Indian Gal 69 Down

October 16, 1966

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Indian Gal 69 prepares to launch from the flight deck of the USS Intrepid (CVA-11) on the morning of 16 October 1966 - picture taken by a member of Det C and subsequently given to Steve Caple


Clementine stayed with Indian Gal 69 as Dave Murphy and Ed Marsyla prepare to set down on the water due to tail rotor control failure, loss of an engine and fuel exhaustion

Indian Gal 69 lands in the Gulf of Tonkin after receiving heavy battle damage over North Viet Nam during a protracted rescue attempt...

Perfect touch down just like we practiced in Lake Otay (except we never had to deal with the waves) - note the battle damage to the horizontal stabilizer

Safely on the water and shutting down A motor whaleboat approaches to pick up the crew Clementine stays on scene to assist

Indian Gal 69 sinks lower in the water as the motor whaleboat moves away - USS Collett (DD-730) is in the background as a SARCAP SPAD (probably from VA-25 off the USS Coral Sea - CVA-43) stays overhead even though the crew is safely "feet wet" - literally and figuratively!

Battle damage is very evident in the photo Even with the flotation bags deployed the helo continues to settle in the water due to the extensive battle damage
Indian Gal 69 takes a last look around... and heads for the deep.

Polaroid photo, taken by "Vic" Vicari, from inside Indian Gal 69 shows extensive battle damage to fuselage and severed tail rotor control cable - photo was water damaged when crew ditched the helo and entered the water

From Steve Caple: "This is from an 8"x10" print of another of those Polaroids that Vic took and stuck in his fatigue pocket before ditching (thus the water spots) note the hole lower left: this is the one on the bottom of the "9" in the side number - the edges of the hole seem to be blown outward, while the walkway supports are bent forward; I saw the big flash just inside the skin as I looked back into the tail cone."

Steve Caple, Ed Marsyla and Vic Vicari are returned to the USS Intrepid by  Clementine in their new orange flight suits courtesy of the HC-2 Det

SAR Det C pilots reunited on the USS Intrepid (CVA-11)  L to R; Back Row: Ross Mordhorst, Buck Carlton, Vern Von Sydow, Bob Bernand, Doug Heggie, Vann Goodloe, Bill Roy, Ed Marsyla - Front Row: Tom May, Leon Houghlum, Bill Medley, Dave Murphy


Dave Murphy and Ed Marsyla after the mission - Ed still showing affects of his wounds

Ed Marsyla, Dave Murphy, Steve Caple and Vic Vicari in either Danang or Chu Lai after the mission. They were then flown by COD to Cubi Point and eventually to R&R at Camp John Hay in Baguio City, P.I.
Dave Murphy has already been presented with his Navy Cross and Purple Heart as Ed Marsyla and "Vic" Vicari wait for their Silver Stars and purple Hearts Ed Marsyla is awarded his Purple Heart after have his Silver Star medal pinned on.

Read Steve Caple's recollection of the rescue attempt

Read the Rescue Synopsis

Updated 04/02/11