HC-7 RESCUE 7 (1) 17-NOV-1967 (Friday)

UH-2A Kaman Seasprite helo DET 108
USS Coontz (DLG-9) Routine Day(2)
40 miles off North Vietnam coast
Water: 80⁰, Air: 82⁰ Wind: 5/11 Sea: Calm/ 1 ft.

Pilot – LTJG Timothy S. Melecoski
Co-pilot – LTJG James P. Brennan
1st crew – AE-2 Willie B. Pettit
2nd crew – ATN-3 John H. Bevan

RF-4C Phantom 65-0899 “Academic” 11 TRS, 432 TRW,
USAF Udorn, Thailand

MAJ. Raymond F. Ross – HC-7 Rescuee
Capt. Fleming C. Hobbs – rescued by USS King

Maj Ross and Capt. Hobbs, call sign “Academic” returning from a photographic reconnaissance mission at Bac Giang, when a SAM exploded just underneath his aircraft, immediately headed towards the coast, he and his navigator ejected.(5)


1224: alert received from bridge over phone circuit – aboard the USS Coontz (DLG – 9)
1225: rescue reported at 20 miles
1235: arrived on scene completed systematic search of area
1238: expanding search area
1239: cited flare (night smoke)
1242: rescue was effected
1247: aboard USS King

Remarks: trained crewman was put in water to aid survivor. He made sure pilot was free from parachute before attaching rescue sling.


USS KING’s: helo launched at 11:35 – for preposition flight. Aboard USS KING, at 12:10 – an emergency beacon signal was heard, bearing 260⁰T. At 12:12, – 260⁰ T, distance 9 miles ( 20⁰-00’, 107⁰-00E) a large splash in the water observed. 12:16 – look-outs observe two chutes in the air, bearing 170⁰, ship increases speed to 25 knots to close on position. 12:19 – Captain has the conn 12:29 – USS KING recovers pilot Capt. Fleming C. HOBBS, USAF, pilot appears uninjured. 12:36 – other pilot visually signaled 800 yards off starboard quarter, SAR helicopter from USS Coontz (DLG-9) making pick-up. 12:39 pilot aboard helicopter. 12:42 – recover SAR helicopter from USS Coontz. Rescued pilot name Maj. Raymond F. ROSS, 11th Tactical Recon Squadron. 12:48 secured flight quarters. 13:01 -USS Coontz making approach for relief of NORTH SAR.(12)

USS COONTZ’s HELO: 12:05 the Coontz stations the helo detail. 12:21 Clementine is launched, 3 minutes later the ship receives an IFF steer of 045⁰ at 15 miles. (13) At 12:25 – flying on a steer given by radar control for 20 miles. 12:26 the ship’s look-outs observe a white smoke at 040⁰. (13) 12:35 – the helo crew begins a systematic search of the vectored area. After 3 minutes the search area is expanded. 12:39 – a night flare is seen, swimmer placed in water to assist pilot out of chute. 3 minutes later the rescue was affected. Exiting the area, the crew flies to the nearest landing platform, USS King (DLG-10)(3) landing at 12:42 (3) A textbook rescue. (11) Clementine returns to USS Coontz at 12:51.


Notes from Rescue Report: an UH-2B in the area, Pilot (ROSS) had no “D” ring, used horse-collar sling.(3)

Historian Note: The HC-7 rescue log indicates that two persons were rescued. This is incorrect as shown within the Det 108 report and the USS KING’s deck logs. ONE RESCUE by HC-7


Notes: (not in order)
1) Numbering as per HC-7 Rescue Log (accumulative rescue number)
2) HC-7 1967 Command Report
3) HC-7 Det 108 Rescue report
4) Map – Google Earth – Loss aircraft data provided by W. Howard Plunkett (LtCol USAF, retired)
5) “Vietnam – Air Losses” By: Chris Hobson (with permission)
10) HC-7 History collection; Ron Milam – Historian
11) Kaman Rotor Tips – March-April 1968
12) USS KING – Deck Logs
13) USS Coontz – Deck logs

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