Vietnam war helicopter pilot Phil Marshall flew dustoff medevac missions. Phil discusses what is going on in this REAL dustoff hoist mission radio transmission.

In the audio clip a dustoff medevac enters an LZ to extract the injured crew of another Huey Helicopter. After the injured are in the chopper they begin taking fire from enemy forces.




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TRANSCRIPT – Transcript and Subtitles are generated automatically by YouTube and may contain errors.

okay phil uh so you brought an audio
clip with you i understand that this is
a real radio call of a dust off
hoist mission tell us about it well this
is uh
dust off 3-3 uh they are going in to
pick up a down huey crew they
have been uh found by the ground unit
and uh so the dust-off aircraft is going
in to pick up the down crew
we’ve got some gunships that are in the
area uh the pilots are going to be
talking to the guys on the ground
they’re going to be talking to the gun
ships and they’re going to be talking
to the crew in the back operating the
hoist you’re going to be hearing three
radios
uh off and on during the whole clip so
now we’re going to play pieces of that
clip
all right i got the
like it’s coming out here my left door
about uh
[Music]
watch my tail because i’m low okay so
your tail will be clear
okay i know what you’re hearing there
the loudest is the crewman in the back i
think it’s a crew chief but both the
crew chief
and the medic were capable of operating
the hoist but
that aircraft is settling down in the
trees as close as they can get to the
trees to make a smaller target
as possible because the enemy could just
shoot at the sound
they may not be able to see us but they
could shoot at the sound so the crew is
keeping the tail uh
tail rotor of the aircraft clear and
positioning the aircraft
over the down crew so they can drop the
waste to them we’re gonna play another
all right what have we got here double
extraction
yeah the uh the crew uh has got the
hoist drop down the uh
the crewman’s asking the pilot you want
one or two on the uh
on the uh hoist on the general wow can’t
even talk jungle penetrator or not
uh because uh they’re lifting about four
or five hundred pounds and that
affects the center of gravity of the
aircraft so
again that pilot is uh is very demanding
keeping that aircraft in one spot and if
you notice on the photo that’s on the
screen
it looks like the the nose of the
aircraft is on a tree branch and it
probably is that’s how the pilot
is helping uh himself maintain his
position
right there you go right instead of
drifting yes
okay matt you got another clip
the trees are moving around a lot with
no sweat uh we take any fire i’ll let
you know uh
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
bombs
okay real [ __ ] uh i expect that you
do it’ll be from november
all right that was the final i’m sorry
it’s amazing
that’s amazing yeah well that was that
was the pilot telling the gunship if we
if we start taking fire we’re gonna tell
you where it’s from
uh but the the uh gunship says uh well
we can’t see any ground so if you go
down
we’re not gonna know where you’re at
you’re gonna have to let us know
so uh but not only again are the pilots
listening to the crew keeping them
positioned
they’re also talking to uh to the
gunship pilots
uh and also they’re talking to the guys
on the ground too but mostly the loudest
uh
voice that you hear is probably the crew
chief
[Music]
the pilot told the crew to put the first
guy up in the hell hole
that’s the other side of the aircraft at
the back of the aircraft
to counterbalance the uh the the uh guys
that are being pulled up on the
penetrator up on the hoist
so they’re trying to keep the aircraft
balanced and again you’ve got two or
three voices going in your head
at any one time
okay sir i think they’re gonna put two
out this time we’ll try okay now hold it
when you break ground
okay and i’ll tell you to bring them all
the way up the rest of the way i think
about three feet
if you want to come up about three feet
and then hold it there and then i’ll try
to bring it all the way up
okay it’s making sense to you yet ronnie
sure is
well so uh what the pilot told the guys
in the back
was just pick up they’ve got two on the
jungle penetrator now
he said just pick up uh pick them up
just a few feet off the ground so i can
make sure that i can hold the center of
gravity
and make sure i’ve got enough power in
the engine just to bring them on up into
the aircraft
yeah that was pretty soft that was out
that was going that was easy to
understand
next one okay so we got them on board
okay pick them up and ready to go yeah i
called the gun
they called the gun ships uh concert 3-3
or i’m sorry i didn’t catch all the
number but concert was the
uh it was the gunship and he said okay
we’re coming out
and uh we’ve got everybody on board and
uh we’re you know we’re on our way we’re
done
that’s terrific one more clip
yeah i think so okay sir
[Music]
okay for sure
i don’t know the aircraft seems to be
all right uh uh
says they were shooting when we started
coming out i’ll roger that if you like i
can escort you along
uh it’s three three uh okay um if you’re
only longer in the area i would sure
appreciate it yeah but you notice how
calm they were you were taking fire you
know no big deal
you know did we damage the aircraft
we’ve taken fire well i don’t know
and uh they decided that they were
taking fire so the gunship said hey you
know
did you take any damage you want us to
follow you back and
so uh yeah if you don’t have anything
else that’d be great if you could follow
us back
nothing better to do it all matter of
fact i mean no panic
i mean that’s your army training do the
job that you’re trained to do
don’t panic just just get it done and
everything calm matter of fact and you
just save five guys live
but you know no big deal yeah fulfill
the mission right
yeah by the mission yeah thank you i uh
put together uh well of course i’ve come
up with uh 15 books
working on number 16 of the uh rescue
missions that we flew in vietnam the
helicopter rescues
and i took uh what i call the top 20
and uh the helicopter whisperers uh
eight and a half by eleven
uh it’s over 400 pages there’s at least
20 missions in there
or there are 20 missions and uh that’s
um gosh what am i trying to say the
the title came from the
dedication of the book the last sentence
uh says we whispered to those
helicopters
this is what i need you to do don’t fail
me so
uh we talked to our helicopters uh as we
were doing these missions
yeah yeah i used to do that when i got
on my motorcycle to get me home tonight
i believe it i believe well that was
that was unbelievable that
all right we’ve got our first question
or comment
there marie kenneman they asked tricks
in flying in hotels these
zones were not getting too high above
the tree lines
okay well yeah not getting too high i
mean we
we would really be just giving the tops
of the trees we’re
and if we have 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
a target as possible and again we’re
going as fast as we can usually until we
get to the uh
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 we used to
that smoke 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 land and as i
literally
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 it was exactly right
and then 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
uh veterans guardian va claim consulting
thank you for this episode no no problem
thank you very much
oh it’s my pleasure oh yeah absolutely
absolutely you can tell i hate doing
these
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 the kong wouldn’t
shoot at you
oh they would shoot at us but we were
just trying to make ourselves
as elusive as possible um
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’m going to find you
uh but um yeah you were just uh
i mean we lost an awful lot of aircraft
to enemy uh
enemy fire uh we had one
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 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 you took your chances
uh 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 uh the co-pilot initiated emergency
procedures
uh he froze on the controls and i had to
take control back of the aircraft
uh even though i was wounded and uh just
by luck we got
out of it but uh just very very calmly
you said to myself this is it phil
so oh yeah yeah everybody has that
moment over there
yeah it was a job 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
out
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 like 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
time
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
you know if you’re going on a long
mission 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
aircraft uh when you had bomber support
or
spads or something uh you know napalm
uh and then your vhf would be uh within
the unit for other
army aircraft 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 how are
you phil thank you for your service my
question is are you still flying today
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
restored
three vietnam hueys back to flight i
still get to fly them today
uh 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 uh 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 hughes
again here i am in my 70s and
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 against uh
americanhuey369.com
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 well great all right next question
kilo can you explain
over talking the rotor system and what
was 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
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 he didn’t over torque
the aircraft he
he if it was requiring too much power
then
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 torquing the aircraft uh the
aircraft will accept
up to 50 pounds of torque in the system
and
what that amounts to is that 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 log book
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
no problem what was your most
challenging pickup
oh absolutely don’t say some woman in
saigon
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 we couldn’t get a regular supply
chain now the most challenging pickup
was the night i was wounded
uh we uh there was a big push going on
just uh one or two clicks south of the
dmz
and uh we we knew we had three seriously
wounded we had to go get them it was at
night
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 around
and uh and i called for strobe light
from the guys on the ground and i see
four strobe lights
and you know what’s going on well the
gunships were there and i called them
and i said hey said what
what do i need i get which one oh i’ll
all over fly the other
i’ll see which one it is and i’ll go
flashing uh
a position like so i go over there okay
fine thank you
so he goes over one of the strobe lights
flashing uh position lights i drop into
the lz
and they’re trying to throw ammo on the
aircraft
and and the crew chief is going sir
they’re trying to load them up 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 landing to pick up this ammo
as i’m trying to find my wounded
i finally found him 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 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
was 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 jesus not the the
infamous
jesus nut there is one huge nut that
fits
uh that holds the rotor system onto the
aircraft
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 you can
over torque the aircraft
so bad that you could lose the rotor
system