More from a DUSTOFF Pioneer
An article written by Arthur Veysey, of the Chicago Tribune
Press Service during World War II, has some interesting information and
commentary, featuring LT Louis Carle, who flew some of the first helicopter
With the 112th Cavalry in Luzon Mountains, June 20
- For the first time in the Philippines campaign, a helicopter today
rescued an injured American soldier and evacuated twelve more from a
first-aid station in this mountain wilderness.
LT Louis Carle, Carthage, Illinois, lowered his helicopter
to the bed of a river at the bottom of a 1,200-foot ravine to pick up a
soldier shot while on patrol. Thirty minutes later, Carle parked his plane
on the lawn in front of a hospital in Manila. Doctors said the soldier would
have died within three hours except for early treatment.
Carle then returned to the mountains, set his plane down
atop a knife-edged ridge where this dismounted cavalry force has set up a
first-aid station and, one by one, began evacuating men who have lain there
for a week and more.
Except for the helicopter, this force can be reached only by
a three-day hike. Cavalry men, toting everything on their backs, killed 169
Japs when they fought their way here, and every day patrols working within a
mile or two of the camp kill at least 40 enemy troops.
Rescue GI in Gorge: Only the day before LT Carle flew his
helicopter into a gorge to rescue a soldier. A Jap major general was killed
within 100 feet of the spot Carle used as a landing field.
COL Joe Dawson, commander of the 5th Air Service Area
Command, to which Carle and his helicopter are attached for ferrying between
Nichols Field and repair ships in Manila Bay, pointed out that, to reach the
cavalry men, Carle had to risk not only storms, but also fire from Japs. So
far the helicopter has been able to dodge storms and has not drawn Jap fire.
It's a Shaky Job: Carle sets his helicopter down as easily
as a mother puts her babe in a cradle. To prepare his landing field, cavalry
men merely cut a 15-foot square in the six-foot-high grass.
To persons accustomed to riding in a plane with wings and a
propeller, a trip in a machine that goes not only straight up and down but
also backwards and sideways is strange.
Driving the "eggbeater" is hard work. The control stick
shakes like a jackhammer, and the pilot must hold it tightly at all times.
Should he relax for even a minute, the plane falls out of control. Pilots of
regular planes say it's easy to identify a helicopter pilot - he has a
permanent case of the shakes.