WO1 Jim Messinger on the beach with Dolphins. "The sand was very white on the
sea-side, of course, but many of you may remember the yellow-brown sand of the Duc Pho company
area (until June of 1967). Major Wheat insisted on bringing white beach sand in for an 'area
beautification' program. The result was to render all crew members 'snow-blind'! Eventually,
we kicked the white sand back under the yellow by shuffling our feet to and from the flight line". Check out Jim Messinger Plants a Palm Tree.
Another 1967 beach shot of Jim (only without "the hardware").
The four photos above are panoramic shots that were taken by Jim (Summer of 1967), "While standing at the south
end of the company area and pivoting 360 degrees. The photos were intended to overlap slightly to
help maintain reference". (Assistant Webmaster note: There were actually 8 photos in all that we spliced
together to achieve the effect that- if you were to view each one from right to left and connect them from
left to right, you could see a large portion of the Duc Pho area in June or July of 1967. Also notice the sand color difference. Enjoy!).
Great shot of WO1 Jim Messinger in 1967. He believes this ship to be UH-1D #65-9621. Note the cactus on the
support panel behind Jim. Jim is a Texan and damn proud of it! For a short period of time in 1967, Jim was the exclusive pilot for UH-1D #66-16080,
which was used as the Infantry Brigade Commander's ship.
A Tail shot of Dolphin slick #621. Jim's on the left and Spec 4 Dennis Williams is on the right.
"My Door gunner points to an enemy shell entry point. I remember everything about this event except who
was flying with me. I did a dumb thing and flew low and straight down some railroad tracks because
of poor weather. We were taught not to fly low- straight and I screwed up. When we got hit, I almost flew
into the clouds to avoid further contact. luckily, I maintained "VFR" and control and got the **** out of there
with only one hit. Almost cost the door gunner his life, being that careless. I was the aircraft
commander. I took the above photo to remind me never to do it again. If we can identify the gunner...I wish
to apologize again and I owe him a few beers."
"This is a shot of a Viet Cong POW we took in during '67. I really don't recall when I took this photo. I think it's LZ Liz.
I wasn't in the Shark Gunship that made the pick-up. However the Stars and Stripes article below correlates with the
The above Stars and Stripes (April 1967) article reads:
"All four photos above are polaroids I took in 1967 during a CA in 515 Valley. Clockwise from top left:
That's UH-1H #67-17445 'Suzie' in the first three photos. An obvious 'cold' assault. Notice the relaxed GIs. The
last photo (bottom right) is a photo of our resupply bird."
"The actual details escape me, but we captured this NVA flag on one of our missions. I believe it went through the rotor system at one point. I was flying
with the First Platoon at the time and got this photo just to show what a real war hero I was. This was during the 174th AHC mustache period. Mustaches were forbidden,
but we had a Commander with one and he was told he could keep it if the whole Unit had one, so we all grew mustaches!"
"A rest break from the war, tossing the football around in a open area next to the mail room (Conex) at Duc Pho. That's pilots (standing L-R) Bill Murphy, Lanny McCrary
and Joe Moys. I can't identify the one sitting. I was probably sunbathing on the porch of the Sharks hootch when I took this picture. Joe, Lanny, Bill and I were all pretty close in those days."
"And that's the Unit mail room (conex) and the Commander's hootch center."
In front of the Shark hootch Spring 1968. l-r: (All WO1's) Bill Murphy,
Dick Baker, Jim Messinger (seated), Bob Hall, Chuck Miller, and Jim Young.
Pictured above are two of the Shark gunships that Jim flew during Spring 1968. The top two are either #137, or #157.
The bottom is one of the gunships with the XM-21 armament subsystem (mini-guns with seven 2.75 rocket tubes). Says Shark Platoon-mate Bill "Murph" Murphy, "Jim was a wizard with the mini-gun. He could figure the windage
and stay on target even in relatively steep turns! Jim always brought accurate fire down on enemy position."
Check the "Murph" out at WO1 Bill Murphy and Murph-the-Surf