co-pilot at the time
and uh our commanding officer was the
was the aircraft commander and i said
sir i got a i got a strobe light
he says you got it i can’t see a thing
and so we went down through that hole in
the clouds
luckily got the guy uh didn’t receive
any fire don’t know why we didn’t
but we didn’t and uh had to go back up
through that hole in the clouds to get
to the hospital but we uh
uh we were we were pretty pretty far in
the indian country i’m sure
yeah i know what you mean i never never
crossed that cambodian border because
they had this science says this is
you know the worst thing was there was
no billboard that said welcome to laos
there was no beaches right so who wanted
to go there
yeah yeah that’s crazy
okay and yeah what was some of the
preparations such as intel location
and to make it as safe as possible what
do you have to really focus on
if you had a choice of location and or
intelligence and the terrain things like
pretty much pretty much relied on you
guys on the ground you know you
you you’ve got a pretty good idea of
what our requirements are and
and uh if you remember you got the guy
standing up in the lz with a rifle over
his head saying
saying land here right i never had a
problem with that because as soon as i
would land to that ground guide
my wounded are right next to each of my
open cargo doors and within seconds
they’re on the aircraft and my guys in
the back are yelling go
go go yeah and and we’re out of there
and i might pick up and make 180 degree
turn and go back out the same way i came
uh because again you guys on the ground
told me what direction your enemy fire
now if you were getting fired for 360
degrees we were all in serious trouble
but uh that didn’t happen very well so
were we yeah
everybody that’s why i say everybody was
in trouble that didn’t happen very often
fortunately that
uh we finally had an avenue and avenue
out but
sitting on the ground that that
absolutely was was the worst time for us
that’s the one they asked you yeah so
did you put it down did you put it down
on the ground and
i had to hold it there or did you just
hover it
well i i can go i don’t want to get too
no no okay uh your your left hand is
what we call the collective pitch and
that controls your up and down
in in the helicopter you pull power into
the engine and you go up and you
and you go down on the control and and
you go down
uh normally if you’re sitting on the
ground just idle
you have to pull that lever up two three
four inches to
to get lift off the ground so when we
would land
i would not put that collective lever
all the way down i would just put it
just enough to stay on the ground and
that way
if i had to leave in a hurry or because
i wanted to leave in a hurry all i had
to do was just give it a little pop
and i’m and i and i take off so that’s
just an extra second or two
uh that that i can gain
by not having having that lever that
collective pitch lever all the way down
that it just as soon as my guys are
saying go i’m i’m pulling pitch and
we’re out we’re out there one one time i
don’t know why i did it just to
emphasize how critical those seconds
uh one time as i’m lifting out of the
landing zone
uh of course the window was down in the
door because it’s so hot
i turned around and looked out the
window and we
where we were just sitting on the ground
and a mortar round went off
right where we were sitting and i called
the guys on the ground hey is everybody
okay and they said yeah we’re fine so
you know we we go ahead you know
continue our
departure but that mortar round
had to have been in the air while we
were sitting on the ground
right if we just sat there another
couple seconds we we
wouldn’t i wouldn’t be talking to you
today so we we just knew that every
second on the ground was critical
and uh so and of course the guys in the
back knew it too we didn’t waste any
i don’t know if you knew but um well
kept track
how many wet landing zones when did you
go into versus dry
um where we were at uh rarely went
i don’t even i don’t think i ever went
into a a rice paddock
um yeah it was always rather dry now of
course we had monsoons up north
and there were rice paddies but just for
myself i don’t remember ever going into
a rice paddy
okay sometimes you couldn’t land because
of stumps
tree stumps that were blown down things
like that right but
uh yeah most of them 99 of mine were
were dry landing zones
okay here’s a question for you please no
mention how the skimming the tree cone
of sound would help you go undetected
until you’re right on top of the
site you had to get sure yeah we talked
about a little bit earlier
uh huey you can hear it miles away
but the reason you can hear it miles
away is because he’s at altitude
uh the helicopter puts out what we call
a cone of sound
that uh the higher up you are the bigger
that base is
uh on the ground of sound but when
you’re down on the ground
you just just got just a real small when
your treetop level
um you know just a couple hundred yards
we uh we’re flying at 124 knots which is
the maximum speed of a huey at treetop
you don’t hear us until we’re right on
top of you so that was the idea when we
would approach the landing zone
uh unless we had to make a spiraling uh
approach from from high up for whatever
normally uh we would drop down to the
treetops uh
maybe half a click or so away from the
and then the same thing when we departed
we would stick close to the trees so we
had enough air speed that we could make
pretty rapid climb to safer attitude
that’s great
you know i got to tell you i could
evacuate it twice and we had a bunch of
combat assaults so i mean i was on both
ends of those things and
it was like it was like catching a cab
man it was like
you guys it was like just it really you
know what i mean just like going
doing something it’s like part of the
day just hello yeah
unbelievable you better be you better be
holding on to something and
if i’m not mistaken uh one of your rides
was a hoist mission wasn’t it
mine yeah didn’t you go up on a hoist
didn’t you tell me that once
yes yeah yeah yeah we’re gonna talk
about that a little later
yeah we’re going to talk about my first
wound okay
i got to tell you one thing here um let
me talk about
the audio clip that you
right matt you have that lined up matt
that audio clip
the live real radio call from the dust
i got this smoke like it’s coming out
here at my left door
about uh
all right so what what’s going on there
is uh like i say you’ve got a couple
radios going on all at once plus the
guys in the crew are talking to you
uh and and this uh radio transmission
that i’ve got uh dustoff 33 is uh
making a hoist mission and uh they’ve
got a downed helicopter
crew they’ve got i forget whether it’s
four or five guys that they’ve got to
pull out of the jungle they can’t land
there’s no place to land
there are ground troops on the ground
with our air crew but uh so
we’re uh dust off 33 is going in to pick
them up
so he’s talking to other aircraft in the
area i believe there are gunships with
them covering them on this mission
but the crew is on what we call hot mic
normally you had to push a button to
talk to each other
but on hot mic you don’t push a button
because your hands are busy your hands
are busy getting the wounded in the
aircraft operating the hoist
of course up front we’re busy both of us
are on the controls or at least the
uh has these hands very close to the
controls in case the aircraft commander
physically incapable of flying um
but uh like i say you’ve got uh two
radios going
uh you got the guys on the ground you
got the gun ships and you got the guys
in the back so you’ll hear a little bit
of that clutter it might be a little
hard to pick out but you’ll
uh you’ll pick up some voices there but
a lot of times uh
the co-pilot might be listening to the
and the pilot is listening to the ground
guys and the crew in the back
so go ahead i think we got some more
here okay run it
you’re looking good right there okay so
hold on you’re looking real good on your
legs forward
about five or six feet
okay so hold on
that’s correct okay so so the crew is
keeping the aircraft
uh clear of the trees uh especially
paying attention to the tail rotor you
lose the tail rotor you’re
you’re beat kim chi uh rotor blade can
take some small branches uh
no big deal but on a hoist mission uh i
would settle the aircraft down
into the treetops and where i’ve
literally got
a limb touching the nose of the aircraft
so once the crew positions me over the
the guys i’m going to pick up
i know to keep my nose right where it’s
at now they might adjust me
you might have heard him say tt you know
he’s talking inches or maybe a foot
because they’re trying to keep the cable
clear and they don’t want to get the
jungle penetrator caught in the trees
that’s dropping down through the trees
and you can put up to three people on
them but normally
it’s just one or two because that’s a
lot of weight uh it’s hard to control
the aircraft when that weight
is lifted off the ground all of a sudden
you got four or 500 pounds
that’s trying to pull you to one side so
again you’re hearing the crew they’re
keeping the aircraft clear they’re
telling the pilot
you know any minor adjustments that he
needs to make
and uh the whole time the crew is
telling him what’s going on
you’re good on the left you’re good on
the right tail rotor is clear
you know you’re you’re fine right where
you’re at things like that
well a lot of stuff going on one time oh
it’s uh it’s a constant chatter if the
crew is doing it right if they’re doing
if they’re good
it’s a constant chatter and i every crew
i flew with was great
and then who who’s the guy down below
the medic usually down below
if you had one in the in the crew in the
chi i mean
medic the medic normally is the one that
ran the hoist he’s got a controller in
his hand
uh that he’s running the hoist with he
stays in the aircraft it was very rare
for them
you guys are operating together the two
yeah yeah uh but we’re talking we’re
talking to the to the
to the radio guy the rto guy on the
uh which may or may not be the medic
usually it’s not
the athletics down there getting getting
the wounded on the on the
on the jungle penetrator right okay
yeah and what about did they am i right
or wrong did they lif they lifted up
like these cuts right it was like a cop
yeah yeah
it was called a stoke slitter okay it’s
like a wire basket
yeah but may i tell you what that thing
heck to work with because it was so easy
to get caught up in the trees
uh the jungle penetrator uh it’s a
it’s just a heavy um gosh i don’t know
how to explain it
it’s just a heavy uh pointed object that
has three seats that fold out once it
gets to the ground
right and uh uh
i like to say i don’t know how to
explain i should have had a picture for
you and i apologize for not
that’s okay yeah so okay
so when when you got the guy up in the
ground up in a plane i’m sorry up in the
and you that was it is this there’s
anything like double checking any more
people coming up or down
did you leave it ever leave anybody
behind no we always we always
well i shouldn’t say no we never did but
we we knew how many we were going to
pick up
and uh so that that depend on the
situation you know
if you weren’t taking any fire you you
you were okay you can relax just a hair
but uh you know the the enemy doesn’t
even have to see you they they can just
shoot at the sound
uh so you know you just like i say the
hoist missions were absolutely
the the most dangerous thing we did and
it was time
we were getting ducks we lost a lot of
what direction we take it from it’s
gonna be pretty hard uh to tell how far
because i can’t even see the ground for
what i’m saying
okay real fine uh i expect if you do
it’ll be from november
that is so crazy i hear that like that
yeah that was the gunship pilot he was
talking to
because they’re they’re making
preparations if they have to make an
emergency landing
uh if they get shot down uh they
you know they want make sure the gun
gunships know what’s going on where
they’re at and so on
so uh but like he was saying i can’t
even see the ground you know if you go
i’m not going to know where you’re at so
uh he’s keeping an eye
on on the aircraft but uh
yeah go ahead no just
mind-boggling all the different
communications the different parts of
cog that had to get going there you got
gunships going around you got
you he’s coming in you might even have a
live fire fight going on
at the same time you ever go into a hot
lc i mean you know obviously
or pick up somebody yeah wounded oh yeah
yeah we uh one day uh we had a horse
that we knew was hot we knew they were
in enemy contact
but uh the guys on the ground were
serious so
i don’t even know who he was but i
grabbed some private and i said get your
get your m16 and let’s go jump in the
yeah we called him patient protector so
while the crew chief and the medic are
on the right side of the aircraft with
the hoist he’s sitting in the back
of the aircraft on the left side with
his m16
and uh and i remember distinctly uh we
we pulled the first guy out and uh we
hadn’t taken any fire or anything so i
just took a peek out my
out my window to the left same side as
the patient protector
and i saw there was an enemy bunker out
there maybe
50 yards away from the aircraft and i
yelled at him on the radio i said put
some rounds in that bunker and i finally
started hearing him fire his weapon but
you know just give me some cover
but uh he probably had never flown
before i just grabbed him and said
you’re going with us
hey phil let me ask you uh this is kind
of a personal question a serious
uh next month uh i would say probably
five or six weeks i’m going to tell us
tell what happened on march 26 1968 when
our own artillery fell
short and mortar rounds and killed 13 of
our own guys and 22 wounded
now this is a triple canopy uh
mine was minor injuries i had to go out
i went out last i was ambulatory
but how how many insertions
does this these medevacs have to do when
you got 13 dead and 22 wounded
i don’t remember did i did i tell you uh
the story about my two uh two buddies
that went out to get
a mass casualty situation did i tell you
about that no
okay uh two two 19 year old warrant
officers both of them
southern california surfer dudes and uh
they knew that they had more casualties
they could get in one aircraft
no kidding south southern california
surfer dudes
yeah and um uh so they knew they had
more than getting one aircraft so they
both go out so as on the way out uh
the second aircraft says hey who’s going
in first and and the other guy said well
i’m first up so
i’ll go in first so the other guy stayed
there orbiting i’m thinking i might have
mentioned this before
so the first aircraft lands starts
loading the wounded and the enemy starts
dropping mortar rounds on them
and they’re adjusting of course they get
closer and closer and and
chalk two the guy up orbiting around
says hey you’re getting closer get out
of there
it says i’m almost ready almost ready so
he said all right coming out so he came
out with what he could well now it’s the
other guy’s time to go in
and he knows that they’ve got the
landing zone zeroed in with the mortars
right luckily it was a large enough
landing zone so he calls the guys on the
and says move your wounded to the other
end of the lz call me when you’re ready
so they did they called him i don’t know
50 yards maybe i’m just guessing
and so chalk two comes in he lands at
the first spot
waits a second or two for them to launch
their mortars and then he high
hovers over picks up his wounded and
he’s out of there before they can adjust
the mortar rounds
nobody taught us that but that was that
what he did and again that’s how
important those seconds on the ground
because uh if the enemy knew that they
had wounded
they knew that the dust off was going to
come in and get them and that was just
like a regular regular
evacuation or the uh combat assault con
when guys were hanging on the run on the
brit what do they call those things at
the bottom
on the skids yeah i mean there’s a guy
right there what’s this guy doing in the
picture there
hanging off there uh well he’s on the
hoist oh okay
so he’s not the oyster all right gotcha
you can see the crew chief and the medic
are there working the hoist and getting
him on the aircraft
yeah in the meantime though you had to
get in and out man
it was crazy yeah
the the audio that you’re listening to i
timed it they’re hovering there for 12
minutes to get these five guys on the
that’s crazy that’s too long yeah yeah
and uh yeah that was the 16th
that’s crazy between between combat
gunships uh resupply missions medevacs
and just moving people around
the helicopter what was crazy and that’s
what they thought
that they called it that oh yeah yeah
well yeah definitely was definitely was
but uh one of the things that you may
have not heard at the very beginning
uh they thought they were taking fire
and the crewmen in the back whether it’s
the medic or the crew chief i don’t know
which one it was it says
uh uh we’re taking fire you know just
you know we’re taking fire
so and that would you know until it
starts hitting the aircraft you don’t
worry about too much
yeah so all these movies like even like
apocalypse now
and and uh hamburger when you see these
guys fly
flying in on these helicopters you gotta
tell me
yeah i know hollywood yeah
phil i got to tell you you know it’s
hollywood when your background music is
flight of the valkyries
yeah oh yeah that was great music that
was great music but
but but those those movies were all
hollywood bs
we were soldiers once
uh perfect uh real battle real people
but yeah
everything else that was going platoon
was out
apocalypse now is out uh what else uh
i forget a couple other ones hamburger
hill was crazy
that’s how i think the film you know but
and that’s one of the reasons i think
vietnam vets got a bad rep for being a
bunch of
drug crazed hippies uh you know you
you and you and me and the guys like us
we were doing our job and we were
busting our butts to to do our job and
i’m darn proud of what we did and i say
we need to keep you through the season
he’s on the ground and us
guys in the air yeah who do we fight for
we fought for each other the guy
oh absolutely for you and you were
fighting for me
and i didn’t even know you there you go
all right so matt we gotta give some
questions here coming up
this time we’re on our way out
phil you got a short one you could you
could share with us before you go
got a shotgun
okay for sure
i don’t know aircraft seems to be all
right um
says they were shooting when we started
coming out i’ll roger that feel like i
can escort you one
three three uh okay um if you’re only
in the area would you appreciate it yeah
so they thought they were taking fire
coming out that was the gun ships that
they were talking to
and and the gunship says you want me to
escort you out of the air and they said
yeah that’s fine you don’t have anything
else going that’d be great because
you know you might have received damage
to the aircraft and it doesn’t doesn’t
show up right away
is that so you could uh
yeah you could take around in a
hydraulic line and not know it for
for a half a minute or a minute so right
yeah and
then you’re in serious trouble yeah the
one one point i just wanted to make
before we close
over 12 000 helicopters were in vietnam
over 6 000 of them got shot down
yeah well let me correct you just a
little bit
we lost we lost about 6 000 but
we lost almost as many to bad weather at
night and accidents as we did to enemy
fire right
okay yeah right we lost thousands
thousands of helicopters and most of
them are viewers yeah
yeah that’s uh that’s amazing but that
was the only thing that
saved more lives than the korean war and
world war ii almost put together
percentage wise of the wounded in the
yeah they got those guys out i think i
think i mentioned this to you before but
uh our record as dust off in first cab
medevac was
that 98 of the men that we
pulled out survived the war if you were
breathing when we got to you
you had a 98 chance of surviving the war
you might be missing a limb or two
but you’re going to survive the war and
uh and
and i know i mentioned it before i i
know i’ve been able to document one case
where the guy uh had quit breathing by
the time they got to him and the onboard
medic on the desktop
uh brought him back around so uh and
again we were 18 19 20 year old kids
just like you were
i hear you bro that’s crazy well thank
you so much
matt we got some questions for phil
all right well you’ve got first question
or comment
there marie kenneman they asked tricks
in flying
hot lz’s zones we’re not getting
too high above the tree lines
what is dale’s tricks in flying into hot
we’re not getting
okay well yeah you know not getting too
high i mean we
we would really be just giving the tops
of the trees were
and if we had some open terrain we’re
down just a foot or two above the
the open terrain just trying to make
ourselves as small or an elusive a
target as possible
and again we’re going as fast as we can
usually until we get to the
until we get to the landing zone we’ve
got the smoke spotted we don’t
fly over the lz oh there’s a good place
to land or whatever
that’s where we’re headed and that
ground guy has got his weapon over he’s
over his head
my my feeling was that when i landed i
would land so close to the ground guy
that he could reach out and touch the
nose of the aircraft
because i figured if it was safe enough
for him to stand there
that’s where i want to live and as i
i mean the the ability
of the pilots and the aircraft that we
could do that that we could put that pup
be right up to your nose just as nice
and smooth
and and just might even make it take a
step back if we felt like it just
just make sure that we’re in a good spot
do you know
everyone in the infantry unit wanted to
run out there and have their rifle up
like that
bringing those choppers really isn’t
that kind of vulnerable no it didn’t
matter it’s gonna be a rush though
it’s gotta be a rush exactly right and
then some yeah
it’s my turn no it’s my turn i swear wow
i didn’t know that that’s cool to know
yeah that’s right yeah hey uh speaking
that real quick
uh one uh one fella that uh i quoted in
in one of my books said we were probably
braver than we should have been because
we knew you guys would be there for us
and that really hit home with me that
wow that was that was amazing you know
to give
give the helicopters and their crews
that kind of credit that yeah we were we
were braver than we probably should have
and confidence too yeah yeah yeah
yeah all right next question we’ve got a
ques okay
uh veterans guardian va claim consulting
thank you for this episode no no problem
thank you very much oh yeah
oh it’s my pleasure oh yeah absolutely
absolutely you can tell i hate doing
exactly right so my question is very
important in battle
in the hot lz zone in lz to stay at the
tree line level so that kong wouldn’t
shoot at you
well they were they went yeah oh they
would shoot at us but we were just
trying to make ourselves
as elusive as possible um
it just uh a lot of times it all it
would take just be a lucky shot they put
enough lead in here
you know when i was going to find you
yeah you were just uh i mean we lost an
awful lot of aircraft
enemy uh enemy fire uh we had uh
one uh it was not a medevac or a dust
off but it was a
slick uh support huey uh
that had gone out to pick up an alert
team a long-range patrol
and that was under fire and it was just
really hot
and the uh the pilot didn’t really want
to go in
because you know you got an aircraft and
four people on the aircraft
and uh so the guys on the ground radio
bag said you don’t have any
male genitalia if you don’t come down
and get us
so he did he took the dare but as
they’re coming out they got hit by a
rocket and everybody was lost
so you just uh you took your chances
the night that i was wounded were
falling out of the sky and i just i just
i remember saying myself this is it so i
knew we were all going to die
but the co-pilot initiated emergency
uh he froze on the controls and i had to
take control back of the aircraft
even though i was wounded and just by
luck we got out of it but uh
just very very calmly you said to myself
this is it phil
so i hear you everybody has that moment
over there
yeah it was a job yep what do you got
next that’s kilo 19.
i believe it’s an m7 m oh there you go
okay and that’s m706 armored car i got
it looks like it says military police on
it it’s probably like for
more like riot control or crowd control
you know what i mean then
i don’t know yeah there you go
exactly okay next question
uh oh thank you timothy schalowski
thank you all for your service thank you
you bet we uh like ronnie said earlier
we were there for each other i wasn’t
there for
god or country or whatever i was there
for the
for the guys that i was supposed to take
care of
uh and uh see uh
do our best to get as many back home to
their families as we could yeah ronnie
you hit
on the note we were there for each other
one way or the other yep
all right next one kilo with any
problems with an
enemy jamming the net
a little bit a little bit but not not
really they
i think they were more interested in
listening to our conversations and
and knowing that we were inbound trying
to figure out where we were coming in
uh one day uh as we approached the lz
i called for smoke and four smokes come
and uh so i called the guys on the
ground they were trying to lure us into
a trap so i called the guys on the
ground i said okay i got a red yellow
and two green and i said we’re the reds
okay so i landed the red and avoid
the other three because now the bad guys
have told me where they are
right so uh so we got in and out of that
one without an incident but yeah they
they definitely were listening to us but
i only remember one time that we
got any kind of jamming but we had an
alternate frequency
and uh so you know to get the job done
at that instant with that for that
mission you could go to your
alternate frequency and uh so let me ask
you a question when you said it was two
or three four radios going on at one
they were different frequencies right
well no no we had fm a vhf uhf
and then of course uh we could also
listen to uh armed forces radio if we
wanted to
there you go if you’re going on a long
mix and you can you can dial in some 70s
music or 60s whatever christian
well you had your your fm was ground uh
your uhf was generally air force
uh when you had bomber support or or
spads or something uh
you know napalm uh and then your vhf
would be
uh within the unit for other army
so uh depending on your mission uh you
could have
three radios going at once but one pilot
would listen to one usually whoever was
on the controls would
listen to the other two gotcha okay
that’s interesting
how you feel thank you for your service
my question is are you still flying
absolutely you betcha i couldn’t give it
up i had to for a while
uh but thanks for asking i got hooked up
with uh
american huey 369 in peru indiana we’ve
three vietnam hueys back to flight i
still get to fly them today
we’re restoring a fourth one back to
flight and we are building a museum
american huey national uh i’m screwing
it up here
national american huey history museum
and uh
we’re still soliciting donations but
we’re breaking ground this spring
and we don’t have enough money to finish
it we got enough money to start it
uh we’re getting kicked out of our uh
donated hangar
so we have to have a place to house our
aircraft so that’s why we’re starting a
little bit early
but yeah i get to fly uh vietnam huge
again here i am in my 70s and
uh i’m so thankful and do not take it
for granted
and if you can come to one of our events
uh you can get a flight again
on a vietnam huey again
okay but send that to us and we’ll put
it on the facebook pages
all right great thank you we’ll post it
on yeah and my all our personal pages as
great all right next question kilo can
you explain
over talking the rotor system and what
that some was that something easy to do
yes it was easy to do if you weren’t
watching the instruments
and that’s what they were doing on the
hoist mission if you uh
were able to pick it out uh when he had
the crew chief or medic just lift the
wounded just a little bit off the ground
to make sure that uh he didn’t over
torque the aircraft he
he if it was requiring too much power
then uh he would have had to have them
uh set the general penetrator back down
and somebody would
have to get off so it’ll make two lists
but uh over talking the aircraft
uh the aircraft will accept up to 50
pounds of torque in the system
and uh what that amounts to is you can
twist the guts out of it out of the
engine transmission rotor system if you
try to pull too much power
into the system uh your first indication
that you’ve
pulled too much power into the system is
because the engine can’t keep the rotor
turning fast enough to give you lift
but also like i say you can damage
the drivetrain of the aircraft if you
go over 50 pounds of torque and again
there’s an instrument
excuse me instrument on the panel that
tells you how much torque you’re pulling
now sometimes in an emergency situation
uh you know if you got to get your butt
out of there yeah you uh
you might go over 50 uh you try to keep
it at a minimum
because if you go too too far over the
torque limit you could crash the
aircraft but
uh if you do over torque the aircraft
you write it up in the logbook
and then uh somebody in maintenance has
to inspect the aircraft
to make sure that you didn’t damage it
but uh yeah and
you know you don’t want to tear up the
equipment so you always try to keep it
under 50.
under 50 pounds wow so i hope that
answers your question
but yeah that’s easy to over torque if
you’re not paying attention
um we have a ques uh hurry again yeah
yeah i i’m sorry ronnie go ahead can you
read that could you read that question
yeah yeah she said that uh her uh her
cw2 uh husband thought that we were
soldiers was fairly done well
i think it was excellent um i
i think everybody’s probably seen at
this listening uh the end of the uh
movie where the
uh uh oriental guy got napalmed by
mistake and he’s in the aircraft
and you see him kind of hanging out the
aircraft all burned and everything
that that scene tore me up because
i couldn’t tell you how many times i’ve
seen that because as the pilot
you turn around and look at the back of
the aircraft as you’re headed to the
and i saw that scene so many times and
that one really got to me
and the first time i saw the movie i
told my wife i said i can’t watch this
movie again
well i have watched it since then but
that that
was so realistic the movie again based
on a real battle
and real people and real real scenes it
was uh
it was tough yep thanks man
no problem what was your most
challenging pickup oh
absolutely don’t say some woman in
no she picked me up just kidding
i never i never made it to saigon we
were so far north i had to buy my
uniform on the black market
uh didn’t get into the regular supply
chain now the most challenging pickup
was the night i was wounded
uh we there was a big push going on
just uh one or two clicks south of the
and uh we we knew we had three seriously
wounded we had to go get em it was at
uh there’s flares uh dropping down out
of the sky and i get to the area and i
see three or four other aircraft flying
and uh and i called for strobe light
from the guys on the ground and i see
four strobe lights
and i you know what’s going on well the
gunships were there and i called them
and i said hey
what we’ll see what i need
okay fine thank you so he goes over one
of the strobe lights flashing
position lights i drop into the lz and
they’re trying to throw ammo on the
and and the crew chief is going sir
they’re trying to load ammo so coming
out so
as i’m lifting off here comes another
huey and to land
right outside my door it’s a wonder we
didn’t hit each other
that he’s slamming to pick up this ammo
as i’m trying to find my wounded
i finally found them uh couldn’t land on
the ground because tree stumps we had to
hover there while they lifted
the wounded up in to the aircraft and
again all this time
we know there’s bad guys around how they
get wounded and
um so yeah it was it was touch and go
and then as we were lifting out of the
landing zone with our
three wounded on board that was when one
guy opened up and
one lucky round hit me uh my medic told
me i stopped a bullet before it hurt
somebody which was
you know good good for me to know but
uh anyway that was that was definitely
my most challenging pickup because there
were just so much going on there
and we were lucky we made it out good
for you man
next question yeah
can you explain that the jesus nothing
the infamous
jesus nut there is one huge nut that
uh that holds the rotor system onto the
and everybody calls it the jesus nut
because if you lose that nut
all you can do is just say jesus and uh
but uh it doesn’t come off it’s it’s
torqued down it’s got safety uh
latches on it and uh yeah it’s not gonna
cut off come off however however there
have been some lucky bullets
that have hit the main rotor mast and
caused the rotor systems
to separate from the aircraft uh so
you can lose the rotor system uh and
and getting back to torque you can uh
you can over torque the aircraft
so bad that you could lose the rotor
system but uh that’s that’s got to be
uh uh pretty bad
okay tell us about your newest book
yeah real quick uh i gotta find it uh i
i have done
15 books documenting the rescue missions
that we’ve flown
uh and i took uh the top 20 missions
out of those uh books to uh the most
rescue missions and uh come to find out
that one book isn’t going to be enough
i’ve got to uh uh probably two more
but it’s called the helicopter
whisperers and it’s available on amazon
and it’s uh 20 of the most incredible
rescue missions that we flew in vietnam
and there’s going to be a volume too i’m
pretty sure volume 3.
but real quick the reason i came up with
that title
and the dedication i want to read it the
last sentence is
we whispered to those helicopters we
this is what i need you to do don’t fail
so that’s why i came up with the title
the helicopter whispers
so uh it’s 29.95 and uh um
it’s uh if you don’t want to buy the
whole series of books
20 bucks each you can buy 20 of the most
incredible missions and there’ll be two
more volumes
that’s unbelievable uh question is did i
ever have a tail rotor stall
uh no not that i remember i’m sure i
would remember it if i
if i did but did have a hydraulics
and it took both of us on the controls
to get it down it was a very windy day
and it’s like driving your car with no
power steering and no power brakes
and if you make a mistake you’re gonna
crash and die
so that was no tail rotor but definitely
a hydraulic failure
bush amazing amazing operation with
yeah it was it was fun there you go you
have amazing situations you have amazing
equipment you have amazing
men characters of troops or pilots or
whatever you are
and you have amazing ground help at
times and you got back
it’s like it had a what a great team to
make it work
yeah and i say i’ll tell you again and
again and again i am so
proud of what we did no regrets
um it uh that wouldn’t wouldn’t change a
second of it
and uh just again like i say just so
proud of what we were able to accomplish
we went above and beyond
we meaning you guys on the ground than
us yeah yeah we all went above and
beyond what was expected of us
uh we just didn’t get the support we
uh and they wouldn’t
yeah that’s we’ll just leave it at that
stay with the men not with that politics
yeah let with that general throughout
the war let your generals
win the war or yeah fight the war and
the politicians stay the heck out of it
yeah you got you get us into the war let
us get it out
that’s it well thank you so much tonight
phil great to have you back
oh my pleasure any time stay in touch
you got it man thank you so much thank
you matt thank you everybody else for
listening tonight
and uh god bless you and welcome home