DHC-3 Otter Archive Master Index

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c/n 153

55-3298 at Downsview - CYZD, Ontario.
Photo: Robert Esposito Collection © Circa August 1956 - Aird Archives

c/n 153



 55-3298 United States Army. Delivered 18-September 1956. Designated U-1A.

Assigned to the 2nd Aviation Company, Fort Riley, KS.

Jul/Aug to Brookley AFB., Mobile, AL. Here the aircraft was loaded on board a ship serving with the Military Sea Transportation Service, which set sail for Bremerhaven, Germany arriving in Aug-1956.

2nd Aviation Company based at Illesheim, Germany until Jul-1959 when the unit moved to France.

The Company headquarters of the 2nd Aviation Company and one platoon were based at Orléans, a second platoon at Verdun and a third platoon at Poitiers. During its time in France the aircraft was either based at or visited all three locations for different levels of maintenance.

Mar-1964 Returned to the United States, to the Army Aeronautical Depot Maintenance Center (ARADMAC) Depot, Corpus Christi, TX.

Dec-1965. 54th Aviation Company, Vung Tau, Vietnam.

Jun-1966. Returned to the United States, to the Army Aeronautical Depot Maintenance Center (ARADMAC) Depot, Corpus Christi, TX.

Aug-1966. Returned to the 54th Aviation Company, Vung Tau, Vietnam.

Jan-1967 Passed to the 11th Transportation Company, Vung Tau, Vietnam to prepare for return to USA.

Mar-1967. Shipped to the USA for maintenance at Sharpe Army Depot, Stockton, CA.

May-1968. Returned to the 54th Aviation Company, Vung Tau, Vietnam.

Jan-1970. Attached to the 388th Transportation Company, Vung Tau for maintenance.

Jun1970. Allocated to the 18th Aviation Company

Accident: 8 ml S of Tuy Hoa, Vietnam. 23-Dec-1970. Aircraft observed on fire in flight before crashing into the South China Sea. The aircraft and the three crew on board were not recovered.  Reason for the incident unknown.


Otter 153 was delivered to the United States Army on 18th September 1956 with serial 55-3298 (tail number 53298). It was assigned to the 2nd Aviation Company, Fort Riley, Kansas which later deployed to Germany, then France (as described in relation to Otter 124). It continued flying for the 2nd Aviation Company until March 1964, when it returned to the United States, to the ARADMAC Depot, Corpus Christi, Texas where it was prepared for service in Vietnam. It arrived in Vietnam in December 1965, flown from Corpus Christi by USAF C-124 Globemaster, to join the newly formed 54th Aviation Company. In June 1966 it returned to the ARADMAC Depot for maintenance and then went back to Vietnam in August 1966, where it re-joined the 54th Aviation Company.

In January 1967 it went to the 611th Transportation Company, Vung Tau and from there back to the US for depot level maintenance at the Sharpe Army Depot, Stockton, California, where it arrived March 1967, and was back in Vietnam again with the 54th Aviation Company in May 1968. The unit's history records that in January 1970, 53298 was “traded in” for 81704, an aircraft just back from rebuild in the United States. 53298 went that month to the 388th Transportation Company, Vung Tau for maintenance and in June 1970 was allocated to the 18th Aviation Company. It continued to fly for the 18th Aviation Company until it was lost on 23rd December 1970.

As the unit history records: “53298 was returning to Tuy Hoa from a Special Forces mission to Bien Hoa and had already radioed Tuy Hoa tower that they were 15 miles south for a landing. This radio call was the last thing heard from 'Reliable 298' (the aircraft's callsign). Witnesses testified that 298 was seen burning in flight and impacted the South China Sea in two parts about eight miles south of Tuy Hoa. Neither the aircraft nor the remains of the three crew were recovered”. The three crew killed were WO1 Michael W. McAndrews, aircraft commander; WO1 Bain W. Wiseman, pilot and SP4 Gary P. Booth, Crew Chief. US Army helicopters arrived shortly afterwards and began an unsuccessful search for survivors. Aerial searches the next day were supplemented by ground searches along nearby beaches. While parts of the aircraft and flight equipment were found on the beach, there was sadly no trace of any survivors.

Full history courtesy of Karl E. Hayes © from DHC-3 Otter: A History (2005).