Tuesday, March 2, 2010

A UH-1 from the 56th Transportation Company

The UH-1, serial number 62-1890, being restored at the Cold War Air Museum is the subject of ongoing historical research. We know from military records that she was deployed to Vietnam with the 56th Transportation company in 1966.

Military and FAA records further reflect that the aircraft was returned to the U.S and served with various units before being released to the National Guard and thereafter to the Washington National Forestry Service, where she gained her "N" number, 333WN.

We are appreciative of the various web sites and veterans groups who have attempted to preserve their unit and aircraft histories. It may be possible that the picture below is of our ship, or one like ours, "in country". We are hoping to hear from everyone who has a story or pictures to share from 62-1890's past.

Pete, one of our associates, contacted Major Gerald Royals (Ret.), a former commander of the 56th, who shared some recollections of 62-1890. A picture of Maj. Royal "in his younger days" and several photos from unit operations are on the 56th's page at the Fly-Army-Air website. Our thanks to Major Royal for his information and the picture and information found on his web page.

The 56th was a helicopter recovery company, call sign "Good Nature". Recovering damaged helicopters from the field and repairing them accounted for keeping more than 10% of the airborne unit's flying. An early motto used by the unit was "You Crash and Call - We Dash and Haul". Inspection of the pictures on the website shows three generations of nose art. The final insignia adopted by the unit, is seen on the nose of the UH shown beside the Major and matches the unit patch shown below.

"Find'm, Fix'M, Fly'M" certainly fits the history of the Cold War Air Museum as well.

Antihelicopter mines saw their first use during the Vietnam war. Improvised explosive devices were placed in likely landing areas with the intention of destroying arriving aircraft. From what we have learned to date, one such device went off underneath 62-1890 while she was attempting to recover another helicopter downed in a previous landing. Although the belly of the ship was heavily damaged, she was flown back to base where further inspection scheduled her for extensive repair.

Flown to the USNS Corpus Christi Bay, a floating repair depot, she was eventually returned to the U.S. for overhaul.

We hope to hear more about this worthy aircraft and her extensive history. Please contact us with updates that we can share as her restoration continues.

42 comments:

  1. Great history of my first assignment as a young Officer. Could you help me with finding Major Royals website. Would like to make contact again after all these years!
    Thank You! Former Captain Widger then Lt.

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  2. What about the SECOND 56th Trans Co's pocket patch, which was used AFTER this original RED patch?

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    1. I believe I just acquired on. Its obviously theatre mad and sealed in hard pladtic film with a button hole tab

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    2. I believe I just acquired on. Its obviously theatre mad and sealed in hard pladtic film with a button hole tab

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    3. i have all three and i think the red one was the last one h.k. c .

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  3. Will UH-1B 62-1890 get it's original 56th Trans Co paint job back? Is that a possiblity?

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  4. Don't have any info on the patch following the "red" patch, if you send a picture and some more info, we can do another post. We would welcome more pictures and stories about the aircraft and the unit.

    No decision has been made yet on a paint scheme. We're still working on the basics, like getting her licensed and flying again.

    We can't reply directly to you without an email address. Feel free to contact one of us directly at the museum, feel free to send emails directly to phil@cwam.org or pete@cwam.org or bud@cwam.org

    One of us will get back to you as soon as we can.

    Regards, bud@cwam.org

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  5. 56th Trans LTN RVN June 68 to June 69. That old bird sure looks sweet. I am sure that I flew in it many times. I have both patches in hand and would send a photo if you would like it. I want to retain the patches though. I also have numerous pics of the 56th Long Than North company areaa, flight line, some aircraft and personnel. Perhaps you could print some for your display. Also, there is a neat video of one of our bunkers available. The Long Than North Army Air Field is having an "all units" reunion this Sept in St Louis. Great site. Thanks , west_maureen@hotmail.com

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  6. Was traded from 339th to 56th in 1964, i was pfc Broussard,Jerry stayed with 56th sevsn months, have few pictures and was crew member on ch-37.

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    1. Jerry, you still around? I also worked on the 56th CH-37's. 658, 659, and 1004.
      Drop me a line! I have lots of photos and other stuff including some video from old movies showing hover hookup training.
      Scott J Drew swdrew@att.net

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  7. dec 5,2010 i crewed the first UH-1 for the 56th from oct 1964 to nov 1965,13 months and 45 days i was sp5 johnson sammie i know pfc broussard, jerry,my opns officer was cpt stamps jr. no pictures UH-1 sn was 62-00899 crash rebuild. worked with ch-37crew leola484@roadrunner.con

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  8. My father, Robert J. Curtis (Sarge First Class on retirement) was in the 56th in Vietnam, 1964-1965.

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  9. SP5 David Robin (at the time.)From Apr 1965 to Apr 1966, I crewed Good Nature 3 which was a UH1B. When the UH1D came into the country, I was the crew chief on that one until I left.
    After Nam, went to Germany as a VIP crew Chief.Than to flight school and bact to Nam with the 1st Cav.
    I have a few pictures from the time frame.
    dave4670@hotmail.com.

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  10. co clerk sp4 grogan 65-66, where the hell is everybody? remember mr buck, capt thurman, maj shlofka, cwo sciarra. after, went to ft wolters ret now in wi anybody for tu do street? 300 p for #1, yeah i know clap clap clap tgrogan@wi.rr.com

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  11. The nose art shown on Major Royal's web site was on a D model named Rice Paddy Daddy Which caught a skid shoe on a piece of psp at Hotel 3 and rolled over on her side. The battery compartment door with art work was transferred to her replacement, an H model. We also had an older D model, tail number 114 which I crewed in 69. Seems to me the new pocket patch was a large dark blue oval with the yellow straight arrow and the 56 logo from the red patch. 56th was an Aircraft Direct Support company which had a small group of men in their recovery section. SP 5 Barry Coblentz coby47@aol.com

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  12. Barry I might be wrong, the tail numbers were 371 and 411. I was in the 56th 1969-70. Engin shop, made sure both helicopters had lots of power. I was also on flight statues. I still have a 56th blue oval patch. Jay Warshauer , jaymsgold@yahoo.com

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    1. I was in the 56th from spring 69 to 70 and remember Jay. I was in the engine shop. I particularly remember Mr. Compton W3 who flew the UH-1's. He was really particular about the performance of the engines and the RPM settings. He left about 3 months after I got there, but I'll never forget him. He convinced me I could do things I had no idea I could do. I'm really sorry I missed the reunion last fall. I'll try to keep up with when ever there is another one. Also If Dale Beck or Roger Lehr see's this let me know. Your are also people who I remember as very close friends.

      Bob Cartwright robertc@novia.net

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    2. Bob I think I remember you and for sure George Compton.I worked in the engine shop for a while and knew Lehr and Beck. Got transferred to QC . Herb Hoover hrhoover47@gmail.com

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  13. The tail numbers of 56th Recovery's last two 68 model UH-1Hs were 381 and 411. I was in the 56th Rotary Wing platoon 1969-1972. Dave Heikkila. daveheikkila@dnainternet.net

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    1. Hi, I with 56th at Long Thanh north and was the crew chief and door gunner on 68-16411, 1969-1970. Do you know what has happen to 411?

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    2. 68-16411 seems to be the Huey we're working on at Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor.

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    3. SP-4 Wm Quillen- I flew aboard 411 as door gunner in '71. Please see my youtube video, home movies taken while flying aboard 411: https://youtu.be/8PFNs9GFfxk

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    4. Mr. Burlingame, any further news concerning 411 a/o 07/15?

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  14. How is the 56th Huey restoration coming along?
    BTW, met Pete Taylor again, at our Long Thanh North veterans' 2012 reunion in Tampa, Florida. Nice to see that he still stays connected to us 56th guys. Dave Heikkila.

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  15. How's the 56th Huey restoration coming along? BTW, met Pete Taylor again, at our Long Thanh North veterans' 2012 reunion in Tampa, Florida. Nice to see that he still wants to connect with us 56th guys. SP5 Dave Heikkila.

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  16. Would like to know more about anyone that was in the 56th transportation co. motor pool. In 1968 especially Dunhnam, a dispatcher. (Rug Head) email vnbandit68@yahoo.com (Harold Campos)

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  17. I was in the 56 from Nov. 66 to nov.67. Served with a great bunch of guys. Benny Baxter Billy Maddox to name a few. Hey anybody who served at that time please E mail me at petegibbons@ ymail.com Have alot of pics of the compound and aerial shots and perssonnel.

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    1. Stationed with the 56th from March, 68 to June, 70. Would love to see pics. Mine were destroyed in a flood in my home several years ago. SGT Denny Grove....denny@myhomelender.net

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    2. Denny-I'll email some pics that were taken in July and August of '71. As you said, you left in June 71, but you may enjoy seeing these. All the best. Bill

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  18. I'm former SP4 Bill Quillen. Flew on 411 with Charlie Donaldson from June through October '71 after being reassigned from the 539th at Phu Loi. I have pics and home movies taken while flying that I could share. I'm on facebook.

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    1. See this video of 411 https://youtu.be/8PFNs9GFfxk

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  19. I went to the Aviation Museum of the Pacific today hoping to see #411, It was not in the museum or in storage but UH-1 #708 was on the display floor. Unfortunately it is in bad shape. I flew #389 & #411 from Nov 69 thru Oct 70.

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    1. Chris, I just got back from the museum. 708 is 411. I have the Bell Helicopter build number/ serial number. They have paint the wrong number on the side/tail area. I was the crew chief/door gunner Dec 69 to Aug 1970. Chuck was my door gunner.

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    2. Chuck Donaldson and I flew together on 411 from July thru October of '71

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    3. Hi, do you have Chuck Donaldson e-mail? Chuck was my doorgunner on 411. I would like to some of your photos of 411 also. I left a few with the Pacific Aviation this past June. Pleas e-mail at bobbdx@gmail.com thanks, Bob

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  20. Hi, A little history about the 56th Transportation Unit. After finishing basic training I was sent to the 56 Transportation Unit. That was November 1963. Fort Lewis Washington. Unit was just forming. There were about 5 people in Unit. Across the road from the Unit was the little air field being built. Spring of 1964 the new hanger opened. During the Spring of 1964 Unit grew to about 100 men. October of 1964 Unit transferred to Viet Nam. Entire unit send to Bien Hoa. Unit was split in three parts. One part stayed in Bien Hoa. One part sent to Vang tau, (excuse spelling) south of Saigon. Our group sent to Tan Son Nhut. We left Fort Lewis in October 1964 next "door base". Mc Chord AFB. We flew to Travis AFB north east of Oakland, CA. Then flew to Saigon, but aircraft experienced engine trouble. So we landed in Okinawa, Japan. Kadena AFB for two days until a back up plane arrived from Travis, AFB. November 1, 1964 Bien Hoa received mortar attack. Seven men killed. We has left one week earlier. I left Saigon 10 August 1965 to Oakland Army Terminal for military discharge. If you have any questions I may or may not be able to answer. Send e-mail to me. 1goosegreen@msn.com.

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    1. Hey 1Goosegreen! I too shipped over with the 56th from Ft. Lewis in October of 1964! in three C-141 Starlifter USAF aircraft. One stop in Hawaii, then Bien Hoa is as I remember it.
      I served with the 56th at Tan Son Nhut from Oct. 1964 until April 1967. Have lots of photos and other info, patches, etc. Drop me a line!
      Scott J Drew SP/5 Engine Shop

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    2. Gentlemen, My name is Walter L, Anderson Jr. I am a retired Army SFC. My father Sp4 Walter L. Anderson is no longer with us. We lost him in 2010.

      My father left me with some items that I truly would like to share, to this unit's lineage. I have 60+ Kodak slides of various helicopter nose art, back drops, and of him in the Nam. I also have a set of orders of him for earning a Bronze Star for a helicopter recovery mission in Cambodia.

      My father never talked much about his experience. But I know he was a proud soldier. His helmet had "ANDY" across the front. He came home in 1968. When I was about t get promoted to E-5 back in 1992, I asked him... Dad, why didn't you want to make E-5? (Take it for the humor that it is), He replied: "I didn't want them to promote my black A..., back into that jungle" Would love to share.
      Sincerely,
      SFC (Ret,) Walter L. Anderson Jr.
      walter_anderson@bellsouuth.net
      wanderson@cityofportwentwrth.com

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    3. wanderson@cityofportwentworth.com
      walter_anderson@bellsouth.net

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  21. was with 56 th 67-68 , came over from 20th/25th , we moved out from TSN to LTN ending Tet... John C. Leichty

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  22. I was transferred from the 611th trans co in Vung Tau in oct 64 and was in the 56th until rotation in aug 65 fixed wing. Took care of an O1 and helped out on Otter that was a toe bird

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  23. Would you like to help with the Huey? The Cold War Air Museum is making the push to finish the Huey restoration so we can transport it to local events on a trailer as an interactive exhibit. Help us install the rotor blades and interior parts April 15, 2017. We also need parts, uniforms, equipment and financial donations. Please mail donations to: The Cold War Air Museum 850 Ferris Rd, Lancaster, TX 75146. More event info is at this link,
    https://www.facebook.com/events/265045343909808/

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