Subject: April 28, 1969
Date: Tuesday, April 27, 1999 3:48 PM
A post from Roger Ek on VHFCN. As Roger said: NEVER FORGET!!
Tomorrow is a significant anniversary for the Seawolves. I send this in
memory of the crews of Seawolf 320 and 305.
On April 28, 1969, Seawolf Det 3's gun team scrambled from Moc Hua in the
Plain of Reeds to hit a convoy of sampans coming across the Cambodian
border. They found the sampan convoy and rolled in on it. However, there
was a helicopter trap set up with two .51 cal emplacements. Seawolf 320 was
immediately shot down, killing three and gravely injuring the fourth crew
member. Seawolf 305 was hit, lost engine oil pressure and made a forced
landing nearby. One of 305's gunners, ADJ1 Lloyd T. Williams, under heavy
enemy fire, ran the distance between the two helicopters and carried the
wounded pilot from 320 to a safer location by 305. An Army UH-1D from the
175th AHC made several attempts and finally extracted all survivors. On the
way out from the site, LTJG Hal Castle, a pilot from 305 was hit and killed
while in the UH-1D. ADJ-1 Lloyd williams earned the Navy Cross for his
actions that day 30 years ago.
One of the door gunners in 320, Mike Schafernocker, had been shot down a
few months before near the Vinh Tay Canal, also on the border. At the 1996
Seawolf reunion in DC, Mike's mother, Dorothy Schafernocker told me she had
something of Mikes in his effects and she wondered if she should let
everyone see it. She carefully unfolded a yellow lined paper written with
pencil and I read:
Petty Officer Second Class Michael Schaffernocker
"Look God, I have never spoken to you,
But now I want to say, "How do you do."
You see, God, they told me you didn't exist.
And like a fool, I believed all this.
Last night from a shell hole, I saw your sky.
I figured right then, they had told me a lie.
Had I taken time to see the things you made,
I'd have known they weren't calling a spade a spade.
I wonder, God, if you'd shake my hand.
Somehow, I feel you will understand.
Funny, I had to come to this hellish place,
Before I had time to see your face.
Well, I guess there isn't much more to say,
But I sure am glad, God, that I met you today.
I guess the zero hour will soon be here,
But I'm not afraid since I know you're near.
The signal, well, God, I'll have to go.
I like you lots and I want you to know.
Look now, this will be a horrible fight.
Why, who knows, I may come to your house tonight.
Though I wasn't friendly to you before,
I wonder, God, If you'd wait by the door?
Look, I'm crying . . . Me, shedding tears!
I wish I'd have known you better, these many years.
Well, God, I'll have to go now;
Goodbye . . .
Strange; Since I met you . . .
I'm not afraid to die!"
"On April 28, 1969 Mike's gun team was ambushed in a helicopter trap on the
Cambodian border. Both helicopters were shot down. Mike fell out and was
hanging outside the aircraft on his gunner's belt when it crashed on him
and killed him. That was Mike's last flight and he was ready."
The Seawolf crews killed that day were:
LTJG Hal Cushman Castle Jr. 28 April 1969 26W 69
LTJG Joseph Felder Hart 28 April 1969 26W 70
LTJG Richard John Reardon 28 April 1969 26W 73
AO3 Michael E. Schafernocker 28 April 1969 26W 74
(AO3 is Aviation Ordinanceman Third Class E-4. Mike Schafernocker was
promoted poshumously to Petty Officer Second Class; E-5.)
AN George Merritt Page 12 June 1969 22W 35
(AN is Airman; Died of wounds from same battle.)
Never forget. Never, never, never forget.
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