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View Full Version : Helicopter 808 Found In Vietnam After 43 years



VF-17_Jolly
02-06-2010, 04:45 AM
Whilst reading Chickenhawk i read a passage about a Huey that went missing on a routine flight.
Nothing was seen or heard of the crew or helicopter although a terrible loss the actual passage was quite amusing

", a ship from the Snakes, tail number 808, took off on a foggy morning to go out to Lima with C rations and supplies, and never arrived.
The pilots called once before crossing the pass to say that the visibility was almost zero, but they could make it. By 0900 I was involved in the search. By dusk they had not been found, not even a clue.
"Do you think they did it?" Resler asked.
"Nah. It was a stupid idea."
The next day, half a dozen ships from the battalion combed the jungles for miles around the pass looking for signs. Nothing.
The First Cav the helicopter division lost one of their own Hueys in their own back yard. It was bad for pilot morale.
Meanwhile, supply sergeants throughout the battalion were keeping their fingers crossed. This was a rare opportunity to balance the property books once and for all.
Let me explain. In the army, specific amounts of military equipment were allocated to the company supply sections. Once or twice a year, the inspectors general, agents from the brass, came through to check that all property was in the supply depot or properly accounted for. If it wasn't, mountains of paperwork had to be done, including explanations by the commander and the supply officer. Searches were made. That was the formal army system.
The informal army supply system worked around such rules. The supply officers simply traded excesses back and forth to cover their asses, and the IGs never knew. Unless, of course, they had once been supply officers. The informal system made the books look good and protected the supply people, but we still had no jungle boots or chest protectors. Certain things you had to get for yourself. I was able to trade a grunt supply sergeant some whiskey for a pair of jungle boots. The chest protectors, though, were still not available. There were only a handful of them in the battalion.
All supply people dreamed of a way to balance the books once and for all without all that trading and shuffling. Flight 808 looked like the answer.
After two more days of searching, a Huey was found. It was the wreckage of a courier ship that had disappeared on its way to Pleiku a year before. The search was abandoned, and flight 808 was declared lost.
Declaring the ship missing started paper gears working all over the battalion. One of the questions the supply people loved to hear was "Did you have anything aboard the missing helicopter?"
"Well, now that you mention it, I did have six entrenching tools on that ship. Plus some web belts seven web belts, to be exact .three insulated food containers, four first aid kits, twenty four flashlights," and so on.
When all the reports were tallied, I was told by Captain Gillette, it came to a total of five tons of assorted army gear about five times what we normally carried.
"One hell of a helicopter, don'cha think?" said Gillette.
"Maybe that's why it went down,". Gary said. "Slightly overloaded. By eight thousand pounds, I'd say."
"Yep. We'll never see another like that one."

This Huey has since been found and the crew brought home at last

Mystery of missing US helicoter (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/5400616/Mystery-of-missing-US-helicopter-in-Vietnam-solved.html)

Happy and Sad news indeed

Choctaw111
02-06-2010, 05:15 AM
I appreciate these kinds of stories more than any other.

thefruitbat
02-06-2010, 10:38 AM
I love that book, when i was backpacking i spent a month in vietnam, travelling down from hanoi to saigon. Although it was hard to go to An khe, as it was off the coastal track that is the common routes travelled in vietnam, managed to puruade the lads i was travelling to to detour there, (hired a minibus for 4 dollars a day, plus one dollar a day extra for the driver who slpet in the bus!!) went through the An Khe pass on the way, and spent a couple of days there, although its a big dirty town now. Had problems finding somewhere to stay, because none of the hotels had been 'upgraded for westerners', eventually the police let us stay somewhere. Only wanted to go there because of chickenhawk.

Met some interesting people there, including a former south vietnamese huey pilot, and got to hear his experiences of finishing on the wrong side, not particualy pleasant.

fruitbat

PanzerAce
02-06-2010, 12:54 PM
Good to hear that they've found it finally, and that was always one of my favorite books on the Vietnam war.