Burrows' report from Da Nang, Vietnam
One Ride with Yankee Papa 13
WITH A BRAVE CREW
IN A DEADLY FIGHT
Vietcong zero in on vulunerable U.S. copters.
In a U.S. copter in thick of fight a shouting crew chief, a dying
LIFE APRIL 16. 1965.
was another day's work for the U.S. Marines' Helicopter Squadron
163 in Vietnam. In the sultry morning the crews huddled at Da
Nang for the final briefing on their mission: to airlift a battalion
of Vietnamese infantry to an isolated area about 20 miles away.
Intelligence reports indicated that the area was a rendezvous
point for the communist Vietcong, who come down the Ho Chi Minh
trail from the north. Among those listening at the briefing were
Lance Cpl. James C. Farley (below), crew chief of the copter Yankee
Papa 13, and life Phototgrapher Larry Burrows, who had been covering
the war in Vietnam since 1962 and had flown on scores of helicopter
combat missions. On this day he would be riding in farley's machine
and both were wondering whether the mission would be a no contact
milk run or whether, as had been increasingly the case in recent
weeks, the Vietcong would be ready and waiting with 30-caliber
machine guns. In a very few minutes Farley and Burrows had their
answer, as shown in his chilling photographic and word report
on these pages. And after Yankee Papa 13 had limped back home
bullet-riddled and blood stained, Burrows received a special souvenir
from Lt. Colonel Norman Ewers, the squadron skipper. Said Ewers
as he handed Burrows a set of air crewman's wings an emblem given
to some few Marines and damned few civilians: "You've earned
Just before take-off, PFC Wayne Hoilien and Farley give their
bird a stem-to-stern going over.
The crew chief found a kinked fuel line, which might have led
to an engine fire.
Then, as the flight begins, the two adjust their head sets and
unlimber the machine guns (below) for what lies in store.
Lance Cpl. James C. Farley