|The Hughes OH6A Cayuse was known by the troops by its nickname "Loach" - a derivative of "light observation helicopter." The armed OH6A was the primary scout helicopter used in Vietnam and usually carried a crew of two. The pilot controlled a mini-gun and a gunner/crew chief handled a "free 60" machine gun, among other weapons, which was attached to the aircraft by a strap. The Loach crews flew the most dangerous missions assigned to Army aviators because they flew low and usually slow enough to get a good look at the ground making them easy targets for the enemy. |
On 1 May 1968, WO1 Warren T. Whitmire, pilot; Sgt. Donald P. Gervais, door gunner; and then Cpl. Richard D. Martin, crewchief; comprised the crew of an OH6A helicopter in a flight of two aircraft conducting a screening operation for the 5th Battalion, 7th Cavalry to LZ Tiger in the western section of the infamous A Shau Valley, Thua Thien Province, South Vietnam.