James Patterson

Response To Feb 99 Newsletter I read Dick Sperling"s account of the 16 March 67 combat assault where he received the DSC. You asked for more infomation. I'll try to tell you to the best of my memory a little more. I was 2nd platoon leader and mission commander for the 155 AHC. We had six slicks up there working re-supply. This was a 4th Inf. Div. called emergency assault west of Pleiku. They (4th Avn Bn) led with the first two "V's" of three. On receiving fire as they approched the LZ both flights aborted landing. I was lead helicopter in the third "V" (155th had the 3rd & 4th "V"). The C&C directed me to land, as I inquired because of the situation. As we approached the LZ we descended to tree top level and flared to land as we crossed the treeline. Ben Davies was my pilot and SP/5 James Patterson was my crew chief. We took machine gun fire than entered the helicopter at the right side passing thru the hydraulic lines and hitting Spec Patterson under his flack vest in his back as he was bent over to clear the tail rotor passing the treeline. He said " I'm hit". Then he died. We landed with no hydraulics, discharged our troops, and took off. We landed at the med evac field hosp. pad, with no hydraulics, they took Sp/5 Patterson in the tent but he was gone. We took off and landed back at the PZ where I commandered another helicopter and re- joined the assault. I believe Jerry and Dick were chalk two and three, needless to say I missed their action as I had my own hands full. Sp5 James Patterson was a fine young man, a wonderful crewchief and my friend. I received the DFC for that day I think because I lived through it, mostly. WHAT A DAY! These were all brave young men who I am very proud to have known. Barney Hancock Stagecoach 26/3 '67