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War Stories

Homemade CS Gas Bombs & Navy WP rounds

Fate Jim Hutchins Jr.

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On one of our missions into Cambodia we ran into a NVA regiment size unit with tracked vehicles and motor vehicles. They had pulled into a wooded area in the loop of a River. We called for air strikes but my Cobras and the little bird had to depart because of low fuel.

Whenever I went out on cover missions I always reduced my turbine rpm by 5000 so I could conserve fuel, that way if the little bird got shot down at the end of the mission I could still recover the crew and get them to a MASH.

When I told the inbounds that we had to break station they asked if I could stay long enough to mark the target with white smoke. Everybody that dealt with me knew that I had the white phosphorus rounds on board.

The NVA had tried shooting at me but stopped when my crew started shooting back with the 50 cal. I used navy ammo which was armor piercing, tracer, ball, and WP and repeated every fourth round. When they were ready to roll inbound I told them that I could make one pass then I had to break for fuel.

We had built fifty pound homemade bombs to use in a situation like this. Each of my fifty pound bombs had 144 canisters about the size of a 35mm flim canister that dribbled CS gas all the way to the ground. That made sure everybody was out of bunkers.

When they rolled in on their first dive for the air strikes, I said: “Hey guys, they have 51’s set up down there.” You should have seen the air brakes come on and they started their pull outs above 5000 feet.