CPT Scott Clark, U.S. Army (1965-1968)



The following Reflection represents CPT Scott Clark’s legacy of their military service from 1965 to1968. If you are a Veteran, consider preserving a record of your own military service, including your memories and photographs, on Togetherweserved.com (TWS), the leading archive of living military history. The Service Reflections is an easy-to-complete self-interview, located on your TWS Military Service Page, which enables you to remember key people and events from your military service and the impact they made on your life.

Of all the military operations you participated in, including combat, humanitarian or peacekeeping operations, which of these made a lasting impact on you and why?:

It was 1967. I was assigned to Charlie Battery of the 2/20 Aerial Rocket Artillery (ARA) Battalion attached to the 1st Air Cav Division (Airmobile) in the Central Highlands of Vietnam. As an aviation officer, I had command of a section of two attacks Huey helicopters, each equipped with 48 very lethal rockets. We had just received a fire mission that plotted out in the middle of the dense jungle between three small mountains. What we didn’t know at the time was that the jungle hid a North Vietnamese division with anti-aircraft batteries on top of each mountain.

My firing run was very steep (similar to a dive bomber), and as I broke off the run to return to altitude, the three anti-aircraft batteries opened up. The batteries on each side failed to ‘lead’ their target, so we were fortunate that their projectiles missed my ship. However, the anti-aircraft battery directly in front of me only had to fire continuous bursts horizontally, knowing that I would have to fly back up through his cannon fire.

I saw a brief flash as the projectile entered my bottom observation bubble, and I was plastered back in my seat as the shrapnel hit me. At the same time, I heard an audible warning in my earphones that my engine had failed, so I instinctively looked for a place to crash. My copilot shouted, “I’ve got it,” and he took over flying the ship. He knew the engine had not failed but merely stalled, so he dipped the nose, recovered our airspeed, and quickly returned to a safe altitude.

Scott and Huey with 50mm Projectile Exit Hole

As I came down from my adrenaline rush, I saw blood on my flak jacket and realized my face was bleeding profusely. I called for my crew chief to come forward, grab the first aid kit above my head, and patch me up. When he reached my seat and grabbed for the first aid kit, I heard him exclaim, “Jesus Christ!”

As I looked up, I saw a two-foot hole above my head. I suddenly realized that the 50mm projectile had entered my Huey by my feet, first passed by my hands, then my right ear, exiting above my head, and somehow missing my main rotor blade.

God was certainly in our cockpit on the mission that day.

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Tags: 1st Air Cav Division (Airmobile) in the Central Highlands of Vietnam, 2/20 Aerial Rocket Artillery (ARA) Battalion, Military Memories of our Runner-Ups, Vietnam in 1969

1 Comment

  1. Michael Rhodes

    Scott, sometimes you just have to believe that an angle was near when there are multiple close calls, as you wrote about in this riveting story. Bless you, and your crew for being able to tell the tale all these years later versus what could have happened. Thanks for your courageous service, and congratulations on the Runner Up Win. All the best.


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