Ross 'Bags' Mathieson
No. 9 Squadron, RAAF
Nui Dat, Vung Tau
May 1967 - Apr 1968

We were on standby, interspersed with missions: resupplies, SAS insertions and extractions, and company moves (formation of four or eight aircraft). We would take off at dawn to fly the helicopter from Vung Tau to Nui Dat. We would return to Vung Tau late afternoon. One time, we picked up a ‘possum’ crew whose helicopter was set on fire by a mine set under a Viet Cong flag in a tree. They transmitted a full grid reference with their ‘mayday’. When I arrived, the aircraft was a fireball, with the rotor and tail rotor sticking out and still turning. The crew was not seriously hurt. I have seen this incident recounted in a book but the rescue was mistakenly attributed to a US aircraft.

Service No. O316852