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Thread: 29 April 1975 Operation Frequent Wind

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    The soul that is within me no man can degrade bd popeye's Avatar
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    This photo has been mis-identified many times. This RVN Huey was shoved into the Tonkin Gulf from the USS Blue Ridge(LCC 19)


    A South Vietnamese helicopter is pushed over the side of the USS Okinawa (LPH 3) during Operation Frequent Wind, April 1975. The helicopter, which carried two Vietnamese officers, a woman and two children, had to be disposed of to make room for the extensive Marine Corps helicopter operation helping to evacuate the city of Saigon.

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    The soul that is within me no man can degrade bd popeye's Avatar
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    The photos below are from the Hanna's 1975 cruise book...OPERATION FREQUENT WIND. 29 April 1975.














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    The soul that is within me no man can degrade bd popeye's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by commanding View Post
    Great thread and photos and video BDP, thanks for your service and for the pix you got of your carrier and the evac. Amazing stuff. at least some of the south VN folks got out of there okay then.
    Thanks commanding.. not my photos. Just photos I found online.

    This video is Very short and in Spanish. It does show my ship..the Fightin' Hanna..



    Another short film. Scenes from the Hanna, USS Okinawa(LPH 3) & USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19)


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    One thing that's on my mind about this operation is that I read somewhere (think it was in Frank Snepp's recollections) that untrained CIA personal got to some Air America Hueys and managed to turn them on and fly them to the ships without ever having been instructed how to operate a helicopter.

    I had a chatter with a Luftwaffe UH-1D pilot who told me that it's basically impossible for somebody who never flew a helicopter or got any instructions to get it of the ground. He actually showed me the moves you've to do and told me if you're not doing it exactly this way the helicopter will just spin on the ground and get destroyed (has something to do with countering the torque directly at the lift off).

    Has anybody infos about this and can confirm or debunk this story?

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    Senior Member PATTO's Avatar
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    I remember watching this live on TV as a kid. Thanks for the awesome pics. I cannot even fathom the chaos on board as they arrived.

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    You should really see if you could get your hands on a copy of "Decent Interval" the book written by the mentioned Frank Snepp (no matter the stance towards him). It reflects the whole chaos in which this operation did go down. Has some anecdotes like confidential papers in plastic bags getting ripped open and spread across the whole US embassy area by landing helicopters or hundred thousands of dollars getting burnt and coming out half intact of the embassy chimney with lots of people trying to grap as much as they can. Of course also deals with the evacuation itself and the selfless efforts undertaken by many people to safe as much souls as possible.

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    The soul that is within me no man can degrade bd popeye's Avatar
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    I cannot even fathom the chaos on board as they arrived.
    Actually there was little disorder. Very little. At first yes. We were not expecting the RVN helos. But we took them anyway. No helos crashed aboard any USN ship and only one USMC helo a CH-46 was lost.

    Has anybody info about this and can confirm or debunk this story?
    Those men flying the CIA Air America Heuy's were pilots. They were very skillful. I was there , I saw them with me own peepers. aaarrrvvv Believe it or not some of them were drunk. ALL of them were armed as were many persons that were evacuated that day. We did not push any of the Air America birds overboard. They were all spotted on the bow. And then off loaded in NAS Cubi PT helo flight line wre they statyed for several months. Then they were shipped off to ..who knows?



    This is a rare pic! This is a pic of Air America(CIA) helos that were recovered from Vietnam during Operation Frequent Wind spotted on the helo flight line in NAS Cubi Pt. Republic of the Philippines. I was stationed in Cubi from 8-'75 til 9-'77. These helos stayed on the helo flight line until early '76 if memory serves me correctly. Note the silver and blue paint scheme.

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    Peacemaker Zorro C9's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marsch View Post
    One thing that's on my mind about this operation is that I read somewhere (think it was in Frank Snepp's recollections) that untrained CIA personal got to some Air America Hueys and managed to turn them on and fly them to the ships without ever having been instructed how to operate a helicopter.

    I had a chatter with a Luftwaffe UH-1D pilot who told me that it's basically impossible for somebody who never flew a helicopter or got any instructions to get it of the ground. He actually showed me the moves you've to do and told me if you're not doing it exactly this way the helicopter will just spin on the ground and get destroyed (has something to do with countering the torque directly at the lift off).

    Has anybody infos about this and can confirm or debunk this story?
    You have to counter with left pedal at take off. It's possible they could start it with the checklist but they wouldn't have been able to land it, which is reasonably difficult. So, story unlikely.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bd popeye View Post
    Those men flying the CIA Air America Heuy's were pilots. They were very skillful. I was there , I saw them with me own peepers. aaarrrvvv Believe it or not some of them were drunk. ALL of them were armed as were many persons that were evacuated that day. We did not push any of the Air America birds overboard. They were all spotted on the bow. And then off loaded in NAS Cubi PT helo flight line wre they statyed for several months. Then they were shipped off to ..who knows?
    He clearly stated that it was untrained CIA personal and not AA helicopter pilots that took the helicopters and managed to get them of the ground.

    Besides that in the last posted video you can see an AA Huey getting ditched. Maybe the deck was full at the time and the pilot was running low on fuel or what ever and just had to do it this way. Anyways not all AA aircrafts could be recovered.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zorro C9 View Post
    You have to counter with left pedal at take off. It's possible they could start it with the checklist but they wouldn't have been able to land it, which is reasonably difficult. So, story unlikely.
    AFAIK that's not enough. You also have to put the stick (cyclic blade control) to the right (IIRC) to counter the torque at the take off. I'd say that's the reason while one skid comes lose first in nearly all take offs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marsch View Post
    Besides that in the last posted video you can see an AA Huey getting ditched. Maybe the deck was full at the time and the pilot was running low on fuel or what ever and just had to do it this way. Anyways not all AA aircrafts could be recovered.
    No AA heys crashed in the vicinity of the Hanna. A USMC CH-46 did crash off the port bow the evening of the 29th. Could have been early morning on the 30th.

    All I know is that all the AA pilots i saw seem to be flying with some skill.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marsch View Post


    AFAIK that's not enough. You also have to put the stick (cyclic blade control) to the right (IIRC) to counter the torque at the take off. I'd say that's the reason while one skid comes lose first in nearly all take offs.
    There's lots of little things you have to do, I was just mentioning one of the major ones. Either way, it's pretty improbable.

  12. #42
    My father's WWII unit, the 87th Infantry Division JUNKHO's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zorro C9 View Post
    There's lots of little things you have to do, I was just mentioning one of the major ones. Either way, it's pretty improbable.
    ^^^^what the man says.....even if someone knowing what they were doing got it cranked, there is still a challenge knowing how much torque to pull to get it off the ground without spinning the top--then getting forward airspeed through translational lift (when the helicopter dips (loses altitude) a tad) before getting into clean air flight - then knowing how to land the thing--as an old SF guy once told me -- "young WO---it takes 90% of your ability to land a helicopter safely....it only takes about 50% of my ability to hit feet or **** in a parachute landing PLF--I like my odds better"

    I was not there and did not see it so *sure it might have happened* ---more than a lucky once???? improbable!

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    You're all right but you also don't have to be a magician to fly one. If you know a bit about how it works it can be done I'd say. Of course landing is one thing but as you can see from the posted videos they also crashed some while landing on the deck. Maybe the one AA Huey getting ditched even was one of these helicopters and the "pilot" didn't even tried to land and just jumped out over the ocean.

    I'd really like to try it myself (with an instructor of course). Anyone got a Huey in his backyard and some free time?

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    Bush Lawyer, that's me! TheKiwi's Avatar
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    Well Junkho was an actual factual heli pilot in Vietnam, so I'm going to take his word for it...

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    Yes, I figured that out already. I mean that he is/was a pilot not that he served in Vietnam.

    I know it may comes of a little arrogant but that's what I think, sorry.

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