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Hawk 21 Remembers

Source: Gary Dombroski

Hawk 21:

My knowledge of events before August of 69 and after August of 70 is limited.  I do know the Hawks were stationed at LZ Sally (not Camp Sally) before they moved to Phu Bai.  They originally flew Huey gunships (don't know if they were UH-1B or UH-1C models).  They were at Phu Bai (Liftmaster Pad) when I was assigned to the unit and they had apparently been there for awhile.

I know one pilot was killed before I got there.  WO1 John Rucker (I've been told) drowned after an engine failure where the aircraft went underwater and he didn't get out.  His name is on the Viet Nam Wall Memorial and I can get the date of his death if you want it.  The only other thing I "know" is we lost an aircraft on the ground during a mortar attack (at Cu Chi I think).

Never heard of any other injuries or aircraft losses other than that before my arrival.  During my time as a Hawk, WO1 Ronald C. Perry had an engine failure on takeoff and was medivaced to the states with serious spine injuries.  Don't know if the aircraft was repaired or scrapped.  Just at the end of my tour (July/Aug 70) CW2 Mike Jones took an AK-47 round through the leg either near Firebase Ripcord or in the Ashau Valley.  Additionally. CW2 Stan Bean took a 50 caliber round through the canopy handle and got leather and shrapnel on/in his neck. A couple of aircraft were damaged during a refueling fire and an engine failure incident - but they were repaired to the best of my knowledge.

After I left, I had heard WO1 (or CW2) Harold "Spud" Keedy  went down around the "Rockpile" with a 90 degree gearbox failure.  I believe they left the aircraft there. Seems to me I heard about a transmission failure, but everyone got out to my knowledge.  There was one previous Hawk killed in the Ashau, he was the tech supply officer before I got that job.  He had been transferred to another unit, so he was not an active Hawk at the time of his death.  All I can remember about him is he was a Warrant Officer, his first name was Bob, the Captain he was flying with walked out of the Ashau a few days later.  
Hawks that were there when I got there:
  • CW2 Adam Yount
  • CW2 Billy Budd
  • CW2 Fred Schattauer (last known as a major at Fort Lewis 20 years ago or so)
  • CW2 Mike Jones
  • CW2 Stan Bean
  • CPT Warren "Toasty" Smith
  • CPT Wayne Jacoby
  • CPT Dave Foutch
  • W2 Bruce Johnson that later joined the Air Force and was flying F15's out of Langley   

Hawks that joined the unit after my arrival included:
  • CW2 Mike Chase
  • CW2 Ed "Budda" Eldridge  (former Marine; last known to be a CW4 flying the Golden Knights jump aircraft.
  • WO1 (probably made W2) Harold M. "Spud" Keedy
  • WO1 Ronald C. Perry
  • WO1 Dick Baird

One of the commanding Officers, while I was there was Major Grayson.

The only aircraft tail number I can remember is 67-15787 (because it was my primary aircraft.  It is also the one that was set on fire in the refueling pit at Quang Tri.  (The maintenance officer flew it back to Phu Bai (with all kinds of caution lights ON) and it was repaired and returned to service).

Of course there were plenty of others, several were changed out as the air conditioned aircraft and the 20mm aircraft became available.

Our Area of operations was generally form Phu Bai west to and beyond the Ashau Valley, north to Quang Tri and the DMZ (Plus west to places we "didn't go!").  Had occasional missions to the south as far as DaNang and west to Cu Chi. We also flew missions along the South China Sea.

Gary Dombroski

Hawk 21 69-70

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