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War Stories

LRRP Insertion/Extraction Missions

Mike Siegel, Joe Owen

Also see these War Stories: Extractions R Us, How LRRP Scored Big in Opn Gadsden, LRRP Action, Centaur LRRP Insertion Tactics,

Cobra 23 Rescue, LRRP Insertion, LRRP Extraction Charcoal Kiln, LRRP Rescue War Zone C

Mike Siegel: (67-68) I somehow was selected to do most of the insertions/extractions of our LRRP unit during this time frame. Usually the insertions were "cold" and uneventful, occasionally not. The extractions were more exciting.

The LRRP units were typically tasked to be on the ground for 4-6 days (as I remember). If we got a call sooner than that, we knew it probably wasn't going to be fun. When a hot LZ was anticipated, I was usually assisted by a gun team (sometimes 2 teams) and was under the direction of a C & C ship.

On occasion, we would also have an Air Force fighter team. I remember once having the AF 20 mm Gatling guns suppressing the area, along with our gun team(s) doing the rocket and mini-gun thing. It was loud.

The bad guys liked to let us get loaded and then come out of the woods and shoot us in our (aircraft) belly as we took off. We all knew this would happen, so when I would announce on the radio (in my soprano voice) that I was pulling pitch and heading out on such and such direction, our guys would try to place a rocket right where I had been on the ground. I remember getting a couple of little hits from friendly shrapnel.

When I think back and remember that the gun drivers had, at best, a grease pencil mark on the windshield as a sighting device, and that they were essentially shooting at me (knowing that I'd be gone before the rocket hit) I think I can define "trust."

Joe Owen: I served as the AeroRifle Platoon Commander (Centaur 30) from mid Nov 1968 until early Feb 1969. During this period, we conducted numerous LRRP insertions and extractions.

I recall one night extraction, but not a lot of the details. The team had been inserted a day or two earlier, was compromised, and under fire. Sometime in the night we were tasked to extract the team. I flew the UH-1H for the extraction aircraft, a C&C aircraft, and gun team (we had Cobra’s at that time) was launched for the mission. I do not recall the details regarding the location of the team, who was flying the other aircraft for the mission nor the crew that I was flying with.

I recall that several of the LRRP’s were wounded and maybe that one was KIA. We found the general location of the team and decided to extract them via a not very large hole in the tall trees.

For the most part, it was a typical extraction mission, enemy fire, night, and when we returned to base camp we were glad to be safely on the ground, took a stiff drink, and went back to bed.

Hopefully, others may have a better memory of this mission then I do. Or even better may be able to provide details of other LRRP extractions that raised the hair on our young necks. Look forward to reading about more LRRP extractions from the air crews involved and the LRRP’s. - Joe