10. Recovery Of 319 By Jim Brady
The mysterious SP4 who was torn up in the crash and burn that CW2 Harrison died in was Baxter, I believe his first name was John. He had been a Line Crew member who went to a flight platoon. I am not sure he survived. I saw him at Cam Ranh Air Force hospital the day I left country in early March and he looked very bad. One leg gone and the other severely burned plus he had been full of shrapnel and had been opened up from his throat to this groin to take the metal out. He was being fed through a tube and had another coming out of his nose which he told me allowed him to pass necessary bodily waste, though not in those words
I wrote to Baxter after I got home but received no answer. I wrote to the ward nurse too but also never got an answer. I don't know if he survived and am not sure I want to know. I was on the recovery crew that day and had the sad duty of placing Harrison's remains on the recovery ship. After we found him under the armor seat, the Koreans put his remains in a poncho and me and I think Bill Norlander carried him to our ship. You know, that smell doesn't go away. Still!
I think Bill Ogden was hit from the front of his throat since there was a corresponding hole in the right transmission access panel directly behind where he would have been sitting with the bullet passing partially through the sync elevator control tube and barely missing the main fuel and oil lines and the transmission oil sump. I seem to remember that it exited the pylon and may have struck the CE, Pee-Wee Webb, in the back causing no harm due to it's velocity being spent. Ogden's position had very little blood evident, only a small spot on the seat fabric. This I know since I flew his position back to Phu Hiep.
Lt. Benny Doyal and I think Capt. Wilson flew the ship with Webb as CE. I kept the transmission panel open since they wanted me to watch the sync elevator tube--like I could do anything about it if it gave up and failed! Also the transmission had a half inch hole in the upper planetary gear case along with one in the diffuser section of the engine near the bleed air fitting (P3 I believe) on the right side. The blades were shot up and the stabilizer bar frame had a hole in it. The ship should not have been flown but the Air Force wanted us off the Phan Rang air base for some reason. We popped the transmission and engine filters and tossed the elements since they were blocked with ground copper and lead and replaced the bare housings, gave her a quick MOC for leaks and engine performance and took off.
Somewhere north of Cam Ranh Bay, while we were passing high over a village, as I was watching the scenery go by, some nut with communist ammo launched a few green tracers up at us. Like we didn't have enough trouble with the ship. I mentioned this to the rest of the crew.
Old 319 was testimony to the durability of Bell's product. The tail boom and airframe were shot up so bad that when we finally landed at the maintenance pad it looked like the whole company was waiting for us. While I was tying it down I asked how they all knew we were inbound and was told that they could hear us a long time before they could see us. All this happened on my 21st birthday. Since we were both from Pennsylvania, and both having family ties to Philadelphia, we were friends and I had invited Ogden to share in the cake that my wife had sent me which had survived the mail. Birthdays haven't meant much since then.
Last modified: Monday June 27th, 2022