After 3 weeks, of very hellish weeks of fighting in the Vietnam, in April 1967, I was give an in-country R & R by my commanding officer as a reward. It was while on that "vacation" from the battlefields that I had a personal encounter that made me believe that I had been visited by an angel with healing hands!
In the late summer of 1967, with less than 90 days left on my tour of Vietnam, I began to see and feel ‘a light at the end of the tunnel’ for me personally. It’d been a short day of flying and I was one of the first crew chiefs to return. I’d just finished pulling maintenance on my Huey and about to clean up when one of the officers contacted me. He informed me that since I was the only E-5 (sergeant) around he needed me to organize a few volunteers. We were to go into the jungle a couple of miles outside our base camp at Phu Loi and look for a loaded weapon which had fallen out of a chopper within two miles of the runway. Thus was born the first and only volunteer Tomahawk Short-Range Reconnaissance and Recovery Patrol. I, being the highest-ranking enlisted guy they could find, was tasked with the leadership of this ragtag group. My first challenge was to find enough guys willing to go outside the safety of base camp to walk through the jungle with me as their leader. I managed to gather a diverse group of men that included a cook, a couple of motor pool mechanics, an off-duty administrative clerk, an avionics repair technician, four helicopter mechanics, another off-duty crew chief, and one actual 11 Bravo infantry-trained door gunner. We made up the Tomahawks own version of the dirty dozen. What a sight we were. An oddball group walking out of the compound past razor-sharp rolls of barbed wire that surrounded the camp. A couple of the guys didn’t even bother putting on shirts—bare-chested patrollers, their dog tags became noisemakers clinking together. The cook looked as if he was on kitchen duty—food stains on his clothing and a camouflage steel helmet emblazoned with the words ‘Kill for Peace’. Another guy wore cut-off fatigues which exposed his bleached-white hairy knees. Only a couple bothered to take along a flak jacket each; everyone wore a different hat. A humorous - yet, very dangerous combat adventure - that had me leading all of us into a enemy landmine field. I can now look back at the humor of it now - I did not think it was so funny at the time.
The story of a top secret mission into Cambodia in March of 1967, inserting special forces by a solo Huey into the dense jungles. In the process, Rev. Bill McDonald takes part in the first top secret unofficial bombing of Cambodia - when he empties a full case of American toilet paper onto the tops of the triple canopy forrest from his Huey. Humorous - but true, accounting of the Vietnam War.
Rev. Bill McDonald gives some brief spiritual highlights of his return trip back to Vietnam in 2002 with "The Peace Patrol". He talks about a vision he had 10 years before that came to pass there - and of meeting old enemies. He goes back to where he was shot down and wounded in April 1967 and meets an old man who still lives near that crash site. The reunion was between old warriors and grandfathers - not old enemies! A inspiring look at an old warrior returning to where he fought as a young man in the Vietnam War.
Rev. Bill talks about his war experience of April 14th 1967. He was shot down, wounded and left with his co-pilot at the crash site. This is an short accounting of what took place that day. Rev. Bill was awarded the Distinguished flying Cross and The Purple Heart for his actions. Mysterious circumstances that were investigated by the US Army and later on by the CIA.
In October 1967 with just 72 hours left of his official "tour-of-duty" Rev. Bill McDonald flies on his last combat mission in his Huey helicopter. His engine blows up and there is a fire. Exciting moments to end his year in Vietnam.
Rev. Bill McDonald and his door-gunner on his Huey in Vietnam faced a horrible choice - obey a direct order order from a Major, or face a charge of mutiny. In the military when two or more people choose to disobey a lawful order they can be court-martialed. They could have been sent to prison for up to life, or even put in front of a firing squad for the most serious offense that you can be charged with in the Army - mutiny. So, when Rev. Bill and his fellow door-gunner refused to fire at a formation of 30 "enemy" troops with their M-60 machine guns - they were making a life changing decision. Whatever way they choose, it would be life altering.
Rev. Bill McDonald talks about the visions he had on April 5, 1967 predicting the crash and the deaths of those flying on Huey #744 on the following day. He refused to fly in that helicopter.He warned his company commander and those in charge that it was going to crash the next day and that men would be killed. In 1967 he was a crew-chief/door-gunner with The 128th Assault Helicopter Company out of Phu Loi, S. Vietnam. He had a vision that fortold what would happen to Huey #744 and tried unsuccessfully to prevent it from happening. Crew members lost that day: CPT Richard Newton, WO1 James Darcey and door-gunner Al Durell. Four passengers were also killed in that April 6th crash. Cause of crash was later determined to be from a trunnion bearing failure.
From Rev. Bill's autobiography "Warrior A Spiritual Odyssey". Knowing the fate of someone and trying to change the outcome - one of the struggle he faced while in Vietnam. This story deals with him "knowing" that something is going to happen to one of his gunners on his Huey helicopter and yet was unable to prevent what happened. Rev. Bill was assigned to The 128th Assault Helicopter Company (The Tomahawks) out of Phu Loi, S. Vietnam. This took place around the spring of 1967.
This is another told from the heart true story from Rev. Bill reflecting back on a fateful day in January 1967 in South Vietnam during the Vietnam War. He has to take quick action when six truck loads of ammo and artillery rounds is blown up. He faced a decision that required him to listen to his inner voice.
True story from Rev. Bill's war time experiences in the Vietnam War. This story deals with his Huey helicopter running out of fuel while flying over the jungles of Vietnam during the war. He uses the power of prayer as his emergency back up plan!