Roadrunners/McGuire Rig

Subject: [281AHC] Roadrunners 
Date: Wed, 16 Feb 2000 21:16:26 -0800 
From: Ken Hamilton < 
To: 281stAHC < 
You mentioned putting in a road runner team. Putting them in wasn't a problem. It was pulling them out that was a bitch. I always thought that one of the qualifications for being a roadrunner team leader was: you had to be as myopic as Mr. Magoo. Spring"68  We put a roadrunner team in just before dark. Before we got  back to Phu Bai the team was in trouble and running.  The next morning we went out to extract the team.  We see a panel in an opening and the AC asks the team leader, "Is that your team?"   Team Leader, "It looks like them."  We do two or three more orbits. Every time we pass by the  AC asks, "Is that your team?"  Team Leader, "I think that's them" or "It could be them". 

Finally on a positive, "I'm pretty sure it's them", we drop out of orbit. Scream across the tree tops and drop into the hole.  Four guys in khakis, carrying AK's jump up and start running towards the helicopter.  AC, "Is that your team?"  Team leader, "It looks like them."  I loose it big time and stomp on the mike button and yell, "YOU BETTER MAKE UP YOUR F___ING MIND OR I'M GONNA SMOKE 'EM. Team leader,"NO! NO! THAT'S THEM"  Now you don't believe the guy. Did anyone ever pick up a roadrunner team, that the team leader recognized BEFORE they got on the aircraft? 
Does anyone remember the McGuire rig load of roadrunners that were set down outside the firebase down the road from us? 

Subject: Re: [281AHC] Roadrunners 
Date: Thursday, February 17, 2000 7:50 AM 
From: John Galkiewicz 

The 9 months I was with the 281st I never saw the 281st use a McGuire rig outside of testing in Nha Trang. I do remember, in Pleiku, that a ship from another company slung in a single guy at night and I picked up his AK-47 when he dropped it after being drug a ways. I gave it back to him later. Guess I was an FNG at the time. What a keepsake that would have been. 

Subject: Re: [281AHC] Roadrunners 
Date: Thursday, February 17, 2000 7:50 AM 
From: "Brent H. Gourley" <> 

I used McGuire's rig for real. 
But it was within sight of Nha Trang, back there in the hills. A Recondo school team inserted in the middle of a group of hostiles and ran for three days, then called us from a very wooded area.

Subject: Re: [281AHC] Roadrunners
Date: Sat, 17 Feb 2000 17:24:26 -0800
From:  "Robin K. Hicks" <>
To: <>,

I remember going in to pick up a 4 man team and 5 people came running towards the ship! The team leader brought his rifle up as if to shoot one and one actually hesitated and then dropped down in the grass. The others did not even flinch and kept running towards the ship. I could not say if the team leader actually did not recognize one of them or if the one that did not belong realized that he might have been found out. All I know is that only 4 of them were going to get on my helicopter. 


Subject: Re: [281AHC] Roadrunners/McGuire rig
Date: Thu, 17 Feb 2000 16:00:54 EST

There weren't any good McGuire extractions any time. The worst radio transmission on the way to an emergency extraction was, "I'm on the run, in contact and I can't find an LZ big enough to set a ship in." The question was never will we take fire but how much? We all pulled off some hairy extractions but I take my hat off to you on that one.
We have to give credit where credit is due even to the Ratpack!


[Photo by Bob Mitchell]
Subject: Re: [281AHC] Roadrunners/McGuire rig
Date: Thu, 17 Feb 2000 16:16:24 EST

My McGuire Rig story is about like everyone else's I guess. The RT was in trouble and compromised as soon as they hit the ground. It was also a mission out of Mai Loc that was in the Northwest corner of the AO inside the DMZ just inside South VN close to the Laotian Border. We had just put the Team in and were climbing out when they called wanting out of there. We went right back in and dropped the McGuires, they were in contact and so were we. We hovered in the hole while they were trying to get in the rigs. Several were wounded and couldn't do the McGuires. We dropped the ladders and they couldn't climb them. Finally they D ringed themselves on and we came out. We had to stop at Khe Shan and recover them into the acft. At that point in time Khe Shan was in Indian Country, this was in 1969. We got them on board and got them back to Mai Loc. We took 12 hits from small arms. Pete "Underdawg" Underhill was the AC, I was the PP and Mike Olsen was the Gunner. I can't remember who the CE was. We have pictures:-) They are on the Bandit site. (

Bob Mitchell

Subject: [281AHC] Re: Roadrunners/McGuire rigs
Date: Thu, 17 Feb 2000 16:14:29 -0600
From:  Steve Matthews <>
[Photo by Steve Matthews]

I have a vague recollection (as most of mine are) of one McGuire Rig extraction. It seems as though I recall a quasi-hot pick up. That is; they were (just as Norm said) on the run and NO LZ big enough, enemy in pursuit. I recall hovering above the jungle - WAITING, WAITING, WAITING. We had trouble getting the Rig DOWN thru the canopy, because it was so thick. Tried 5-6 times to thread it down to where they could get it, and then be able to get it back up, STRAIGHT up. Seemed like it took FOREVER, like Korsbeck was saying. And of course, it's not a simple matter to get hitched up in the McGuire. Trying to get ALL three guys harnessed while giving them enough slack to work with, but keeping enough tension on the ropes to keep it from getting tangled in the trees is TRICKY!!

Then trying to hover STRAIGHT up with only distant reference points is also tricky. That hovering so high is NOT easy!! The HIGH vertical lift to get them up thru the trees, and then the SLOW, SLOW, SLOW flight back to (I think) An Hoa. Upon arrival you HAVE to come to a VERY HIGH hover to make sure you don't drag them thru the wire or across the ground. It's always tense hovering that high out-of-ground-effect. But I seem to recall the feeling of "I did it!" Everybody kept their limbs, nobody got drug or hurt. Thank God for RECONDO training!!


Subject: [281AHC] McGuire Rigs
Date: Fri, 18 Feb 2000 01:06:37 -0800
From: Ken Hamilton <>
To: 281stAHC <>
[Photo by Ken Hamilton]

We were flying for the Recondo school one afternoon. We were doing McGuire rigs and repelling. I don't remember who the AC and PP were but they were taking turns holding a high hover. It was the PP's turn and the ropes got tangled so we had to wait a few minutes until they untangled them. I saw something move out of the corner of my eye. When I turned to see what it was I couldn't believe it. I had my camera in my hand, so I took a picture. Bill Henderson was gunning for me that day. He got bored waiting. He climbed out from behind his gun, walked down the skid, and knocked on the PP's window. ......We almost lost Bill that day. About two or three months later; Henderson walked out of a moving helicopter, shattered his ankle and was medivaced out.
Ken H.

Subject: [281AHC] Jungle penetrators? 
Date sent: Thu, 17 Feb 2000 18:21:18 PST 
From: "John Galkiewicz" <> 

All this talk about McGuire rigs in use after I left in Aug of 68. I remember using the electric hoist (jungle penetrator) when I was there. What did you guys do to screw things up and get them taken away and have to go back to the rigs? Couldn't figure out the up/down switch? You do know that you have to swing the thing out first don't you? 

Subject: Re: [281AHC] Jungle penetrators?
Date: Fri, 18 Feb 2000 10:41:32 -0800
From: "Robin K. Hicks" <>

John: Do you remember on 19 Feb 68? I was flying as PP and we tried to pick up a 3 or 4 man team, on of which was wounded, using the jungle penetrator from a really high hover. We fought like crazy and only managed to get one up to the ship. Lines kept tangling and the lift controls would not work properly. All this time we were receiving fire of course, we could see the bad guys running around down below and I was even firing my 45 out the window. Well we ended up just lifting the 3 remaining guys out all together, a McGuire rig would have been better. They kind of held on to each other which was hard because one of them was wounded. If I remember right we didn't have much room and they were introduced to some tree branches before we got out. The biggest thing I remember is their lead guy calling to us on the radio in a panic, we had them swinging and spinning so badly that some of their was flying off and they could just barely hang on. In all fairness though we were still receiving fire and were in kind of a hurry to get out of there. We slowed down and got them stabilized and made it back ok. Maybe that's why they did not use the penetrators. They went down nice but were hard to get back up! 

Robin 67-68 

Subject: [281AHC] McGuire Rigs
Date: Sun, 20 Feb 2000 11:52:22 -0500
From: "Jack W Serig" <>
To: "one list" <>

The day after I reported to the 281st, early Dec '66, I got my ride in a McGuire Rig. Maj. Griffin's policy was that none of his PP's could enter the cockpit until they 'rode the rig'. At that time there was a series of three ropes, both ends tied to the tiedown rings on the Huey's floor. As the Huey hovered upward to about 75 feet three people requiring rig checkouts would sit onto the ropes' seats made by the loops at the bottom of the ropes. The rope seat passengers would then entangle legs and arms with each other. There weren't any belts, hooks or other apparatus, just a piece of rope to sit on, holding on to your own two ropes at about head level hoping one of your 'buddies' didn't fall off. Had my first aerial view of Nha Trang from about 500' altitude that beautiful VFR morning. It was a great ride until the pilot checking out came in too low over the mud flats causing the other two riders and me to voluntarily disengage onto a muddy flat sliding lithely on our backs through the muck. Had to shower and change clothes before I could get my McGuire pilot checkout from the IP. What was unknown to us three rig riders was that the SF Msgt. seated on the floor in the passenger bay attending to the rigs had a machete to cut the ropes in the event of engine failure.
Jack Serig, Sr.