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War Stories

LOH Door Mounted Mini Gun

by Michael Peake and Tom "Sam" Dooling

see also Stories and LOH Shoots the Tower


There may have been as many as four Loaches with mounted mini-guns in the right hand bay door:

1. Dave Atkinson's Slide Show Images DA-01, DA02 shows OH-6A Loach #16019 "Borrowed Time" 69-70;





2. Jerry Matthews Album Image #39 with the new mini-gun mount right side of Loach #68-17149 1970;











3. Gary Drennan image in his My Page shows him behind mini-gun right side bay door of OH-6A LOH (Loach) #17204 "Luv Bug," according to article "Drennan and the Tracers" in 1970.








4. Tim Fegette (1968-69) Album image #8 shows mini-gun mounted right-side bay door of Loach #17150 with the pilot CW2 Jerry Odom;


Clearly, the system in Loach #17150 is different than the ones shown in the other three aircraft, so it is possible the same one was used in those three.






Eric Brethen (1969) Ken Taylor came up with the idea of swivel mount. I originally had a stowed, pilot controlled one on the front pilot side, slightly higher than skid level. The drawback was you had to face whatever you wanted to shoot at and fire while flying. Taylor used an M60 mount and it worked. Initially we had a problem with spent shell casings hitting the rotors and damaging the leading edge. Taylor had the hangar guys make a cover so the spent shells were directed down. Our management was concerned about the stress on the aircraft and talked about making us take it off and go back to the M60 in the back. It must have been discussed at a fairly high level at some point because Hughes sent an engineer over, I was told he was a vice president, and I took him out to AO Earp so he could shoot it. He signed off and the rest is history.


Tom "Sam" Dooling: As I remember, the door mounted minigun was in vogue from the middle of 69 until I left in Aug 70. LuvBug (204) was Eric Brethan's and then my Loach and we had the minigun on it quite often. It was really fun to shoot!! If you watch the Jack Craig video, reference the Lt Jackson shoot down, they had a door minigun on that aircraft ("Iron Butterfly") — the Crew Chief's leg was pinned under the mount when we got there and I had to lay in a puddle of JP4 to dig his leg out to get him out of the wreckage. The mount broke his femur - so between everything else going on, he was a little pissed about me having to move his leg around while I dug him out.

Tom "Sam" Dooling: We were up at Tay Ninh doing VRs — I was the Cobra AC and Eric Brethan (I believe) was my Scout. Eric’s CE was dying to go for a ride in the Cobra and the other pilot (Wayne “Hoopney” Hooper?) was an Aircraft Commander- so I traded places with the Scout Crew Chief and and we went over to the Oriental River to support some river boats that had been taking fire from the trees along the river. We arrived on station and told the river boats we were going to test our weapons in the river before we started the mission. Eric brought us around over the boats pretty low and slow and I opened up right on top of them with the minigun at 4,000 RPM — the river boat crews scattered pretty good and had some unkind words for us on the radio - but we went on with the mission and all was forgiven.