Kontum Jump

327 Infantry Veterans

Kontum Jump


Who was it this week talking about the jump in Kontum in 1966? I didn’t think there was anyone out there that remembers those jump.
Russ Palm A/2/327 66-67

I had my 19th birthday on the same site of the ambush that killed SGT Kelly and J Elder Hill 1963 if I remember right on Jan 13 1967. I believe we were extracted the next day to prepare for the jump PLF s and such. As if we needed PT. I think the jump was on the 16th I didn’t have a tight body position on exiting the 130 so my suspension lines were twisted all the way to canopy by the time I bicycled my way out of it all I saw was the tree I landed in. Unhurt I made my way to the road that split drop zone There was another trooper I think his name was Horsy arguing with a papason because he had gone through the roof of his house. We made our way to assembly point. There I found out that Bo Crews machine gunner had a complete malfuncion with main chute but landed with reserve . He was quite shook up for next few days Hope this jogs some memories.
Ron Gallant
1st Plt Cobra

I joined the First Brigade at Kontum in January 1967. I know we did a jump there as the conditions were a bit windy. Quite a few hurt as I recall. I remember hitting like a ton of bricks. I am not sure if that is the jump Russ is referring to or if there was another one. It came to my mind specifically as there was a Battalion medical officer who joined us from Saigon and he got his wings after that jump. If I am correct we used helicopters. Knowing it was only 36 years ago you would think I would have a better memory.
Larry Boecklen

There was a jump at Kontum I believe in December 1966. The 1st 327th was the battalion that jumped along with elements of Tiger Force. This was classified as a training exercise and no “Combat Stars” were issued to anybody.
I did extensive research a couple of years ago on this, but unfortunately it was lost when my system crashed. You might want to talk to Lt. John Carey, or Colonel Dave Hackworth or Hank Ortega

God Bless Our Troops and God Bless The 101st Airborne Division.
Above The Rest

I remember the jump at Kontum very well, will write in more depth later. I just wanted to let some one know there are still some of us out here that made that jump.
Lee Broll C 1/327 66-67

The Tiger Force jumped first from a C-130. CPT Jack Helms, the HHC CO and former Golden Knight, was the jumpmaster.

Sean Flynn, Errol Flynn’s son and an independent journalist, jumped in my stick. It was his first, and he got some “royal” treatment from some of the guys.

The door on my side of the aircraft wouldn’t open, so we made one pass for the opposite side to go. I stayed with my stick and we swapped sides while the aircraft banked sharply for the second pass. Some of the Tigers were facing the front after getting sandwiched before they could turn around.
It was a low altitude jump onto rock-hard rice paddies. The DZ was obviously secure as there were 21/2’s waiting to return us to base camp.

I had borrowed a Thompson from SFC Stanley, the 4.2 platoon Sgt., promising that I would return it in good shape. The magazine fell out when my chute opened, and he was none too happy when I reported the loss of it.

My knee hit my chin when I landed and I awoke in a sitting position. Everything was a hazy, light green, which I thought was odd as Hell was supposed to be red. Then one of my machine gunners picked up the edge of my chute, which had covered me, and asked if I was OK.

They made us wear helmets, and it was quite a hodgepodge as none of us had any. SFC John T. Flynn was one of many who didn’t have a chin strap, and I still have a picture of him with an improvised one.

Sean Flynn was a real sport and a great guy. He later became MIA during the Cambodian invasion. I met his mother, who lived in Port Antonio Jamaica, and shared my memories of him with her.

It was a training jump all the way.
Hope my memory is consistent with that of others.
John Carey

I made that jump with ABU 1/327. Remember all too well. Besides my radio (I was 3rd plt’s. RTO), I went out with my weapon, 5-days c-rats. and 1000 rounds of M-60 ammo. Great body position going out the aircraft but with that damn umbilical cord- landed on a 45 deg. angle. We started a 2 week operation from that jump but still didn’t get credit for a combat jump. I guess because so many REMF’s jumped and then choppered back, it was “training”?

I made two Huey Blasts at Dak To in July 1966. The jump in December was from C-130’s.
Above The Rest

We made the jump in Dec. as I remember it was before Christmas but the dates I’m not sure of. I think Carpenter has a video. At no time was a helicopter used. And I think it was a 2 day jump like the man said 30 year’s is a longtime

Here is an extract from the 1/327 Unit History (1 Jan 67 – 3 Jul 67) I have concerning the jumps near Kontum:

“On 2 January 1967 the battalion, minimum Company C and the Tiger Force, was extracted from the AO, closing at 1330H. Early the following morning the battalion minus the aforementioned elements began Phase II by commencing airborne training in preparation for proficiency parachute jumps to be conducted on 6 and 7 January.

This training was conducted by highly qualified and experienced NCOs and officers from the “Above the Rest” Battalion and supervised by Captain Jerry A. White, the S3 Air, and continued through 5 January with all elements eventually taking part. On the 6th and 7th of January, personnel parachute drops were conducted on DZ GEORGE PERRY near KONTUM, followed by tactical field training exercises. Considering the fact that a majority of personnel had not performed a parachute jump in the preceding 6 to 8 months and that there were numerous “5 jump commandos” in the ranks, these parachute jumps proved extremely successful. The battalion suffered only one slight injury and had no equipment lost or damaged.

A make up jump was conducted on 18 January for all personnel who had missed the initial drops. The jumps had a great effect on morale, which was already in a high state. All personnel were proud to once again be “Airborne” in every sense of the word.” I was the Cobra Company commander at the time and the jumps were from C-130’s.

Hope this helps in refreshing everyone’s memory. Airborne all the way!!!!
Bill Northquest

I think it might be possible that the battalions jumped at different times. The reason I think this is because of the conflicting memories of times, dates and equipment. The following is a quick run down in my words taken from the After Action Reports for the 1st BN.

3 Jan 67:
The battalion minus C Company and Tigers started airborne training.
Company C rejoined the battalion at 1810 Hours.
At 1720 Hours Tiger Force was detached from C Company and assigned as security for the Bde radio relay station.
4 Jan 67:
Airborne training continued minus the Tiger Force.
Tiger Force continued as security at Bde radio relay site.
5 Jan 67:
The battalion continued its airborne training program.
6 & 7 Jan 67:
Personnel parachute drops were conducted near Kontum followed by tactical field training exercises.
The jump was very successful.
Only one light injury sustained and no equipment lost.
8 Jan 67:
The battalion conducted maintenance of weapons and equipment.
9 Jan 67:
At 0720 hours commenced Phase III of Operation Pickett II.

If memory serves the jumps were made from C-130’s.

Now that we have awakened some of the guys, let see what they remember.
First, were there one or two jumps?
2nd, where was jumps first LZ suppose to be ?
3rd, Are you guys sure about C-130 or were they 124’s.
4th, was the jump from 600 ft or higher?
5th, Why did we have to make the jump or jumps ?
Lets feel this out for day or two. See what we come up with.

Hope things go well for are boys tomorrow. I’ll be thinking about them as many of us will.
Russ Palm A/2/327 No Slack 66-67

Just to remind some, the 1/327 conducted jumps while in Qhin Hon. These were from a H-34, and Big John Oliver, 3-B-1/327 was my jumpmaster, and later in 1970 the First Sergeant of HHC 1/504 which had responsibility for us 1st Bde LRRPs, 82nd ABN.
At Phan Rang we also conducted jumps, mostly from that great ole flying horse, so sadly given to the Air Force to solve the “Air Assault” war, the Caribou.

Thank You, Be Safe, Enjoy Life, Live Long, and Prosper, and Good-By:
Henry B. Morton

I served with A Co. 2/327th INF. from Feb of 66 to Feb of 67 and I made the Kontum jump in Dec of 66 after the jump we had a few guys hurt including our commo SGT. who’s parachute did not open entirely and was seriously hurt. After our squad leader popped smoke to get the troops together we began a search and destroy operation from there. I believe our recon platoon the Hawks secured our DZ when we made the jump. Around Dec 66 we were temporarily camped around an old French fort just outside of Kontum and we spent Christmas of 66 in that location .
No Slack
Manuel Staffiero

C 130’s 800′ ABU made one jump and immediately moved out into the field on Operation Pickett (thanks Dewey for reminder of what operation that was).

Early jumps of the 327 happened in 1965 up at An Khe from MARINE CH-34 helicopters (2nd. Battalion/7th. MARINES supplied the birds) and then we jumped CARIBOU in January 1966 at Phan Rang.

I jumped with C/2/327. One of our men went through the roof of a hootch, while the family was eating their morning meal. I was trying to slip in any direction to avoid a bunch of spooked cattle, but came down amongst them anyway. I heard our battalion C/O landed waist deep in the mud at one end of the DZ. Only one man refused to jump out of the battalion as I recall. some one thought we didn’t deserve jump pay if we weren’t jumping, I think. I also think it was a 600 ft jump because there was no time to enjoy the ride down.
no f#&*%$ slack
Nomad out

I remember the jump at Phan Rang, It was when we got a new commander that said we needed to jump because we were collecting our jump pay, said we needed to earn it. I landed in a sticker bush.
Tom Joyce

Yes, I made that jump also. We jumped out of Hueys. Huummmm would that be classified as a combat jump seeing it was in foreign hostile zone? I doubt it.
HHQ 2/327

Yes…tigers jumped, c-130’s, windy.
Dennis Crowley

I was with the 2/327 from Jan 1962 untill June 1966 I do remember ever jumping from any Marine CH-34 birds.The only jumps were from Hueys,C130 And Caribous at Pang Rang. and We had the 9th Marines attached to us.I just check at the History center in Carlisle Barrack on the 1st Bde
Houston Wedlock

This is Jungle Jim Joiner coming up on the net reference the Kontum Jump. Will we ever put the dog to rest?

I was assigned to B Co 2/327th NO SLACK on January 1967 in Kontum. I was a 1LT, former E-7 master parachutist and one who helped pioneer HALO so the Battalion assigned me to head-up the training team for parachute refresher training for entire battalion. When the training was finished we jumped in Kontum over a two day period, out of C-130s and on hard dry rice paddies. Each Battalion jumped at different times and all of this was for the up coming operation “Junction City” which later was performed by the 173rd ABN for which they got the star. The First Brigade only operated two official jumps ; The one at Kontum and jump school training at Phan Rang. I don’t know about after the Division arrived in January 1968. I commanded the P-Training at Phan Rang from October 1967 until 2 January 1968. This information is in the official 1st Bde History, and Ivan Worrell has printed this in his 1st Bde Magazine.
Jim Joiner

I made the jump in Kontum. I think it was a couple of days after Christmas 1966 It was windy, and we had to go back to the airport and wait a while, then loaded up again and finally jumped. I was with A/2/327. We landed right in the dogleg of the DZ some guys landing on hootches, we had one guy hang up in a tree. from the time I left the plane, until I hit the ground, was 16 seconds, I know because I kept counting once my chute opened. I landed with one foot on a paddy dike, which caused me to limp for the rest of the operation. We stayed in the field. I believe some REMFs went right back to base camp. We made the jump from C-130s.
Gary Bills

I was with 1/327 in 67 and a few weeks of 68 an the highest thing I jumped off in Nam 🙂 Was off the top of a 2nd tier of a Stacked Pallet of “FALLSTAFF BEER!” 🙂 lol !!! But ? (an I love this “But?” part !) 🙂 Roomer ? Has it ! SFC KALLU (B.Co.?) A WARRIOR’S , WARRIOR ! A TRUE “1%er!” at the Top , of His Carreer ! as A FEARLESS / AIR BORNE TROOPER & LEADER OF MEN (.) “A MAN , That was Known !” To Charge “Naked”! Into Battle in The Middle of the Night ! With Nothing ! Cept ? His Boots on & His Trusty M-16 , BLAZZING ! on ROCKEIN-FU….- ROLE !!!!!!!!! BABY !!!!!!!!!! “A TRUE “PEE BRINGER !” 🙂 IN Anyone’s Book / Bar-None ! 🙂 Anyway? ROOMER 🙂 Has it that “Kallu , Himself !” Dropped in for Lunch
(via- Threw The Roof!) of Some Gook’s Hooche 🙂 Looken For “RICE BALL’zz ! Tah PLANT ! 🙂 Talk about a “TRUE ! SURPRIZE PARTY !!!!!!!!” 🙂 TRICK eER ? TREATER’S “FROM HELL!” I just had too share that (roomer?)
Witt Chew Guy’s… Doc. Teeter

Just checking my e-mails, for the past couple days when I saw the Kontum jump and figured I had to jump in (Ouch!). I remember it being in Dec., they pulled us in from an operation, we went out of a C-130, no combat credit, no star on the wings, just stretching the silk and stressing the bones. I, personally, hadn’t jumped in better than six months, so it was a good way to remember I was still airborne, as well as a change of pace. I have vague memory of Sean Flynn jumping with us (in true Errol Flynn style). When I think of it the thing that still pisses me off is – we did jump in a “combat zone,” why not count it as a combat jump? Let’s be real, and no offense to my 173rd brothers, but when they made their “Combat Jump” their DZ was about as secure as ours was. Anyhow, we’re talking a long time ago
and “it don’t mean nuthin!”
Later bro!

We did a couple of training jumps at Kontum or Cheo Reo (some where in that area) in Oct 65 if memory serves. Most were by helicopter but at least one was by C-130. I remember one since I landed real hard in the back seat of the DZSO’s jeep. My chute collapsed in a big thorne bush next to it and was not recoverable. By the way, the unit also did some jumps at Dong Ba Tin on arrival in country. The bde adv party junped on the beach on the peninsula at Camh Rahn Bay from the Bde Caribou. May bring back memories for some-especially us 3 or 4 that landed in the water. There were also jumps at An Khe from C-130. See ya.

Our thoughts are with our successors in the gulf.
Bob Vaughn

I remember pushing a big bag to the door (what was it called? PAE ?), giving it a big heave and it pulled me out the door. Not what you’ll call a jump. Went out left side of C130, 1 thousand 1 , 1 thousand 2, 1 thousand 3, looked up to see an open chute, pulled pin on bag and hit release, bag hit the ground at end of drop cord, I hit the ground (busted my cherry) in a hard, dry rice paddy in Vietnam, wind was dragging me, had to pull quick release to get out. I thought I remember someone hung in a tall palm tree, but maybe that was a dream. It has been 35 years.
Tom Coffield
3rd Platoon, ABU, 1/327

I remember the jump. It had to be Jan 67 . I had just got the hospital, I had malaria. I remember running in the sand, and other PT. As I recall the jump was to maintain the units jump status. I jumped from a C-130. A lot of us lost helmets due to the cravats we used because we did not have chin straps. I think we jumped from 500 ft and it was windy and a hard PLF.
Bob G

I was in Nam from July 65 to July 66. I personally know of one jump which the 2/327th made from hueys. Can’t remember exactly where but it was during my tour there. I do remember we jumped without our weapons.
Just like Russ I too miss the rush as you exit the aircraft. I and a Sergent, Dunkley were always the last men in the stick so I could push the guys in front of us who in turn would have to push forward. By the time we were over the DZ the men would pop out like toast bread out of a toaster. Then we would stand at the door and waited till above the area to return your parachute then jump. What a good life that was then. And there is a fact that only us jumpers can claim. And that is, “we have taken off in more planes then we have landed in”.
HQ 327 61 – 67

I have noticed some more questions lately, about the Dec. 66 jump in Kontum. Those of us who made the jump, of course remember it very well of course, but if you want to document it historically on the web-site, I would suggest talking with Jim Joiner, at least as far as 2nd battalion is concerned. Jim was an x-black hat from Benning, and was in charge of the refresher training we received before the actual jump. I think he may have already done this for Ivan Worrell. I still have the nylon web straps from the CWIE bag I jumped with that day as I jumped the m-60. Anyway just a suggestion, since it keeps coming up, and there seems to be some controversy about who did what. —
Jim Wilson

The jump from the Huey was made in Anke in 66 another from a C130 at Phan Rang.
Tom Joyce
1/327th Abu 65-66

The jumps (two) I think Adam is referring to, are the ones we made either in Dec 1965 or Jan 66. Those were made from Hueys and were strictly to keep our jump status current. These were as mentioned “Hollywood jumps” – no equipment.

I was in A Co 1/327 Inf and we were still in the mountains on 29 Dec 1966. When we camp back to base camp there was talk of us going to make a parachute jump. I remember we had to take a refresher training at our base camp because of the fact some of the men had not jumped for many months. Our company commander Capt. Jerry White headed that school which was only held a few days as I recall. Actually we thought that there was going to be a real combat jump. I believe the 1/327 jumped on the 6th or 7th of January 1967 the 2/502 jumped before us at the end of Dec and I think that the 2/327 jumped before or after we did.
In any event we went on operation as soon as we hit the ground. I’ve been reading other peoples memories of that jump and I don’t recall it being windy. What I do recall, is First Sergeant Harrison of A Co 1/327 was the Jump Master on my stick and he told us our jump height would be 580′ I really don’t know if it was… When the command came for us to stand up I could see Tommy Coffield standing nearist the door. It was all to quick, after the exit from the C-130, I remember checking my canopy and in seconds hitting the ground and seeing Eppy landing in a pig-sty. That was funny, all that I heard was, “oh shit.” We should have made a combat jump, if the 173rd did we certainly should have.
Thinking back the men that were on jump status way before most of us were even in the Army, kind of raised the hair on the back of my neck, because they didn’t shuffle to the door, they pushed and shoved and initiated all the cheeries. At that point one wanted to get out of that air plane as soon as possible. Like I said, “we should have had the opportunity to make a combat jump.” We were the best of the
Mike Ainsworth
Combat Medic
A Co 1/327th Inf
9/66 – 14 May1967

Referring to the Jumps by the Brigade in 1965, there were jumps made while we, 1/327 were at Qhinon. These were from CH-34’s, and my jumpmaster was Big John Oliver, who was the Platoon Leader, 3-B-1st Bn (Abn) 327th. Later, when we pulled into Phan Rang to establish our area in Dec 65, we made another jump, from a CV-2 Caribou, and my jumpmaster for that jump was my platoon leader, Chuck Olyiphant, 1-B-1st Bn (ABN) 327th. At that time I was a medic with this platoon, the best, from Campbell.
Thank You, Be Safe, Enjoy Life, Live Long, and Prosper, and Good-By:
Henry B. Morton

In reference to those jumps, the first in the Viet Nam war. Although they were both to retain jump status only, 2nd platoon “B” 1/327 made two jumps. One was from a chopper and the other was a tailgate from a caribou. The chopper jump was really a blast, or rather the lack there of. The first time I heard the command “Sit In The Door”.
Sincerely, Gerald M. Aggson

I would like to make a comment about the Kontum Jump. The 2/327 jumped from C-130’s on December 28th, 1966. Myself and several NCO’s set up some pre-jump training at Tuy Hoa south prior to departing to Kontum in November, 1966. On December 28th it was gusting 18-20 knots and all of the company commanders were given the final decision to go or not. I was the acting CO of B Company and decided we should jump. Wild Gypsy was not in the area that day. Major John Giboux was the acting BN Commander. We did have several troopers injured, myself and the third platoon Sgt. SSG Gomez were medivaced to Japan as a result of injuries. Jim Joner did established an excellent Jump Training program in Jan. of 1967. I have done a lot of research concerning the 2/327 events from June, 1966 thru December, 1966 for a book that will be edited in October, 2003.
Bob Meager
B Co. 2/327

I REMEMBER THE jump at kontum, it was a little too windy and we jumped out of c-130 aircraft in an area of rice paddies . I believe it was in late Dec.and we jumped with weapons and equipment. I was dragged after hitting the dz and had to quick release. There was a number of Vietnamese kids trying to sell me cans of cola at the same time, the dz was secure but it was a good feeling to remember that we were parachute troops
arty 2/502-66-67

I was with “A” Company 2nd 327 from April 1966 to April1967. We did make one jump in Kontum, during my tour over there, to keep our jump status. I believe it was in December of ’66, because we were told it was going to be our Christmas present. It was real windy and we did have several injuries from sprained ankles to hurt shoulders. I landed in a dry rice patty and had to quick release. One of our guys landed in a tree and sprained his shoulder. I remember of two other guys with sprained ankles. I don’t think we were over 600 to 800 feet from the ground, because it was a quick trip to mother earth.
Jerry Rogers

One thought on “Kontum Jump

  1. There were roumors of a combat jump when were were in Tuy Hua, we were practicing our PLF’s on the beach jumping out of the back of duce and a 1/2’s driving down the beach in the firm sand. Then jump planning stopped and we moved to Kontum (french fort) we traveled by C130’s to Kontum whith wide bands across the fuselage because the airstip was short. The pilots reversed engines just off the ground. a couple of weeks later I heard that it was decided that the 173rd would the the Star and we would do a “Mass tactical” Jump. As jump days approached everyone was getting prepard but the Bgd was spilt up into many jumps over several days, the earlier jumps were jump, get picked up and head back to forward base camp. For some reason we jumped on the last day (C, 2/327th) with full pack, rations, ammo the whole (mortors the The works) and humped off the DZ into the bush. We were in the field for 3-5 days, can’t remember exactly. During the Jump Mst. Sgt Minus was Jump Master and as the stick stood up and started out the door (about 1/2 of the stick was out the door when someone’s emergency opened up in the aircraft. Minus rushed the open chute and we had to circle around because the jump stopped when the chute opened. On the go-round we all jumped, it was amazing because it seemed that everyone was out the door at the same time. We were out of the aircraft in short order with every one pushing towards the door shouting go-go-go-go. Some wind but not as bad as the earlier jumps the previous days.

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