In July of 2000, I received the quarterly newsletter that two of my fellow Lancers, David Mussey and Gary Whitty, publish. You may view David Mussey's website at: Lancer Home Page.
Contained in this newsletter was an article from the 101st Airborne Association newsletter. Someone wanted information on the UH-1H S/N 67-17658 which saw service with the B Company 101st Aviation Battalion in Vietnam during 68-69. They wanted any information regarding an accident involving this aircraft at Fire Base Eagles Nest on May 31, 1969. It had been over thirty years since I was in Vietnam, but the number rang a bell. I took out the journal I kept in Vietnam and it was my old helicopter.
I called the gentleman listed in the article and told him I was the crew chief on 658. I then told him about the crash. He said they had a lot of information from the co-pilot and door gunner. He was trying to locate the pilot. I asked him why he wanted all the information; he told me he was with the Firesland Military Museum in Ohio, and they had restored 658. He also said they took it to parades and other functions, and he said it had even been parked at the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington D.C. To view 658 in its restored condition click on: www.huey.org.
Hearing this, it brought tears to my eyes. I was proud to hear that my old friend had suddenly come back to life. I decided then that since I myself knew its history from August of 1968 to May of 1969, I could provide more detail than just the one day that it crashed.
I have always contemplated the thought of writing a book from my journal and the above events are what finally lead me to doing so. Beginning with the original crew: Dan Shea-Pilot, Ed Sakenes-Pilot, Terry Gerke-Door Gunner and myself Terry Willman-Crew Chief.