In 1966, the 179th ASH was moved to Camp Hollowway Pleiku from its original deployment at Dong Ba Thin. Its major function was to support as many as five separate locations simultaneously within the II Corps Tactical Zone.
The 179th was assigned to the 52nd Combat Aviation Battalion during its deployment and provided infantry and artillery moves, resupply missions, medical evacuations and aircraft recoveries.
Until withdrawal in the early 70's, the "Shrimpboats" remained a major contributing force in battle for the Central Highlands.
Our very own Tom Messenger brings us our own book about the 179th, Camp Holloway and our adventures in the Central Highlands.
With the escalation of the Vietnam War in the late 1960s, the American military discovered it needed a new kind of helicopter to cope with the rugged environmental and combat conditions its fighting men were encountering. The need resulted in the development of the Bell UH-1 Iroquois and the Boeing-Vertol CH-47 Chinook. Now they just needed the pilots, flight engineers, crew chiefs and gunners to man them. In a sense they were LOOKING FOR FLYBOYS. Tom Messenger's memoir follows his experiences as a Chinook flight engineer on missions over Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. It not only relates the tales of those missions during the course of the war but also his interactions with fellow soldiers and the civilian population. Tom's stories run the gamut from recounting the dangers of battle and capturing the anguish of war to the humorous situations of daily life in the Army so familiar to anyone who has ever served.
Stan Neckermann sent in these photographs of his old aircraft, Shrimpboat 021 in 1969, and a recent photo of that same aircraft today. CH 47 Super C 68 16021 was converted to MH 47D 85-24361 and now to her current configuration MH 47G 06-03767.
On March 30, 2023 we lost another Shrimpboater. Gerry Connors passed away in Braintree, Mass. A Flight Engineer on over 100 missions, he spent 18 months with the 179th at Camp Hollowway. After leaving the Army he returned to Braintree where he worked as a maintenance supervisor for St. Mary's Church. Gerry was a proud member of the VFW and eventually became Commander of Post 1399 in Weymouth Chapter. Our hearts to go out to his family and friends who have lost him. He was my closest friend and fellow crew member that share many missions. My best friend to this day.
Double click here to add text.
2022 RENO REUNION
Attendees: Left to Right in 1st pic:
Joe Flemming, Rich Pollak, Mike McFarland, Stan Neckerman, Bill Lyons, Ed Thomas, Tom Messenger, John Kramer, Frank Hajec, James Kendall.
In the third pic we have Gridley "Chief" Hilpert on the right.
Not shown is Mark Pacewalk, although he was with us in our Virginia City photo.