A Note from The Virtual Wall
Firebase Five, northwest of Pleiku, came under attack by enemy forces on the morning of 24 May 1971. Munitions and medical supplies were brought in by helicopter. Captain Larry Dewey and his crew flew one mission into the firebase early in the day, and were shot down in UH-1H tail number 67-17760 while conducting a second mission in the afternoon.
Two of the four crewmen died in the crash:
The copilot, whose name is unknown, and crew chief SP4 Richard W. Littleton survived the crash and were able to make their way through the enemy forces into the firebase. On the next day, as SP4 Littleton and two wounded ARVN soldiers were being airlifted from the firebase in a UH-1H (tail number 69-15704), the helicopter was shot down killing all seven men aboard.
- CPT Larry Richard Dewey, pilot
- SP4 Gerald Martin Lubbehusen, gunner
Major Adams was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions on 25 May; his three crewmates received Distinguished Service Crosses. Captain Dewey and his crewmates received the Silver Star for their actions on 24 May; the Citation for Captain Dewey's award reads as follows:
- MAJ William Edward Adams, pilot, A Co, 227th AHB, Medal of Honor
- CPT John Dehaas Curran, copilot, A Co, 227th AHB, DSC
- SP4 Dennis Charles Durand, gunner, A Co, 227th AHB, DSC
- SP4 Melvin Robinson, crew chief, A Co, 227th AHB, DSC
- SP4 John Wayne Littleton, passenger, 92nd AHC
- Two ARVN soldiers, names unknown
For gallantry in action in connection with military operations involving conflict with an armed hostile force. CPT Dewey distinguished himself by exceptionally valorous actions while serving as aircraft commander of a lift helicopter while on an emergency resupply mission to Fire Base 5, northwest of Pleiku. Hundreds of enemy soldiers had started an offensive movement against the fire base during the early morning hours. The enemy, utilizing mortars, rockets, and heavy automatic weapons initiated an attack on the small hilltop. They were beaten back only after inflicting heavy casualties. The Allied troops defending the small base camp were running low on critically needed supplies. CPT Dewey was notified of the urgent need for a resupply mission and immediately volunteered to fly into the besieged base camp. Briefing his crew and taking all necessary precautions, CPT Dewey made his approach into the landing zone. Almost immediately, CPT Dewey's aircraft came under mortar and heavy automatic weapons fire from every quadrant. Only through fearless determination and expert flying ability was CPT Dewey able to direct his aircraft to the landing pad and off-load the urgently needed supplies. Calling upon his professional skill and knowledge, CPT Dewey departed Fire Base 5 and returned to the safety of Dak To. In the early afternoon the call for more ammunition and medical supplies was made. CPT Dewey, knowing the enemy situation and the impossible odds, again volunteered to fly the resupply mission. CPT Dewey carefully pinpointed the known enemy positions for gunship suppression during the insertion and devised a plan of attack. While on short final, 300 meters away and 20 feet above the ground, CPT Dewey's aircraft suddenly exploded. Upon the explosion, the aircraft rolled to the right and struck the ground in an inverted position. In the act of completing his last mission, CPT Dewey displayed exemplary concern for his fellow soldiers and extreme professionalism. His gallant actions were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.