I was the crew chief for helicopter #167, which developed an internal leak in the ramp control valve and was downed at Phu Bai on the 14th. By the time we were able to get the hydraulic shop to bring up the valve and equipment to replace it and purge the system I missed the initial launch and inserts. I don’t remember when we arrived in Dong Ha but I do remember seeing helicopters returning from the first several waves and the shocked expressions and seeing two crews getting off of one bird.
I was on the late afternoon mission, either the second or third “V”, and watched Bob Telfer’s plane on fire in the air and disappear in a cloud of smoke and flame when they flared to land. We were thinking everyone was dead and I, at least, wondered why we didn’t go in and secure the crash site to make sure and help out.