Caribou Association

Caribou Losses

 

Chris Hobson, a British historian, wrote the book Vietnam Air Losses: USAF, Navy, and Marine Corps Fixed-Wing Aircraft Losses in SE Asia 1961-1973 and was largely responsible for compiling this list of known C-7 losses from official sources.  If anyone has anything to add, just drop an email to the webmaster.  Please do not take offense if any of the characterizations are inaccurate or incomplete.  This list is entirely the result of scholarly research and input from others with direct knowledge of the events, not opinion.
The entries are organized by date.

 

Date: 4 October 1966
Aircraft: C-7B  63-9751
Unit: Army (Operation Red Leaf) 17th Avn Co
Base: An Khe
Crew: Capt David O. Webster (KIA)
1Lt Francis H. Bissaillon (KIA)
Ssgt Daniel P. Marlowe (KIA)
Description:
Crashed & destroyed - hit Hong Kong Mountain, An Khe
Date: 28 October 1966
Aircraft: C-7  61-2405
Unit: Army (Operation Red Leaf) 57th Avn Co
Base: Vung Tau
Crew: Army Unknown (survived)
Major John Wood (survived)
A1C Willis A. Karickhoff (KIA)
Description:
Aircraft hit a mountain top near An Khe in bad weather
Date:  3 August 1967
Aircraft: C-7B  62-4161
Unit: 459 TAS, 483 TAW
Base: Phu Cat
Crew: Capt Alan Eugene Hendrickson (KIA)
Capt John Dudley Wiley (KIA)
TSgt Zane Aubry Carter (KIA)
Description:
Three airmen died in a tragic friendly fire incident on 3 August. A C-7 Caribou was approaching the Duc Pho Special Forces camp, about 20 miles south of Quang Ngai, when it was hit by a shell from a US Army 155mm howitzer. The aircraft had flown into the line of fire and the shell blew off its entire rear fuselage and tail section. There is a well-publicized photograph of the aircraft taken during its fatal dive into the ground on the outskirts of the camp. Following this accident the Army and Air Force tightened up their coordination procedures for air operations near artillery fire zones.
Date:  30 November 1967
Aircraft: C-7B  62-4175
Unit: 458 TAS, 483 TAW
Base: Cam Ranh Bay
Crew: Maj Thomas Dewey Moore (KIA)
Maj William Jerome Clark (KIA)
SSgt Arturo Delgado-Marin (KIA)
SSgt Stanley Joseph Yurewicz (KIA)
22 passengers (KIA)
Description:
A C-7 Caribou crashed during a routine air transport flight in South Vietnam. As the aircraft approached Qui Nhon the pilot was advised that the weather at the airfield had fallen below safety minima. He replied that he would proceed to Nha Trang where the weather was better but the aircraft hit a mountain at 1,850 feet about five miles south of Qui Nhon. The weather at the time consisted of low cloud and rain that reduced visibility to about two miles. The four crew and 22 passengers, including two US civilians, were killed in the accident.
Date:  13 December 1967
Aircraft: C-7A 61-2387
Unit: 535 TAS, 483 TAW
Base: Vung Tau
Crew: Capt Kenneth L Chrisman (survived)
2Lt R Callahan (survived)
[Barden Revelle, SMSGT, USAF (Ret), a Flight Mechanic with the 536th at Vung Tau, 1967 - 1968, adds:
The Flight Mechanic, John Trease, got out OK and captured a VC who approached the aircraft. The crew was from the 535th, but the aircraft was borrowed that day from my unit, the 536th.]
Description:
The first USAF C-7 Caribou lost to enemy action was shot down by VC ground fire while on a resupply flight. A single bullet severed a fuel manifold causing the engines to stop through fuel starvation. The pilot crash-landed the Caribou in a rice paddy near Binh Thuy and all the crew escaped.
Date:  23 April 1968
Aircraft: C-7A 61-2399
Unit: 483 TAW
Base: Vung Tau
Crew: N/A
Description:
A Viet Cong mortar attack at Vung Tau destroyed a Caribou transport on the ground.
Date:  7 May 1968
Aircraft: C-7B 62-4176
Unit: 537 TAS, 483 TAW
Base: Phu Cat
Crew: 5 crew, names unknown (survived)
Description:
A Caribou suddenly lost engine power after take off and crashed while it was attempting to return to land. All the crew survived the incident.
Date:  29 May 1968
Aircraft: C-7B 62-4189
Unit: 458 TAS, 483 TAW
Base: Cam Ranh Bay
Crew: 26 passengers and crew, names unknown (survived)
Description:
A Caribou on a trooping flight was hit by small arms fire on the approach to Dak Pek and undershot the runway and swiped off the landing gear. A wing was then torn off and the aircraft was damaged beyond repair but all the passengers and crew survived.

From a person who was there: The passengers being transported were from A Company, 3d Bn 187th Inf from the 3d Brigade, 101st Airborne Division. I had arrived on the preceding C-7 and was just off the runway when the C-7 with A Company crashed.

Note:  There have been two comments on this one from people with very first hand information.  They both state that ground fire was not an issue and that this was purely an aircraft accident.

Date:  25 July 1968
Aircraft: C-7B 63-9761
Unit: 457 TAS, 483 TAW
Base: Cam Ranh Bay
Crew: Capt Kenneth James Hoffman (KIA)
A1C Gary Raymond McKendrick (KIA)
2 crew, names unknown (survived)
Description:
A Caribou crashed near Pleiku when the pilot lost control as it was flying close to the stall. The aircraft struck a tree and fell to the ground killing two of the four crew.
Date:  26 August 1968
Aircraft: C-7B 62-4177
Unit: 457 TAS, 483 TAW
Base: Cam Ranh Bay
Crew: Capt Robert George Bull (KIA)
1Lt Ralph William Manners (KIA)
A1C David Frederick Sleeper (KIA)
Description:
A Caribou was hit by ground fire in the starboard wing as it was flying close to the Cambodian border on an airlift flight, about 10 miles southwest of An Loc. The aircraft crashed and exploded killing the three crewmen.
Date:  3 October 1968
Aircraft: C-7B 63-9753
Unit: 537 TAS, 483 TAW
Base: Phu Cat
Crew: Capt Wayne Philip Bundy (KIA)
1Lt Ralph Schiavone (KIA)
SSgt Donald Gene Cleaver (KIA)
SSgt James Kenneth Connor (KIA)
9 US Army passengers (KIA)
Description:
A C-7 collided with an Army CH-47A Chinook helicopter 66-19041 of the 228th Combat Support Aviation Battalion, 1st Cavalry Division, near Camp Evans. The Caribou took off from Camp Evans and made a climbing right hand turn before reaching the end of the runway. The CH-47, flown by CW2 T E Johnson and WO1 R L Conroy, was approaching Camp Evans from LZ Nancy on a regular shuttle flight with troops and mail and the two aircraft collided at 1,100 feet. One of the Chinook’s rotor blades sliced through the Caribou’s cockpit and another blade hit the port engine. The Caribou spiraled into the ground and the Chinook’s rear rotors separated and struck the helicopter’s fuselage causing it to fall to the ground and explode. All four crew and nine passengers were killed in the Caribou and the five crew and six passengers were killed in the Chinook. This was the worst of a number of airspace control incidents during the war. Unfortunately several of these incidents involved the Caribous which the Army had turned over to USAF control in 1967.
Date:  7 October 1968
Aircraft: C-7B 63-9745
Unit: 535 TAS, 483 TAW
Base: Vung Tau
Crew: Capt Dennis Grunkmeyer (survived)
2 crew, names unknown (survived)
Description:
A Caribou crashed in South Vietnam while attempting to land at Ham Tan.
Date:  17 January 1969
Aircraft: C-7A 60-5434
Unit: 536 TAS, 483 TAW
Base: Vung Tau
Crew: 5 crew, names unknown (survived)
Description:
A Caribou transport veered off the runway as it was landing and was damaged beyond repair.
Date:  1 March 1969
Aircraft: C-7B 63-9762
Unit: 459 TAS, 483 TAW
Base: Phu Cat
Crew: 3 crew, names unknown (survived)
Description:
A C-7 Caribou was damaged beyond repair when it landed short of the runway due to pilot error.
Date:  26 July 1969
Aircraft: C-7B 62-4186
Unit: 537 TAS, 483 TAW
Base: Phu Cat
Crew: 1Lt James Fielding Wohrer (KIA)
4 crew, names unknown (survived)
Description:
One of the crew of a Caribou transport aircraft died when it crashed in Phuoc Tuy province, South Vietnam following an engine failure.
Date:  11 September 1969
Aircraft: C-7B 62-4187
Unit: 537 TAS, 483 TAW
Base: Phu Cat
Crew: 1Lt Robert Paul Wiesneth (KIA)
1Lt Neil Norman Greinke (KIA)
1Lt Charles Brent Ross (KIA)
SSgt Frederick Wilhelm (KIA)
Description:
A Caribou, using the radio call sign Soul 47, was en route to a Special Forces camp near Plei Djereng, 20 miles west of Pleiku, when it was shot down by small arms fire. All four crewmen were killed in the incident.
Date:  26 December 1969
Aircraft: C-7B 63-9723
Unit: 459 TAS, 483 TAW
Base: Phu Cat
Crew: 1Lt David Bicknel Bowling (KIA)
1Lt R J Patterson (survived)
TSgt E J Welch (KIA)
Description:
A Caribou was hit by small arms fire as it approached Tien Phuoc, west of Tam Ky during a cargo flight from Phu Cat. The pilot, 1Lt Bowling, was shot through the heart and the aircraft crashed inverted into a rice paddy near the village of Phuoc An. Although the co-pilot survived, the flight mechanic, TSgt Welch, was crushed to death by the cargo when it broke loose on impact.
Date:  2 April 1970
Aircraft: C-7A 61-2406
Unit: 537 TAS, 483 TAW
Base: Phu Cat
Crew: 1Lt Steve Warren Train (KIA)
1Lt Charles E Suprenant (KIA)
MSgt Dale Elling Christensen (KIA)
Description:
Two Caribou arrived overhead at Dak Seang in the early morning of the 2nd to drop ammunition to the besieged defenders of the camp. The aircraft approached the camp from the east under the guidance of an FAC who was also directing strikes by fighter aircraft on enemy positions. The first aircraft dropped successfully but reported ground fire as it made a steep right-hand turn after delivering its load. The second aircraft, flown by 1Lt Train, made a left-hand turn to try to avoid the ground fire but was hit by automatic weapons fire at an altitude of 400 feet. The Caribou flew off to the south, possibly trying to make for Dak To, but it burst into flames and crashed about five miles from Dak Seang, killing the crew.
Date:  4 April 1970
Aircraft: C-7B 62-4180
Unit: 458 TAS, 483 TAW
Base: Phu Cat
Crew: Capt James Anthony Gray (KIA)
Maj Frederick W Dauten (KIA)
MSgt Russell Leo Klein (KIA)
Description:
After the Caribou was shot down at Dak Seang on the 2nd the airlift was briefly suspended by the Air Force but had to be resumed at the insistence of MACV and a fleet of 18 C-7s was assembled at Pleiku. Eleven more drops were made later in the day on the 2nd and although three aircraft were hit, none were lost. A total of 31 more sorties were made on the 3rd and the 4th but another aircraft was lost and 13 others damaged. A five-aircraft drop was being made in the afternoon when the fourth aircraft in the formation was hit by heavy ground fire shortly after releasing its load. The aircraft crashed two miles from the camp killing the crew.
Date:  6 April 1970
Aircraft: C-7B 63-9746
Unit: 457 TAS, 483 TAW
Base: Cam Ranh Bay
Crew: Capt Julius Patrick Jaeger (KIA)
1Lt Theron Carl Fehrenbach (KIA)
TSgt Gordon Manson Gaylord (KIA)
Description:
The resupply of Dak Seang continued on the 5th when seven Caribous successfully made airdrops, although very few of the loads could be recovered. On the 6th the last of three Caribous to be lost during the siege of Dak Seang was shot down by ground fire as it was pulling up from its dropping run. The aircraft burst into flames and crashed close to the camp killing the crew. Six Caribou sorties were flown on the 6th but, again, most of the loads could not recovered. The next night three successful drops were made by Caribous in conjunction with an AC-119 gunship that provided spotlight illumination during the final moments of the run in. This technique was used successfully for 68 drops over the next five nights, which enabled the defenders to hold on until the situation improved enough for daylight drops and then landings to be made at the camp.
Date:  9 June 1970
Aircraft: C-7B 63-9724
Unit: 459 TAS, 483 TAW
Base: Cam Ranh Bay
Crew: N/A
Description:
A C-7 Caribou was being airlifted by a CH-54 Skycrane helicopter when it fell from the sling and was destroyed. The aircraft had run off the end of the runway as it was landing at a strip at Tra Bong in May 1970. None of the crew was injured in the crash and it was decided to airlift the Caribou out for repair. The propellers and outboard wing sections were removed before the airlift was attempted. The Caribou was one of the largest aircraft that could be lifted by heavy lift helicopters but unfortunately on this occasion the sling snapped and the aircraft fell to the ground breaking in two.
Date:  13 January 1971
Aircraft: C-7B 62-12584
Unit: 483 TAW
Base: Cam Ranh Bay
Crew: 4 crew, names unknown (survived)
Description:
A Caribou crashed in South Vietnam due to pilot error during a cargo flight. This was the last of 19 Caribou to be destroyed in Southeast Asia while under USAF control. At least 38 C-7s from the 483rd TAW were handed over to the VNAF in 1972 prior to the American withdrawal from South Vietnam.
Date:  19 December 1971
Aircraft: C-7A 62-4173
Unit: 483 TAW
Base: Cam Ranh Bay
Crew: Capt Donald A. Henderson (Pilot) (survived)
1Lt James L. Breitenstine (Co-Pilot) (survived)
SSgt Richard E. Jackson (Flight Mechanic) (survived)
Description:
Ditched near the Farallon Islands 245 degrees True 3746' North 12304' West.  Reason for ditching: Ran out of fuel.
That is the official description.  A more complete one is that the aircraft experienced an engine failure past the Equal Time Point from Hawaii to California and could not quite make the coast.  The aircraft was one of a group being ferried from Cam Ranh Bay back to the States.  There was a "duckbutt" C-130 standing by and a rescue diver saved Donnie Henderson's life, as he was seriously injured on impact with the water.
Revised:
22 Sep 2010 04:07 PM

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