Fifteen men waited excitedly for the Chinook to arrive and carry them to the rear. Five were leaving for R & R to join their wives in Hawaii for a week of relaxation and fun. Three had complete their tour and were heading back to process out and go home. The Chinook finally approached with its crew of five. This would be the last mission for one of them. He was also going on R & R to meet his fiancée.
Their families back home would shortly be waking up. It was a Friday. The last day of work before the weekend. Unbeknownst to them, life would never be the same.
They picked up the fifteen passengers and began the short flight back to the base camp at Cu Chi. But a last minute call came in to stop enroute and pick up some empty fuel blivets from navy river boats that had been refueling all day. As they flew in the VC were waiting. Rocket propelled grenades and small arms fire brought the helicopter down. In the ensuing fiery crash nine would eventually lose their life.
The families back home had no idea when was happening thousands of miles away.
This is the true story of the men involved in this crash and their families from their beginnings to today. The wounded and the dead. The families of those who survived and those who did not. Everyone involved life’s changed that day. We veterans of the Vietnam War never had the luxury of mourning our dead. We were forced to move on. But, it never left us. For the families it lingered the rest of their lives.
This is their story.
Published by Jack McCabe
Jack McCabe was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. He graduated from high school in 1969 at the age of 17 and two days after he turned 18 he joined the Army. He was sent to Vietnam less than a year later in October of 1970. He extended for a second tour and finally came home for good at the end of May 1972. He finished his three-year enlistment at Fort Huachuca, Arizona and returned home to Chicago.
After his return from Vietnam, he pursued his education using the G.I. Bill, receiving an associate degree in electronics engineering from DeVry Institute. He eventually continued his education by attending night school and received his bachelor’s degree in business and management from Northeastern Illinois University in 1981, at the age of 30.
He owned his own business for 20 years and then sold real estate for 20 more before retiring to North Carolina, where he became a certified Peer Support Specialist with a veteran designation.
He has a deep passion for helping veterans doing volunteer work with the YMCA Resource Gateway in Gaston County, NC where he handles all the calls from those with past military service. He helped veterans with PTSD, financial crisis’s, substance abuse, homelessness, and veteran benefits. He received the North Carolina Governors Award for Volunteer Work.
Jack believes that the most important thing he can do is to give Vietnam and all veterans a voice. By sharing their stories veterans understand that they are not alone. There are many going through the same struggles as they are.
For non-veterans, he hopes they will understand the struggles veterans face when they return home from war.
He has since retired and is in the process of writing another book.
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1 thought on “10 July 1970”
Hello Jack. I am Susan Henry Osborne, older sister of Bob Henry. Thank you for posting this info about the helicopter crash. Bob never told me much about it except to say that it happened. I live in Concord, NC now. I’m sure you know of Bob’s passing last October. I would like to keep in touch. My husband, Paul Douglas Osborne was in the Army medical service Corp and served in Viet Nam all of 1967.