Porch, Stephen Letson, LCDR

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Last Rank
Lieutenant Commander
Last Primary NEC
131X-Unrestricted Line Officer - Pilot
Last Rating/NEC Group
Line Officer
Primary Unit
1978-1980, 131X, NAS Agana
Lieutenant Commander
Lieutenant Commander

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

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Home State
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by Daniel L Arnes, CMC to remember Porch, Stephen Letson, LCDR.

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Contact Info
Home Town
Portland, ME
Last Address
Sedgewood Commons Nursing Home, Assisted Living, Short Term Care
22 Northbrook Dr Falmouth, ME 04105

Date of Passing
Jan 06, 2013
Location of Interment
Not Specified
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified

 Official Badges 

 Unofficial Badges 

Sikorsky Winged S Gulf of Tonkin Yacht Club

 Additional Information
Last Known Activity
Steve was cremated, location of ashes unknown.
Other Comments:
22–23 May 1967: Big Mother 69, an SH-3A, LT(JG) Stephen L. Porch and his crew, HS-2, attempted a nighttime CSAR over North Vietnam for Twerps 2, a USAF F-4C, 1st LT David L. Baldwin, downed by “enemy action” after encountering “an intense wall of flak.” Receiving North Vietnamese small arms, automatic weapons and 75 mm fire, Porch and his crew located the pilot and tried to retrieve him, only disengaging when a crewman was wounded and the crewman’s radar altimeter was knocked out. Porch and his co-pilot, LT(JG) Stuart B. Williams, were each awarded the Silver Star.

AX-2 Paul DeGennaro, Coronado, CA served in Helicopter Antisubmarine Squadron (HS-2) from June1966 to Sept 1967. Paul was aircrewman in the SH-3A helicopter armed with M-60 machine guns and Thompson sub-machine guns while conducting Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR) operations. He shares this most memorable mission; Attempted Night Rescue by Paul DeGennaro.
On the evening of May 22, 1967 aboard the USS Kittyhawk (CVA-63) the men of HS-2 SAR DET 1 were at a relaxed state. This was the final day of the SAR DET 1 tour because air operations were secured and the USS Hornet (CVS-12) and the main body of HS-2 would be arriving on station the next morning. Then the 1MC blared “Big Mother standby crew, man your aircraft “ The crew consisted of aircraft commander Lt. (JG) Stephen L Porch, Co pilot Lt (JG) Stuart B. Williams, First crewman AX2 (AC) Paul DeGennaro, Second crewman AX2 Duane A. Shaffer. We launched about 2100 and flew up to North SAR Station. We orbited for a number of hours while they tried to get a fix on downed Air Force pilot, Lt. David L. Baldwin, who punched out in the mountains north of Haiphong. At this point it was about midnight and it was decided that we would in-flight refuel from a DE. This was tricky because our rescue hoist had an intermittent electrical problem and I didn’t want the problem to get worse. We had the DE crew throw us a line and we pulled up the fuel hose with rope. We successfully refueled this way. The downed pilot was located and the OK was given for us to make the rescue. We had two A1 Spads escorting us. We flew at 6000 ft and flew over numerous coastal islands before hitting the mainland. We drew heavy Anti-aircraft fire from the islands. There were shells exploding above us and below us the whole time we were over the island airspace. After flying about 45 minutes we got to the rescue area which was covered with tall trees and at about 5000 ft in altitude. We were communicating with the downed pilot and the A1’s guided us in. We were hovering over tall trees and could not see through them. I clipped a light I took off a Mae West onto the Jungle Penetrator and lowered the penetrator through trees and we waited. At this point we were drawing heavy small arms fire and lost communication with the downed pilot. The aircraft was taking numerous hits. I was knocked over by one bullet going through my shirt and the other crewman took one through the leg. We could not regain communication with the downed pilot and the aircraft started spinning because the rudder controls were damaged by enemy gunfire. Reluctantly we left the area and headed back to the ship. We drew sporadic gunfire until we got to the islands. Our friends on the islands were waiting for us to return and threw every thing they had at us. It was like the 4th July. We landed on the USS Long Beach (CGN 9). A few minutes after landing the self sealing tanks gave out and all the fuel we had left dumped out on the deck of the Long Beach. At first light the next morning another HS-2 DET 1 helicopter commanded by Lt Richard T Daniels went in and successfully made the rescue. With daylight they could see the enemy positions and F4’s were called in to deal with them. It’s amazing what a few well placed cluster bombs can do.
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 Unit Assignments/ Advancement Schools
HS-2 Golden FalconsUSS Kitty Hawk (CVA-63)HA(L)-3 SeawolvesNAS Agana
  1966-1968, 131X, HS-2 Golden Falcons
  1967-1967, 131X, USS Kitty Hawk (CVA-63)
  1968-1969, 131X, HA(L)-3 Seawolves
  1978-1980, 131X, NAS Agana
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1966-1967 Vietnam War/Counteroffensive Phase II Campaign (66-67)
  1967-1968 Vietnam War/Counteroffensive Phase III Campaign (67-68)
  1968-1968 Vietnam War/Tet Counteroffensive Campaign (68)
  1968-1968 Vietnam War/Counteroffensive Phase IV Campaign (68)
  1968-1968 Vietnam War/Counteroffensive Phase V Campaign (68)
  1968-1969 Vietnam War/Counteroffensive Phase VI Campaign (68-69)
 Colleges Attended 
University of Maine
  1960-1964, University of Maine
 Other News, Events and Photographs
  Aug 08, 2013, General Photos
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