I'm proud of our Vietnam Veterans
Remembering An American Hero
As an American, I would like to thank you for your service and for your sacrifice made on behalf of our wonderful country. The youth of today could gain much by learning of heroes such as yourself, men and women whose courage and heart can never be questioned.
May God allow you to read this, and may He allow me to someday shake your hand when I get to Heaven to personally thank you. May he also allow my father to find you and shake your hand now to say thank you; for America, and for those who love you.
With respect, and the best salute a civilian can muster for you, Sir
Final Mission of U.S. Army helicopter UH-1D tail number 64-13642
There are three accounts of this incident: First account - The aircraft was climbing up the windward side of a mountain. As the crest of the mountain was reached, a loud noise was heard with a loss of power. An attempt was made for landing in a rice paddy. As pitch was pulled, rotor RPM was lost. The tail struck a dike, the ship nosed over and struck on the left front and burned. Power loss was caused by failure in the combustion chamber N-1 power turbine wheel. Second Account – Aircraft commander 1LT Howard J. Schnabolk, crew chief SP5 Dwight D. Woolf, and passengerpatient SP4 Thomas L. Meidam lost their lives in the crash. Pilot WO1 Dorlin W. Griffith was severely injured and required about 10 months in the hospital in Japan. The medic (SP5 Hibbs) saved every one that survived the crash even though he was severely injured himself. SP5 Hibbs was able to pull every one out of the aircraft except the aircraft commander 1LT Schnabolk who was trapped by the instrument console and already deceased. After pulling everyone out of the aircraft, he then proceeded to provide what medical care he was able until rescue personnel arrived. WO1 Dorlin W. Griffith arrived in country on the same day, same flight and same flight school and AMEDS classes as me. I was originally scheduled to be flying with Howie that day but was pulled off at the last minute to be a pay officer for the platoon. Griffith was grabbed and put in my place. I was washing up in the men’s washroom when the news came in that we had a crew down. I was grabbed as we didn't have any other pilots readily available. I locked the payroll in the CO’s desk and responded to the accident scene. WO Dorlin and I had only arrived incountry around the 20th of July of 1967. In November of 1967 I was DEROS shuffled to a Dust Off unit in 3 Corp and lost track of him. Met up with him at Long Binh Repo Depot upon end of tour and found that he had been returned to 498th with only a couple of months remaining on his tour. On the report the Unit is listed as 79th TC Company, but it should be the 498th Medical Co (Air Ambulance). On page showing Information on 1Lt Schnabolk, Additional Information is only partially correct: aircraft was not hit by enemy fire. Cause of crash is as listed in Accident Summary (power loss caused by failure in the combustion chamber N-1 power turbine wheel). Location of the crash was several miles south of Quin Nhon City along the coast near the leper colony. (Reported by Paul W. Frank) Third Account - I was the medic on the mission when 1LT Schnabolk was killed. We were hit in the short shaft of our Huey by ground fire, near Qui Nhon. 1LT Schnabolk did a great job handling the chopper. He remained calm and cool through it all. When we hit the ground the chopper was in an upright position and the blades were still turning slowly. A fire broke out on the crew chief’s side and quickly spread into the cabin. I removed all the wounded and went after the pilots. CWO 3 Mott was in the right seat and I pulled him out and away from the aircraft. 1LT Schnabolk was sitting upright, the consul embedded in his chest. He was engulfed in flames. The chopper went up in flames in less than three minutes. We were evacuated to the Hospital in Qui Nhon. I spoke to CWO Mott, who was the co-pilot that day. He had received some rib and shoulder injuries from the crash. I was evacuated to Japan and lost contact with the other “Dusties”. Welcome home! (Reported by Ballard Frank “Doc” Hibbs, 2nd Plt. 498th “Dust-Off”, Qui Nhon, Viet Nam, Sept.66-Aug.67) [Taken from vhpa.org]