Some of the A/101 Avn Pilots I flew
with in Vietnam
There are only a few pilots I can really recall
flying with at The Hideout. As with all of you my memories fade a bit. I need
to vent steam as it comes to me. You understand.
Captain Randy Lassiter was one. I was doorgunner
and had flown C&C with John Kennedy when I finally flew a line ship.
The very first day as we were flying North past
Evans I failed to mention a C-130 that was on a left dog leg on my side from
the East. I knew we were gonna be gone North past it before it got near but
Lassiter spotted it and jumped my shit on ICS. I learned to advise the pilots
of any and all aircraft from then on.
We went to Eagle POL later and I went to the fire
extinguisher like a good doorgunner.
I failed to open the pilot's door and slide the
armored side plate back first.
Another bad cherry mistake.
Were these incidents with Captain Lassiter or
Captain Fuchs. I flew with both but can't recall.
At my time or maybe my luck, I never had a
permanent pilot for more than a month or so as we became 2/17th Cav and hads
lots of changes.
I do recall another of the best pilots I ever flew
with. That was Jerry Simpson.
There was a small flight line re-organization
about mid tour. I was a seasoned CE by then and did my job.
At The Big Board in operations, we had to check
every evening. I had my AC for the next mornings 0500 crank-up as some cat
Another CE that was checking the board told me
that Simpson was a lifer and tough to get along with as an AC. He was a tight
ass and too damn strack.
That's exactly the way the dude was when I met him
as the CE before crank.
Read damn near the whole log book, had me open the
engine cowlings, got on the stinger and checked the tail rotor linkages,
climbed on top and checked every push-pull tube and the swash plate, checked
the chin bubbles for cleanliness and was a tight ass.
As you all know by now, the guy didn't know me and
did a thorough pre-flight.
Jerry Simpson was a fine pilot. In LZ's he moved
the skids and tail exactly as I said. After he trusted me we were a pretty
Jerry's mental recall and a copy he had of my
Bronze Star orders, helped my VA claim like hell.
I talked with Jerry (cyber) some the last few
If you look at the A101 crewlist you may see that
Jerry was flying UPS big jets when he logged in. He is flying some Pacific
runs with the 757 and 767 now.
We gotta get him to a reunion.
Mike Bright is the third. Mike came with the
Charlie Gunships when we became the F'Comancheros with F-Troop 2/17 Calvary.
Mike was another tight ass. He never even grinned then and after flying many
many civilian hours with him he still is somber.
Mike now has a little over 12,000 hours in mostly
rotorwing and some fixed wing including twin engine.
Mike was Chief pilot for Abu Daubi Helicopters
when he wrote letters in support of my VA claim from that country.
He got used to me and let me shoot my Greasegun
all I wanted and saw off the barrels of my 60's.
One day in the lower Ashau we were lower Red
Flight on a Pink Team. The other gunship stayed high. The Loach was digging in
the weeds and under the trees and spotted a round metallic canister and
announced that he was gonna use his side minigun to bust it.
The next thing we hear is a pilot screaming that
he is blind from CS gas. It was from a C-130 CS drop or something and the
gooks hadn't found it.
The pilot pulled pitch into the unknown and had no
sense of spatiality.
Mike dove us down with a hard pedal and near broke
the cyclic stick off forward and we got near the blind pilot. Mike talked him
thru recovery and up to altitude where the cockpit cleared and he regained his
That's some of MY pilots.
Gary Lee Stamey
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