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Where to see our Loach
History of OH6A Cayuse 67-16026
OH-6 Cayuse
OH-6 Cayuse
OH-6 Cayuse
OH-6 Cayuse
OH-6 Cayuse

16026, known as LOH for Light Observation Helicopter or loach, was purchased by the Army in May of 1968 and entered service with the 3rd Squadron 11th ACR BANDITS in June of 1968. It served the 3/11 from June 1968 until August 1969 before sustaining major belly damage from an explosion during a bomb assessment. Coincidently, its current owner served with 3/11 ACR from June of 1970 to June of 1971.

16026 was sent to the United States for repairs and returned to Vietnam in April of 1970 to serve with B TRP 3/17 Calvary. While serving with the Calvary, the aircraft was damaged by hostile fire in June of 1970. Repairs were completed in-country, and it was reassigned to C TRP 2/17 ACV only to once again come under hostile fire and require additional repairs, in-country, for sustained damages.

To end its tour in Vietnam, 16026 experienced two revetment tail rotor failures. The first was on December 22,1970 with CW2 T.T. Gallard at the controls, and the second on April 13, 1971 with CW2 R.W. Penniman and with W1 B.L. Dragon on board. The aircraft went back to the states for repairs and upgrades.

From August 1972 until 1994, the aircraft was based with the New York National Guard. Deactivated by the National Guard in 1994, the Guard transferred to a Sheriff’s Department. Peter Q. Bales purchased the aircraft in 1997, and 16026 was restored and painted as it appeared from June of 1968 to August of 1969, wearing the Vietnam era markings of the 3/11 ACR.

warbird digest
Warbird Digest

Photography provided by Greg Moorehead and Warbird Digest Magazine

BANDITS - 3/11 ACR Aviation Section

The aviation section of the 3/11 ACR consisted of two UH1Hs and two OH6As helicopters. Crew consisted of six pilots, four crew chief/gunners, and two medic/gunners as flight crew members.

The UH1s were armed with M-60 machine guns on each side of the aircraft, which were manned by the crew chief and gunner. The OH6s were armed with an M-60 machine gun located in the left rear seat and manned by the crew chief.

The UH1s were assigned to the Squadron Commander (Lt. Col.) for command and control during combat missions and Ash and Trash missions the rest of the time. The OH6s were assigned to the Squadron Executive Officer (Maj.) for command and control during maneuvers. When enemy contact was made, the OH6 was busy directing artillery strikes, air strikes, and directing the movement of tracks and Howitzers on the ground. The OH6 often acted as a scout ahead of the tracks.

When not in use by the XO, the OH6 would be employed running documents and mail, delivering parts, acting as a shuttle service, and transporting the GOD Squad (chaplains) to different bases. It was even used to bring the donut dollies to the troops in the field.

Peter Q Bales – Active Duty US Army 1968-1971

Peter Q. Bales entered the U.S. Army basic training at Ft. Polk, Louisiana in October 1968. In January 1969, he started flight training at Ft. Wolters, Texas, with WOC Class 69-29 as a member of the 10th WOC (White Hats). After primary flight training in the TH55 (Hughes 269A) helicopter, he entered advanced flight training in UH1s at Ft. Rucker, Alabama. After receiving instructions in tactics, tactical instruments, and formation flying, WOC Bales received his wings and was given the rank of WOI in September 1969.

From September 1969 to May of 1970, WOI Bales was assigned to an armored cavalry unit at Ft. Riley, Kansas, and the following May he was sent to the OH6A instructor course at Ft. Rucker, Alabama. Upon completion of the course, WOI Bales was sent to Vietnam and assigned to the 3rd Squadron of the 11 ACR, flying OH6A and UH1H helicopters in support of the APC companies, one tank company, and one Howitzer battery.

Bales was awarded the Army Commendation Medal, Air Medal, two Air Medals with V device, and the Distinguished Flying Cross for heroism while participating in aerial flight.

After a one-year tour in Vietnam, CW2 Bales left active duty to serve in the Wisconsin Army Guard. Peter Q. Bales has been employed in the helicopter industry since leaving the Army in 1971. Currently, he is the owner of Tradewind International, LLC, a helicopter sales and parts company.

Organizations We Support
  • American Huey 369 Museum

    • American Huey 369 Organization (some 13,500 plus members and growing) was formed for the specific purpose of Preservation, Education and Paying Tribute to ALL Veterans / Patriots. Together with a Museum / Hanger, 3 restored Vietnam era Hueys that fly and plans in place to build "The National American Huey History Museum" (a 30,000 square foot facility) our members will educate ALL generations to the history of the American made Icon "The Huey"!​

  • Army Aviation Heritage

    • The Army Aviation Heritage Foundation (AAHF) is a national, one-of-a-kind non-profit all-volunteer organization composed of Veterans, their families, and civilian supporters. The AAHF is acting to connect the American soldier to the American public as an active, accepted, and admired member of the American family by presenting the story of Army Aviation and the American soldier. The AAHF is providing America an opportunity to hear its Veterans share their stories and see its military legacy in flight and in action.​

  • EAA - Experimental Aircraft Association​

    • EAA is a community of aviation enthusiasts who promote and support recreational flying. More than 200,000 members worldwide share a common passion for all things aviation. EAA is headquartered in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, and hosts the EAA AirVenture Oshkosh Fly-In & Convention every July.​

  • EAA Warbirds​

    • The EAA Warbirds of America, a division of the Experimental Aircraft Association in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, is a family of owners, pilots and enthusiasts of “warbirds,” or ex-military aircraft.​

  • VHPA - Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association​

    • VHPA's mission is ​to enhance and accredit the cohesiveness, esprit de corps, and traditions of valor of rotary wing aircrews that flew in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam Era. To seek out, using whatever means available, individuals who piloted rotary wing aircraft in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam era and inform them of the existence of the VHPA and encourage all eligible individuals to become members. 

  • VHPAF - Florida Chapter of VHPA​​​

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