Quang Tri Province, Viet-Nam * 8 July 1966 * story of the incident



incident data :


      date of the incident :    8 July 1966

actual age :   18 years 8 months and 25 days

location of incident :   Quang Tri Province,  South Vietnam

coordinates of incident :   48Q YD 05865 46326  - 16°41'26.2067", 106°55'50.1175"

aircraft :    CH-46A  No. 151947

status :    Killed In Action / Body Not Recovered

casuality field information codes :    CACF/CRASH/NON-AIRCREW





George Neville, A/3rd Rec Bn/3rd Marines remembers ....


Two Sea Knight transport helicopters landed CH-46 reconnaissance team southwest of Cam Lo. The team hit the enemy hard contact and then was successfully retrieved. The same team was discontinued about two hours later. During this withdrawal was one CH-46 helicopter - piloted by 1st Lt.. Bert L. Nale and 1st Lt.. David W.Mc Cleerym (HMM-164) shot down. The helicopter began to burn, yet all on board were able to leave the machine. Except Recon LCPL Ronald Lee Longanecker that found in the flames of his death. This incident was the first of many, when the machine was shot down in Quang Tri province and Longanecker was the first Marine listed as KIA / Killed In Action / in Quang Tri Province.


The narrative of the book "Never Without Heroes" Lawrence C. Vetter Jr.


"The first patrol zone was about 4.5 miles southwest of Cam Lo in the ridge area is closed on all sides. Only escape was possible for Rao Vinh, where the river flowed into the area and left the pass. Patrol tactics How to leave the zone was the same.

Al Gordon was the first helicopter, which carried out the planting and remember ......

"The back cover fell off and I ran down the ramp into the grass and I followed Ray. Whole team was out there and go into the woods, when I suddenly realized that the second helicopter came under heavy fire and could not get out of it. Seemed on several automatic weapons, plus other handguns from a nearby hill, not more than two to three hundred meters distant. we cover behind trees, and I watched our helicopters in the air, trying to stay away and I wondered what hell will happen next ...
Then we got news that the fighters near the affected area and we should mark our position. So I took the color panel and ran in front of our neck and then I was just fascinated by how the smoke in the air discover sign that our team came under fire ... now everything is happening in the air .. Ground combat with us as viewers. "

"Combat helicopter Huey / UH-1C / flew first," recalls Ray Strohl. "We've always had two near the DMZ during / Demilitarized Zone / patrols. Carried out a first strike on the hill. When flew fighters, I swear I was so close that I saw one pilot, as he winked at me."


Sitting among the trees and reflecting on their fate did not have long to wait before the first survey team from CH-46 collected under fire.

Platoon was flown back nine kilometers to Dong Ha. Men began to expand when the news came that everyone immediately returned. Within an hour, the crew back in the air.Ray Strohl said that he thinks there is no need to say goodbye, it is only a supply of ammunition. It is started using the M60 Machine Gun. At this time the unit was inserted farther south, about two miles southeast of the last attempt and to a higher position, wooded hill about 300 meters high. They were in the area near the center, the center of the hill.

The first helicopter with Strohl and Lt. Gordon Terrebonne fell to planned LZ / landing zone - landing / and immediately was hit by enemy fire. Before that, the team managed to jump out of a helicopter and under constant fire miraculously managed to move away.The second helicopter was not so lucky. The first machine had tried to warn others to immediately pulled away, but the country was already in flames and a second helicopter lost control of management. They tried to blow out of fuel, but were forced into emergency landing. Pilots still managed to fly a short distance to the west, but then the machine began to fall and overturn. Resulting fire helicopter exploded and marines on board fought for it, get both sides out of the burning machine. The helicopter turned and leaned roar from the ground. It happened near the helicopter and the first men of the first units tried hatches for safety zones to help Marines from a crashed machine. Al Gordon and Lieutenant Terrebonne unfortunately had on his side of the remains spinning propeller and could not get in because of the rescue helicopters.


Al Gordon remember further .....


"We landed just below CH-46 and those guys were able to get out tse. I ran after them, Terrebonne was right behind me. Helicopter lying on its side and I climbed up the machine and looked through the window. Longanecker I still see them sitting back and leaning on the side of the inverted helicopter. was dead, but his eyes looked straight ahead .... Then my inner voice ordered me to immediately leave a burning hell. fire began to intensify and everything around it was hot. Everyone else got out. Some of them had injuries after the fall of the helicopter, all through the flames but managed to escape the burning machine. I started running and when I was about fifty yards from the helicopter crashed, the machine exploded and flew into the air high above me. "

Strohl can not say exactly what happened to the helicopter because it was part of a defensive position around the incident.

In an accident, one man was killed and seven were injured. Ronald Lee Longanecker also became the first Marine to be listed as Killed In Action/Body not recovered in Quang Tri Province......


Action report - Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 164


HMM-164 Command Chronology - July 1966:
On 8 July while performing a recon insertion at YD072468 the aircraft came under heavy ground fire as the aircraft was about to touchdown in the zone. Both aircraft in the flight initiated a wave off. The second aircraft, piloted by 1stLt B. L. Nale lost an engine (probably due to ground fire) upon commencement of the wave off. Single engine capability did not exist and the aircraft crashed approximately 200 yards from the zone, burning on impact. All crewmembers and 9 recon personnel escaped with minor injuries. One Force Recon man was lost in the mishap. The aircraft was completely destroyed by friendly air and mortar fire after all personnel were evacuated from the zone. The crewchief (SSgt E. D. Lane) and gunner (PFC B. L. Hoffman) along with the injured recon personnel were taken to A Med at Hue Phu Bai.  The crewchief and gunner were later transferred to C Med at DaNang suffering from minor back injuries.