Army Otter Association of Vietnam Veterans

Chapter 15
163rd Medical Detachment
Qui Nhon Vietnam
1966 - 1971

Company Commanders
Captain Ronald F. Crown  -  August 1966 - 12 November 1967
Captain William E. Atlee, Jr.  -  12 November 1967 - April 1968
Captain David L. Weinburg  -  April 1968 - October 1968
Captain David L. Fore  -  October 1968 - December 1968




The most memorable and eventful month for the year was August 1966, that saw the 18th move from Nha Trang to Qui Nhon, completely renovate the company area at Qui Nhon; gain a Medical Detachment commanded by Captain Ronald F. Crown, effective 4 August; personnel of the unit accomplished feats of engineering and plumbing history with the effective usage of field expedients to correct plumbing, water and flooding issues, as well as re-innovate the company buildings and improve the physical security of the company and motor pool areas.

 

1967, the 18this augmented with an attached direct support maintenance element, the 256th Transportation Detachment and the 163rd Medical Detachment.

 

The 163rd Medical Detachment was commanded by Captain Ronald L. Crown until 12 November 1967. The detachment is commanded by Captain William E. Atlee, Jr.

 

Another significant event occurred early in September during the recovery of downed Otter 702 on Dragon Mountain. Receiving word on 7 September, that the missing aircraft 702 had been found on the Mountain, Major McNutt organized a recovery team consisting of himself, SP4 Paul Simon, SP5 Clarence Manseill, and SP6 Esquival Salazar. They were accompanied by the flight surgeon, Captain Ronald F. Crown from the 163rd Medical Detachment.

 

On the morning of the 8th, they proceeded to the crash site on Dragon Mountain by helicopter. Due to low clouds and rain showers that obscured the crash site, they were forced to land several hundred meters down the mountain and cut their way through the dense jungle to the wrecked aircraft. As the team started recovery operations, the jinx of Dragon Mountain struck another fatal blow. Some 200 meters below their position, a USAF O-1A Birddog crashed into the Mountain.

 

Major McNutt immediately requested an emergency evacuation helicopter then organized and led a rescue party down the side of the mountain. After traveling about 100 meters, Captain Crown accidentally unearthed an anti-personnel mine while traversing the mountainside. It immediately became apparent that the entire recovery party was in the middle of an abandoned mine field.

 

Without hesitation and demonstrating exceptional courage, the recovery team continued through the mine field to the flaming wreckage of the O-1 Birddog. By the time they arrived at the aircraft, rockets and small arms ammunition was exploding, making the rescue attempt extremely hazardous.

 

Major McNutt and Captain Crown, with complete disregard for their own safety, subjecting them to the intense heat and exploding ammunition, pulled an observer from beneath a burning wing to safety.

 

They immediately returned through the flaming undergrowth and courageously persisted in an attempt to rescue the pilot from the flaming cockpit. It was only when the fuel tanks began to explode, spraying burning gasoline that they were forced to withdraw. All members of the party were recommended  for the award of the Soldiers  Medal.

 

 

The 18th Aviation Company operated out of Nha Trang until 7 August 1966 when it moved to Qui Nhon. The move resulted in the formation of a provisional platoon to remain at Nha Trang and the additional assignment of the 163rd Medical Detachment here.

December 1968, the 163rd Medical Detachment provided good medical assistance to the 18th Aviation Company flying personnel. The 163rd was commanded from January 1968 to April 1968 by Captain William E. Atlee. Captain David L. Weinburg commanded the 163rd until October when Captain David L. Fore commanded the 163rd the remainder of the year.

 

The 18th Aviation Company (and attached units) were formally inactivated on 16 April 1971.


163rd Unit Members

Chapter 6 contains the names of all personnel assigned to the 18th Aviation Company, 163rd Medical Detachment, 256th Transportation Detachment and the 18th CAC.