Beaver Tails master index

 previous  next click on arrows to navigate page by page.

c/n 1340
58-2012 RU-6A of 156th Avn. Co., at Can Tho, South Vietnam.
Photo: Bob Groop © 1966 - via Bob Hagge / John Totter

c/n 1340



58-2012 US Army # 1892. L-20 No.893. Command A-16. Delivered 12-May-1959. Built as L-20A and re-designated U-6A in 1962. Later converted to RU-6A configuration.

58-2012. Operated with 3rd  RRU (Radio Research Unit), Da Nang Vietnam

58-2012 Operated with the 224th Aviation Battalion, 156th Aviation Company (RR), Can Tho, South Vietnam in 1966 but not as an RU-6A. (Named “Old Reliable”. Etched on a plaque in cockpit as a reference to the aircraft being the first RU-6A in SE Asia).

Fate Unknown


Bob Groop was assigned to the 156th Avn. Co. in Can Tho, Vietnam in 1966 when he took this picture of 58-2012 when it was a RU-6A with our Mission Gear installed.  Note the Dipole antennas near the end of each wing. 
By the time I was stationed there in 1970, it had been retrofitted back to the U-6A configuration (Mission Gear including Dipole antennas removed).  It had a Plaque mounted inside naming it, "The Reliable One".  It was the "first RU-6A in Southeast Asia".  I wish I had a photo of the plaque.
Bob Hagge

Here is a not very good picture of the plaque extracted from one of the movies that Dave Crow made and sent to us.  You can make out  "The Old Reliable" and "Still Serving Proudly"  I believe two  other lines are dates.  The second of them appears to be January but that is just a guess. 

John Totter

That is CW2 Mike Mortson in the left seat and me, CW2 Chuck Ross in the right seat.  I handed my camera to the equipment operator in the back and he took the photo during a mission in Vietnam in 1968.  There is a small bit of mission gear visible at the lower left which makes this an RU as opposed to a ‘slick’ U-6A.  Detail-rich image for me.

This was a very early configuration for the RU.  The very large radio-compass dial at the top center instrument panel is a clue to this.  The standard later was a C-12 digital compass with a very small readout.  While actually ‘working’ the pilot was responsible for present heading to a single degree and the copilot for present position within ten meters.  (not much more I can say about the mission)  The aircraft had two bomb shackles under each wing but they were never used for anything in my time there.  The arming switches for these shackles were immediately above the center of the windshield – the four red-guarded toggles.  In this picture I had hung my old Elgin wristwatch on a pencil and closed it in those switchguards.  I always did this so the tropic heat didn’t make my sweat fog up the watch crystal.  You can see the watch just above the compass.  The heat is also the reason our chinstraps are unsnapped and the parachute harness is slung over the seatbacks instead of cinched down over our shoulders.

The UHF comm radio overhead is the reason for the fiberglas hump above the flight deck you may see in some Army Beavers.  You can also see the gravity fuel transfer handle just to the left of Mike’s helmet.  We had to use no fewer than eight fuel selections during a four-hour mission.

Mike stayed in the Army until retirement and worked on as a civil servant.  I still hear from him every now and then.  I left active duty a couple years after this and left the National Guard a couple years after that.

Interesting that 012 was later called "The Old Reliable“ because I had quite the opposite impression of that particular tail number at the time.