Early 1969, the crew of 66-1010 had been assigned to make a run to 3rd Marines and then to the Rockpile to exchange some new Marines for those who had been up there for some time. We were Mr Schwartz (was it Harold or Howard?) AC, Steve DeMars, Pilot, Mike Ward DG and me, Reggie Kenner CE.
The trip to the top was uneventful and as we picked up the men at Rockpile, one felt moved to grab me by the shoulder and tell me "I've only got ten days left in the 'Crotch' .
This was great news and I, of course, relayed the info over the intercom to Mr. Schwartz who told Mr. DeMars "Ten days? Well then, let's give him a ride".
He called the other ship, which had all it's packs on board, saying "Let's play follow-the-leader" The other AC replied "You're up" and we lifted off the landing mat pad, eased out over the edge and nosed over straight toward the carpet. There was nothing but green in the windscreen. I looked back and up and the other ship was right behind.
Our Marine short-timer seemed somewhat perplexed at the attitude of the ship and admonished me saying "Did you tell the pilots I only have ten days left?" "I told them" I said, as we continued our rapid descent towards the lush green valley. This was what flying in choppers was all about.
Well, the short-timer was a bit agitated but sat back against the bulkhead for a bit as we pulled out of the dive with the usual whopping of the rotor blades, headed West until we found the river and dropped to about 6 feet, following it's meandering curves with 90 degree banks, quick popups when we couldn't make the turns and generally having a great time.
Our friend started crawling all over the cargo area and as Mr. Schwartz pulled the ship into a cyclic climb, the man pulled himself up between the pilot's seats saying very loudly "I'VE ONLY GOT TEN DAYS TO GO IN THE CORPS!!!"
He finished this statement at the same time we reached the top of the climb as Mr. Schwartz told DeMars on the intercom "You've got it Steve"
Mr DeMars took the controls and pushed us over the top, aimed right back at the green, green grass of anywhere but home and the Marine let out a blood-curdling scream. I could only hear all this as my eyes were totally full of tears from laughing so hard.
Mr DeMars pulled us out of the dive well above the carpet and we continued to the 3rd Marines area at Quang Tri.
As we hovered toward the landing, the short-timer jumped out of the ship at about 8 feet, afraid, I suspect, that we would take off again and give him another farewell ride.
Some people just couldn't relax.
CE A/101 Avn
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