• 55-3316 United States Army. Delivered 04 December 1956. Designated as U-1A.
It first served with the 3rd Aviation Company, Fort Riley, KS.
Jul-1957. Deployed with the unit to Illesheim, Germany until disbanded in Nov-1959.
Nov-1959. Attached to 7th Corps Flight Detachment, Stuttgart, Germany which later became the 67th Aviation Company.
Accident: Stuttgart, 1963, actual date unknown. Badly damaged in a hard landing, during landing instruction with differing loads, after which it was shipped back to the USA.
May-1964. New Cumberland Army Depot, PA., where it was repaired.
Jun-1967. To Vietnam where it was attached to HHC, 1st Aviation Brigade.
Aug-1968. Transferred to Military Assistance Command, Thailand (MACTHAI), Bangkok.
Jun-1971. Transferred back to 388th Transportation Company Vung Tau, Vietnam.
Aug-1971. Removed from US Army inventory.
Otter 180 was delivered to the United States Army on 4th December 1956 with serial 55-3316 (tail number 53316). It first served with the 3rd Aviation Company, Fort Riley, Kansas and moved with the unit when it deployed to Germany in July 1957, establishing at Illesheim. The 3rd Aviation Company disbanded in November 1959. 53316 then joined the 7th Corps Flight Detachment at Stuttgart, Germany which later became the 67th Aviation Company.
Bob Laya, who served with the Company, describes the unit: “We were the aviation support unit of the 7th Corps headquarters. Essentially we flew the General and his staff. Our unit was commanded by a major and the remainder of the officers were captains. We had a variety of aircraft, Beech U-8F, UH-1D, H-34, H-13, 0-1, U-6A Beavers and the lone Otter. The U-8F and UH-1D were primarily executive-type aircraft, while the others were for general support. The Otter was used to fly freight and also personnel where the number travelling was too large for the smaller aircraft. We primarily flew around West Germany and the Corps area, which was south of Frankfurt. However, we did get up to the British sector occasionally and to France. These were supply runs, especially at Christmas time for some holiday cheer. Another use of the Otter was for the troops of the Long Range Recon Patrol, who had to maintain their jump proficiency. We would load up to eight troopers and lumber off, struggling to altitude of 10,000 feet for their jumps, which was a long climb.”
During 1963, 53316 was badly damaged in a hard landing at Stuttgart. The instructor pilot had been demonstrating how to handle various loads but the landing went wrong. That was the end of the Otter's activities in Europe. The damaged aircraft was shipped back to the United States, where it arrived at the New Cumberland Army Depot, Pennsylvania in May 1964, where it was repaired. Its next assignment was to Vietnam, where it arrived in June 1967, joining HHC, 1st Aviation Brigade. In August 1968 it was transferred to the Military Assistance Command, Thailand (MACTHAI), based at Bangkok. It was joined there by 53314 (177). These two Otters continued to serve at Bangkok until June 1971, when they were returned to Vung Tau and scrapped, being deleted from the Army inventory in August 1971.
Full history courtesy of Karl E. Hayes © from DHC-3 Otter: A History (2005).