I’ve never been much interested in reliving Vietnam, but my son and I were just talking and I put in a google search which turned up your web site.
My full name is Jimmy Dean Jackson and I was a Captain at the time.
I was Charlie Horse 31 from about July 1970 until the summer of 71. In 71 when I became the Assasins Platoon Leader they sometimes called me “Crazy Horse”. I took over from another Captain named Jackson. We lived together and called ourselves Jackson & Jackson Exterminators until Charlie rotated home.
I can tell a few stories, but many of the activities might still be actionable. For example, the MPs lost a jeep or two. Major Wolfe’s jeep took an unauthorized trip or two. There was a private stock of steaks and ribs that got accessed occasionally. Some hooch maids weren’t actually maids and Cobras can actually fly upside down if you do it just right.
If you have contact with Larry Brown, I would like to know if he knows where to find one of his people named Ross who was shot down in Laos while I was covering him. I heard that he got home and went to college in Berkley. Ask Larry if he remembers a cobra with skulls wired to the skids named “Rang Ho Mang”.
The truth is that I hadn’t remembered anyone’s names until I saw Larry’s picture and Ross’s name came back when I remembered that particular little mess.
If you are still working on the page we have some pictures,
but I can’t put many names to them.
I just read Fred Blanchard’s narrative. I was the Cobra platoon leader when both of those Cobras crashed. I am sorry that I didn’t remember the names. The first two guys that crashed were relatively new in country. The pilot had only been cleared to go out on his own the week before and he was flying my personal aircraft. It was the best maintained in the unit.
The second team crashed because the pilot was flying an overloaded cobra (we usually flew outside the envelope) and went into a run before burning off enough fuel. He just simply mushed through and hung the jungle. His mission had called for him to fly a considerably longer distance before engaging the enemy. He was diverted by 3/5 headquarters.
As was the case with all Cobra teams the pilots called the shots. In both of these cases the copilots were new in country and never got a chance to graduate to the back seat.
I arrived after Fred and stayed on after he went home.
I sure would like for the page to take on some of the real character of Charlie Horse. We were young and stupid. We flew aircraft in ways that Bell never intended them to fly. The 58s that the scouts had had to have everything possible ripped out and every bleed air option plugged just to have enough power to make left turns. During LS719 we had so many Cobras shot up that they sent us the training aircraft as replacements. I don’t remember ever taking off within the go-no-go chart range. We removed safeties from 20 mm cannons and hand polished parts to make the barrels turn faster. We had Bell tech reps on site and they helped keep them in the air, but we flew lots of them with rippled skin and warped air frames after the tech reps said that they couldn’t fly. We all flew unlogged hours. Sometimes we were maxed out by 15th. We just kept flying and logged time on the aircraft without reporting it for ourselves.
The Evac hospital hated us. Especially the Cobra pilots. The Vietnamese that we put there got better care than we did. We were those nasty killers from the other side of the air strip. Our mission was hunter killer. We didn’t fly pigs and rice and we didn’t escort ground convoys. We mainly went on missions into known enemy territory with free fire zones designated before we took off.
I have had fun today. If you plan to make the page realistic I will try to remember more about it and put it in chronological sequence. Some say I went to too many memorial services and packed too many bags to send home to relatives. I didn’t remember much of anything for more than ten years after returning to the states, so if you get anyone who contradicts what I remember, believe them.