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Photo from the Abel collection

A Marine North American OV-10A Brown lands at the
Marble Mountain airstrip at Da Nang. The Bronco was to take over more
of the observation and aircraft control missions from the Hueys.

flopped down two or three times with those Hueys [UH-1Es]." According
to the 3d Marine Division commander, the Army provided him with a backup
helicopter because, "those Marine helicopters could not go where the
H-model could go."16*

While the situation was not entirely bleak. General McCutcheon commented in
mid-November that the improvement in the inventory of Marine gunships
and other light helicopters would only be modest in the foreseeable
future. As he wrote to Major General Quilter, the 1st Wing commander,
"I muse tell you in all honesty, that there jusr aren r any more helos
or any more pilots to make available to III MAF in the foreseeable future."
He mentioned a combination of both personnel ceilings and an attempt
to reduce the budget as "tremendous constraints on any expansionist
program at this stage of the game." McCutcheon, nevertheless, stated
that he was working on "a final crack ... to increase the number of
light helos in our structure."17

To Keep the Mediums and Heavies Flying

While the Marine command remained concerned about its shortage of
light helicopters during much of 1968, it continued to have difficulties
with the availability of both its medium and heavy rotary aircraft.
After taking the drastic measure in the latter part of 1967 of grounding
all of the Boeing Vertol CH-46 Sea Knights because ot several accidents
involving the rear pylons of the aircraft, the Marine Corps and Boeing
undertook an expensive and extensive repair program, including both
structural and system modifications.** In the first phase of the solution,
the Marines rotated the aircraft from Vietnam to Okinawa and Japan where
structural modifications were carried out. By the end of


* Colonel Roger W. Peard, Jr., who commanded HMH-463, in 1968, observed
that the greatest difference between the UH-1E and UH-1H models was
engine power, otherwise the aircraft were very similar. Peard wrote
that maneuverability "relates to a machine's ability to change direction,
accelerate, and decelerate. These are important characteristics for
fighter intercepter aircraft, but not so crucial in a helicopter. Maneuverabilitv
in a helo may add to the exhilaration of flight, but most helos are
flown to maintain the lift vector from the rotor disc close to vertical
to maximize lift." Peard acknowledged that size considerations were
another matter and that "laymen" speaking of maneuverability usually
refer to ability to "get into a small LZ, which is a size consideration."
In any event Colonel Peard did nor believe there was enough size differentiation
to quibble about between the E and H versions. He concluded, "l imagine
that MGen Davis may just [have] liked flying in the newer H rather than
in a well-used 'E'." Peard Comments.

** Lieutenant General Louis Metzger who in 1967 and early 1968 as
a brigadier general served as the 3d Marine Division Assistant Division
Commander, recalled that it took some time to identity the problem with
the CH-46 as equipment failure. He remembered that it was sometime in
the second half of 1967 that when the 3d Division assistant aviation
officer, "was fying and observed the tail come off a CH-46. His report
was the first indication of this equipment problem. This observation
led to the 'expensive and extensive repair program'. . . ." LtGen Louis
Metzger, Comments on draft, dtd 20Dec94 (Vietnam Comment File).







Page 522 (1968: The Defining Year)