• 57-6119 United States Army. Delivered 16-Apr-1958. Designated U-1A.
Initially assigned to the 12th Aviation Company at Fort Sill, OK.
Jan-1962. Re- assigned to the 18th Aviation Company at Fort Riley, KS., and travelled with the Company when it deployed to Vietnam.
Apr-1962. Assigned to 339th Transportation Company based at Nha Trang.
Accident: Field strip near Phan Rang, Vietnam. 25th May 1963. While landing on pierced steel planking ground the pilot misjudges placement of the undercarriage causing damage to it and the propeller which hit the steel. A recovery crew changed the engine and repaired the landing gear and the aircraft was flown out.
Jul-1963. 18th Aviation Company. Pleiku, Vietnam.
Jun-1966. Airlifted back to the USA and to the Army Aeronautical Depot Maintenance Centre (ARADMAC), Corpus Christi, TX., for overhaul.
Sep-1966. Aircraft joined the 54th Aviation Company, Vung Tau, Vietnam.
Accident: Long Binh, Vietnam. 22-Nov-1967. Destroyed in an accident at the start of a training detail. Due to construction work at one end of the runway, the aircraft could not take off into wind. Taking off with the wind, when the tail came up, a gust of wind blew it off the runway. It crashed into a bulldozer and burst into flames, sadly taking the lives of all on board.
Otter 249 was delivered to the United States Army on 16th April 1958 with serial 57-6119 (tail number 76119). It was assigned to the 12th Aviation Company at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, but then re- assigned to the 18th Aviation Company at Fort Riley, Kansas and travelled with the Company in January 1962 when it deployed to Vietnam. In April 1962 76119 was assigned to the 339th Transportation Company based at Nha Trang. It was used to fly American and Vietnamese troops into and out of combat areas, in recoveries of downed aircraft, some medevac missions and general cargo transportation. It carried a large 339th Transportation Maintenance Company logo on the side of the engine cowling.
While flying for the 339th Transportation Company, it was badly damaged in an accident on 25th May 1963 while landing on a field strip near Phan Rang. James Woodward recalls: “I was assigned as crew chief to this aircraft in the spring of 1963 and flew several missions in it prior to the crash. The plane was scheduled for a flight at 8am that sunny May morning and as usual I arrived at the flight line with my gear and weapon in hand promptly at 07:30 hours to perform my pre-flight inspection.
One of the pilots, who rarely flew this Otter, was assigned for this mission. To my surprise, as I approached the flight line, I saw '119 taxying away. I went to the flight shack, enquired what was going on, and was told that the flight was to be a quicky, just to drop off a passenger and return. From Nha Trang that was no more than an hour trip at most. Shortly thereafter we got a call that the plane had crashed on landing and we set off in Huey to inspect the damage. The airfield where the Otter had crashed was 1,100 feet of PSP with the approach and departure over water. The rain or wind had washed out some of the sand support for the PSP (pierced steel planking) at the end used for approach in this landing and the pilot had set the right gear down a few feet short of the PSP. The right gear strut was pushed back against the fuselage and the prop had bitten the steel. We flew in a new engine and supplies to fix the crashed Otter on a Caribou”. As the unit history records “A recovery crew from the 339th Fixed Wing Section changed the engine and repaired the landing gear on the aircraft. The U-1A was subsequently evacuated to Air Vietnam in Saigon”.
In July 1963, 76119 rejoined the 18th Aviation Company where it continued to serve until June 1966, when it was airlifted to the ARADMAC depot, Corpus Christi, Texas for overhaul. On returning to Vietnam in September 1966 the Otter joined the 54th Aviation Company, where it continued to serve until it was destroyed in an accident at Long Binh on 22nd November 1967. The Otter was taking off on a training detail. Due to construction work at one end of the runway, the Otter could not take off into wind. Taking off with the wind, when the tail came up, a gust of wind blew 76119 off the runway. It crashed into a bulldozer and burst into flames, sadly taking the lives of all on board.
Full history up to 2005 courtesy of Karl E Hayes © from DHC-3 Otter - A History (CD-ROM 2005)