Seawolf Outhouse Robbery

A story by Roger Ek, Seawolf 25 from 1960s

The all-volunteer Navy Helicopter Attack Squadron in Vietnam was named the "Seawolves". Seawolf detachments--known as "dets"-- really had to scrape to get by. It so happened that Det 4 at Ben Luc needed an outhouse, and there was a perfectly good four holer at Vung Tau. Now, an old B-Model Huey wouldn't lift much, but many Seawolf pilots had experience in Vertical Replenishment (VERTREP), the resupply of ships at sea by helicopter. So the Det 4 guys calculated that with a 25 knot wind and a stripped down B-model, they could sling load the Vung Tau four holer.

Our heros arrived at Vung Tau at dawn on a windy day. The crewman casually strolled over to the outhouse and climbed onto the roof. The Seawolf helicopter picked up into a high hover, and the crewman slapped the nylon string into the hook. He then swung up onto the skid, and with a mighty(?) strain, they were off across the Rung Sat, slow and low. The doors on the outhouse blew open which made it revolve in the wind, and the more it revolved, the shorter the sling got, kind-of like the rubber band on a model airplane.

By the time they got to Nha Be, the nylon sling was real short, and so was the fuel supply. When pickled, the cargo hook was released, but the strap would not come unstuck. The helicopter had to hover long enough to let the outhouse unwind a while. That created a whole lot of attention. Finally, the strap came loose, and the outhouse dropped about four feet. It was out of square after that.

To prevent twisting on the final leg to Ben Luc, the Seawolves used a small drogue chute from an OV10A ejection seat. The rest of the trip was a piece of cake. Mission accomplished. That may have been the first time ever that a small chute was used to stabilize a sling load. But we used it often after that with the L-Model Hueys for CONEX boxes and transmission cans.