Episode 1789 of the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast will feature an interview with Vietnam Veteran John Shoemaker where he describes one of the darkest days of the Vietnam War. That date was August 26, 1970. On that day an Army Ch-47 Chinook helicopter loaded with troops from the 196th Infantry Brigade was shot down as it approached LZ Judy. Thirty one Americans died that day when their aircraft crashed into a wooded mountain top in I Corps.
In previous episodes Shoemaker has described his unit’s actions at Kham Duc during Operation Elk Canyon. At the time he was a platoon leader with B Company 2/1 Infantry, 196th Infantry Brigade. The events he describes in this episode took place as his battalion was relocating from Kham Duc to the LZ Judy area as Operation Elk Canyon was ending.
Shoemaker’s accounts of the tragedy are especially accurate because he witnessed it from start to finish. He starts out with an excellent description of the lead up to the crash with operations at Kham Duc. Shoemaker’s platoon was aboard the next to the last Chinook to depart Kham Duc. The doomed aircraft was to depart just after his.
Something very strange happened to the doomed aircraft as it was preparing to liftoff on its fateful flight. Shoemaker described what would turn out to be one of the most ironic events of the War.
Shoemaker arrived at LZ Judy just in time to witness the worst combat air crash in the Vietnam War. He knows what he is talking about.
He ends the interview with a tribute to those brave soldiers who died that day along with all those who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country in Vietnam.
Listen to episode 1789 and discover more about one of the darkest days in the Vietnam War as told by Vietnam Vet John Shoemaker, an eyewitness to the terrible tragedy.