Bushwhacker Gun Platoon
Another Part of the Outlaw History
(Compiled by Tom Anderson with input from former Bushwhackers)
A few weeks ago, I was alerted to a comment someone had placed on the VLOA website Guestbook Page, which questioned why there was no mention of the Bushwhackers anywhere on our website. Because none of us from the “early” days of the Outlaws knew anything about the Bushwhackers, we started looking into exactly who, what, and when the Bushwhackers were.
About the only thing we did know was that the Bushwhackers were the successors to the Mavericks, as the gun platoon of the Outlaws late in the Viet Nam war.
After putting out some feelers for information, Jim Donnelly (VLOA Historian) came back with some leads on Bushwhacker members who might be able to provide more information. Jim made several initial contacts and, in the next few days, I began receiving messages from four or five Outlaws and Bushwackers who were more than gracious in filling in our information-void on who the Bushwhackers were.
Bushwhacker Fred Rowe, who arrived in the unit in April 1971, indicated that the Bushwhackers were formed about January 1971, when the gun platoon transitioned from “C” model gunships to Cobras. None of the respondents were exactly sure why the name was changed from Mavericks to Bushwhackers, but the prevailing opinion was that an earlier Outlaw commander felt that the upgrade to Cobras seemed to give more credibility, and prestige, and that a new name would provide an aura of an enhanced status. The name change was not wholeheartedly supported by everyone involved, particularly the Mavericks, but the change, nevertheless, was made and the time-honored name of Maverick was retired in early 1971.
The Bushwhackers continued the proud tradition of supporting the Outlaw slicks. They also flew a large percentage of their search missions at night. Because the night missions, using parachute flares for lighting had its drawbacks, somewhere along the line, a slick was also assigned to the gun platoon to support the Bushwhacker night missions. The slick was outfitted with a xenon searchlight and a mini-gun, and the missions of cruising up and down canals, looking for “Charlie” became more effective.
Gunship crews have always been known for their well-deserved “swagger” and the Bushwhackers were no exception. They were every bit as proud of their missions, their accomplishments and their people as were the Mavericks before them.
Crew losses are one of the most devastating elements of combat. The Mavericks lost their platoon leader Jack Sanford, along with crew chief Mike Moritz on 16 June, 1965. In a similar tragic episode, the Bushwhackers suffered the loss of their platoon leader, Charles Edwards, and copilot Berry Rhash, on March 29, 1971, when their Cobra inexplicably failed to pull out of a night gun run and both pilots were lost.
The Bushwhackers continued to provide unparalleled support to the 175th Outlaws for the remainder of the Viet Nam conflict.
Shortly after New Year 1972, with Viet Nam combat operations drawing down, the Bushwhackers were sent to Can Tho to perform night-time airfield security. All agreed that this was a make-work duty with the war about to end. Soon thereafter, the unit received Stand Down orders. Having served more than seven years of Viet Nam combat duty, the Outlaws and Bushwhackers were deactivated on 20 February 1972.
Another part of the continuing Outlaw history.
Bushwhacker Aircraft Serial Numbers
Call-signs & Crew-members
AH-1G 67-15502 BW?? NOV 71 NOV 71 50 hours in 175th AHC AH-1F McGuire JB, NJ 20 May 2009
AH-1G 67-15575 BW?? JAN 72 FEB 72 62 hours in 175th AHC
AH-1G 67-15578 BW35 DEC 70 JUL 72 759 hours in 175th AHC Edgewater, FL.
AH-1G 67-15663 BW?? FEB 71 DEC 75 ? 668 hours in 175th AHC
AH-1G 67-15762 BW?? DEC 70 FEB 72 ? 491 hours in 175th AHC
AH-1G 67-15770 BW?? JAN 71 6 NOV 71 LOSS TO INVENTORY, ROLIN COSBY KIA
AH-1G 67-15775 BW?? JAN 72 FEB 72 62 hours in 175th AHC
AH-1G 67-15820 BW?? JAN 71 29 MAR 71 LOSS TO INVENTORY, CHARLES EDWARDS BUSHWACKER LEAD & BERRY RHASH KIA
AH-1G 68-15092 BW?? DEC 70 JUL 72 801 hours in 175th AHC Phillip Island, Australia
AH-1G 68-15166 BW?? JAN 72 JUL 72 334 hours in 175th AHC
AH-1G 68-15207 BW?? MAY 71 MAR 72 460 hours in 175th AHC Loss to inventory 7 Apr 72 D/1/4 Cav
UH-1H ??-????? BW36 ?? ?? NIGHTHAWK, BLACK HUEY WAR WAGON, STUPID STISHES
BUSHWACKER 31 PILOTS BUZZ QUEEN
BUSHWACKER 31 CREWCHIEFS UNKNOWN
BUSHWACKER 32 PILOTS TURTLE THURMAN
BUSHWACKER 32 CREWCHIEFS CRAIG
BUSHWACKER 33 PILOTS HENRY BEAU LOCKHART
BUSHWACKER 33 CREWCHIEFS JP
BUSHWACKER 34 PILOTS JOHN WILLIAMS
BUSHWACKER 34 CREWCHIEFS JIM STANLEY
BUSHWACKER 35 PILOTS ROBERT BO HAYNER , BUSHWACKER LEAD
BUSHWACKER 35 CREWCHIEFS MIKE MC KINNEY
BUSHWACKER 36 PILOTS FRED ROWE BUSHWACKER LEAD, BO HAYNER
BUSHWACKER 36 CREWCHIEFS
BUSHWACKER 37 PILOTS DAN MALONE
BUSHWACKER 37 CREWCHIEFS ROBBIE
GEORGE MAIN PLATOON SGT
RALPH LUFFMAN, ROBERT O'BRIAN & ROGER WININGER , ARMAMENT
OTHER PILOTS, TONY PAPPY YOAKAM, ROY HOWARD, CARL GUSTKE (Night Hawk), CAPT. HARRIS
OTHER CREWCHIEFS, MACK BLOODSWORTH, OTTO HOPP
Contact Current Bushwhackers
Mack Bloodsworth, CE: firstname.lastname@example.org
Henry Lockhart, pilot: email@example.com
Mike McKinney, CE: firstname.lastname@example.org
Fred Rowe, pilot: email@example.com
Jim Stanley, CE: firstname.lastname@example.org
Roger Wininger, armorer: email@example.com
Bill Fryant, pilot: firstname.lastname@example.org
Don Holmok, pilot: email@example.com
Joe Armstrong, pilot: firstname.lastname@example.org