I with the 18th Aviation Co out of Can Tho and was the pilot-on-command of a UH-1H "Huey" helicopter flying missions supporting the US Adviser Team south of Soc Trang on 12 Aug 1973. About 30 minutes prior to going back to Soc Trang airfield for fuel, my crew chief reported over intercom that he saw artillery fire in the direction of Soc Trang. On our trip to Soc Trang, the smoke was still coming up from what we thought was artillery. As we got closer, it became apparent that something was on fire. As we flew over the fire, we could tell that the fire was a burning C-130 aircraft. My crew chief then stated that about 30 minutes previously, Soc Trang tower was trying to get the AIr Force plane to take off. We knew that this C-130 mission flew around the Delta every week providing support to the US adviser teams. He stated that the pilots kept telling the tower that they were doing some checks and would be ready for take off shortly. I believe the plane crashed right after takeoff due to mechanical problems they were experiencing on the active runway. The crash site was about a mile off end of the active runway. I landed and looked for survivors, but found none.The plane was completely destroyed and still burning. I was told by a Vietnamese soldier that some of the survivors were taken to the Soc Trang airfield medical facility. I took off, called my company ops and reported the crash. I waited for instructions and in a few minutes was told to land at Soc Trang to pickup a US casualty. He was a mail clerk that I knew from the Can Tho APO and was taking mail around the Delta. He was burned badly and died a few days later. I believe he was the only US personnel to initially survive the crash. The crew and other US personnel still in the wreckage were recovered couple days later. I have looked for a list of the casualties to find his name - I want to contact his relatives - but can't find a list. Contact me at MarshallEubanks48@gmail.com.
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