I started looking for some artwork buried in my pile of
Viet Nam shit, and came across a letter from Martin
Jansen when it dropped on the floor.
Martin and I were shot down together three times.
Here is a Marting Jansen story for you all to read.
July 1967 outside of Cu Chi, Viet Nam
"Cu Chi Tower Blackhawk 16, inbound flight of twenty
Blackhawks for landing at Manchu over."
Captain Wolff leading the flight and talking on the radio
at the same time, no wonder I could barely fly in my
slot, with all his gyrations in the lead aircraft.
"Blackhawk flight clear to land at the 4th of the
9th staging area, winds are 090 at 12 knots."
The reply from Cu Chi Tower was loud and clear in my
I could see Captain Wolff drop the nose of his UH-1D and
everyone in the flight knew what was next.
"Blackhawks go trail." Our command on company
FM as lead seemed to speed away from the flight and we
lined up in single file to land next to the Grunts spaced
perfectly for a helicopter pickup.
We landed and loaded the troops in seconds and the flight
was off for it's urgent mission. A B-57 Canberra
bomber had been shot down and was in a very hot area, the
first rescue attempt had been repelled with a .51cal
anti-aircraft gun, probably the very weapon the B-57 had
been trying to take out. The fast movers were well
represented over the downed bomber and the gunships were
holding to the West waiting to be cleared into the area
for their Landing Zone prep. I could hear the FAC
coordinating the attack from F-100 Super Sabers, F-4
Phantoms, and several B-57's. The fast movers had
lost one of their own and the amount
of ordinance dropped was staggering trying to protect a
As the last of the fast movers dropped their Napalm in
the tree line, the Rat Pack Gun Platoon started in with
their own brand of Landing Zone prep. Rat Pack 18,
Killer Cline was making sure the slicks his fire team was
protecting did not take any fire in the Landing Zone
while unloading their troops. Hearing Killers voice
on the radio telling lead that he could see no movement
was comforting to all twenty chopper crews in the
flight. We never had problems in a landing
Zone with Warrant Officer Art "Killer" Cline
coordinating the prep.
The Landing Zone was a large rice paddy that the B-57 had
apparently made an attempt to land on, but had nosed over
in the soft field and come apart violently, now sitting
almost in the middle of the field still smoking and
burning. We inserted Grunts on both sides of the
downed bomber. As the flight was departing I could
see several men trying to get the cockpit open, we all
hoped the Airforce Crewmen had survived the horrible
As the Blackhawk flight formed up in the air, we were
notified on the FM Grunt frequency that there were no
survivors and the aircraft was not repairable. The
Ready Reaction Force we had just put in wanted to be
"Blackhawk flight, first platoon go stagger wing
right, second platoon go stagger wing left. First
platoon will land to the north of the downed bomber,
second platoon will land to the south of the bomber,
visors down, harness locked, negative
suppression." Captain Wolff turned us inbound
to the landing zone and as the twenty aircraft executed
their aerial ballet and settled into the new formations
called out by lead.
Not a shot was fired at us in anger on our first
insertion, we were hoping for a cold extraction to round
out the day.
The flight split into two platoons on final and both lead
aircraft touched down in the landing zone like a mirror
I was chalk five and from where I was sitting I could see
the mortar rounds walking their way to the flight.
Kaboom and then in a few seconds twenty-five meters down
another kaboom. I could see they were walking the
rounds right at me in a straight line. The sweat
started to run down my back and in my eyes. I was trapped
and knew it.
I had to hold my position, and I could see Captain Wolff
was loaded, my brain was screaming pull pitch, pull
pitch. Kaboom, wow, that one was only 50 meters
from us, the next one would hit us for sure.
Captain Wolff was finally lifting to a hover, would we
make it out before being blown to pieces by a Chicom
mortar? I wasted no time in closing on chalk four
as he pulled pitch, and just as we started hitting
translational lift, kaboom, the mortar round went off
right where we had been sitting. My CE Martin
Jansen had been counting the seconds between the mortar
rounds and had been counting it down on the intercom
while I was waiting my turn to pull pitch pleading with
me to call Captain Wolff to depart.
I never liked to fly behind Captain Wolff, and this time
it was almost fatal.
We dropped our troops in Cu Chi and headed back to Tay
Ninh, and as we flew past Blackhawk Land on our way to
POL Martin Jansen pointed out the huge new flag he had
put up on his flagpole just outside the front of his
tent. I said "Martin, that does not look like
an American flag." In his best Texas twang he
informed me that that was the state flag of Texas and he
was Texas Proud.
Wayne R. "Crash" Coe