Dust Off: aeromedical evacuation in Vietnam, 17 April 1971 [actuality recording]

Place Asia: Vietnam, Phuoc Tuy Province, Long Hai Hills
Accession Number S00388
Collection type Sound
Measurement 20 min 56 sec
Object type Actuality recording
Physical description audio cassette; BASF C90; mono
Maker Australian Army and Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) personnel
Easter, Bryan
Place made Vietnam: Phuoc Tuy Province, Nui Dat
Date made 17 April 1971
Access Onsite use only
Conflict Vietnam, 1962-1975
Copyright Item copyright: © Australian War Memorial
Creative Commons License This item is licensed under CC BY-NC
Copying Provisions Copy provided for personal non-commercial use

Recording made in the Headquarters Command Post of 1 Australian Task Force (1ATF), Nui Dat, South Vietnam, 17 April 1971 of radio traffic. Includes the shooting down of an Australian aeromedical evacuation ("Dust Off") helicopter in Vietnam. One radio network monitored was a fifty-man company patrol of 302 RF Battalion, South Vietnamese Army (ARVN) with Corporal Thomas Douglas Blackhurst (call sign 93 Bravo) of the Mobile Advisory and Training Team (MATT) attached. The patrol had taken mine casualties and 9 Squadron RAAF aeromedical evacuation (call sign Dust Off 1) is requested. The patrol is also in contact and requests fire support from a No 9 Squadron Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Iroquois gunship (call sign Bushranger 71). Bushranger 71 provides suppression fire as directed by 93 Bravo. While the dustoff is hovering, winching the first casualty out, the aircraft is damaged by enemy ground fire, crashes and burns. Killed on the ground are Corporal Blackhurst and Captain Albertson, US Army, Artillery Observer and Advisor plus the wounded South Vietnamese soldier on the winch. Killed onboard the Dustoff were Lance Corporal J F Gillespie, 8th Australian Field Ambulance. The RAAF crew and four other South Vietnamese soldiers were wounded. The Duty Officer in the Task Force Command Post , Nui Dat is heard advising by telephone his superiors in Saigon that the Dustoff has been shot down and the medic on board killed. Details of the incident are provided in "The Team" written by Major Ian McNeill, pages 454-455

Radio call signs heard include:

19983 Corporal Thomas Douglas Blackhurst of the Mobile Advisory and Training Team (MATT) - killed

WO2 Maher.

Person currently unidentified.
Duty Officer, CP, 1ATF, Nui Dat

317930 Flying Officer M F Castles (Captain)
046672 Pilot Officer S R Ford (Co-Pilot)
A220871 Corporal R A Stephens (Crewman)
A119984 Aircraftman R Zegers (Gunner)
3170244 Lance Corporal J F Gillespie (Army Medic - killed)

0224748 Pilot Officer R D Bishop

026006 Wing Commander P H Coy