Crash Information on U.S. Army helicopter CH-47A tail number 64-13157
On May 10, 1972 at 1023 hours pilots CPT Barry C. Tomlin and 1LT Samuel Harrell (KIA) with crew members SP4 Alvin R. Elenburg (KIA), SP4 Terry D. Neiss (KIA), and SP5 Larry S. Mustin (KIA) were aboard United 157 enroute from Bien Hoa to Vung Tau. United 157 was part of a flight of four Chinooks that picked up infantry troops from the 3d Bde, 1st Cav at the Sandy Pad at Bien Hoa Army Base. The troops were being taken to Vung Tau for a three day in-country R&R. They had called for a clearance through the Long Thanh North Army Airfield traffic control area and were at 2000' heading from north to south. As 157 neared Long Thanh North Army Airfield, other Chinooks in the flight described 157 as exploding like a lightbulb flash. Since there had been an increase in NVA activity at An Loc, the aircraft was thought to have been shot down by a 23 mm anti-aircraft gun or an SA-7 missile. The remaining CH-47's sped from the area. At 1025 hours, Long Thanh tower received a radio call from an aircraft in the vicinity that a CH-47 had crashed to the northeast of the airfield and had exploded on impact. Aircraft near the scene reported that they could see no survivors at the crash site. Rescue efforts began immediately upon receipt of the report of the accident. It was learned later that United 157 had a material failure of a blade retaining pin. The 5 crewmen and all 29 soldiers on board were lost in the crash. The crew members of United 157 were from the 362nd Aviation Company. The 29 soldiers included 21 who were members of Skull platoon, including 3 from CP: the skipper and both the company and battalion RTO's. Another 7 soldiers were from A Company, 112th Cavalry, and 1 trooper was from the 11th ARM Cavalry Regiment. The names of the passengers on United 157 included CPT Kenneth Rosenberg (KIA), SP4 Frank T. Henson (KIA), SP4 William F. Henaghan (KIA), SP4 Raymond J. Shiko (KIA), PFC David A. Lydic (KIA), SP4 Donald E. Howell (KIA), SP4 Freddie Jackson (KIA), SP4 David W. Sulser (KIA), PFC Dean A. Phillips (KIA), PFC Steven E. Bowersock (KIA), SP4 Richard Ridgeway (KIA), SP4 Clarence Saulsberry Jr. (KIA), PVT Jackie Ray (KIA), SP4 Thomas A. Lahner (KIA), PVT James D. Grooves (KIA), PFC Clint E. Carr (KIA), SGT Edward D. Burnett (KIA), SGT Dieter K. Freitag (KIA), SGT James C. Jensen (KIA), PFC Thomas E. Wood (KIA), SGT William A. Boatwright (KIA), SP4 Dennis G. Dunning (KIA), SP4 Oscar Aguilar (KIA), SP4 Gary R. Monteleone (KIA), SGT Mike J. Aguilar (KIA), PVT Efrain Rivera-Agosto (KIA), SP4 David C. Flores (KIA), PFC John T. Sablan (KIA), and PFC Dale L. Hayes (KIA). [Taken from vhpa.org]
We Flew Together
"Only The Good Die Young" What Terry Meant To Me
To our west, a major battle raged as North Vietnam Regulars attacked in massive numbers a small town named An Loc. The enemy's intent was to take this town only 60 miles from Saigon to establish a communist capitol city in the south. For over a month, South Vietnam's Fifth Division, aided by American Advisers, repelled ruthless attacks by tanks, armored personnel carriers, and thousands of infantry. They were desperate for much needed supplies. Our job was to get them what they needed. Terry knew the importance of our mission.
As we entered the large Chinook helicopter's interior, we used our flashlights to see. Terry was hard at work making his M-60 machine gun ready if we needed it to protect our craft. As usual he had an infectous smile and a cheerful greeting despite the seriousness of our impending flight.
We departed our base near Ben Hoa and flew west toward An Loc. On our way we picked up water, ammunition, and other materials needed in the battle. This continued throughout the morning until almost noon. A radio request asked that I return to Headquarters to attend to an important matter. Since we still had many more missions to fly, I advised headquarters to have a replacement pilot ready when we arrived. I left the ship and a replacement took my seat. As I walked away, Terry gave me his usual smile and a wave which I returned.
Less than two hours later, Chinook 157 had a catestrophic, material failure and crashed just outside our perimeter. When I saw the dreaded black cloud my stomach went into knots. I was supposed to be on that ship.
Using our unit's Command and Control Huey, I was the first on the scene. All aboard were lost. Someday I hope to see Terry in the distance as I approach. It is my firm belief that I will receive a wave and a smile.