HC-7 RESCUE 18 (1) 10-JAN-1968 (Friday)

UH-2A Kaman Seasprite helo 151306 (6) DET 107
USS King (DLG-10) Routine Day(2)
59 miles off North Vietnam coast
Water: 64⁰ Air: 63⁰ Wind: 16 knots Visibility: 2 mi., 200-300 Ceiling

Pilot – LT William L. Berry
Co-pilot – LTJG Rolland B. Beougher
1st crew – AE-1 Willie H. Smith
2nd crew – ATN-3 Gary W. Farrell

Alert received – 1012 : MC
Vehicle departed – 1015: 35 miles
Arrived on scene – 1031: None
Located survivor – 1031: PRC 63 survival radio and pencil flares
Begin retrieval – 1032: pencil flare
Ended retrieval – 1040: after second rescue returned to USS King
Survivor disembarked –

F-4B Phantom 151499 VF-154 USN USS Ranger (CVA-61) (4)
LTJG Theodore “Ted” A. Beckwith Jr.
LTJG Dennis “Denny” A. Yost

After a successful mission, the leader of a 2-aircraft pair flew the wrong TACAN course back to the carrier and ran out of fuel. (The other BuNo was 151506). (4)

HC-7 Det 107, based aboard USS King located off the coast of North Vietnam, NSAR. (North Search and Rescue station). Beginning the day at 08:18 they launch the SAR helicopter, Clementine I, for an hour daylight training flight.(6)(12) Returning to the King, Clementine is fueled and prepared for standby. At 10:12 Clementine is scrambled for a search and rescue mission, within three minutes the helicopter launches. USS King is informed that two F-4 aircraft are reported downed approximately 40 miles south; the ship begins maneuvering at various courses and speeds with USS WILTSIE (DD-716) to close area. (12) At 10:16 WILTSIE is detached to proceed to the site of a downed aircraft to the south. (11)

Clementine I, is vectored to within 10 miles of the survivors, at this point they switch their radio to guard channel and obtain a Direction Finder (DF) steer from the downed pilot’s PRC survival radio. (3) Flying another five minutes a pencil flare and dye marker is seen. Clementine I, flares over the pilot, who is sitting in his raft. The crewman lowers the sling, a minute later the pilot is safely aboard the CSAR helo. 10:32 a second flare is observed. Upon approaching the second survivor it was noticed that he was entangled in his parachute shroud lines below water. Clementine flares, crewman AE-1 Smith taps three times on swimmer ATN-3 Farrell shoulder, he jumps. Farrell finds that the survivor is badly entangled with shrouds below the surface. Utilizing his mask and fins, Farrell dives below and cuts the entangled lines. (2)(3) 10:42 pilots of first F-4 recovered by Clem I and are returning to USS King.

Pilots of second F-4 recovered by Big Mother (HS-6) and Jolly Green helicopters. ( F-4 151506) – Lcdr Lew. N. Mitchell & Ltjg Jack A. Thorn VF-154 – USS Ranger). 10:51 Flight quarters are set, 11:00 Recovered Clem I, 11:02 recovered pilots LTJG Dennis Yost USN and LTJG Theodore Beckwith USN of VF-154 are aboard. USS King proceeds north to return to NSAR station at 11:40. (12)

Both survivors were in good condition. (2) Clementine crew prepares helo for next flight… unknown to them it would not be long, just 6 hours and another scramble would take place.

1) Numbering as per HC-7 Rescue Log (accumulative rescue number)
2) HC-7 1968 Command Report
3) HC-7 Det 107 Rescue report
4) “U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps Aircraft Damaged or Destroyed During the Vietnam War” By: Douglas E. Campbell
5) “Vietnam – Air Losses” By: Chris Hobson (with permission)
6) Lt William Berry – flight log book “January 1968”
7) Map – Google Earth
10) HC-7 History collection; Ron Milam – Historian
11) USS WILTSIE (DD-716) – Deck Logs
12) USS KING (DLG-10) – Deck Logs

(Compiled / written by: Ron Milam, HC-7 Historian – HC-7, 2-1969 to 7-1970, Det 108 & 113)