The September 20, 1970 Story by David Slone
I am the sole survivor of that UHIH that was shot down on September 20, 1970. This is what the After Action Report said that I obtained many years ago:
"At 0840H vic YD113725, an UHIH, while inserting a ranger team, was shot down by enemy fire. 1/A/1-11 was inserted and linked up with A/1-61 to secure the ship and search the area. At 1128H, A/1-61 received an unknown number of 82mm and 60mm mortar rounds. Gunships and artillery were placed on the suspected enemy locations with unknown results. Results were seven US KIA and two US WIA."
All five of the Rangers besides me were killed and I presumed all four of the crew. So I don't understand the numbers. Should add up to 10, with 9 KIA. Probably just the usual military counting screwup. Anyway, it seems to me that I saw other KIA from those units for that date listed on some website for Vietnam KIA beyond what is listed in this After Action Report.
I don't personally recall much. We were low-leveling prior to insertion, then the next thing the Huey was hit (I understand a .51 caliber shot took the rear rotar out because we sort of spun in the air for a bit.)
I remember clinging to a skid and then I guess I landed in a bomb crater full of water that more or less broke my fall. I believe Lt. Roger Bergh (or Berg) was in the C&C chopper above and he came down, and I think put me on a chopper to head back, or maybe there was a Medevac, I don't think I ever knew.
They took me to I think Phu Bai to stabilize me and then down to Cam Ranh Bay. I spent a few weeks in the hospital there and then was returned to the unit. I kind of hung around the camp for awhile and then transferred out not too long after that.
If you are interested in a full description of that event I would try to track down Lt. Bergh (maybe Terry knows where he is) and get the full low down. He was there and must have seen everything. Also, I believe "Troll" Lloyd's team was in the field and saw some of this, if I'm not mistaken.
We had tried an insertion the day before, but had taken ground fire, and returned to base. I knew something bad was going to happen the second time around.
Capt. Johnson had us go in again. It's depressing to me to think of how young and dumb we all were. I had just had my 19th birthday on September 6 and two weeks later my life as I knew it was upside down.
My son just turned 19 and I cannot imagine having him live through that experience. My actual birthday I spent in Khe Sanh, and just as we were inserted rounds started chewing up the ground all around us. I thought it was RPG's or something, and learned on our return that we had set off a sensor or something and it was our own artillery. About then I thought I was just buying time until something worse happened. And it did.
Exerpts from a book by Phoenix pilot Tom Marshall
Slone, Bickell, Apellido, Ritchie, Martinez and Gray Sept 1970
Dale Gray 1970
Glenn Ritchie 1970
Glenn Ritchie at Khe Sanh - August 1970
Glenn Ritchie at Khe Sanh in August 1970
Ritchie, Gallina, Gray, Slone and Apellido - Mai Loc in September 1970
Team 18 - Martinez, Apellido, Gray, Slone, Ritchie and Gallina in front - Mai Loc in Sept 1970
Sides' Team 18 in 1970
Team 18 with Glenn Ritchie in front
Team 18 with Slone, Gray, Martinez, Apellido and Ritchie at top - Mai Loc Sept 1970
This image and those below are all from the Memorial Ceremony to Team 1-8
D158th Redskin pilot at the memorial service
Team 18 Memorial Service - Gregg Spud Gain
Team 18 Memorial Service - Eddie Hubrins and Curry
The story of Team 1-8 is described by Dave Slone and others in the documentary
"Painted Warriors - Papa Company Rangers on the DMZ." Included are original
8mm films of Team 1-8 at Camp Carter in 1970.
You can obtain a copy with the link below.
A documentary from Guy Anhorn
Director/Producer of A Paratrooper's Story - Benning to Bastogne