I will try to recall what Emmett Hatch told me about the incident with the HH-3 at DaNang.

I think he was with the 37th ARRS there. It seems the helicopter lost an engine and had to land on a sandbar in the middle of the river next to the base. The engine could not be repaired in time to fly the aircraft back to the safety of the base before nightfall. Emmett had contacted the local Det of Marines to see if they could put some men out there to secure the chopper overnight but they could not.

If left out overnight the VC would destroy or at the least booby trap the bird to prevent it's recovery. It seemed a shame to lose an aircraft and not be able to do anything about it. Emmett had sent a message to higher HQ but time was running out. There was an Army unit nearby with an H-64 (?) Skycrane which would have the power to lift the broken Jolly to safety. Emmett was able to get the Army troops to attempt an airlift before dark. The Army pilot hooked onto the Jolly H-3 and picked it up but he was either untrained enough or the cables malfunctioned and the Jolly was dropped unceremoniously from several feet, which caused major damage.

Another more skilled Army pilot quickly volunteered for the task and successfully carried to Jolly H-3 to the security of the base just before dark. Unfortunately the helicopter had taken a pretty good wallop when dropped and had significant damage.


For his efforts to save an aircraft, Emmett got a reaming from HQ. At least they had something to repair or at least spare parts, as the enemy would surely have destroyed the chopper during the night.


K.V. Hall, Historian