by Rick Waite
Don Callison, one of My War Wagon buddies was one of our better Loach Pilots... Liked by everyone, and only hated by Gooks and Slick Pilots, Don had one unsusual day of being shot down....... Seems how sometime late in the fall of 1970.... Don and his door gunner were doing a VR in the U-minh Forrest... a really bad place....... even Dorothy, the Lion, the Tin Man and the Scare Crow would not have attempted to cross this forrest.... Well, anywho... Don found an interesting area and started to recon by fire when all of a sudden, every Dink in Viet Nam (or at least that's what it sounded like from the pitch of Don's Voice) started shooting at him. The Door gunners 60 could be heard in the background returning fire as Don yelled..... "TAKING FIRE, TAKING FIRE, TAKING FIRE, TAKING HITS, TAKING HITS, TAKING HITS, GOING DOWN, GOING DOWN, GOING DOWN, .....WAIT A MINUTE....." a brief pause and then in a more legible voice, Don says, "I'm not going to go down here, we're too close to where we took fire, but I am going down.." Don's powerful loach was vibrating and shaking when he topped an upcomming treeline and then said, GOING DOWN, going down.... AHHH not here its too damn wet.... let me see if I can make it a little further...." shortly it was heard again, "GOING DOWN, GOING DOWN... AH SHIT DO YOU SEE ALL THOSE FUCKING GOOKS..... DON'T SHOOT.... DON'T SHOOT". It seemed that Don had flown right into the middle of an NVA unit trying to figure out where the hell they were and found that they were as startled as he was and Don did not want his doorgunner to start something that he coudn't finish! The Gooks didn't shoot, and no fire came from Callisons Bird...... Once Don felt he was clear enough of the Bad Guys the Call went out again..."Hey guys, this looks like a pretty good place to go down so come down and get me." He landed and the C&C bird picked him and his doorgunner up and the Bird was later recovered..... I think, and Don will correct me if I'm wrong on this one.... it was the Super Door Gunner, Bill Hanegmon who had shot them down...... seems like Hanegmon had seen a guy in the open and while Hanegmon was trying to nail his ass... put a few into the blades.... If my memory serves me correct.... 3 out of the 4 had been hit and one had taken a hit in the leading edge....... This was probably one of the longest shootdowns ever recorded by and aircraft that was only traveling about 15 ft off te ground when it took friendly (???) fire.

Rick Waite, Aeroscout
War Wagon 19/16
D Troop 3rd of the 5th Air Cav
Vinh Long 1970/71