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MASH/pilot of helicopters


brian wrote at 2008-10-01 13:33:14
One of the pilots for the intro was my cousin. I won't publicly post his name but he was a pilot for the California Highway Patrol when he was asked if he would be willing to fly during the intro.  That started his career in the movie/television industry.  He went on to own a company that leased aircraft to the industry as well as owning a aircraft charter service in Burbank.  He sold that business in the early 90s and continued doing some aircraft charter work but is now retired living in the San Fernando Valley.

I know this post was over a year old but just stumbled across it.  

Ran wrote at 2009-01-07 04:32:49
I knew, and flew with one of the pilots that.  In the opening sequence, he is flying the lead helicopter.  His name was Dan Richards.  He was a three tour pilot from Viet Nam, where he flew news birds for CBS and ABC.  Had three shot out from under him.

I was one of the last people to see him alive.  We hunted elk together and he left camp early to fly to L.A., as he was going to be the pilot in the new series 'Airwolf'.  He stacked his twin engine Cessna into a mountain top in Utah before he got there.

He was my friend and I miss him dearly.

Ran Alan Ricard

tdbarlett wrote at 2012-01-04 02:55:45
Lt. Col. John William “Bill”. Hammett, Sr.

Korean War M*A*S*H* Helicopter “Medivac” Pioneer

Lt. Col. John William “Bill”. Hammett Sr., born in Shreveport, Louisiana was the legendary iconic commanding officer of the Korean War’s very first Helicopter Ambulance Detachment. At just 17 years old with a signed permission slip from his father in his pocket, Bill traveled to Montreal, Canada to enlist in the Royal Canadian Air Force prior to the U.S. entrance into World War II. Once he qualified to fly Lockheed Hudson Bombers, Hurricanes and Spitfire fighters, Bill flew with the British Royal Air Force in the Battle of Britain over France and was shot down and rescued in the English Channel during the Battle of Dunkirk. From 1940 to 1942, he was credited with shooting down 3 German planes. After Pearl Harbor in 1942, Bill returned home to serve in the U.S. Army Air Corps flying light aircraft in combat over Africa and Italy. As an artillery spotter, Bill would fly over enemy lines deliberately drawing fire in order to identify and direct return artillery fire on enemy positions and soon earned him the nickname “Wild Bill.”

After World War II, Bill returned home to Shreveport attending Centenary College and going on to complete two of the three years required at Tulane Law School. Even as a student, Bill continued his passion for flying working as both a flight instructor and a crop duster. At the outbreak of the Korean War in 1950, his education was interrupted when he was recalled to service attending Instrument Flight School in Kansas; Helicopter School in Texas; and Advanced Helicopter School in Oklahoma. Bill served 18 months in combat in Korea - first with the 25th Infantry Division; then assigned to the MASH in Korea as their Air Officer; and ultimately as Commanding Officer of Korea's first Helicopter Ambulance Detachment which hauled over 6,000 critically wounded soldiers during the fighting. It was in the Korean War that helicopter evacuation became a reality. The helicopter had finally been accepted as an organic vehicle of the Army, and rugged terrain of Korea made surface transport arduous. In addition, the scarcity of hard-surface roads and harsh climate often made it extremely difficult to transport casualties from forward units Quick to note the advantages of helicopter evacuation in terrain such as Korea, the 8th Army developed an increased interest in the program. During a significant test conducted by Army and Air Force representatives on August 3, 1950 in the school yard of the Taegu Teachers College, Army helicopters were adopted for the evacuation of casualties and the first procedures were established. On 22 November 1950 the Army's Second Helicopter Detachment arrived in Korea, equipped with four H-13 aircraft.

Army helicopter evacuation was officially established on January 1, 1951 when the Second Helicopter Detachment became operational and was attached to the 8055th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital. In January 1951, two more helicopter detachments, the third and fourth, arrived in Korea with minimum operating personnel and four H-13 aircraft, followed in February by the First Helicopter Detachment. At this time all helicopter detachments used in medical evacuation were assigned to the 8085th Army Unit, Eighth Army Flight Detachment, and attached to forward surgical hospitals   

On August 4, 1950, just one month after the start of the Korean War, the first rotor wing medical evacuation was performed with a bubble-fronted Bell 47 (portrayed in the iconic TV series M*A*S*H). The wounded were transported on basket stretchers attached to the top of the landing gear on the outside of the small helicopter.

As a solo pilot, Bill was a member of an elite group of military aviators who brought rotary wing ambulances into a battlefield environment. Known for their courage, commitment and innovation, Bill was among a handful of pioneer aviators who flew solitary missions in primitive helicopters lacking navigational aids and limited to external litter carrying capabilities. Being a solo pilot meant flying at low altitudes over mountainous terrain to land at unlighted, unmarked sites within range of enemy fire. Flying at night was particularly dangerous. Bill flew so many night flights, he was nicknamed Captain Midnight by the MASH crew. It was these repeated aerial missions to evacuate wounded soldiers and downed pilots that earned Bill multiple medals for heroic action in Korea. More importantly, the tactical importance of air ambulances in battlefield emergency medical care would go on to save thousands of American lives over the next 50 years in places like Lebanon, Vietnam, Bosnia, Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan thanks to solo pilots - brave, resourceful Army aviators like Bill Hammett.

At the end of the Korean War, Bill started training medical helicopter pilots at Fort Sam Houston; served as a test pilot at Fort Rucker, Alabama; served three years in the Surgeon General's Office in Washington, D.C.; attended Command General Staff College; and spent three years in Germany as a Command and Staff Officer. Six months after returning from Europe, Bill was sent to Vietnam in 1966.

Tory wrote at 2013-07-26 23:40:54
I was sitting down talking to the guy that actually owned and flew the aircraft for the movie and TV series.

His name is Joe Pagan

Ray wrote at 2013-11-06 18:50:48
Ray  Poss flew the helicopter in the Movie and the Series. Qcontact


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Jan Greenberg


I can answer any question about any episode. I have the complete series on VHS & the 1st 10 seasons on DVD. Ask away...


I have watched all episodes many times, some much more than that. The best show to ever hit the t.v. airwaves.

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