Submitted by: Jack McCabe

Category: Books

10 July 1970
Fifteen men waited excitedly for the Chinook to arrive and carry them to the rear. Five were leaving for R&R to join their wives in Hawaii for a week of relaxation and fun. Three had completed their tour and were heading back to process out and go home. The Chinook finally approached with its crew of five. This would be the last mission for one of them. He was also going on R&R to meet his fiancée.
Their families back home would shortly be waking up. It was a Friday. The last day of work before the weekend. Unbeknownst to them, life would never be the same.
They picked up the 15 passengers and began the short flight back to the base camp at Cu Chi. But a last-minute call came in to stop en route and pick up some empty fuel blivets from Navy river boats that had been refueling all day. As they flew in, the VC were waiting. Rocket-propelled grenades and small-arms fire brought the helicopter down. In the ensuing fiery crash nine would eventually lose their life.
The families back home had no idea when was happening thousands of miles away.
This is the true story of the men involved in this crash and their families from their beginnings to today. The wounded and the dead. The families of those who survived and those who did not. Everyone's life changed that day. We veterans of the Vietnam War never had the luxury of mourning our dead. We were forced to move on. But it never left us. For the families it lingered the rest of their lives. This is their story.

About the author:

Jack McCabe was born and raised in Chicago. He graduated from high school in 1969 at 17, and two days after he turned 18 he joined the Army. He was sent to Vietnam less than a year later in October 1970. He extended for a second tour and finally came home for good at the end of May 1972. He finished his three-year enlistment at Fort Huachuca, Ariz., and returned home to Chicago. After his return from Vietnam, he pursued his education using the GI Bill, receiving an associate degree in electronics engineering from DeVry Institute. He eventually continued his education by attending night school and received his bachelor’s degree in business and management from Northeastern Illinois University in 1981, at 30. He had a deep passion for helping veterans, especially fellow Vietnam veterans. After his retirement in 2016 he devoted his time to volunteering with the YMCA Resource Gateway in Gaston County, N.C., where he handled all the calls from those with past military service. He helped veterans with PTSD, financial crises, substance abuse, homelessness and veteran benefits.