Crew Chief Fred Eckelmann points to
the single hole where a round went
hrough the fuel cell and emerged.
The single round made
"Miss Mini" unflyable. Photos taken with
16mm Minolta miniature camera.(68).
(Photo courtesy Joe Michalkiewicz)


"Miss Mini" being rigged at Tan An for transport via CH-47 back to Bien Hoa. Joe Michalkiewicz standing in front. Note, there are no doors!!
Several Bandits took hits on CA's in
the Ben Luc area.(68)
(Photo courtesy Joe Michalkiewicz)


Crew Chief Fred Eckelmann with his
(Photo courtesy Dick "Teeny Bopper" Rissman)


"Miss Mini" being stipped of her armament
for 100 hour maintenace and repair.(69)
(Photo courtesy Dick "Teeny Bopper" Rissman)



It would almost seem that the aircraft above, Bandit 3 "Miss Mini", is immortal! However, Bandit 3 is "reborn". "Miss Mini", a UH-1C, 66-15193, did serve in the 118th AHC. According to the Gold Book at AVSCOM, where a full history of most aircraft in the US Army is kept, 66-15193 entered the 118th with 877 hrs. It served in the unit from Jan 69-Jun 70. What happened one day in June 70 is not known. It was returned to Bell Helicopter for 5 months then back to RVN in Jan 71 to 116th AHC for 1 year. Then it went to the 120th AHC for 1972. Finally, it went to C Co. 16th Cav, then to Thailand and finally to the National Guard. Quite a history for an old "war-horse"

Fred Eckelmann, a former crew-chief for the original Bandit 3 "Miss Mini", believes this is the actual bird he crewed when he was in the 118th AHC. Fred, who works at the Tobyhanna Army Depot in Tobyhanna, PA, wanted to restore a UH-1C gun ship. He approached his boss, Frank W. Zardecki, and told him what he wanted to do and was given the go-ahead. What you see above is the result...a carefully and accurately restored UH-1C gun ship. "Miss Mini" is trailered all over the N.E. area of the US to parades, fairs and air shows. Fred Ecklemann goes along and tells the story of the 118th AHC "Bandits"!

Thanks, Fred.

If you would like to know more about Bandit 3 "Miss Mini" you can call Fred Eckelmann at 570-895-7264. Fred (who happened to have been the CE on Bandit 3 in 1968), handles the scheduling of the bird and just might be able to fit you in the schedule.

(Pictures courtesy of Frank W. Zardecki, Civilian Executive Assistant, Tobyhanna Army Depot, Tobyhanna, PA 18466-5000)


"Bandit 2"

Resurrected in California

(Photos above courtesy of Pat Rodgers
Whittier Museum in Riverside, CA)


The Whittier Aviation Museum in Riverside, CA began an ambitious project in 2002-4 to find a rebuildable UH-1B. Apparently their objective was to re-build the aircraft and lease it to Hollywood movie, film and documentary makers. They finally came up with UH-1B, serial number 62-2084, and began the project. A check of the Gold Book Records showed that the aircraft was never in the 118th, but in the 101st Abn Div. in the U.S. and in Vietnam. Pat Rodgers is a former US Army pilot(after Vietnam) and has been the project manager. He contacted the Thunderbird web site Webmaster for assistance in insuring authenticity of logos and insignia prior to final painting of the aircraft. It was painted as closely as possible with 1963-64 insignia and logos as found in the 118th Bandits. Pat had studied the web site for some time and had a pretty good idea of what needed to be done.


Bandit 2 being taped and primed prior to painting. The hanger is a quonset type located at the March Air Reserve Base in Riverside, CA.
(Photo courtesy Pat Rodgers)


Another view from balcony showing taping and replacement of pilots "chin-bubble"
(Photo courtesy Pat Rodgers)


Finally painted with glossy OD paint typical of UH-1B's in 1963-64 time and with full color insignias and logos. Looking very nice.
(Photo courtesy Pat Rodgers)


The Bandit "bra" logo applied
just like in the old days.
(Photo courtesy Pat Rodgers)

In the photo above, taken from the balcony in the quonset hanger, are Pat Rogers (r) and a part time apprentice mechanic, Roxanne Johnson (l), wearing black t-shirts with white "Bandit" masks they made for the day by sticking part of the masking from the vinyl stencil material! There have been 6 people working on the bird since April 2003. The aircraft was originally a stripped shell of a crop duster that has now been restored back to full military condition. They replaced all wiring, hydraulics, instruments, blades, plexiglass, etc. to complete the job.

Interestingly, Pat said that he discovered a real Bandit UH-1C, 65-09506, aka Bandit 7, at China Lake Naval Weapons Test Center. "She was used as a target for missile testing of some sort. I have not been allowed to take pictures on the range, but she's been shot-up pretty bad. I've got parts of her here at the museum, mostly stuff from the M5 gun system. There were a small number of bits and pieces that were serviceable and they have been installed on the Bandit B model, so part of her will fly again"!

A shot taken in the hangar during the filming. A "mission brief" for
the "Special Opns" is about to take place.
(Photo courtesy Pat Rodgers)

On the set just before starting the night shooting of the documentary
to air on the History Channel in 2004.
(Photo courtesy Pat Rodgers)


Bandit 2 on a beautiful Riverside, CA day.
(Photo courtesy Pat Rodgers)


New blades installed on Bandit 2. Taken on
March Air Reserve Base in Riverside, CA.
(Note some of older aircraft in background.)
(Photo courtesy Pat Rodgers)


Whoa! you might ask,"What is this?" Bandit 2 providing back drop for a 2005 aviation
calander shoot! More to come about where
the calander can be purchased.
(Photo courtesy Pat Rodgers)


Bandit 2 will be used for all kinds of photo, film opportunities for the Whittier Aviation Museum
to raise funds for operation of the museum.
Nice work, if you can get it!
(Photo courtesy Pat Rodgers)


Finally!! Bandit 2 in the air. Rotor rigging
and new skids make things look and work
correctly. Great job
Whittier Aviaion Museum. (2004)
(Photo courtesy Pat Rodgers)


Another shot of hover check on refurbished
Bandit 2.(2004)
(Courtesy Pat Rodgers)


"Mean Machine"!!
Door guns installed and typical "nose low" stance
of UH-1B model.(2004)
(Photo courtesy Pat Rodgers)
If anyone would like to help in keeping Bandit 2 alive and flyable, the Wings & Rotors Air Museum is a 501C3 organization. Any contributions are tax deductible and can be sent to:
Wings and Rotors Air Museum
ATTN: Pat Rodgers
37552 Winchester Rd
Hangar 2D
Murrieta, CA 92563
Two "Old War Horses" going home from an airshow in CA.
The CH-21 belongs to Classic Rotors in Ramona, CA
and the UH-1B "Bandit 2" belongs to the
Wings and Rotors Air Museum
in Murrieta, CA
(Photo courtesy Pat Rodgers)
Beautiful photo of Bandit 2 taken for the cover of "Pacific Flyer"
magazine by Frank Mormillo. Pilot is Pat Rodgers
(former USAR aviator after Vietnam);
CP is Shayne Meder; Frank Tresenrider is the
crew chief at the gun (served with the Kingsman in 68-69
and is in his old spot), and flying gunner on the right
out of the photo, is Craig Cleary.
(Photo courtesy Frank Mormillo)
Bandit 2 belonging to the Wings and Rotors Air Museum in Murrieta, CA lands at Nellis AFB,
Nov 10, 2007 for "Aviation Nation 2007" celebrating the 60th Anniversary of the USAF.
Pat Rodgers is flying the Bandit, Dave Barron is in the left seat, and the crewchief is
Steve Roberts (ex 121st AHC), and Frank Tresenrider (101st Airborne) is on the right side out
of the picture. Flying the dust-off bird is Larry Clark (128th AHC), Mike McCartney as co-pilot,
and Shayne Meder not in picture as crewchief.
(Photo courtesy of and copyright by Kevin Whitehead)

Old Bandit 7

UH-1C, 65-09506, aka Bandit 7, at rest at
China Lake Naval Weapons Test Center.
(Photo courtesy Pat Rodgers)

A UH-1C , aka Bandit 7, was recently found at China Lake Naval Weapons Test Center in very bad condition. She had been used as a target for missile testing of some sort and was nothing more than a "hollow hulk." She was shot up pretty bad. However, some parts of her are now at the Whittier Aviation Museum, Riverside, CA for safe keeping. The salvaged items are mostly stuff from the M5 gun system. But, a few other bits and pieces that were serviceable have been installed on the restored UH-1B known as Bandit 2, above. So, a small part of old Bandit 7, will fly again!


Bandit 7 sitting proudly on the pad of the new Bird Cage
or Spartan heliport, in Bien Hoa.(68)
(Photo courtesy Willis Long)

Bandit 7, 65-09506 sitting outside the 118th hanger at
Bien Hoa shortly after Tet of 1968. Note the hole in the
hanger next door from a rocket attack.(68)
(Photo courtesy Willis Long)

Above are personal items belonging to SP4 Roland G.
McKeague, aka "Pineapple". McKeague was from Hawaii
and in 1968-69 he flew as a Crew Chief on Bandit 7.
(Photo courtesy Mel McKeague brother to "Pineapple"