Old Philosopher

The following is an extract article from a February issue of the Army Times (possibly 1970)

A DARING PILOT “OLD PHILOSOPHER” FLIES TOO LOW - Chu Lai Vietnam -

Being shot down can be a traumatic experience for a helicopter pilot, but not for Cpt Daniel F. LaFleur, who flies a light observation helicopter for D Troop 1/1 Cav Regt.
As a matter of fact, LaFleur may be getting used to it. He’s even philosophical about being shot down four times. LaFleur says he feels that every bullet shot at him is just one less to worry about.
LaFleur recently lost a few more of his worries while flying a visual reconnaissance mission over “Happy Valley” 12 miles west of Quang Ngai. While flying over a narrow trail, LaFleur spotted some NVA packs spread out along the trail. He swung around for a closer look, and spotted two enemy soldiers trying to avoid being seen. Leaving the Cobra gunship that flies with them at a higher altitude, LaFleur descended toward the evading enemy. Before the door gunner could engage the enemy ground troops, the LOH began to receive heavy small arms fire. Two rounds tore into the aircraft’s engine and forced an emergency landing near the area. The small chopper settled on its side in a water-filled bomb crater.  The Cobra gunship left its circling pattern and dove toward the area between the downed chopper and clawed at the jungle floor with mini-gun fire. Wheeling and diving repeatedly, the pilot maintained a barrier of flying lead between the downed crew and the NVA infantry until a Huey helicopter dropped down to pull the crew out and fly it back to Chu Lai.  LaFleur’s assignments may find him in the sky over “Happy Valley” again in the future, but next time he might be a little higher off the valley floor. Unless it happens to be “one of those days.”

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