Veteran's Memorial Park


Veterans Memorial Parkway
PO BOX 591
Dixon, Illinois 61021
 

 

Cobra AH-1F 67-15475 in Vietnam
 


Mike Peterson
Crew Chief
Standing alongside 475

Updated!On Dec. 7, 2007 contact was made with Mike Peterson who now resides in Eugene, Oregon.  Mike just happened to be surfing the internet when he came across his old Cobra helicopter now sitting in Veterans Memorial Park.  Mike was a member of the 7th Armored Squadron, C-troop, of the 1st Air Cav. unit which operated out of Vinh Long, Vietnam.  He was a crew chief and his helicopter was a Cobra attack helicopter with the serial number of 67-15475.  Pictures of 475 in her early combat years started to surface. Many names, e-mail addresses, phone numbers and postal addresses were provided by Mike.  Thanks to his contacts, we are now able to answer the many questions park visitors have concerning the combat history of 475 and the unit to which she was assigned. 

Mike was the second crew chief of 475.  The first was Clyde Strait from Pennsylvania.  He had 475 for three or four months and was then promoted to line chief.  Mike then took over Clyde's duties and was responsible for keeping 475 combat ready for the remainder of his tour. 

The first aircraft commander of 475 was a young "Snake Driver", 22 year old, WO1 Rob Bailey.  Rob, fresh out of Cobra school in Georgia was soon transferred to the 7th of the 1st.  Rob was the first and last aircraft commander of 475.  The year was 1968 and with C-Troop being one of the first units in the Delta to receive Cobras, the call for snake protection was everywhere. 

The 1st Air Cav was mainly used in support of the 9th Inf. Div.  They also supported the Special Forces camps, truck convoys, river patrol boats and small unit engagements.  The land that was selected for base operations was below sea level, so the river was dredged and sand was used to build up the elevation.  The men slept and worked out of tents.  A water retention pond was constructed and it was from this pond that drinking water was provided.  Of course, motor oil, gasoline, hydraulic fluid, jet fuel, diesel fuel and agent orange seeped into the pond.  A truck with filtration system was supposed to keep the water at a safe level.  Such was life for men of C-Troop, 7th Armored Squadron, 1st Air Cav. 

The following pictures and comments by members of C-Troop were designed to give you an idea of the evolution of 475.  From "off the showroom floor" to "down and out", with 475 laying on its side at the end of a runway on 18 Nov 71.  475 was one of nine original Cobras assigned to 7th Armored Squadron, C-Troop.  She logged more than 3000 combat hours in Vietnam and another 3000 hours in Korea and on border patrol in Germany.  From March 1968 to July 2005, 475 served as a flight worthy attack helicopter.  Rob Bailey, Aircraft Commander of 475, said that 475 was the best of the original nine Cobras assigned to C-Troop.  According to Rob, it was the only Cobra that you could barrel roll and live to talk about.  Mike Peterson, Crew Chief, stated that when he left C-Troop to return to the States, 475 had 27 patched up bullet holes in her.  Mike would patch each hole as the Cobra returned from its mission and paint a small purple heart on the pilots door.  It is not clear if this practice was continued after Mike left. 

In 1972 the 1st Air Cav was transferred to Ft. Knox where it was eventually disbanded in 1976.  All its helicopters were distributed to other units.

Vietnam Photos


475 ON THE GROUND
Notice the crossed sabers under the nose and word MAR on the pilot’s door. 

 

Helicopter #475 with crossed sabers under the nose and
Judy in the Sky written on the front seat door.
 
 


Helicopter #475 is being towed home after mechanical problems that couldn’t be fixed in the field.  The incident happened in Muc Hoa, Vietnam near the Cambodian border.

 

A CH47-Chinook delivers #475 at base Vinh Long.
 

Specialist E-4 Mike Peterson (left) with W01 Rob Bailey (right)
posing on the wing of 475.

Specialist E-4 Mike Peterson holding the main rotor blade of 475
 
 


Clyde Strait posing beside 475

 


Clyde Strait named the aircraft MY DIANE.

 


475 with sharks teeth

Notice the crossed sabers under the nose

 


475 when it first arrived in Vietnam

 

Cobra 475 is being outfitted with additional firepower.
The round drum in the ammo bay is for 40mm ammunition.
 


Company armor working on mini gun. Notice bullet catcher on the front of gun.
The square box in the ammo bay is ammo for the Mini-gun.

 

The Mini-gun is being installed.  The ammo box is sitting on door of ammo bay.
 
 


Start of a bad damned day. There are 19 shot rocket pods on outboard of wings and two Mini-guns inboard.
  In the nose we have a Mini gun on left and a 40mm guns on the right.

 


19 shot rockets with 10 pound war heads and air burst fuses.

 

Cobra 475 is being overhauled.
 


Crewmen get a few moments rest before continuing work on 475
.

 


Work just about completed on 475.

The b
londe soldier with his left hand on dog house door is Lance Frierson.


New Photo 3/29/12!
This is a Cobra 475 crash photo taken from the cockpit of another chopper
on November 18, 1971. This is the same helicopter that sits in the park today!


New Photo 3/29/12!
Cobra 475 on its side November 18, 1971.
These are the only two known photos of the crash.
This is the same helicopter that sits in the park today!