Paul J. Metzner








Dedicated to the little helicopter with

“Blades of Wood” flown by “Men of Steel”


VOL.1 Number 2

01 April 2003






Stephen P. Mock






Help Stamp out Fixed Wings




At this the beginning of this our second edition, I must say that the Inaugural Edition was a resounding success. Below, we are introducing a new column titled “RING of FIRE”. This addition will cover the exploits of our Airborne Rescuemen/ Firefighters. As was the case before, we will be adding LINKS usually starting with www. that will connect you with other Web Sites providing additional information on the subject. Our success is dependent on you our readers. We need you to contact us with information/articles so we will have the content available for future editions. We are also seeking photographs for our archives to be used directly with related stories or as illustrations in others. Enough already, let’s get this “Bird” fired up so you can enjoy this issue.







At 0720 L, 17 May 1972, the Primary Crash Alarm sounded scrambling the crew of PEDRO 26, DET4,  41st ARRW, Korat RTAFB, Thailand. The emergency was stated as a NORDO (No radio) aircraft, type and status unknown. Upon lift-off, contact was established with the tower and the status of the emergency aircraft requested. The tower advised that the aircraft was presently in contact with GCA and the emergency squawk on his transponder was a mistake. The emergency was terminated and PEDRO 26 returned to the pad. While the pilots re-cocked the aircraft, the other crewmembers deplaned and were returning to the Alert Facility. Someone yelled and pointed to an aircraft on fire,on the runway. After all crewmembers had re-boarded the aircraft, PEDRO 26 was again airborne with the Fire Suppression Kit at 0725. While departing the pad, two pilots were observed fleeing the burning aircraft and running across the infield between RW 24 and the parallel taxiway. Since the fleeing Aircrew was accounted for and safe, 26 continued on to the burning aircraft.  Crash vehicles had already engaged the fire, so a decision was made to release the FSK at a safe distance and standby. At 0728, Pedro 26 monitored a Fox Mike transmission that the foam supply was nearly exhausted. A decision was made to

land and deploy the Medic to re-hook the FSK. As the pilots were maneuvering over the Kit, an explosion was both heard and felt inside the aircraft. One of the Firefighters reported that the aircraft had exploded and many people were down. Two-Six immediately repositioned the FSK to combat the resulting fire as the Crash trucks were out of foam and in some cases unmanned due to personnel injuries. Fortunately the remaining fire quickly burned or was blown out by the rotor wash and was no longer a factor. Repositioning back approximately 200’ to be clear all obstacles, the Airborne Rescuemen were deployed to render assistance to the injured. By then, the Flight Medic had made his way to the incident and taken a position with MEDIC 2 the on-scene Ambulance. He began treating injured Firefighters as they were removed from the scene. During this period the two Airborne Rescuemen working as a team extracted a severely injured victim from a position beside the crashed aircraft. After turning their victim over to the Medics, they returned to rescue another victim in the same area. Immediately after removal of their second victim, another explosion occurred. While the Rescuemen were involved in removing both victims, Two-Six had landed and one of the pilots deplaned and prepared the rear of the aircraft to receive litters. Litters were secured from the aircraft, assembled, and the most  serious victim  returned to the helicopter for Medical Evacuation.


At 0745L Pedro 26 with one victim and the Flight Medic departed for the Base Dispensary. Landing in a grassy area south of the dispensary, they released their patient to the waiting medical personnel and quickly returned to the accident scene.


While PEDRO 26 was away, the Airborne Rescuemen went back to the aircraft to look for an unaccounted for individual. The victim was located, but deemed to be beyond all help. Fire equipment had been left running so the next job for the Rescuemen was to secure this equipment. With the exception of the Flight Medic who remained with the Ambulance going back to the dispensary, PEDRO 26 returned to the Alert Pad at 0805L.


PEDRO 26 Crewmembers were:


CAPT David E. Buchholz- Instructor Pilot and ACC

MAJ     Jack A. Weatherford- Pilot

TSgt    James E. Morse- Flight Medical Technician

  Sgt  Peter  Marcotte -  Airborne Rescueman/Firefighter

 Sgt  Norman R. Jones  -  Airborne Rescueman/Firefighter




NOTE: Sgt Marcotte and Sgt Jones were awarded the Airman’s Medal for their repeated forays into the explosion area to aid and remove victims.








TDY AT NKP, 1964



Jim Burns


My first arrival at NKP on a typical hot, humid tropical day, in July 1964 was loud, as the C-123 “shuttle” slammed its tires onto the PSP runway. It seemed that each plank clanked as the wheels rolled to a stop. We then taxied to the PSP parking area, swung around and dropped the rear ramp. I helped the C-123 crew roll off some large fuel bladders full of JP-4 and then stepped onto the ramp for the first time. This was definitely not the typical base that I was used to. I helped load some of the empty fuel bladders onto the C-123. She taxied out and was gone.

          As I scanned the “base”, I saw three HH-43B helicopters, three or four shacks, some more fuel bladders scattered around the edge of the ramp, a few large diesel generators, several trucks, an outhouse and about twenty GI’s.  I began to introduce myself and meet the “base personnel” (all twenty or so of them). I arrived in mid-afternoon and after a short time, was told that we had been released from alert duty for the day and would be going into town. We all piled into the trucks and headed to our hotel which was located about 10 miles or so to the East. We left the base and helicopters to be guarded by the two Thai guards who lived in a small shack near the “front gate” along with their wives and families.

The trip into town was like a parade, with all the kids and villagers along the way lining the edges of the road and waving to us like they had never seen a “GI” before. It was like this every morning and afternoon for the entire four months I was there. We arrived at the “Civilized Hotel” where I was assigned a room in the two-story part of the hotel. The two-story part had either six or eight rooms and the rest of the rooms were in a one-story motel style building next to the two-story part.  We bunked two to a room which had GI type beds. These beds sagged so damn bad that after the first night, I had mine replaced with a Thai bed. It was hard as a board (as a matter of fact it was a board) with a thin cotton mattress on it. It slept like a dream.

We would get up each day and head out to the base to stand rescue alert for Navy photo-reconnaissance flights and other fighters flying into Laos and North Vietnam. I was told that the HH-43B’s were brought into Udorn on C-124’s and re-assembled there for the flight to NKP. I understand the birds arrived in all their splendor, with bright “day glow” orange nose and tails. When the “Air America” types saw this they volunteered to paint out the bright orange colors. By the next morning it was done. The birds were then flown to NKP where they began standing alert. The rear clam shell doors had been removed as un-necessary for our mission, and I seem to remember that we “tweaked” the flaps a little bit, to the point that when brought up to full power it only took a very, very small pull on the collective and we were was flying. I guess we thought we had more power and could get out of an area faster. We “traded” some rations to some group that had come through and in return “obtained” two BARs with ammunition. We mounted them from bungee cords in the rear cabin door opening and now thought we were AH-43Bs. As I remember, one of the Rescue Squadron Commanders dropped in on a HU-16 one day to pay us a visit and got really upset that we had “armed” our helicopters. We alleviated his concern by making sure we hid the BARs any time one of the HU-16’s or HC-54’s showed up. As I remember it, we did not have any “over the fence” missions while I was there, but I think we went over a few times to practice pickups. I also seem to remember pre-positioning some 55 gal. drums of JP-4 at some of the Air America sites in Laos so we could extend our range for rescue pickups. We extended our hoist pickup height by adding a 100’ rope to the hoist cable, so that if we had a rescue in deep forest, we could attach one end of the rope to the hoist cable, throw out the 100’ of rope and lower the cable to its max length. We could then raise the survivor to within 100’ of the bird, hover up to clear the trees and then fly him to a clear area where we could let him down to the ground and either get him on the regular cable length or land and pick him up.

 Maintenance was another issue. I seem to remember having to do an engine change on one of the birds and we didn’t have a hoist so we used a large limb on a tree and raised the engine with come-a-long and ropes. We then pulled the 43 out from under the tree, lowered the bad engine to the ground, picked up the new engine, raised it back up and pulled the bird back under the tree to lower the new engine in place. Worked like a charm!!

 I don’t know if any one remembers the problem of the fabric peeling off the blades if you flew in the rain. One day we made a flight to Udorn for something and on the way over we got caught in a rain shower. Right away you could hear the change in the sound of the blades as the fabric pealed back. Once on the ground, I used duct tape to tape the fabric back down and wrapped the blade with it. Although not according to the book, we had a successful flight back to NKP. Once back at NKP we changed the blades.

 Most of our flights were only training flights during my TDY. I think we did a few PJ jumps so they could keep up their proficiency. We did not have any fire fighters on our crews at this time, as local base rescue was not our mission. We flew with two pilots, one flight mechanic and one or two PJs. We also had a few “Ugly American” flights, where we would catch some poor, unsuspecting Thai out in the middle of the field or rice paddy and “buzz the hell” out of them. I remember once we had two Thai women penned in one of the big fish trap rigs, with the nose of the bird almost touching the entrance and them inside. I bet that made a lot of points with the local citizens. When we were released from alert each day, we would head to our hotel and spend the rest of the day in town as tourists or sit around the hotel and tell war stories while listening to “Hanoi Hanna”. She played a lot of American music.

  We were put on a higher alert status on Aug. 2 (Gulf of Tonkin incident) but did not know the reason for a couple of days. At this point, some of us remained with the Thai guards to help with Base security. When we finally found out the reason for the higher alert status, we realized that we were not really getting any news from the “world”. I began to scrounge around in every plane that landed looking for newspapers. When I did find one it was usually a few days old and I would devour it from front to back. One afternoon in town I saw a bus pull up to one of the local merchants and toss off a small bundle of the “Bangkok” newspapers that were written in English. I tried to buy one but was told that they were “special ordered” and were all ‘spoken for”. After putting in my special order, I began receiving it on a daily basis. By the time the bus got it to NKP it was usually about three days old. Now however; I felt I had a reasonably reliable source of news. We didn’t consider Hanoi Hanna’s news and BS as reliable, but we did like her music).

While I was at NKP my wife, back in Springfield, MO. was giving birth to our first baby, a girl, on Aug. 6, 1964. I would sometimes get messages from home relayed to me from Clark AB, when some of the 31st ARRS HU-16’s were flying “duckbutt” missions into NKP. Having been released from alert, we headed back to town and few of us were sitting out on the balcony of the hotel having a few beers and listening to Hanoi Hanna’s music. After one of the songs ended, she came on and said “We want to congratulate Airman First Class James W. Burns, with the HH-43B helicopter unit at Nakhon Phanom, Thailand, on the birth of your baby daughter. She was born on Aug. 6th. Your wife Ann and the baby are doing fine”. She even gave the baby’s length and weight!!! Well I nearly fell off the balcony, and decided I had already had too much to drink. Of course we did not believe that she could possibly have know all this and been correct. A short time later the “com” guys came in from the base with a note that had been relayed from the Red Cross in Clark by one of the HU-16’s. The note read “two birds, both o.k.” Well, twins run in my wife’s family and although I didn’t think we were expecting twins, I was not sure from the message they had brought me. So at the time I didn’t know what to think, except that the “Big Secret” that we were at NKP was sure out of the bag. As it turned out, when I finally got a letter from my wife about two weeks later, Hanoi Hanna had it exactly correct, right down to the ounce! The note that was sent to me from Clark was supposed to read “to Burns, a baby girl, mother and baby both OK”. Still don’t know how Hanna was accurate and Clark wasn’t!!!!

    One day we were in town and some Dutch and English guys showed up at our hotel. We got to talking with them and discovered that they worked for a Dutch road construction company. I think the name of it was Grove Jones Construction or something like that.  They were building roads in Laos. The Pathet Lao had gotten to close to where they were working and they had to evacuate across the Mekong until things cooled down. They came in from their construction area to the Mekong by speedboats and were loaded down with booze. You could get almost any kind of booze you wanted in Laos, but on the Thai economy we could only get the Thai booze. As they were temporarily run out of Laos, they had nothing to do but party. One day we came back in from the base to find they had dug a pit in the open area of the hotel and had a pig roasting in it. Even though they had a good head start, we worked hard to catch up with them on the drinks. As we all approached a state of high “pollution” one of them decided that he wanted to go water skiing. They had the speedboats and ropes; the problem was they had no water skis. One of them came up with the idea of taking some 1” x 6” boards and nailing shower clogs to them to make a great set of skis. I think the whole town was standing by the Mekong, laughing their heads off, watching this bunch of drunken foreigners trying to water ski on 1” x 6” shower clog skis. I think one of them almost got up on the skis when the toe piece pulled out of the shower clog and he went tumbling head over heals into the river. After this circus was over, we all made our way back to the hotel. The pig was now done and we had a hell of a good meal.

   On another day we were again drinking with the construction crew and created our own little bit of mischief at the hotel. The hotel owner, Mr. Wandee, had a small zoo at the back of his house in the hotel complex. He had some mynah birds, which we had taught to cuss like a good GI. He also had some pigmy deer and a couple of monkeys. One of the monkeys was very tame and we would lead it around on its leash, feed and water it, and play with it. The entrance to Mr. Wandee’s house had a little arch way on the path leading in and the monkey spent most of it’s time sitting on top of the arch. His leash was attached to a wire so he could move around a little bit. One evening someone began giving the monkey some gin or vodka as we partied. I guess they got a little carried away and got the monkey plastered. The next morning when I was leaving for the base, I saw the monkey sitting in a tight ball, on top of the arch with his arms wrapped around and over his head. I went over and shook the post of the arch to get his attention and I couldn’t get him to move a hair. When I got back from the base that evening, the monkey was still sitting in the same position. So I again went over and shook the post to see if he was all right. After a bit of shaking, he finally lifted his arms, opened his eyes and looked at me. He had the worst set of “red road map” eyeballs I think I have ever seen. This was one sick, hung-over monkey. By the next day he had begun to move around some, but it was about three or four days before he seemed to get back to normal. From that day until the time I left NKP, he never would take anything (not even water) from any of us GI’s to drink. I guess he did have some smarts after all.

   One weekend I rented a motorcycle and took Mr. Wandee’s 14 or 15 year old son (who spoke great English) with me and went riding up the road along the Mekong to the North. We spent the night in one of the villages and had a great time. When the Det. Commander found out about my little trip, I got a butt chewing and was told that “most of the area I had gone into was considered communist and that I was damn lucky I didn’t get killed”. They all seemed like real nice folks to me and I had a great time. In order to prevent another chewing out for the same reason, we went down the other way to Ubon the next weekend and visited with some Aussies there. I really did have a great time while on this TDY and met a lot of fine “Thai’s” while I was there.

   Most of the time, we ate our evening meals on the local economy. We had been eating at the restaurant just behind the Ho Chi Men clock and tasting our way through the food slections. I found that I really liked “kow pot gunt” which was a spicy shrimp-fried-rice. One evening we were sitting there eating, facing the street so we wouldn’t see the chickens and pigs walking around in the “kitchen”, when we spotted two white “round eyed” women walking down the street. Being the gentlemen that we were, we hopped up and introduced ourselves. They were with the Peace Corps and were assigned as teachers in one of the schools in NKP. They were not what you would call good looking, but they were nice girls and it was nice to talk with some American women. They also shared their knowledge about Thai food and steered us to some really good dinning delights. One that I remember was the “Lottie” (sp), the little pancake thing that was sold off of a cart in the street. We found a little restaurant across the street from the Civilized Hotel that had signs painted on the wall advertising “Hamburgers and French Fries”. We asked the owner about the sign and he said that he used to make them for the “Seabee” crews that were building the base in 1962 & 1963. We convinced him to start making them again and even though the “beef” was really Water Buffalo, they still were pretty good. He also had the motorcycle rental business where I had rented my “rides”. When Mr. Wandee found out about our dinning habits, he hired a North Vietnamese cook who had been trained as a French Chef and opened his own restaurant at the hotel. This guy could really cook and made some fine meals. The businessman in Mr. Wandee took over after he had us “hooked” on the great French cooking and he started to raise the prices of the meals. In retaliation for this move, we went back to the Hamburgers, French Fries and Thai food. He got the hint and lowered his prices, however this little price game went on many times while I was there.

   When we were relieved of alert duty, we would all scramble to be on the first truck to leave for town. There was a practical reason for this. If you got back to the hotel first, you got to take a shower with the water that had been in the small water tower that had been heating all day in the sun. If you missed the first truck, the hot water would be used up and you were stuck with a cold shower. 

   We used to play basketball with the local town team a lot and they would whip our butts. They would run us to death and we always had to send in subs. But we had a lot of fun, and I think the Thais enjoyed whipping up on us as much as we enjoyed the fun of the game. We had one experience where we and our samlor driver got drunk and we decided he was too drunk to pedal. We threw him in the back and I hopped on to drive Do you have any idea how hard those things are to pedal? They don’t turn worth a damn either. Net result was that I turned us over in the ditch full of water (or sewer from the way it smelled) beside the road and had to pull the driver out to keep him from drowning. 

   One of the funny events that occurred at the base while I was there involved a C-124 from the unit at Hickam AFB. When it came in, they landed long and ran off the overrun at the south end of the runway. This unit had flown a God-awful number of hour’s accident free and some how they managed to classify it as an incident instead of an accident. As I remember, it broke the nose gear scissors and bent up a couple of the props. It was stuck in the mud on the overrun. We had to hire a couple of local “Caterpillars” to drag him out of the mud and back on to the parking ramp. We tired to convince them to write it off and let us keep it for a “club”, but instead they decided to repair it. I guess they had no sense of adventure. I think it was still setting there when I left in October. This picture is of me standing beside the “stuck in the mud” C-124.  Another time we were sending one of the bigger trucks, I think it was a “duce and half”, out on a C-130. The C-130 had lowered its ramp and we were pushing the “duce and half” which wasn’t running, with one of the other trucks. We got it up to a pretty good speed to try and roll it up the ramp and into the C-130. As this thing was lining up and headed for the ramp, the person who was steering realized that when the engine was not running it didn’t have any breaks.  He swerved just in time to miss going up the ramp. It was a darn good thing too, because as fast as we had it going it most likely would have came through the nose of the C-130 and out the front. This would not have been a good thing! Anyway he made a few circles and the truck finally came to a stop. We then slowly pushed him to the rear of the plane and the loadmaster winched it inside.

   I don’t believe any other aircraft were ever stationed there while I was on this TDY, but we did have a few types stop by for visits and would have the F-105 “Thuds” buzz us on their way back after missions. We had no control tower, so the communication guys controlled everything. The Thuds liked to come at us with out warning, low level, and from all directions. They would clear in with the com guys, but the com guys wouldn’t tell us they were coming. All of the sudden here would be Thuds coming from all four directions, right on the deck, and what seemed like 500 or 600 miles per hour and scare the hell out of us. I remember one day, I was working on the rotor head and they came over and almost scared the pants off of me. Then they made another pass and I saw them coming this time. One of them was coming up the runway and across the ramp right at my bird. He was so low that he had to raise-up to miss me. This caused me to jump off the top of the bird to the ramp and as he “mushed” over me he hit a tree at the edge of the ramp and knocked a limb onto the roof of the new mess hall that was being constructed. He climbed on out and I guess he made it home OK.

   Another item that might be of interest concerns some heavy earth moving equipment that was apparently abandoned by the Seabees in 1963. The whole time I was there in 1964 there were several Thai locals digging in a big pit at the south end of the field behind our shacks. I was told that there were a couple of Caterpillar D-12’s or D-10’s and a large earth scraper that was buried by the Seabees before they left. I seem to remember seeing part of one of the Caterpillars before I left. When I came back to NKP in 1969, I was told that the Thais had dug them all out and had them running in town.

   Sometime in October 1964, my first experience at NKP came to an end. I departed and headed back to Clark where my wife and new baby daughter joined me in November. We lived off base there until I rotated back to the States in January 66. This TDY had been a great experience for me and I really enjoyed my TDY time at NKP.

As I have re-read this little tail, it kind of sounds like we were drunk all the time. That was not the case. We were “mission ready” every single day I was there. We did take a few occasions to do a little partying; O.K, O.K, A LOT OF PARTYING!!!!!!!!


I have another tail about getting to NKP from Clark (my “empty trunk” story) and I’ll treat you to it in another edition.


Jim Burns, SMSgt, USAF (retired)

NKP 64 & 69-70


Note: As I was writing this story, I made contact with Stephen P. Mock editor of Pedro News (HH-43B’s) and through him I made contact with Chuck Severns who was with me at NKP in 1964. He has helped me remember some of the names of others that were there. He has also provided me with several of the pictures for this story. Thanks Chuck for your help.









The Battle of Plei Djerenge



When the Aircrews of DET9, 38th ARRS Pleiku were briefed on their upcoming mission, little did they realize that their determination and bravery would be tested to the limits. In the next 18 hours, the phrase “Those Things I Do, That Others May Live” would be demonstrated with tragic results.


It was the evening of October 28, 1966 and the U.S. Army 4th Infantry Division was in contact with the NVA forces, 38 miles west of Pleiku AB, near the Cambodian Border. Several of the “Grunts” had been seriously wounded and required immediate evacuation. This was a region of triple canopy jungle where Army “Dust-off” helicopters were unable to land. Since the Medevac would require a hoist operation, a request for assistance was forwarded to the USAF 3rd Air Rescue and Recovery Group Command Post at TanSonNhut.


At 21:15 hours local, Pedros 42 & 56 departed for the battle area. Once overhead, contact was established with the unit on the ground and the “hoist area” located. Procedures dictated that one H-43 hold a high orbit while the second,”Low Bird” was hoisting victims. This limited exposure and provided back up in the event one bird was lost. Trying to identify a hoist area in the jungle, at night, without lights and looking for a “Strobe Light” among the twinkling of ground fire is to say the least confusing. To add to that confusion, distracting strings of tracers reached up out of the jungle trying to locate the blacked-out Huskies. The deadly yellow and green lines seemed to be coming directly at each crewmember that observed them.


It was decided that Pedro 42 would be the first bird in. They would lower their PJ A2C Alan Stanek to prepare the wounded and speed up the evacuation. After Pedro 42 had received all the casualties they could carry, they would be replaced by Pedro 56. As with most plans in a battle, fate would deny its execution.  Pedro 56 climbed to a high orbit at 4000 feet, while 42 hovered and lowered it’s PJ to the jungle floor.  Things seemed to be progressing normally with three of the wounded taken aboard and a fourth being prepared on the ground.


Suddenly, the crew of Pedro 56 observed three strings of deadly tracers reach out from different directions and converge on Pedro 42. As everyone watched in the moonlight, the doomed Huskie faltered and settled into the jungle canopy. On the ground, A2C Stanek watched in horror as Pedro 42 tumbled 150 ft through the trees and came to rest and on fire. He rushed to the aid of his fallen comrades and with the help of some Infantrymen, pulled the two Pilots Capt Vermeys and 1/Lt “Spike” Bonnel to safety. Unfortunately, the fire consuming the aircraft was so intense that the Flight Engineer A2C “Dave” Rice and the three wounded could not be rescued.


The downing of Pedro 42 was coordinated with a fresh attack on the besieged 4th Division soldiers. Due to the intensity of the ground fire, Pedro 56 was unable to assist their fallen brothers. Five-six continued to orbit until fuel was running low and was then “ORDERED” to return to Pleiku, refuel and await a break in the fighting. The fighting continued throughout the night.


At dawn on the morning of the 29th, Pedro 56 launched to retrieve their friends and crewmates. Arriving back at the battle area, the two injured pilots and A2C Stanek were hoisted aboard and rushed to the 18th Army Surgical Hospital at Pleiku.  Note: 1/Lt Bonnel was to take his “Final Flight” in November 1966 while still in the hospital at Clark AFB.


After refueling and changing crews, Pedro 56 launched at 08:00 hours, again headed into the “Jaws of Destiny”. The tragic memory of the loss of Pedro 42 was still fresh in everyone’s mind as they headed toward Plei Djerenge. More wounded “Mud Soldiers” were in need of evacuation, so everyone’s full attention focused on the mission ahead.  Pedro 56 went into the battle area time and time again removing a total of eleven wounded. On the 5th trip in, the odds caught up with the brave crew. Five–six shuttered as rounds from a Chicom .51 caliber heavy machine gun pounded the aircraft. One round had come up through the floor striking the “Pyro” box and tossing it across the cabin. SSGt Bert Brundridge, the Flight Engineer, observed the smoking box, retrieved it and pitched it from the aircraft moments before it exploded. He also saw what appeared to be smoke trailing from the underside the aircraft. While the Pilot fought for control of the critically wounded Huskie, SSGt Brundridge loosened his “monkey strap” and grabbing the landing gear, swung far enough below the aircraft to insure that it was not on fire. No sooner had Bert Brundridge pull himself back inside the cabin than Pedro 56 crash-landed on an abandoned Special Forces Camp between two bomb craters. Another .51 caliber round had severed the engine fuel line. SSGt Brundridge immediately grabbed the one wounded soldier on board and made a hasty retreat.


A U.S. Army UH-1 Gunship orbiting near by, observed Pedro Five-Six’s plight and made several firing passes on the perimeter of the old camp, reducing the incoming ground fire before landing and extracting the crew. Of everyone on 56, only the initial patient and the Co-Pilot Capt Fredrik Bergold were wounded.


After Pedro 56 (62-4525) was salvaged, the repair crew counted 15 bullet holes in the fuselage and another 4 in the blades. Although eventually repaired, 4525 was again shot down and destroyed near Kontum on 7 Feb 1968.



For his bravery on that last flight, October 29, 1966, SSGt Bertrum E. Brundridge was awarded the Silver Star.




Bert Brundridge has also been awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, Airman’s Medal and the Air Medal with numerous clusters. Bert is a veteran of both Korea and Vietnam. He retired from the USAF in 1971 and presently lives outside San Antonio, Texas on Medina Lake.








MSgt Bernard”Ray”Munn, USAF(ret) took his final Flight on January 20, 2003. Ray was a Firefighter, Fire Chief, earned his wings and became a HH-43”PEDRO”Airborne Firefighter Instructor in 1967. Ray is survived by his wife Betty and daughter Lisa of Ft. Walton Beach Florida.





The  SAR  Pattern



If you have knowledge of anyone listed, email the searcher to help assist in reuniting friends and crew mates.

The following  abbreviations are utilized below:


P = Pilot, FE = Flight Engineer

ABR = Airborne Rescueman/Firefighter,

MT = Flight Medic, PJ = Para-Rescueman

HM = Helicopter Mechanic,

EM = Engine Mechanic, ADM = Admin




Grant Mackie gfmackie@sbcglobal.net is looking for:

CMSGt Irving K. Samuels (Maint Chief) Moody AFB 1963

SSGt Arlie P. Stalvey (ABR) Moody AFB 1963

A1C Ken Norton (ABR) Moody AFB 1963



Tony Desmond  afdesmond@hotmail.com  is looking for:


MSGt Jack Anderson (FE) Laon AB, FR 1965

TSGt Arthur Krumm (FE) RAF Upper Heyford, UK 1966

TSGt Kendall R. Higgs (FE) RAF Upper Heyford, UK 1967

TSGt Evert Thorp (FE) Laon AB, FR 1965

SSGt William Gamble (FE) Laon AB, FR 1964

SSGt George S. Edwards (FE) Laon AB, FR 1965

SSGt Archie B. Holloway (FE)

SSGt Carlos”Chuck”Joiner (FE) RAF Upper Heyford, UK 1970

SSGt Jay Hughes (FE) RAF Upper Heyford, UK 1968

SSGt Robert Kennedy (ABR) Laon AB, FR 1965

SSGt Meade J. Barnette (ABR) RAF Upper Heyford, UK 1973

SSGt Johnny Ray (ABR)

SSGt Juan Aquino (ABR)

SGt Paul Procter (ABR) RAF Upper Heyford, UK 1968

SGt David Butera (ABR) RAF Upper Heyford, UK 1969

SGt Gary D. More (ABR) RAF Upper Heyford, UK 1969

SGt Larry Mc Kee (ABR) RAF Upper Heyford, Uk 1969

A2C Daniel L. Lange (ABR) Laon AB, FR 1964

MSGt Henry Jones (MT) RAF Upper Heyford, UK

TSGt George N. Edwards (MT) RAF Upper Heyford, UK 1968

TSGt Joseph L. LaNata (MT) Laon AB, FR 1966

SSGt Curtis V. Hickey (MT) RAF Upper Heyford, UK 1966

SSGt Glenville L. Bush (MT)

SSGt Robert K. Schmeig (MT) RAF Upper Heyford, UK 1968

SSGt James L. Lewis (MT) RAF Upper Heyford, UK 1968

SSGt George J. Boll Jr. (MT) RAF Upper Heyford, UK 1970

SGt Travis Watson (MT)

SSGt Knoblach (MT) Laon AB, 1965

A2C Arthur Castelones (MT) Laon AB, 1966

SSGt Roger Sprague (EM) RAF Upper Heyford, UK 1972

SSGt Mack McIver (HM) RAF Upper Heyford, UK

SSGt Edwin Hill (EM) RAF Upper Heyford, UK 1972

SSGt George P. Wheatstine (HM) RAF Upper Heyford, UK 1973

A1C John “SKI” Zelezinski (HM) RAF Upper Heyford, UK

SGt Harry Way (EM)




Charles”Chuck”Severns versa@cts.com  is looking for:


Maj Dale L. Potter(P)  DET5 42ARRS Edwards AFB, CA  Aug 1970

Capt Keith H. Ricks(P) DET5 42ARRS Edwards AFB,CA  Aug1970

Capt David M. Randall (P) DET23 CARC K.I. Sawyer AFB,MI  1962

1Lt James P. McCollum(P)DET23 CARC K.I. Sawyer AFB,MI 1962

1Lt Bruce S. Washburn(P) DET23 CARC K.I. Sawyer AFB,MI 1962

1Lt Anthony G. Voloris(P) DET23 CARC K.I. Sawyer AFB, MI 1962

TSGt Laurence N. Cowles(FE) DET23 K.I. Sawyer AFB, MI  1962

SSGt Jan Gale (FE) DET23 CARC K.I. Sawyer AFB, MI 1962

A1C Ray K. Jones ( ) DET23 CARC K.I. Sawyer AFB, MI  1962

A2C Norman S. Huber (  ) DET23 CARC K.I. Sawyer AFB, MI 1962




Bill Milcarek  JetVet2@cs.com  is seeking help in locating:


I was the CP on the Buff crew Ruby II shot down over Vinh on 4 Jan 73 by a SAM. We made it down to the punch-out area 25 miles off Danang. I directed a Covey FAC ( OV10 ) by radio to fly over my position, then a
Pedro from Danang came out and picked us up.
I'd like to personally thank both the Covey FAC and the Pedro Pilot and Crew who rescued us.

If anyone has any information about this rescue, please contact Bill.






What a great newsletter!  It sure would be great to get my two mitts on the cyclic and collective of a Pedro once again and I noted with interest that Horizon Helicopters has a few around.  I wonder if they knew what a gold mine they have in providing a couple of helicopters to “rent” for us old farts that would like to go back and hover in one of those wonderful birds.  All the best wishes for great success in your new newsletter venture.


Dante (Speedy Gonzales) (Captain at the time) Fierros

Det 12 U-Tapao Thailand

April 1971 to April 1972




I am Marty Donohue current President of the Jolly Green Association, (JGA).  We have a reunion every year in May or late April at Ft. Walton Beach, Fl.  All Aircrew members in your organization are eligible and welcome to join our organization as regular members.  Our 2003 meeting is 1-3 May; request you put a notice in your March addition that all Pedro crew members are invited to join and attend the reunion.  We already have many former HH-43 Pedro pilots who attend.  Information on the reunion and registration can be obtained on the JGA web site, www.jollygreen.org  or feel free to “E” mail me at patnmarty@aol.com  or the secretary at BILL6100@aol.com  for membership. 





I have a “PEDRO” Patch that I got back at Udorn in 1966. It’s different than the one you have displayed on your “PEDRO NEWS” Cover. My patch has a black silhouetted PEDRO on a white background placed on a shield. Can you tell me anything about this patch?


Jim Ward





I don’t have any idea, but here it is. Maybe one our readers will have some information.





Dear Editor,

The Air Rescue Association's 28th annual reunion will be

held in Dayton, Ohio 7-10 Oct 2003.  For more information,

contact the ARA at P.O. Box 300945, Fern Park, FL  32730-0945

or call John Holm, Director/Public Relations at 316-722-9484,

e-mail -jholm4@cox.net . You may also visit the Rescue web site at:



John Flournoy    ARA President









The K-MAX® Helicopter; The Younger, Stronger Son of The Venerable Husky




John G. McGonagle


Experimental Test Pilot

Kaman Aerospace Corporation, Bloomfield, CT 06070






             The K-1200 (K-MAX® ) “Aerial Truck” helicopter (Figure 1), first produced in 1994, is now operated in many locations around the world for various missions. The aircraft are currently performing logging, fire fighting, mountain rescue, construction, and other missions in The United States, Canada, Columbia, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Liechtenstein, Australia, Japan, and Taiwan.  The KMax aircraft, the first helicopter ever designed specifically for the repetitive lift mission, has many design features to reduce the pilot’s work load in the repetitive lift environment. The following design features optimize the machine’s ability to efficiently operate in that environment:


1. An external instrument panel to allow the pilot to monitor critical instruments while watching his external load out the left side window.

2. A very robust airframe, which allows the aircraft to withstand the repetitive lift loads imposed on the aircraft structure.

3. An embedded torso support, attached to the pilot seat, bubble windows, and an airframe edge only six inches from the pilot seat, all of which enable the pilot to conduct external load operations while maintaining an outstanding field of view of the external loads.

4.Built-in maintenance platforms to allow mechanics easy access to the engine compartment and rotor systems.  This allows maintenance actions to be easily accomplished in austere environments, where aircraft support equipment is unavailable.

5.Wide, stable, “bear paw” type landing gear which allows the aircraft to land in snowy, muddy, and unprepared landing sites.

The same lifting efficiency attained over 40 years ago by the Husky, now allows the KMax to be a true money-making machine in the vertical lift industry.





          The KMAX helicopter is a single engine, single piloted, twin intermeshing rotor helicopter manufactured by Kaman Aerospace Corporation of Bloomfield, Connecticut.  The K-1200 has a takeoff maximum gross weight of 6,500 pounds, with the capability of lifting an external load of up to 6,000 pounds, with a maximum total gross weight of 12,000 pounds. 

The helicopter is powered by a Honeywell T5317A-1 turbo shaft engine, which provides a maximum continuous power output of 1350 Shaft Horsepower (SHP) over a wide variety of ambient conditions.  The engine provides power to the trans­mission through a KAflex main drive shaft.  The power output of the transmission input shaft is divided between two counter-rotating output shafts, each driving a separate rotor assembly.  The HH-43B/F is currently operating with the Honeywell T53-L-11 engine, which provides a maximum power output (30 minutes) of 1100 Shaft Horsepower.

Each KMax rotor system is comprised of a two bladed 48 foot, 3.75 inch diameter semi-articulated rotor.  The left rotor rotates counterclockwise and the right rotor rotates clockwise when viewed from above.  The rotor shafts are each tilted outboard 12.5 degrees from vertical. Since the rotors are counter-rotating, there is no requirement for a tail rotor. 

The K-MAX® rotors are controlled through a servo-flap system much the same as the HH-43 Husky.  The servo-flaps are located at approximately the ¾ rotor blade radius position.  The servo flap is common to all Kaman helicopters and allows for low control loads in the flight control system. Longitudinal control is achieved by both rotors moving simultaneously, while lateral control is achieved by each rotor moving independently (left cyclic input/left rotor, right cyclic input/right rotor).  Collective control uses both rotors in the conventional sense.  A collective input induces a pitch response (increase in collective/ positive pitching moment). Directional control is achieved via differential collective and differential cyclic.  This produces a large roll response with pedal inputs.  The blades are still built around a Sitka Spruce laminated wooden spar, but the KMax blades  have a composite skin and after body.

A variable pitch horizontal stabilizer is located on the tail boom. The stabilizer is mechanically connected to the collective control system. 

An electrical blade tracking motor is located on one blade of each rotor. This motor enables in-flight rotor track adjustments, by the pilot, for each rotor. This system uses a slip ring assembly.




The standard production K-MAX® does not have a hydraulic system, but the system is available to operators of the machine. The hydraulic boost system consists of a 1500 psi hydraulic pump located and driven on an accessory pad of the main transmission of the helicopter. Hydraulic power to the control actuators is provided through a manifold with supplied pressure of 300 PSI. Should the actuators or the hydraulic system experience a failure, the control or controls affected would merely revert to direct, un-boosted control of the K-1200 helicopter.

The external load carrying system has a wheeled trolley, which allows the cargo hook to move on the lateral axis. This allows the load to stay beneath the lateral center of gravity of the aircraft at all times, and keeps minor roll attitude changes from producing excessive disturbances in load stability.  The longitudinal axis of the hook assembly allows swing of the external load via a standard pivot link configuration.   Figure one shows a KMax aircraft carrying multiple loads on a 4 hook carousel.



The training syllabus for qualifying in the KMax helicopter requires the students to start out in the HH-43B/F helicopter for at least six flights before transitioning into the KMax.  There is no KMax trainer or simulator for students to fly, so the HH-43B/F is used to introduce the students to the inter-mesher rotor system, while allowing an instructor pilot to demonstrate maneuvers and act as a safety pilot.  Students perform basic maneuvers in the HH-43B/F, to include power recovery and full autorotations to the ground, before transitioning from the Husky to the KMax.  Kaman operates two HH-43B/F helicopters, N43FK(60-0289) and N43XK(59-1576), for the training program, which typically lasts two to three weeks depending on the experience level of the student pilot. 




The following link offers more information on the KMax helicopter:












Who is This????



If you can identify this person, let us know!!!!

This photo was taken at Binh Thuy.






[Book Photo]  

 I just recently talked to a friend, a former H-43 Flight Engineer who had no knowledge of Wayne Mutza’s BookKAMAN H-43 An Illustrated History”.  Although the book contains some minor mistakes, it should be considered the definitive source on the H-43 Huskie. To read a full description, click on the following LINK:









Editor’s notes


Well folks, we hope you enjoyed this edition of the Pedro News. Many long hours were put into this as you can see by the finished product.

Not only did we spend a “ton of time” sorting and editing but many of YOU spent hours and hours writing and submitting the articles used. What I’m getting at is “WITHOUT YOU, WE CAN’T PRODUCE A QUALITY PRODUCT”!!!

You are to be commended for helping Steve and I put out an outstanding newsletter. Let’s keep this puppy growing!!!!


For the next edition, we are going to introduce you to the world of computer flight simulation. Many years ago Microsoft developed a flightsim program that is now state of the art and allows you to not only fly in the comfort of your home or office, but also lets you get “on-line” to fly with others.


We will be doing several articles that will help anyone interested to get started. Steve and I have been involved in flight-simming for a number of years. While our passion is for helicopters (a real challenge to fly in the two-dimensional world of computers), we also occasionally challenge each other with “fixed wing” flights or when real gutsy, aircraft carrier landings. As you can see by the pictures, we have a blast. What’s really nice is you can always walk away from the scene of the crash!!!


Well, that’s a wrap. We’ll be back again in July with the next “action packed” edition of the Pedro News.


Happy Landings,