January 9, 1953
Harold Wayne Dennis,
Jimmy Hill, Gene Davis & Kenneth Dafft were drafted to go into the Army on
January 9, 1953. We were all from the Carrollton-Farmers Branch area.
We had all graduated from
Carrollton High School & were all in our early 20ís. You might say we had grown
up together in this area. Kenneth didnít go to Ft. Bragg.
We were sworn in the Army
recruiting office in the Santa Fe Bldg. in Dallas. We boarded a bus & went to
Ft. Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas. We were issued our uniforms.
Jimmy, Gene & I left Ft.
Sam Houston & flew to Ft. Eustis, Va. When we got there it was very cold with
about 6Ē of snow on the ground. We were about to freeze. Basic training was
eight weeks. We had a lot of experiences.
Picture of (starting left to right)
Harold Dennis, Gene Davis and
Jimmy Hill, 1953
Basic Training at Ft.
Eustis, VA. in January 1953, this was just one experience.
Jimmy Hill, Gene Davis & I were in Basic Training in Ft. Eustis, VA. Our
company went into the woods to bivouac. (bivwac). It was cold with snow on the
ground in the pine trees. We had to dig several fox holes up at the front part
of the camp. They were dug in a horse shoe shape, so you could sit a machine
gun on it. The holes were very deep. Jimmy was on guard duty that night. He
was close to that fox hole, walking his post & some way he accidentally fell in
the fox hole. We heard him hollering for the Corporal of the Guard & one went
up & checked on him. He had sprained his ankle so bad he couldnít get out. He
had to be carried back to the main base to the hospital. We all told him he did
that on purpose to get out of bivouac. He swore he didnít. When Jimmy finished
basic training he had lost so much weight that his clothes could just wrap
around him. They had to issue him all new clothes.
When we finished training, we all went in different directions. Jimmy & Gene
went to fixed wing school, to Ft. Campbell, Ky. They sent me to Ft. Sill, Ok.
to Helicopter Mechanics School. This school was 16 weeks long. I had a M.O.S.
3995 helicopter mechanic (job description). When I got out of school I had
orders to go to Austria. I was on leave & was to report to Camp Dix, N. J.
While I was home on leave I got a call from Ray Clark who worked for the
railroad as a telegraph operator, in Carrollton. He told me I had a telegram
from the Army. He read the telegram to me on the phone. It said for me to
disregard all previous orders & report to Ft. Bragg, N. C. on the same date that
I was supposed to go to Camp Dix N. J.
When I got to Ft. Bragg we were assigned to the 509th
Helicopter Transportation Co. This was the first Helicopter Co. that the Army
During the time I was at Ft. Bragg we were proving the capability of helicopters
over fixed wing aircraft. We made Air Shows at Dayton, Ohio (Wright-Patterson
Air Force Base) 50th Anniversary of powered flight at Kitty Hawk, N.
C. & many smaller air shows.
We would assist the 82nd Airborne Troop at the drop zones at Ft.
Bragg. We would land at the end of the drop zone & if any of the soldiers got
hurt during the jump we would take them back to the base hospital.
One time we were there & one of the air planes lost one engine during the drop &
crashed killing several soldiers & crew.
While I was at Ft. Bragg we lost three helicopters. One in a storm north of
Fayetteville with three on board & two ran together . One taking off & one
landing, no one was killed in this crash.
In 1954 we had a hurricane come through. We parked trucks on each side of our
helicopters & tied them down to the trucks. After the storm we flew to the N.
C. & S. C.
Coast & helped rescue
I went to
school at San Marcus Air Force Base to learn the H-21 Helicopter. While at Ft.
Bragg I had a H-13 Bell, Hiller, a H-19 Piasacki & a H-21 Piasacki. These are
the helicopters that I crewed during my stay at Ft. Bragg.
I got out of
the Army on January 8, 1955.
Harold Wayne Dennis