44. Picking Up LRRPs In A Gunship by Patrick Pavey

Okay, talking about LRRP operations, here is my favorite story. No, it isn't blowing holes in some slick tail from close cover or catching some from a wingman covering my break, had that too but that's simple TINS stories. No, this one was a medevac cover that turned into a rescue mission. We got called out to cover a Maguire extraction from an area north of Tuy Hoa and west of that Special Forces outpost just off the highway. I don't have a map here to refer to. What we had was a team De De'ing from a firefight with Charlie and they took a couple of casualties. One was badly injured and they needed to use the Maguire to get him out. If you remember that operation it was quite time-consuming. We got on station and set up a racetrack around the medevac as they pulled the injured LRRP out of the trees. The area wasn't real dense or anything, it was just a matter of they couldn't hump the guy to an area open enough for the dust-off to get in and out. Anyway, it was fairly uneventful and they got their patient out. As they scooted for Tuy Hoa they told us their fuel condition wasn't good and they would have to refuel before returning.

This put us in a real bad situation since we could not hold on for the dust-off to refuel, come back out and get the rest of the team. Our second problem was the lack of available alternatives. There were no slicks in the area to finish up the work or another gun team to relieve us on station. I made the decision that I had a good, strong bird and once I unloaded some of my ammo I could probably handle 4 passengers. I had a slaughter ship fully armed so it was a matter of getting clearance to unload before I picked up the remaining LRRP team members. That came in a snap from Company E, 20th Infantry, the LRRP team command.

I had the remaining team members hump out to an area where I could get in and out with my Charlie model while I went out to the plateau area to my west and unloaded everything but a couple hundred rounds for the gunners and maybe 500 rounds for the miniguns. Once this was done I called the team and had my wingman keep his eyeballs peeled. Even if Charlie wanted to pick on us we still had some teeth. I went on in, picked up the crew and set the LZ on fire on my way out, unloading everything I had. There may have been no Charlies within 10 miles but if they were near, they weren't going to pick on me. We flew over to the LRRP strip and dropped them off with some very broad smiles, hugs, and thank you's.

Now I'll come to the present and the utility of the Internet. I have always wondered if any of those team members made it back and remember their ride in a gunship. I am still wondering but I did get in touch with their NCO, Lazar Lazaroff, or the Mad Russian as he was known. He was on R&R when this took place but he heard all about it. I am now an honorary member of Company E, 20th Infantry and Company C, 75th Rangers Association.

AM Def Ser Cam

Last modified: Monday June 27th, 2022