At the end of the gun run only 2 of my 8 M-60's were firing but he made it out and was heading west with me at the same altitude - I was behind him.
He had made it, but then called me on the radio and said something I couldn't make out.
With complete disregard for his own safety Captain LITTLER (pilot) turned back into the zone to extract the recon team.
The dead crewmembers were Captain Littler, 1st Lt Daley, SSgt Bilenski and Cpl Little. I have commented on this incident before and here is what really happened. For some reason we ended up flying the same missions quite often.
CASUALTIES Captain J L M LITTLER III, 092399/7562 HMM-164, Pilot 1st Lt R C DALEY, 092855/7562 HMM-164, Co Pilot SSgt J C BILENSKI, 1551261/6212 HMM-164, Gunner Cpl R B LITTLE, 2202178/6311 HMM-164, Crew Chief HOSTILE 3 July 1968. CH-46 aircraft atempting to make a recon extract when aircraft received automatic weapons fire and crashed. Briefed at the recon pad [for recon team insertion] and flew into Elephant Valley (not the real name but what everybody called it).
Littler's death while again helping out some other Marines in distress who were facing an overwhelming number of enemy troops.
Undaunted by the danger, he flew into the firefight and attempted a rescue that cost him his life. I graduated from college, was married, had children and presently teach school in North Carolina, while he was denied a full life.