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CAP Talk  |  Operations  |  Aviation & Flying Activities  |  Topic: Air Combat First – CIA
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OldGuy
Seasoned Member

Posts: 394
Unit: TBKS

« on: March 08, 2018, 09:59:04 AM »

http://americanshootingjournal.com/air-combat-first-cia/

About 50 years near Vietnam, a helicopter that wasn’t officially there fended off an attack on a post that didn’t officially exist, with the help of a single Kalash.
It may have been the unofficial report of the shot down of an airplane with an AK-47…from a helicopter by the CIA.

“An Air Combat First” painting by Keith Woodcock in the CIA’s collecton remembers the occasion that an Air America helicopter fought off at attack on a remote radar site just over the North Vietnamese border with Laos. (Photo: CIA)

The story is during the Vietnam War, Lima Site 85 was a secret radar station on top of a mountain in northeastern Laos known as Phou Phath manned by U.S. Air Force personnel under civilian cover, guarded by Hmong commandos, and supplied by the CIA-run Air America cargo service.

This important site became a valuable target due to its vicinity of 150 miles or so from the North Vietnamese capital of Hanoi.
Once discovered on Jan 12, 1968, it became crucial for the North Vietnamese to take out it down.
The NVA sent four An-2 Colt biplanes armed with improvised bombs set out to attack the facility.

That’s when an unarmed civilian-marked Air America Co. UH-1 Huey flown by Ted Moore, which was delivering supplies to the base at the time, gave chase to the Vietnamese attack craft and soon brought the lead plane under fire with some well-placed 7.62x39mm rounds courtesy of flight mechanic Glenn Woods’ personal carry gun.
As the narration goes, “Woods pulled out his AK-47 rifle and began firing at the lumbering biplane,” says the agency, who went public with the incident in 2007.
“The pursuit was relentless, continuing for more than 20 minutes until the second Colt (hit by ground fire) joined the first in an attempt to escape back into North Vietnam.”

In the end, the bullet-riddled biplane that was Woods’ target crashed.

As noted by the spy agency, “This daring action by Moore and Woods gained them—and Air America—the distinction of having shot down an enemy fixed-wing aircraft from a helicopter—a singular aerial victory in the entire history of the Vietnam War.”

Sadly, Site 85 was overrun in March 1968 in a more determined attack comprised of massive NVA ground troops and Woods lost his life the next year in Laos — but the CIA Museum still has the throttle that came from the downed AN-2’s wreckage in their collection.
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MSG Mac
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 1,869
Unit: MER-MD-071

« Reply #1 on: March 10, 2018, 12:03:22 AM »

Site 85 is where CMSgt.  Etchabarger earned his Medal of Honor (posthumous) during the evacuation of the base. Had to wait 40 years before the DOD admitted the base was there. So also the last CMG awarded
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Michael P. McEleney
Lt Col CAP
MSG USA (Retired)
abdsp51
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Posts: 2,547
Unit: Classified

« Reply #2 on: March 10, 2018, 01:15:42 PM »

Site 85 is where CMSgt.  Etchabarger earned his Medal of Honor (posthumous) during the evacuation of the base. Had to wait 40 years before the DOD admitted the base was there. So also the last CMG awarded

It might be the las CMH awarded for that conflict but not the las CMH awarded.
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OldGuy
Seasoned Member

Posts: 394
Unit: TBKS

« Reply #3 on: March 10, 2018, 10:06:45 PM »

The President of the United States of America, authorized by act of Congress, March 3, 1863, has awarded, in the name of the Congress, the Medal of Honor to Chief Master Sgt. Richard L. Etchberger, United States Air Force, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life, above and beyond the call of duty.

Chief Master Sgt. Richard L. Etchberger distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism on March 11, 1968, in the country of Laos. While assigned as Ground Radar Superintendent, Detachment 1, 1043rd Radar Evacuation Squadron. On that day, Chief Etchberger and his team of technicians were manning a top-secret defensive position at Lima Site 85 when the base was overrun by an enemy ground force. Receiving sustained and withering heavy artillery attacks directly upon his unit’s position, Chief Etchberger’s entire crew lay dead or severely wounded. Despite having received little or no combat training, Chief Etchberger single-handedly held off the enemy with an M-16, while simultaneously directing air strikes into the area and calling for air rescue. Because of his fierce defense and heroic and selfless actions, he was able to deny the enemy access to his position and save the lives of his remaining crew. With the arrival of the rescue aircraft, Chief Etchberger without hesitation repeatedly and deliberately risked his own life, exposing himself to heavy enemy fire, in order to place three surviving wounded comrades into rescue slings hanging from the hovering helicopter waiting to airlift them to safety. With his remaining crew safely aboard, Chief Etchberger finally climbed into the evacuation sling himself, only to be fatally wounded by enemy ground fire as he was being raised into the aircraft.

Chief Etchberger's bravery and determination in the face of persistent enemy fire and overwhelming odds are in keeping with the highest standards of performance and traditions of military service. Chief Etchberger's gallantry, self-sacrifice, and profound concern for his fellow men, at risk of his life, above and beyond the call of duty, reflect the highest credit on himself and the United States Air Force.
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Luis R. Ramos
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 2,619

« Reply #4 on: March 10, 2018, 11:21:21 PM »

Nice to post the action summary.

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Squadron Administrative Officer
Squadron Communication Officer
Squadron Emergency Services Officer
Mitchell 1969
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 776
Unit: PCR-CA-051

« Reply #5 on: March 11, 2018, 04:34:30 AM »

Site 85 is where CMSgt.  Etchabarger earned his Medal of Honor (posthumous) during the evacuation of the base. Had to wait 40 years before the DOD admitted the base was there. So also the last CMG awarded

It might be the las CMH awarded for that conflict but not the las CMH awarded.

Please. It’s not the “CMH.” It’s the Medal of Honor. If an abbreviation is really needed, then MOH. Either way, neither “C” nor “Congressional” is correct.


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_________________
Bernard J. Wilson, Major, CAP

Mitchell 1969; Earhart 1971; Eaker 1973. Cadet Flying Encampment, License, 1970. IACE New Zealand 1971; IACE Korea 1973.

CAP has been bery, bery good to me.
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CAP Talk  |  Operations  |  Aviation & Flying Activities  |  Topic: Air Combat First – CIA
 


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