|This page has been set up for the TET Offensive. There are a number of veterans who would like to share their memories of this event; when we receive more information we will expand on this section of the site. The photos and information below come from Wally Ceisnak (webmaster's correction 2/22/04).|
"When TET started we were flying flare ship that night. We had flown awhile and things were pretty quiet, so we returned to Vihn Long. We were going to park on the Outlaw ramp but were told to park next to the wash rack off the runway and stand by. The pilots went to the CP and I stayed with the ship, as always. As the night went on we could hear noises coming from the Outlaw ramp and down the runway. When I heard something sounding like metal tinkling, I went to the other side of the ship and all hell broke loose. Mortars started coming in as I went to untie the rotor. The pilots came running out and got in the ship and yelled "clear." I was trying to untie the rotor, but couldn't get the knot out. I yelled "clear" and unhooked the tie down, still trying to undo the knot as the engine cranked. I was just about to get my knife out, when I got it untied. The rotors were turning pretty good when I jumped in and sat down and put my harness on. I looked at the gauges up front and tracers were coming through the doors between the pilots and us. The tracers were also under us. We took off and made it up OK. When we got high enough, we started to drop flares. We never reloaded from our previous mission, so what flares we had on board was it. They kept yelling to drop more, so we dropped all we had. The tower told us we couldn't land on the field and sent us to Dong Tam.
As we were leaving the area, Spooky was there and started dropping flares. They had VC all over the runway and Outlaw camp. We landed at Dong Tam and stayed the night. The base at Dong Tam did not get hit. The next morning we went back to Vihn Long and had to land on the 114 pad. We were standing there talking about what happened and mortars started coming in again. We could see them landing in a line coming right for us. Everyone started running for the bunker nearest us. I pushed my pilot into the bunker because I didn't think he was moving fast enough and I dove in after him. He had pieces of metal in his hat and I took a small piece in my left forearm--no big deal. If we had put the ship to bed that night on the Outlaw ramp, we might not be here today, luck was with us again. We stayed in the bunker in front of Outlaw 29 the next few nights. That was bad, too. I don't remember which ship we flew that night. Everything happened so fast. Outlaw 25 was in the hangar and took the first mortar. I did get a brand new Outlaw 25 later. It's unbelievable we didn't take any hits getting off the ground. I think my AC was Mr. Stanbury that day. I think the pilot with the handkerchief is WO1 Andy Keeney".
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