Battalion History

 

11 December 1961 To 2 April 1972

During 1961 a general survey of the situation throughout Vietnam was
made by General Maxwell Taylor, President Kennedy's military advisor. One
item which he emphasized in his report was the lack of mobility of the ARVN
troops.
To correct the situation, orders were sent to the 8th and 57th
Transportation Companies (Light Helicopter) in the Fall of 1961 to deploy
to Vietnam. Both units were equipped with Piasecki 21 Shawnee helicopters
(Flying Banana).
Early November found the officers and men of the 8th and 57th
Transportation Companies starting to think about Thanksgiving and Christmas
leaves. Little did they realize that Thanksgiving would be spent on the
Pacific Ocean and Christmas would be a sacred moment or two in South
Vietnam, crammed between maintenance and missions. When the flag went up
and the order to move was received, the procedures were old hat.
Inspections, checks, allotments etc., were more or less routine.
In four days, one hundred percent of all TO&E aircraft were flyable
and ready to depart. At 1000 hours, 6 November 1961, twenty H-21's from the
57th Trans Co. departed Gray Field, Fort Lewis, Washington for Stockton,
California. At 1900 hours, 8 November 1961, twenty Helicopters arrived at
Stockton, California without incident. This included a night flight over
the Sierra Mountains, reaching an altitude of 10,500 feet.
On 21 November 1961, the units of the 8th and 57th departed for
"destination unknown" aboard the USNS Core. Twenty-one days later, crowds
gathered to observe the Banana Helicopters docked at Saigon, Vietnam.
Hundreds and hundreds of people gazed with admiration at the big
helicopters with U.S. Army boldly written across the side. As rapidly as
possible the cacoons were removed, engines pre-oiled and the crowds waited
expectantly as the first helicopter prepared for flight. Smoke blew out of
the exhaust as the engine roared into action. Slowly the blades started to
turn. Faster and faster until the pilot made all of his flight checks. Then
with a powerful lurch, the first United States Army Cargo Helicopter to fly
in South Vietnam, lifted off the deck of the carrier USNS CORE and sped
down the Mekong River to the Saigon International Airport. Another first
for the 57th Transportation Company. One by one the H-21's moved noisily
off the carrier to their new home in a strange and unfamiliar land.
The units arrived on the USNS Core on 11 December 1961, 12 days later
the units carried out the first airmobile action of the Vietnam War. The
22nd of December 1961 will be long remembered by the men who served with
the 8th and 57th Trans Companies on that day. Operating jointly, members of
the 8th and 57th Transportation Company (Light Helicopter), a training
exercise was conducted north of the city of Saigon. Everyone knew that this
was a rehearsal for the real thing that was to follow. Thirty H-21
helicopters loaded to maximum capacity with crack Vietnamese paratroopers
raced across the docile countryside. Take-off, check points, release points
and the landing area were hit with exact timing indicating the degree of
professionalism and training that these two units possessed. The training
exercise was completed successfully in every detail and we know that we
were ready for the "big one ".
The first combat assault in Vietnam, on 23 December 1961, was
conducted in pineapple fields about 10 miles east of Saigon and just south
of the village of Duc Hoa with 30 aircraft from both the 8th and 57th
Transportation Companies participating. At dawn on the morning of 23
December 1961, the pilots examined their aircraft with unusual
thoroughness. Each item on the pre-flight check list was carefully
scrutinized. Simultaneously the Vietnamese paratroopers quietly and orderly
broke themselves into chalk loads and assembled around the helicopter that
was to make history for them. Slowly the time passed. One hour, two, then
three. The pilots laughed nervously as intelligence patiently tried to get
a fix on the radio that we were after. Then the word came. Go! With the
57th Transportation Company leading into a small page in history, thirty
helicopters formed in echelons right and left, gaining speed as they left
the Saigon Airport behind. On time, and on target, the helicopters flared
for a landing into and almost impossible zone. Perpendicular rows of
pineapple fields deep in mud and water. If ever pilot training and
technique paid dividends, this was the day. Small arms fire broke out
immediately and several of the aircraft were under fire as they departed
the area to return for additional troops and reinforcements. All the
aircrafts departed this area but one. As the pilots looked back they could
see the cloud of black smoke and orange flames reaching for the sky and
there was little doubt as to what had happened. Another, but undesirable
first for the 57th Transportation Company. The first aircraft to be lost to
insurgent activity while on an operational mission. Operation Chopper was a
great success.
On the 24th of December 1961, Specialist Fourth Class George F.
Fryett, was reported kidnaped by the insurgent Viet Cong. The 57th
Transportation Company and the 8th Transportation Company were jointly
alerted to prepare to mass a large number of troops as soon as the location
of this American soldier was determined. Frantic preparations were made to
continue making ready the H-21's for this most important mission. That word
wouldn't come untill June 1962.
On 2 January 1962, the word was received and for the first time, a
large number of troops were delivered into an otherwise inaccessible area.
One thousand and thirty six troops were flown into a hole in the jungle.
This landing zone was no more than 300 yards by 150 yards. The ground was
soft and the zone was further confined by isolated trees and brush growing
at random. Tall, towering jungle trees ridged the area and the Viet Cong
roamed at will throughout this dense foliaged area. Without incident, this
mission was performed to the amazement of the Vietnamese staff and
commanders who were now grasping the importance of helicopter in their
operations and the complete freedom and flexibility it would give them in
future actions.
The one problem which arose was with their limited range the units
could only be used in the countryside around Tan Son Nhut Airbase. To help
the situation the 93rd Transportation Company arrived in Vietnam the 26th
of January 1962 in the Da Nang area.
On 15 December 1961, the 93rd Transportation Company departed from
Quonset Point, Rhode Island, aboard the U.S.S Carr for their long voyage
from their deep rooted homes at Fort Devens, Massachusetts, to a new
challenge in the Republic of South Viet Nam. After arriving at Subic Bay,
Phillippines Islands, the company transferred their men and equipment
aboard the U.S.S Princeton and continued to Da Nang, Viet Nam, arriving on
25 January 1962. On 1 February 1962, only six days later, the 93rd
Transportation Company was operational and began their dangerous flying
mission in Viet Nam.
The 93rd Transportation Company readily accepted their new challenging
tactical mission of providing air transportation for combat troops of the
Republic of South Viet Nam to expedite the tactical operations and
logistical support in the forward areas of the combat zones. This also
includes transportation of troops, equipment and supplies into inaccessible
areas and evacuation of combat casualities.
Even with the third company the airmobile assets were still spread
thin and all three units experienced a serious shortage of spare parts. To
provide a utility supply network for the H-21s the 18th Aviation Company
equipped with U-1A Otter aircraft arrived in Vietnam 7 February 1962. The
339th Transportation Company arrived with the 18th AVN CO to provide
aviation and maintenance support to all aviation type units in Vietnam at
the time.
The 57th Medical Detachment (Helicopter Ambulance) arrived in February
1962 with the first "Hueys" in Vietnam. These new units were the beginning
of a greatly increased aid program aimed at improving the capability of the
South Vietnamese to fight the growing guerrilla force.
A one time priority of training became the goal for the 57th Trans Co.
Helicopters departed regularly to train the Infantryman on the minimum
procedures he must grasp prior to being sent on an assault mission. In
three months, the 57th Transportation Company adequately trained 26,364
men. We now had the flexibility to move anywhere in the Mekong Delta Area
and displace trained troops. At first awed by the helicopters, the
Vietnamese soldier soon came to look forward to an assault by the
helicopter. Slowly, the local commanders began to employ the helicopters
more and more in less stereotyped missions. New ideas were sought and in
every case the pilots of the 57th Transportation Company carried them out
to the letter. An entire new concept in thinking and maneuver against the
insurgent forces made the helicopter the most desired tool in their
inventory. The ratio of men employed, to Viet Cong destroyed, clearly
demonstrated the soundness of helicopter vertical envelopment.
With the arrival of the United States Marine Squadron came and even
greater lift capability. Instead of fifteen choppers, we could now employ
thirty or more. The men of the 57th Transportation Company eagerly greeted
the Marines and passed on to them the experience that they had gained
during the many assault missions they had flown.
The CH-21 Army helicopters rapidly became "the pack horses of the Viet
Namese mountains, jungles and rice paddies" flying dangerous supply routes
that a few months earlier took land parties week to negotiate. Soon the
helicopters crews of the 93rd were much at home shuffling equipment across
the mountains. Loads varied from howitzers attached to slings riding below
the ships to disassembled parts of two bull dozers which were flown to a
U.S. Army Special Forces outpost to build an airstrip.
On 22 April 1962, another first was recorded for the 57th
Transportation Company. A massive mission of thirty helicopters, lifting
1,104 troops, flown jointly by United States Marines and United States Army
Helicopter pilots descended upon a little known area in an effort to
suppress those who wish to overthrow the government. With minimum planning
and liaison, the mission was performed in training-film style. Each unit
moving directly to the appointed place at the appointed time with split
second timing.
Specialist Forth Class George F Fryett of the 57th Trans Co was
released by the insurgent Viet Cong forces on June 23, 1962, after being
held captive since the 24th of December 1961.
On 27 June 1962, General Hightower selected the 93rd Transportation
Company and attached units as the most outstanding company visited in the
Republic of South Viet Nam. General Hightower visited a majority of the
organizations in Viet Nam but chose an aviation unit, the 93rd
Transportation Company as the most outstanding.
To provide better command of the helicopter and fixed wing units the
45th Transportation Battalion was deployed from Fort Sill, OK. On 1 July
1962 the 45th Trans Bn. arrived in Vietnam.
On the 19th of July 1962, a triple threat was passed against the Viet
Cong. On this day, for the first time, forty helicopters deposited their
troops in an area south west of Ben Cat. These choppers were flown by the
57th Transportation Company, United States Marines, and Vietnamese Air
Force pilots. Four hundred and eighty soldiers were massed adjacent to a
suspected Viet Cong strong point. Landed in flooded rice paddies with mud
and water up to the waist and chests of the debarking men. A feat deemed
impossible just a few short months ago.
As of the 24th of July 1962 the 57th Trans Co has flown 4,583 hours in
support of the Vietnamese forces. A grand total of 133,464 ton miles of
cargo have been flown to assist this nation in its struggle for
independence and freedom form the Viet Cong. 51,358 troops have been
transported by helicopter to insure the eventual defeat of the insurgents.
On 2 August 1962, the 93rd Transportation Company conducted the first
large scale heliborne operation ever conducted in the I Corps Tactical Zone
which consisted of a two company raid on the Viet Cong 5th Region
Headquarters in th Do XA area. The participation of the 93rd Transportation
Company permitted the rapid capture of the Viet Cong radio station and
caused heavy casualties to be inflected upon the enemy.
On 30 August 1962, the 93rd Transportation Company participated in
Operation "Lam Son II" another air-mobile combat assault against a
hard-core Viet Cong Battalion deep in the jungles of Quang Ngai Province,
complimented by 10 CH-34 helicopters of the 1st Helicopter Squadron VNAF, a
heavy ground fog covered the landing zone preventing the first lift until
two hours after the pre-strike, instead of immediately after the strike as
planned. Despite encountering heavy fire from the alerted and prepared Viet
Cong the loss of two CH-21 helicopters to enemy ground fire and the
wounding of four crew members, the 93rd Transportation Company successfully
completed two air lifts into the heavily enemy infested landing zone. Of
the twelve helicopters from the 93rd Transportation Company, nine were hit
and damaged by enemy fire and two shot down. Six persons were killed and
five wounded in helicopters during "Lam Son II". All objectives were taken,
40 Viet Cong guerrillas were killed, six prisoners were taken, many enemy
supplies including an ammunition dump were destroyed and valuable
intelligence documents were seized. The psychological effect of this
successful raid deep within enemy held territory was immeasurable.
On 12 September 1962, the advance party departed Da Nang on a
classified mission to relocate the 93rd Transportation Company.
33rd and 81st Trans. Co. arrived in Vietnam on 17 September 1962. With
the arrival of the last two Companies the Battalion was complete, the first
of its kind in Vietnam.
On 19 September 1962 the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing of Soc Trang and the
93rd Transportation Company of Da Nang exchanged locations, the 93rd saying
farewell to the mountains and jungle thus moving to their present location
at Soc Trang Airfield in the flat Mekong River Delta. Air lifting the
company to Soc Trang required transportating 47 loads; 855,299 pounds of
cargo; 196,142.2 cargo-ton miles; 53,068 passenger miles and 96 hours of
flight time. On 23 September 1962, the first operational mission in the
Delta area was flown.
With the arrival of the Utility Tactical Transport Helicopter Company
on 3 October 1962 a whole new concept in airmobility was born. The UTT was
equipped with 15 UH-1A "Huey" Gunships, originally designated "Test
Escort". In November 1962 the UTT was reinforced with 11 new UH-1B model
Huey, the B models were greatly improved. Thus was born the first Combat
Aviation Battalion in Vietnam (and the world I believe) although it
wouldn't be designated as such until September 1963.
Here is a letter from Al Comptom who served with the UTT as a crew
chief when they arrived:
Dear James, With the data I have collected I am sending you some more
information on the old UTT.
I arrived on Okinawa SO 209, 28 July, 1961. The Company was located
on a high hill overlooking the China Sea. The area was known as Sukiran.
The airfield was located right next to the sea and known as Hamby Army
Airfield. I was originally assigned to the 25th Trans Det, the support
maintenance unit, but was assigned to the UTT on SO 208 11 Oct, 1961. I
was assigned to the 3rd platoon and SFC Francis "Smitty" Smith was my
Platoon Sgt. I believe we had 5 UH-lA models in our platoon. They were
all like new 1959 models. We had an old Papa-san who did nothing but
walk the line and wax them. They were beautiful. The finish was like
glass. I was made crew chief around Dec, 1961 and my ship no. was
59-1659. I named her the "Virginia Creeper". The CO was Maj Robert L.
Runkle. Capt. Ivan Slavich was the Exec Off. Duty on Okinawa was good.
We flew missions to outlying islands and sometimes just tooled around
the main island. As crew chief I always flew co-pilot position. It was
not unusual for the chiefs to get in as much "stick time" as the pilots.
Sometime near the end of 1962 an uneasy feeling came over me as our
basic missions began to change. I had heard little of Vietnam. We began
altering and modifying the ships. Suddenly looks didn't mean as much as
they did before. Electricians were all over us making up wiring
harnesses and such. Then they brought on 30 cal machine guns. The old
air cooled type I had used in the 50's in Korea. These were mounted one
on each skid. Then came the tubes for the 2.75 rockets. One on each side
of the fuselage. By this time rumors were flying. Then came a briefing
and the rumors were confirmed. We were going to Nam as the first attack
helicopter formed in the Army. We trained and trained. We lived on the
firing range trying to get the bugs out. It was a real home made set up.
30 cal ammo for the guns was laid out in rows on the floor of the ship
and hand fed through a chute through the floor to the guns. It took 2
people, one on each side to accomplish this. Hence the door gunner was
born. He would assist the crew chief in his duties. This ammo on the
floor thing was terrible. Later on we devised a box to hold it. It had a
divider in the center so each half fed one gun. The ammo would still
overfeed so we installed a weighted bar to ride on top of it and help
control the feed. Then problems with the guns jamming. Once we lifted
off, the weight was so that the skids rode too low for us to reach the
guns to clear. So we installed a long arm to the bolt mech. Now we could
reach out and unjam them. Trouble was, the static electricity when we
grabbed the handle was eating us up. So we taped foam rubber to them and
it worked. The rockets worked pretty well once we got all the electrical
bugs out. Only thing was, the pilot had to put a grease pencil mark on
the windshield in front of him for a cross hair. Whenever a different
pilot flew the ship he would have to re-locate the mark. In Sept we
loaded up, bag and baggage, onto Airforce C-123's and C130's at Kadena
airfield, and said goodby to our families not knowing when or if we
would see them again. A platoon had previously been sent to Thailand and
would join us at Tan Son Nhut. We set up in a tent city and squatted
over slit trenches. Our main mission was to support troop-carrying
H-21's. My platoon was soon sent to Soc Trang. In the mean-time the
company had set up in new Quarters with roofs and screened in walls. Tho
we still had to sleep with our mosquito nets to keep from being carried
away. Right after we first arrived our beautiful ships were flown over
to a do it yourself paint shop and everything was painted over except
the tail number, with drab rough texture OD paint. Capt Slavich made Maj
and took over the company on Nov 25,1962. He was a former Marine and a
combat vet of Korea. He acquired the nick-name "Drivin Ivan". He was
hell when he was well and he was never sick. Our first casualty was
Johnie Lee. I don't remember his rank. Spec 4 or 5 I believe SSGT. He
was killed by a round that penetrated the bottom of the ship. He was in
operations but always wanted to fly. On this particular day in the first
part of November, Spec 5 Donald Bunner, a crew chief, let Johnie take
his flight. Don always felt bad about this afterwards. The old A models
were good but we were flying them into the ground. The hours were
adding up on them faster than we could count. We encountered severe
cracking and just plain not enough power. On the same mission with
Johnie Lee was a young Capt named Joel R. Steine. He was flying pilot
and took a round through the windshield, instrument panel and hitting
him in the chest just over his heart. His co-pilot a MAAG Lt Col took
the controls while Capt Steine removed a 30 cal round from the pocket of
his flak jacket. He was only bruised. In late Nov. 1962 we started
receiving the newer more powerful B models. They were fitted with
factory made rocket pods and quad 7.62 machine guns. I traded in my old
A model and received no 878. We took our second casualty around Jan 2,
1963. Sgt William "Bill" Deal. His ship was shot down in a battle at Ap
Bac near Tam Hiep in the Delta area. Bill had been my door gunner until
the B models came in and he was given a ship of his own. He was a good
friend. A buddy. I'm sorry I never got to meet his family. He was from
Mays Landing, N.J.
The location on the wall for Johnie Lee is 1 E 14. For Bill Deal
it's 1 E 15. Tom Derosier went back to the States and to flight school.
I next saw him at the 7th Army Aviation Safety and Standardization Det.
in Germany. He was a 1st Lt but was promoted to Capt while there. I
later found he had returned as a pilot to Nam and was killed. E 23 27.
He was a real decent person. Very quiet and shy. The last I heard of
Col. Slavich he was living in Charlotte, N.C. I believe he was in real
estate a middle-management executive with McGuire Properties. He was a
hell of a guy!
Enclosed is a picture of me (the one with the flight helmet on!)
taken by Richard Tregaskis. From his book "Vietnam Diary". The main
thing about the picture is that the whole time these were taken, and the
time we spent in the ship bringing him in, he had a frag grenade taped
to the back of his leg! It wasn't found until after we had turned him
over for interrogation! They gave it to me but Tregaskis asked me if he
could have it so I gave it to him. I don't know if he ever had it
de-fused! Hope you'll be able to use this information I'm sending. It
has taken several days to get it all together. I seem to have forgotten
a lot of things that happened back then. I do remember our movie house
was named in honor of Johnie Lee. I remember a bronze plaque being
installed with his name on it. I wonder what ever happened to it? So
long for now. Al Compton
On 17 December 1962, orders were received assigning the 18th Aviation
Operating Detachment from Okinawa to Soc Trang per General Order 45, USASG,
effective 5 December 1962. The 18th A.O.D. has the mission of facilitating
all Army flight operations by providing flight information planning data,
coordination of day, night and instrument flights, navigational aids, and
Air traffic control for the aviation unit to whom it is attached. The 18th
A.O.D. is established with 39 Enlisted Men and 5 officers to provide it
services for handling a daily air traffic count of 50. At Soc Trang, the
18th A.O.D. normally handles as aircraft count of 103 daily.
In December the 93rd Transportation Company established another
mile-stone and record by flying 1,017.2 hours in a single month in the
Republic of South Viet Nam.
On 20 December 1962, during an airmobile assault with ARVN troops near
Tuy Hoa, CWO Charles Raymond Holloway of the 81st was killed in action.
Subsequently the base at Pleiku was officially named Camp Holloway.
Throughout 1963 the UTT would be used as a test unit for the Army to
determine the effectiveness of armed helicopters. It was demonstrated that
armed helicopters employing the tactics and techniques developed by the UTT
could provide adequate protection for airmobile operations against an
insurgent force similar to the Viet Cong. The new year also brought many
changes in types of missions. In addition to escorting transport
helicopters, now providing reconnaissance, convoy protection, and close
support for ARVN ground troops became major roles.
AP BAC - 2 January 1963, on 2 January 1963 the 93rd Transportation
Company started the new year on a tragic note. While supporting the 7th
Infantry ARVN Division from a staging area located at a small dirt strip at
Tan Hiep, the entire flight of the CH-21, U.S. Army helicopters from the
93rd Transportation Company was ambushed by an entrenched hard-core Viet
Cong reinforced Battalion on the fourth assault rifle lift committing the
reserve forces. In the final stage of the approach from contour level, heavy
machine gun and automatic rifle fire was received. Without regard for
personal safety, the ten helicopters proceeded past the armored personnel
carriers and the main advancing body to land their troops in the designated
landing zone. Not one helicopter aborted or failed to complete its mission
of getting the troops into the landing zone.
Although hit by ground fire the first four aircraft were able to make
successful take-offs from the area. The fifth aircraft, however, was shot
down due to heavy ground fire. The crew of the sixth helicopter
unhesitatingly diverted their take-off and attempted to pick up the crew of
the downed aircraft and were immediately shot down also. The landing zone
was untenable due to enemy fire which prevented further rescue attempts. The
remainder of the flight departed for the staging area although the second
aircraft had to make a force landing due to damage from the ground fire
received. The downed crews were left to fend for themselves in the rice
paddies ahead of the main attacking force, where they remained under enemy
fire for the next eight hours. One man was dead and five had been wounded by
enemy fire.
Upon return to the staging area, assessment of damage to the seven
remaining helicopters revealed only two were flyable. Approximately one hour
later information was received from ground troops in the area that firing
had subsided and evacuation of the downed crews could be made. The rescue
aircraft was landed despite sporadic ground fire and damage to the aircraft.
When the loading of the wounded and crews was attempted, the tempo of enemy
fire increased and a heavy volume of fire entered the cockpit wounding the
pilot. This forced the aircraft to make an immediate take-off leaving the
wounded and crews behind. The aircraft was flown out of the landing zone,
but 1/2 mile away a forced landing had to be made due to damage from enemy
fire. Meanwhile, at the staging area, two other helicopters had been rapidly
repaired from parts of other downed aircraft. For the remaining hours of the
afternoon, ammunition and medical evacuations were flown by these ships into
the first three landing zones.
Approximately eight hours from the time they were shot down, the crews
and their wounded were finally picked up by ARVN armored personnel carriers.
Then they had to ride for approximately two hours through attacks with the
armored personnel carriers until an area was reached where they could be
evacuated by helicopter.
At the days end, nine Americans had been wounded and one killed in
action, Sgt William L Deal of the UTT in support of the 93rd Trans Co. Of
the ten helicopters committed on the mission, all ten had been hit by enemy
fire, four had been shot down and only three helicopters were flyable to
return to the airfield.
On 2 January 1963, Sergeant William L Deal was the first UTT man to be
fatally wounded. It was realized that the effectiveness of helicopters
against prepared positions was limited.
On 3 and 4 January maintenance personnel from the 93rd Transportation
Company flew to the downed aircraft and with disregard for their personal
safety and only concern for their equipment and the ultimate recovery of the
downed aircraft, they went into the areas for two days under hostile fire,
remaining there to effect repairs.
The heroism, esprite-de-corps and comradish displayed throughout the
entire action upholds the common knowledge of the spirit the officers and
men to the 93rd Transportation Company have as being perhaps among the best
if not the best in the Army.
On 10 January 1963, the 93rd and the 57th Trans Companies suffered
another air tragedy when a CH-21 helicopter from the 57th Transportation
Company enroute from Soc Trang to Saigon crashed with three 93rd officers
riding as passengers. All seven persons aboard the aircraft were killed. The
three officers from the 93rd Transportation Company were Captain Donald B.
Toth, 1st Lt Lewis L. Stone and 1st Lt Charles M. Fitts.
On the brighter side in January the 93rd Trans Co received a playful 9
month Bengal tiger mascot named "Tuffy" from MAAG Laos. After his arrival,
Tuffy was showered with attention and affection from Privates to Generals,
Tuffy was good natured, playful and usually harmless. For many in the
company a scratch or scar from Tuffy was a treasured memory never to be
forgotten. Tuffy's diet was not that of a normal tiger. His favorite dishes
included weiners, steaks, meat balls, and spaghetti. In the cool of the
evening, Tuffy always took his daily swim in his own private swimming pool.
Thus with a playful Bengal tiger as company mascot, the members of the 93rd
Transportation Company soon became widely known as the Soc Trang Flying
Tigers.
In February 1963 one platoon of the UTT was deployed to support the
Marines in the mountainous region around Da Nang.
On 4 March 1963, Major Edward C. Seymour, the present commander,
assumed command of the 93rd Transportation Company relieving Major Paul E.
Ewing who was reassigned to the 45th Transportation Battalion at Ton Son
Nhut.
In March of 1963 the Army started replacing the H-21 Shawnee
helicopters (Flying Banana) with the new UH-1 Huey helicopters.
On 27 March 1963, the first Machine Gun Platoon, of 1 officer and 20
Enlisted men, arrived for 90 days TDY from the 25th Infantry Division in
Hawaii for duty as gunners on the CH-21 helicopters of the 93rd
Transportation Company.
In April 1963, planning and coordination between UTT and ARVN
commanders brought about the operation called "Eagle Flight". Because of
it's success, this type of operation was used extensively in the months
following. Before the first year of combat was completed, 41 Eagle Flight
had been conducted.
In early June 1963 armed helicopters were initiated into four other
companies, and the UTT armament section was requested to assist with
installation of the weapons and to train personnel.
The Army redesignated most of the units of the 45th Trans. Bn. on 25
June 1963. The 8th Trans. Co. was redesignated the 117th Aslt. Hel. Co.,
33rd Trans to 118th AHC, 81st to 119th AHC, 57th to the 120th AHC, and 93rd
redesignated 121st AHC, retaining their men, equipment, location and
history. The 118AHC with its UH-1B gunships (Bandits) became the first
Assault Helicopter Company in Vietnam. The Bandits were credited with 150
enemy kills in the first month.
Also in June, Tuffy, the Soc Trang tiger mascot weighing over 250
pounds and 15 months old, departed the 121st Aviation Company for the Teledo
Ohio Zoo. Tuffy no longer will have his own private pool but will also
suffer a reduction in rank from Number 1 Top Tiger of the 121st Aviation
Company to Number 6 Bengal Tiger of the Toledo Zoo.
In July 1963, the 121st Aviation Company was transferred from the 45th
Trans Bn to the Delta Avn Bn (Prov), and topped their previous record flying
time by having a busy flying month totaling 1,064 hours. Also in July the
119th AHC was transferred to the 52nd Avn Bn.
On 23 August 1963, the 121st Aviation Company again established another
record by having the largest Decorations and Awards Presentations Ceremony
in the history of Viet Nam by decorating forty-four (44) individuals (almost
1/4 of the company). Lieutenant Colonel Wayne N. Phillips , Commanding
Officer of the Delta Aviation Battalion and Major Edward C. Seymour,
Commander of the 121st Aviation Company presented on the date, three (3)
Distinguished Flying Cross, one (1) Bronze Star with Valor, thiry-seven (37)
Air medals and fifty-four (54) Oak Leaf Clusters to the Air medal, and 14
Purple hearts.
In August the 121st Aviation Company again topped the 1000 hour a month
mark by flying 1,019.1 hours.

145th Combat Aviation Battalion Begins

The 45th Transportation Battalion was redesignated the 145th Combat
Aviation Battalion on 24 September 1963 and brought to a close the 45th
Transportation Battalion and gave birth to the 145th Combat Aviation
Battalion. With the redesignation of the 45th a new chapter in aviation
history began. The second and last 45th Battalion Commander in Vietnam,
LTC. Kenneth D. Mertel, became the first Commander of the 145th Combat
Aviation Battalion and continued the "Old Warriors" proud history. The new
145th retained the slogan earned by the 45th, "First In Vietnam". The
slogan originally given to the 45th for being the first Aviation Battalion
in Vietnam would take on a new meaning in the 145th, the meaning of being
first and foremost in all aspects of airmobile tactics and equipment.
The 145th started it's history with the units of the UTT, 18th Avn,
117th AHC, 118th AHC, 120th AHC, 339th Trans, HHC 145th CAB, and elements
of the 57th MED DET., having lost the 119th AHC to the 52nd CAB and the
121st to Delta Avn. Bn.. I believe the 57th Med. Det. was assigned to and
supported by the 145th at this time. The units of the 145th continued their
mission of supporting the South Vietnamese Units and working out airmobile
tactics that would be the basis for all airmobile operations through out
the war.
LTC. Mertel turned over command of the 145th to LTC. Charles M.
Grandelli on the 29th of November 1963. After the riots and overthrow of
the Dien government in November 1963 the news media started to notice the
Vietnam War. Under the command of LTC. Grandelli the largest heliborne
assault operation ever executed to date by US Forces in support of ARVN
troops took place on the 17th and 18th of January 1964. LTC. Grandelli
carried on the very fine traditions of the 145th until the 30th of March
1964 when he turned over command to LTC. John C. Hughes.
Due to their efforts the 145th Battalion and Airlift Platoon, UTT,
118th AHC, and the 120th AHC was awarded the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry
for operations between 2 June 1964 to 12 June 1964.
21 July 1964 brought about another change of command when LTC. Hughes
turned over command to LTC. Robert K. Cunningham. Shortly there after in
August of 1964 the UTT was redesignated the 68th Aviation Company, this was
just a name change, the personnel, equipment, and mission remained the
same.
August 18, 1964 was the day the last CH-21C flew in Vietnam. CWO
Charles D. Holbrook from the 120th Aviation Company flew the last CH-21C
from Saigon to Vung Tau to be transported back to the United States on that
date.
In October 1964 the 18th Aviation Company (Fixed Wing) was transferred
to the 14th Combat Aviation Battalion.
Shortly after midnight on 1 November 1964, Viet Cong staged a mortar
attack on Bien Hoa Air Base. Four men were killed and 62 were wounded in
the enlisted compound. An estimated 30 rounds of 82mm mortar fire were
received. Troops of the 145th reacted with courage and determination as
standby fire teams were launched and defensive bunkers were manned. One of
the UH-1B's rescued a VNAF aviator whose A1-E had crashed in flames during
the attack, resulting in the battalion's first two Vietnamese Flying
Crosses with star.
In December of 1964, A Company, 501st Aviation Battalion was assigned
to the battalion and became operational very quickly due to an infusion and
training program conducted by the 118th Aviation Company.
Distinguished Unit Citation, 121st Avn Co: - Award of the
Distinguished Unit Citation by the President of the United States of
America to the following units of the Armed Forces of the United States is
confirmed in accordance with paragraph 194, AR 672-5-1. The text of the
citation as announced by President Lyndon B Johnson on 7 March 1966 reads
as follows: The 121st Aviation Company (Air Mobile Light) United States
Armed Forces, and attached units- 2nd Medical Dispensary (General), 80th
Transportation Detachment (Cargo Helicopter Field Maintenance), 82nd
Medical Detachment (Helicopter Ambulance), 134th Medical Detachment, 257th
Signal Detachment, Detachment 7, 30th Weather Squadron, United States Air
Force, 6th Airlift Platoon, and the 5th Gunner Detachment. By virtue of the
authority vested in me as President of the United States and as Commander
in Chief of the Armed Forces of the United States I have today awarded the
Distinguished Unit Citation to the 121st Aviation Company (Air Mobile
Light) United States Armed Forces, and attached units for extraordinary
heroism in the Republic of Vietnam. The 121st Aviation Company (Air Mobile
Light) and attached units distinguished themselves by extraordinary heroism
while engaged in military operations in the Republic of Vietnam on 5
December 1964. The members of this Company and the foregoing unit
demonstrated indomitablecourage and professional skill while providing
direct support for a Republic of Vietnam military ground operation in
territory know to be dominated by insurgents. Their outstanding
effectiveness resulted in the success of aerial troop lifts despite
exposure to intensive hostile gun fire, in the timely modification of
techniques which kept pace with the rapidly changing tactical situation,
and in the on-the-spot field maintenance for aircraft. Prompt medical
assistance was given to the combat soldier and a countless number of
friendly casualties were quickley evacuated from the battlefield. Through
their fortitude, perseverance, and gallant efforts, these brave officers
and men contributed in great measure to the progress of the
counterinsurgency effort conducted in the Republic of Vietnam. The devotion
to duty, outstanding achievements, and extraordinary heroism displayed by
the members of the 121st Aviation Company (Air Mobile Light) and the
participating units reflect great credit upon themselves and the Armed
Forces of the United States.
March of 1965 brought about many changes in the 145th. The 68th
Aviation Company, formerly the UTT, went through another name change, now
the 197th Aviation Company. The 74th Aviation Company (Fixed Wing) arrived
in Vietnam and was assigned to the 145th. With the addition of A Company /
501st Avn Bn and the 74th Avn Co the 145th was larger then ever before.
Here is a letter written to me by David Price about name and unit
patch changes of the UTT, 68th, 197th Armed Helicopter Company:
Dear Jim: I don't know who designed the UTT patch. The Company was
wearing it when I arrived in June 1964. However, I designed the 197th
patch. We had a contest in the company and I won. I have an article
from Stars & Stripes with a photo of me receiving the prize (a
Savings Bond) from our C.O. Maj Jim Jaggers. I think my design was
selected largely because we were sick of name changes and ripping off
one pocket patch and sewing on another. As you know we were UTT, then
68th Armed Hel Co, then 197th, same people, just bureaucratic Army
B.S. on what we should be called. We knew we were UTT! I could
probably find the article if your interested. Keep up the good work
Jim. I admire what you're doing. Dave Price

The first unit in Army Aviation to receive the Presidential Citation
for Vietnam service was awarded to the 197th Aviation Company (Armed
Helicopter) for their actions from 1 April 1965 to 3 April 1965.
Valorous Unit Award, 121st Avn Co and attached units: By direction of
the Secretary of the Army, under the provisions of paragraph 202.1, AR
672-5-1, the Valorous Unit Award is awarded to the 13th Avn Bn, assigned
and attached units (121st Avn Co. and Detachments) for extraordinary
heroism while engaged in military operation during the period of 4, 5, and
6 April 1965 in the vicinity of Vinh Binh, in Chuong Tien Province,
Republic of Vietnam, in direct support of the 21st ARVN Div.
In May of 1965 Company A/82nd Aviation Battalion arrived in Vietnam
and would soon become officially part of the 145th. As with many units that
arrived before and after this one, many of the personnel from other units
of the 145th and the new unit would be exchanged. The reason for this was
to bring experienced personnel to the new unit and to help break up the
DEROS dates. This also served to unite the units of the 145th into one
fighting unit.
On the 17th of May 1965 the 197th Aviation Company flew the first
"Lighting Bug", or more commonly know as "Firefly", mission. Here is the
complete story told by Marvin Myers, captain at the time:
According to the log that I kept on my activities, the first
"Lightning Bug" mission was flown on 17 May 1965. The device was
placed in the door of a slick and consisted of seven (I think that
was the number), of C-123 landing lights. This was the brainchild of
LTC Dick Thrower of USARV and he flew on most missions. I heard he
was later killed while working the system, after I had gone home.
Once we reached the target area the light was folded out and lit up
an area about the size of a football field.
Dick Jarrard was my co-pilot on the 17th and we flew out to the
Duc Hoa area to coordinate with ARVN on what we were going to be
doing that night. Four ships from the 3rd (Dragons) Platoon were
involved on the mission. Jarrard and I flew the low ship, and Jim
Reed (Dragon 33- Later killed in an accident at Fort Sill), flew as
leader of his Fire Team with Jan Bingen flying his wing. I don't have
a record of who flew the light ship with LTC Thrower in back aiming
the light.
At some point during the night, a Mohawk called up with
information that boats were on the canals. I believe he was using
SLAR. Anyway, we jumped in the ships and headed for Duc Hoa. Flying
just behind the beam, we were able to see well enough to fly at tree
top level. The concept was that we would acquire the target in the
low ship, push out a flare that would go off when it hit the ground,
and then Dragon 33 would engage it.
We did engage several folks that night, but on one run a round
apparently hit a flare and it went off in the aircraft. When we were
finally able to get it out of the aircraft, both Jarrard and I had
vertigo so bad we nearly crashed trying to figure out where we were.
This action took place between the battle of Song Be and the
Battle of Dong Xoi. Since the Dragons were the first guns on the
scene at Dong Xoi at around 3:00 A.M. (0300), I think the experience
we had with lightning Bug probably saved our lives.
The 197th Aviation Company also flew the first combat mission using
the M-5 40mm grenade launching system on 29 May 1965. Here is the report
from Cpt. Marvin Myers:
I fired the system with a Jim Anderson (Cpt-possible Ordinance
Corp) on 27 May 1965. The first combat mission was flown on 29 May
65, and I believe we were just north of Tan Uyen when we encountered
a squad of VC in the open (every gun ship drivers dream). The tail
number of the aircraft was 986 and we moved in for the kill. I began
to pump out 40mm and the VC were running for all they were worth.
Still , the rounds fell short. We moved in closer and closer and I'm
sure the VC couldn't believe they were still alive. Finally, we were
so close, an M-79 would have done as well. I recorded that we fired
some 300 rounds and right now, I doubt if we hit anyone. Later the
ship was equipped with rockets as well as the grenade launcher, but
it was not one of our favorite weapons, because of its limited range.
BATTLE OF DONG XOAI
At 0100 hours, 10 June 1965, the 118th Aviation Company (Air Mobile,
Light) was directed by the III Corps Tactical Operation Center to send its
standby fire team immediately to Dong Xoai. They were told that the Dong
Xoai Special Forces Camp had been under extreme heavy mortar and small arms
fire since midnight. The fire team approached the town at 0130 hours and
started making firing passes once they were in position over the town. They
were engaged by the Viet Cong as soon as they began firing and the tracers
from their guns kept the enemy gunners aware of their position. Without the
slightest hesitation, the two armed helicopters kept up a steady stream of
fire to silence the enemy guns surrounding the Special Forces compound. Not
until after they had expended all their ammunition, and the fire team
leaders helicopter was hit by ground fire and the pilot wounded, did the
two helicopters leave the battle area.
At the time that the light fire team was closing Bien Hoa, III Corps
had decided to reinforce Dong Xoai by helicopters at first light with
Vietnamese infantry. At 0430 hours, flight crews of the 118th Aviation
Company were on flight line preparing for the combat assault at day light.
The town of Dong Xoai is situated at the most important road junction
in the heart of War Zone D. The United States Special Forces has
established a fortified compound and numerous strong points at strategic
locations taking the entire area under their command. Many parts of the
fortifications were still under construction when the first mortar shells
awoke the defenders.
At 0600 hours, 10 June 1965, all flyable 118th Aviation Company
aircraft departed Bien Hoa for a combat assault on Dong Xoai. The morale of
the company was high. They had grown fond of the Special Forces over three
years in which the company has served in Viet Nam. Many members of the
Special Forces B Detachment at Dong Xoai were friends of the company.
Although the tactical situation was extremely confused at Dong Xoai and
only scattered intelligence as to the enemy's strength and positions had
reached III corps, the 118th was ready to do anything within their
capability to aid the garrison under attack.
Phuoc Vinh, the nearest fortified town to Dong Xoai, was the staging
area. Elements of the 1st Battalion 7th Regiment ARVN, were going to make
the first assault with the 118th Aviation Company. Due to the urgency of
the situation, there was little time to gather data on the enemy situation.
The landing zone for the first assault was an open field two miles north of
Dong Xoai and next to the road that led to the Thanh Loi Plantation. In
case more ground troops were needed, two more landing zones were chosen at
suitable strategic areas in the vicinity of Dong Xoai.
The formation of 118th helicopters begin to receive fire as they began
to descend east of Dong Xoai. On final approach into the first landing zone
more fire was received. The flight held suppressive fire as it was not
known at the time whether friendly troops were in the area. Seconds before
the flight touched down the lead helicopter reported what appeared to be
friendly civilians waving to them from the edge of the landing zone. The
flight leader at once gave the order to the crews to hold their fire
because they were friendly civilians in the area. As soon as the ships
landed and the troops started unloading the civilians dove into concealed
fox holes where they had their weapons hidden and immediately engaged the
helicopters. Due to the fact the whole flight of helicopters were low on
fuel and were able to become airborne and out of the range of small arms
very quickly, no major damage to the flight element resulted. However, with
the departure of the helicopters, the Viet Cong directed their fire on the
assault troops in the landing zone. The enemy had utilized the lack of
intelligence on the part of the allied forces to their best advantage at
the crucial moment by deceiving the heliborne force. Once the troops were
committed, they were ambushed. The Viet Cong, from their well prepared
positions, systematically cut down the lead elements of the 1st Battalion,
7th Regiment. Later when the battle was over, it was disclosed that the 1st
Battalion ceased to be a fighting unit twenty minutes after it was
committed into the Viet Cong trap.
When the 118th Aviation Company returned to Phuoc Vinh for more
soldiers and fuel, they were informed that the Viet Cong had anticipated
heliborne reinforcements for the surrounded Special Forces Camp were
employing strong units with heavy weapons and they intended to occupy Dong
Xoai. It was also disclosed that all the friendly troops had been forced to
reposition themselves inside the main compound that had the best defensive
capability.
When the 118th helicopters, loaded with soldiers of the remaining
elements of the 1st Battalion, 7th ARVN departed Phuoc Vinh they set their
organic armed helicopter platoon ahead of the flight to conduct a
reconnaissance of the intended landing zone. The armed fire teams made
repeated passes over the air strip at the Thanh Loi Plantation. They
carefully check the entire platation for traces of the enemy concentrations
but were able to find no evidence of the Viet Cong using the plantation to
stag attack on Dong Xoai. The fact that the enemy up until the battle of
Dong Xoai, had never used a plantation openly as a headquarters and staging
area caused the flight elements to hold their suppressive fire power again
as the helicopters approached to land.
As the 118th Aviation Company's formation of fourteen troop helicopter
approached the landing strip a heard of cattle appeared and moved up the
strip to the intended landing area. The lead helicopter made a decision to
land the troops short of the original intended area. The decision saved
many lives. No sooner had the skids of the first helicopter touched ground
when a tremendous explosion was seen and heard and felt. The enemy had
detonated a hugh claymore mine planted at the original landing area. The
explosion of the mine was a signal. Within seconds of the explosion,
reports of automatic weapons came from all members of the formation. The
soldiers and helicopters were caught in a hail storm of bullets and
exploding mortar rounds. The enemy fire was coming from everywhere. In the
well kept and beautiful plantation mansions they were firing from windows
and roofs. Among the rubber trees fire from concealed bunkers and fox
holes. At once, the armed escorts of the 118th Aviation Company charged in
and fired everything they had on both sides of the helicopters still
unloading their troops. At the same time the door gunners of the troops
carries were burning up the barrels of their machine guns to suppress the
enemy fire. It was only a few seconds since the formation of the
helicopters had landed, and yet it was already eternity for the helicopter
crews and the ARVN solders on the ground. Scores of the brave little
Vietnamese solders were falling in front of the eyes of the helicopter
crews as they watched them leap from the aircraft and fall as enemy bullets
slammed into their bodies. The helicopters were also receiving heavy damage
in those seconds on the ground. One of the troops carriers had a mortar
round explode right outside the cockpit causing it to roll over immediately
on its side. A split second later it exploded in a ball of fire. The entire
crew was killed. The remaining helicopters were taking off at this time.
All guns were firing, but the enemy fire was not decreasing in intensity.
From roof tops, windows doorways and trenches, enemy bullets ripped into
helicopters, When at last the whole formation was out of range of the enemy
weapons, only one helicopter reported negative damage.
The Viet Cong had planned the attack on Dong Xoai with superb care.
There was no question left in anyone's mind that further heliborne assaults
into available landing zones would mean annihilation to the majority of the
ground troops and at tremendous risk to the aviation elements. The 118th
Aviation Company commander, in temporary command of the entire Army
Aviation efforts in Dong Xoai at the time ordered the remaining elements
with troops aboard back to the staging area. The last helicopters to land
at Phou Vinh were two armed helicopters from the 118th. The fire team
remained over the battle area to act as radio communication relay and fire
support for the ground troops. The light fire team had expended ammunition
and had lost all communications with the ground assault elements. It was
not known at this time whether the Special Forces compound was still
holding out after almost 18 hours of continuous attack.
The 118th Aviation Company's flight surgeon in charge of the medical
aid station at Phuoc Vinh was at the communication center requesting Air
Force C/130 transports to evacuate over a hundred wounded ARVN soldiers
when a relayed radio came through from Dong Xoai. It was one of the
Americans in the Dong Xoai Special Forces compound. The message was tragic
and heroic. It said I am using my last battery for my radio and there is no
more ammunition; we are all wounded, some of the more serious wounded are
holding grenades with safety pins already pulled. The Viet Cong are
attacking in human waves. The last wave has been defeated but we are
expecting the next wave now.
The commander of the 118th, Maj Harvey E Stewart, who was present and
heard the radio message stood up and said "I am going in". With that he
went to the parked helicopters. Five other officers followed him and
enlisted crew members just climbed into their seats and waited for take
off.
Three Helicopters departed Phouc Vinh for Dong Xoai to evacuate the
brave solders who were holding out to the last grenades. When they were
about to close Dong Xoai, A message to all air units in the Dong Xoai area
came over the radio. Dong Xoai was declared to a free strike area and
everything that moved would be bombed and strafed. The three helicopters,
nevertheless, pressed on without hesitation. Such was the moral present in
the 118th Aviation Company. Had there been need for the entire company to
go to Dong Xoai, the company would have volunteered to the man.
The 118th Aviation Company's own organic helicopters again played a
vital role in the successful execution of the mission. The armed escort
contacted Air Force fighter bombers in the area and ask for their fire
support. While the Air Force made their bomb runs over the town the armed
escorts went in from the south with all guns firing. One quarter of a mile
south of Dong Xoai compound was a water crossing. The Viet Cong had
concealed in the area two French armored cars that were captured earlier in
the battle. The armed helicopters were able to discover these mobile
weapons platforms during their low reconnaissance by fire and engaged them
with rockets. Their accurate fire effectively rendered the armored cars
incapable of further combat. Had the .50 cal. machine guns on those armored
cars not been put out of action, they would have taken a serious toll of
the troop carriers as they approached Dong Xoai.
The three troop carriers now moved in from the south. They were fast
and low and their door gunners were firing at any trace of Viet Cong
activity in range. There was constant firing and marking of targets all
along the flight route into the soccer field at Dong Xoai. With complete
surprise they touched down in the soccer field outside the Special Forces
compound. Hastily, the Viet Cong organized an attack. The crews reported
enemy standing up on the compound walls and firing down at the helicopters
not more then fifty feet away. While the helicopters were being hit from
all directions and the door gunners firing at point targets at close range,
a crew chief leaped from the helicopter and exposed himself completely to
the enemy fire. He fired a full magazine from his M14 at the compound
entrance, then with disregard for his own safety, fought his way into the
compound and brought out the last defenders of the outpost. For this act of
valor the crew chief was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. There were
nine wounded Americans and eight Vietnamese that were rescued from Dong
Xoai that afternoon. They were the last survivors of the original defenders
of Dong Xoai.
At the debriefing held at Phuoc Vinh after the three helicopters had
returned, an interesting event came to everyone's attention. Within seconds
after the take off of the evacuation helicopters, the area where they had
landed exploded into mortar fire and it was raked with large caliber
machine gun fire in all quadrants. The fact that the helicopters were able
to successfully complete their mission can be attributed to the element of
surprise and the daring courage of the 118th helicopter crews. The Viet
Cong were evidently expecting a landing in the heart of Dong Xoai. The
extra seconds it took them to reposition their weapons to bear down upon
the helicopters that were making the evacuation allowed the successful
accomplishment of that daring mission. For their courage above and beyond
the call of duty, the three crews were decorated with one Distinguished
Service Cross, five Silver Stars, one Distinguished Flying Cross and five
Air Medals for heroism.
With the evacuation of the compound, the armed helicopters and Air
Force fighter bombers were free to make strike over the entire area. The
armed helicopters made strike after strike stopping only to rearm and
refuel. There was constant rain of fire from the sky in the whole area, was
the remark made by III Corps advisor in a 118th Aviation Company command
and control helicopter.
Late in the afternoon of 10 June 1965, the 52nd Ranger Battalion
arrived in Phuoc Vinh. Plans were immediately put into effect to take them
to Dong Xoai. Verbal orders were given to the aviation company commanders
while the crews made last minute checks on their helicopters prior to
becoming airborne. As the battalion-sized airmobile force neared Dong Xoai,
the final decision was to put the Rangers into the soccer field where the
successful evacuation was made a few hours before.
The 118th Aviation Company was again given the honor of leading the
combat assault. The flight route was the same as we used on the previous
evacuation mission. The helicopter slipped into the soccer field receiving
only scattered small arms as they landed. Once on the ground, however, the
Rangers were being shot down as they tried to move from the landing zone to
the compound and toward the center of town. The enemy, nevertheless, must
not have expected another daring assault that day and the air strikes must
have done their job well. The Viet Cong hastily prepared a defense around
the church in town which had become their forward command post. However,
resistance was slowly put to an end, the compound was secured, the town
reoccupied. Dong Xoai was under control of the allied forces once again
when darkness came that day. The success of the last assault must be
attributed to the high degree of mobility and flexibility of our fighting
force, and the determination and willingness of our flight crews in their
helicopters.
The 118th Aviation Company returned to Bien Hoa after the lift of 52nd
Ranger Battalion on 10 June 1965. The day of heavy fighting had caused the
loss of one entire helicopter crew and aircraft, plus almost every
helicopter having received bullet and shrapnel damage. Ten purple hearts
were awarded to members of the 118th Thunderbirds as a result of this
action.
During the night, more detailed intelligence of the enemy situation
was developed. The enemy had initially committed a full regiment of regular
troops with heavy supporting elements. Seven Viet Cong anti-aircraft gun
positions were destroyed by air in and around Dong Xoai. Hundreds of mortar
round from enemy mortars had destroyed practically every fortification in
the Special Forces Compound. But the devastation air strikes and
bombardments had caused the Viet Cong to suffer heavy losses. During the
day a second regiment with headquarters at the Thanh Loi Plantation had to
be committed for the attack on the compound. The Viet Cong used human wave
attacks on the compound was repeatedly beaten back before the defenders
were evacuated when their ammunition gave out. However, even though the
Viet Cong occupied all of Dong Xoai by late afternoon 10 June 1965, it was
not long before they were overwhelmed by the allied forces. The arrival of
the battle wise ARVN Ranger Battalion was enough to break all organized
resistance in the immediate vicinity of the town.
The next morning 11 June 1965 118th Aviation Company was back in full
strength at Phouc Vinh. There was to be a battalion sized combat assault
with the 118th as the lead element. One hundred paratroopers of the 7th
airborne Battalion ARVN were lifted by the 118th into the soccer at Dong
Xoai. Although fire was expected by the aviation units, the armed escorts
flew low to draw fire from the enemy prior to the arrival of the troops
carrying helicopters, no enemy fire was received. The assault was completed
with the arrival of the remaining elements of the airmobile battalion.
Large scale medical evacuation of ARVN casualties began immediately
after the air landing of the paratroopers on 11 June 1965. Hostilities were
coming to a halt in Dong Xoai except for isolated and rear guard action.
The wounded were brought to the soccer field and loaded on helicopters.
There were almost no medical facilities at Dong Xoai all the casualties
were taken to Phuoc Vinh where the 118th Aviation Company flight surgeon
had set up a clearing station. The doctor had been working for over forty
hours with little rest when the mass evacuation of wounded ARVN soldiers
began. Helicopters continued to bring to Phuoc Vinh seriously wounded and
the medical personnel were overwhelmed with the work. At one time there
were over two hundred wounded awaiting treatment at Phuoc Vinh. The medical
personnel worked diligently and many soldiers lives were saved.
On 12 June 1965, again staging from Phuoc Vinh, Republic of Vietnam,
the company lifted elements of the first battalion 48 Regiment ARVN. The
mission of the 1st Battalion was to reinforce the garrison already located
at Dong Xoai. The troop strength at Dong Xoai was approaching a thousand
and sufficient strength was present to secure the town.
Except for isolated snipers and enemy soldiers that were trapped in
the town itself, the maine body of the enemy had vanished. There was only
small units engagements on 12 June 1965. The 118th provided armed
helicopters support on a continuous basis to give fire support to the
ground forces. There was enemy fire but no casualties were sustained by the
flight crews. The armed helicopters also made an extensive reconnaissance
and search of the areas where the elements of the 1st Battalion 7th
Regiment were committed to battle on 10June 1965. They were unable to
detect any signs of the ARVN unit. The 118th thus prepared for an assault
on the following day.
Also other action on 12 June 1965 is outlined by WO Ralph Orlando
letter about a rescue attempt that day:
"On day 3, the 12th, I flew a slick with Major Harvey Stewart since
the Bandit ships were long gone upon my return from R&R. Much of
this day was spent in and around Dong Xoai in poor flying conditions
& with a stick buddy whose flying skills gave me some worry. I
witnessed from him what I thought was a man pulling half a train,
but in latter years I realized I witnessed bravery at it's finest
but did not recognize it. We got involved in a rescue attempt of an
Air Force F-100 pilot calling a May Day over Thanh Loi Plantation.
The pilot parachuted into the rubber trees & sent up a flare to mark
his position. The Major had me land into the closest open area about
200 meters from the smoke. The Major & Lt Scott, the doorgunner,
took off into the heavy canopy of the plantation. William Quatse,
the crewchief, & I were told to wait only a few minutes & then leave
for Phouc Vinh since our fuel was very low. Finally, after about 5
mins. we saw the Major & Lt running toward us. They dove onto the
helicopter floor & said to pull pitch. The shots coming at us told
me that was probably a great idea. Back at Phouc Vinh, the Major
informed me that the pilot was hanging in the trees, the area was
covered by V.C. & it looked like the pilot had been killed. Ralph
Orlando
After being in continuous operations for over 72 hours, the 118th
Aviation Company still provided the majority of the helicopters for the
assault on 13 June 1965. Despite the heavy casualties and excessive damage
to the helicopters, the morale of the company remained extremely high. Many
of the helicopters now carried volunteer gunners consisting of clerks and
cooks from the company.
The company went to Xuan Loc to pick up soldiers belonging to the ARVN
43 Regiment. A hundred soldiers were lifted into a landing zone a half mile
north of the original assault area conducted on the first day of the
operation. From the landing area, the soldiers were to move through the
jungle and rubber trees to search for the troops that had disappeared
shortly after they were landed. During the conduct of the assault,
scattered small arms fire was received from the enemy hiding in the vast
Thanh Loi Plantation. The company did not sustain any damage to the
helicopters, nor any casualties. The enemy in this assault, turned out to
be the weather which came to be a serious hazard to flight.
The lift of the 43 Regiment was conducted at night under minimum
lighting conditions. All during the daylight hours, fire teams searched for
the 7th Regiment soldiers. Finally the situation become too urgent not to
risk an air assault and ground search. The 118th was the only airmobile
company experienced in night assaults. The assault was accomplished
according to schedule. However due to the rapidly deteriorating weather on
the return flights, the pilots were unable to hold their formation and
helicopters were scattered all over "War Zone D". There was hidden
thunderstorms through out the area. Heavy rain reduced visibility to bare
minimum and winds gusting up to forty knots made any helicopter flying
extremely difficult. Only the high degree of training and professionalism
of the aviators prevented sure disaster and loss of crews and helicopters.
The flight returned to Bien Hoa individually with every helicopter
accounted for at 2330 hours. Many of the helicopters had but few minutes of
fuel remaining.
The Dong Xoai battle was to have a final chapter on 20 June 1965. On
that date the largest heliborne operation in the III Corps area was to
climax the closing of the battle. The 118th Aviation Company was again
chosen to lead the assault of seventy-seven troop carriers and forty armed
escorts. Staging for Hon Quan, the mission of the heliborne force was to
conduct combat assaults to the area north of Dong Xoai where reconnaissance
patrols and intelligence indicated a concentration of Viet Cong forces in a
rubber plantation it was believed that they were remnants of the two enemy
regiments that had attacked Dong Xoai. It appeared that the enemy was now
attempting to withdraw and break contact.
One thousand and eighty-nine paratroopers which were the entire 3rd
and 8th ARVN Airborne Battalions, cream of the Vietnamese Army, were landed
by combat assault. Minor damages were sustained by a single helicopter
which was caused by one enemy small arms bullet. There was no other
incidents of enemy resistance that day.
On 20 June 1965, the battle of Dong Xoai came to a close for the 118th
Aviation Company.

Distinguished Unit Citation were awarded to the 145th C.A.B., 117th
AHC, 118th AML, 120th AHC, 197th AHC, and Company A/501st Avn. BN. for
their actions between 10 June 1965 to 13 June 1965.
24 June 1965 LTC. Cunningham turned over command of the 145th to LTC.
Charles M. Honour Jr.. As it would turn out LTC. Robert K. Cunningham would
be the longest 145th Battalion Commander in Vietnam, serving as Battalion
Commander for 11 months and 2 days. And LTC. Honour would be the only
Battalion Commander to be Killed in Action with the 145th.
In August of 1965 the 117th Aviation Company would be transferred to
the 52nd Combat Aviation Battalion not to be returned until January 1968.
During the month of October 1965 the 145th C.A.B. supported the 173rd
Airborne Brigade in numerous search and destroy operations in the "Iron
Triangle" and "War Zone D". The first combat assaults in support of the 1st
Infantry Division were also made during the month of October. A Co, 82nd
Avn Bn was re-assigned to the 173rd Airborne Brigade on 18 October 1965.
November of 1965 brought about another award for the 145th C.A.B., the
Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Palm for its service from 29 December
1964 to 4 November 1965. On November 16, 1965 the second youngest Army
Aviator to be Killed in Combat in South Vietnam was Dana Edward Brann, 19,
born August 8, 1947. He died in action while serving with the 120th
Aviation Company, may he rest in peace. November also brought the return of
the 68th Aviation Company to the Battalion. Although the 68th got its name
from the other 68th that served with the Battalion, this 68th was a brand
new unit. The new 68th worked hard to up hold the image of the other 68th
it was named after, after a short time the members of the other 68th
(197th) began to accept the new unit. The Meritorious Unit Commendation was
awarded to the 197th AHC for its outstanding service from May to November
1965.
In the months of November and December 1965 the 145th C.A.B.
participated in an allied operation called "Operation Rice Bowl". The
object of the operation was to secure the rice fields in the valley North
of Vo Dat, and deny the Viet Cong use of the freshly harvested rice. Also
during this same period the battalion welcomed the recently arrived 68th
Aviation Company to Bien Hoa which was initially stationed at Vung Tau.
1 January 1966 started off with LTC Charles M Honour commanding the
Battalion. In the next two years the 145th would be credited with many
"First" and many awards. Starting in 1965 the Army started building up many
new helicopter units and battalions, Vietnam would become known as the
Helicopter War. The 145th played a large part in the build up and set the
example for other battalions to follow.
On New Years Day 1966, the 335th AHC was involved in Operation
Marauder in the bao Trai area, then Operation Crimp in the Hobo Woods.
On 18 February 1966 LTC Charles M Honour was killed in a helicopter
crash between Bien Hoa and Saigon. LTC Horst K Joost, who was the executive
officer of the 173d Airborne Brigade at the time, replaced LTC Honour on 20
February 1966. The 335th AHC gave support to the 1st Inf Div at Di An
during the month of February 1966.

SUBJECT: Commanders Combat Note #1 23 February 1966
I am proud to have been designated to command the 145th Aviation
Battalion. This organization has distinguished itself on many occasions. It
enjoys an esteemed reputation and has set the pace for other similar units
arriving in Vietnam.
I intend to maintain this high state of professionalism while being
cognizant that we are all first and foremost ground combat qualified and
then are qualified to provide aviation combat support.
Army aviation has changed the course of this conflict from a ground
bound, ambush-susceptible slugging match, to a highly mobile and flexible
posture that has been instrumental in keeping the Viet Cong off-balance.
Army Aviation is providing the Free World Forces an offensive capability
which is confronting the Viet Cong with an unpredictable nemesis. You are
writing this chapter in history.
We must be mindful however, that our enemy carefully studies our every
move and attempt to predict our pattern so that he can strike our weak
spot. We must not be complacent with our past successes. We must constantly
strive to improve our techniques and procedures. We must also be efficient
with our resources of manpower and materiel. A non-combat loss of personnel
and aircraft through an accident is a score for our enemy.
This battalion is an integrated team. Although basically the slick
helicopter crew is the "bread and butter" of our many tasks, they are
supported by everyone that makes up the organization. This includes the
gunships, which provides protective fires, to the maintenance, avionics,
operations, mail clerks, cooks, and all others that make the team. The
success of each operation is the result of a contribution from each team
member. Always bear this in mind!
Keeping everyone in this battalion informed is one of my goals. To this
end, I will periodically publish a Commander's Combat Note which is
intended to be disseminated to all members of the organization.
CLEAR LEFT AND RIGHT
HORST K JOOST, Lt Colonel, Inf
Commanding

The 1st Aviation Brigade was formed on the 1st of March 1966 and the
145th served under the 12th Group of the 1st Aviation Brigade. This was
done for better command and control of all army aviation units and
operations.

SUBJECT: Commander's Combat Note #7 5 March 1966
\SUMMARY OF OPERATIONS 21 FEBRUARY THROUGH 3 MARCH 1966\
1. During this period the 145th Aviation Battalion, in addition to
moving to Bien Hoa, conducted nine major airmobile operations, two of which
were conducted in one day. Our armed helicopters operating at night,
accounted for 18 sampans or boats sunk, one of which was carrying VC troops
and explosives, 15 sampans were damaged, and five VC huts were destroyed.
On 23 February, armed helicopters of 197th Aviation Company were
responsible for the VC withdrawal from an attack on as ARVN compound when
they brought fire to bear on the attackers.
2. This battalion supported by the 2d Brigade, 1st U.S. Infantry
Division, on 21 February, during operation MASTIFF, by conducting six
combat assaults with three infantry battalions, into two landing zones, 15
kilometers southeast of Dau Tieng. Forty-four troop carriers and 32
gunships were employed. Enemy small arms and automatic weapons fire was
received during the landings. Aircraft damage was slight. Suppressive fire
from aircraft placed on enemy positions was possible for decreasing the
volume and intensity of VC fire.
3. On 22 February this battalion airlifted a regiment of the 10th ARVN
Division from An Loc, vicinity of Xuan Loc, and conducted an airmobile
assault 43KM to the south, near Binh Gia. Thirty UH-1D's and 17 UH-1B's
(armed) were employed in the operation. No air or artillery preparation of
the LZ was used in order to achieve surprise during the landing, and to
preclude the possibility of setting the dry grass which covered the LZ on
fire. The gunships of the 197th Aviation Company led the way by a few
minutes and placed accurate and deadly fire on the treeline which encircled
the LZ. The initial assault was accomplished with no enemy fire on the LZ.
The gunship preparation however, necessitated the subsequent lifts to be
diverted to an alternate LZ. The response on the part of all elements was
immediate when modifications plans were made from the battalion command and
control aircraft. Gunships diverted to the new LZ and began to place fire
on suspected areas. The troop carriers modified the formation while
airborne to compensate for the new conditions on the LZ. Between lifts, Air
Force tactical air placed strikes on enemy ground fire along the helicopter
flight routes, which had begun to become active. This operation
demonstrated the flexibility of airmobile operations by being able to
adjust to changing conditions with a minimum amount of radio transmission
from a single command element. It also demonstrated the team work inherent
in the gunships, troop carriers, and Air Force tactical air.
4. The 2d Brigade, 1st (US) Infantry Division was extracted from two
landing zones by this battalion on 25 February, employing 31 UH-1D
helicopters and 17 armed helicopters. These troops were lifted back to Dau
Tieng prepared to be re-committed to another airmobile assault. Enemy small
arms and automatic weapons fire was received by flight elements in the
vicinity of the extraction zones. Three aircraft hits were sustained.
5. The morning of 26 February found this battalion assembling 20 troop
carriers and 14 armed helicopters to airlift elements of the 25th ARVN
Division and assault two landing zones located 15 KM Northeast of Ben Luc
in order to conduct search and destroy operations against Viet Cong forces,
supplies and installations. Ground fire was received and one aircraft was
hit.
6. At 1700 hours that evening, the battalion lifted elements of the
173rd Airborne Brigade into one landing zone in war zone D, 11KM Northwest
of Bien Hoa. This assault was designed to commit a reaction force into a
blocking position to entrap a VC main force element, that was being engaged
by the paratrooper elements previously lifted into area. Enemy fire was
received from numerous locations around the assault LZ as the helicopters
landed. Two aircraft received damage. During the extraction one UH-1D troop
carrier from the 118th Aviation Company experienced a flame out and was
successfully landed without damage in a rice paddy in the vicinity of the
operational area. A night recovery of the downed aircraft by a CH-47
helicopter was executed. This latter accomplishment demonstrated the
teamwork that we have developed in accomplishing any mission.
7. Early in the morning of 28 February, a main force Viet Cong,
estimated to be a regiment, attacked and over ran the ARVN secured town of
Vo Xu located east of Vo Dat in the Rice Bowl area. At 0455 hours the 145th
Aviation Battalion was alerted to provide a rapid reaction airmobile
capability to reinforce the friendly forces in Vo Xu. By 0630 hours, forty
UH-1D troop carriers and 17 UH-1B armed carriers were on alert at Bien Hoa,
Vung Tau and Tan Son Nhut. All aircraft and crews were assembled, briefed
and organized for combat by 0730 hours. One Ranger Battalion was airlifted
from Duc Hoa and positioned at Vo Dat. Another was lifted from Bao Trai and
positioned at Vo Dat. Another ARVN Ranger Battalion was then lifted from An
Loc and an airmobile assault conducted south of Vo Xu. One of the Rangers
Battalion positioned at Vo Dat next conducted an assault on the same LZ.
These assaults were designed to entrap and intercept the VC that had
attacked Vo Xu earlier in the day. Three aircraft were hit by enemy ground
fire. During the assault, one troop carrier experienced a hard landing, and
could not be flown out of the LZ. Immediate action was taken to prepare the
aircraft for liftout. A CH-47 helicopter arrived and within seconds
snatched the aircraft out of the LZ. This recovery was performed with such
speed that it did not interfere with the tactical plan of the ground
elements. This day's operation proved on several occasions that Army
Aviation are more responsive to rapid reaction than are the ground
elements. Planning for the conduct of the operation was accomplished in the
cockpit by commanders and staff while flying to assembly areas. Short,
standardized briefings and mission type orders are the keys to rapid
reaction.
8. On 1 March 2/503 Inf Battalion, 173rd Airborne Brigade, was
extracted from their operational area in War Zone D, to the Brigade base.
Three lifts employing twenty-eight UH-1D and thirteen UH-1B (armed)
helicopters. Hostile ground fire was encountered during the lift out.
9. In the early morning of 2 March, the battalion again assembled its
elements for an airmobile assault. Thirty UH-1D troop carriers and eighteen
UH-1B armed helicopters were employed. This time elements of the 25th ARVN
Division were lifted from Trang Bang and Cu Chi to assault three landing
zones were prepared by tactical air strikes and armed helicopters, however,
light to moderate automatic and semi-automatic enemy weapons fire was
encountered. Gunships and tactical air was placed on this ground fire. One
troop carrier was hit. During the airmobile assaults an air observer
detected approximately 40 VC fleeing west toward the Cambodian border.
Gunships gave chase and worked the area over with their weapons. Damage to
the VC was unknown.
10. On the last day of the reporting period, 3 March, this battalion
conducted an airmobile assault with element of the 10th ARVN Division south
of Baria, immediately adjacent to the sea coast. Twenty-seven UH-1D and 25
UH-1B armed helicopters were employed. Troop pick-up was from a road north
of Baria. Four lifts completed this operation. Light to moderate hostile
fire was encountered during the assault. Armed helicopters and tactical air
strikes worked over these enemy locations during and between lifts. No
aircraft hits were sustained.
11. In addition to these operations this battalion provided normal
command and liaison, administrative and logistical support for III ARVN
Corps.
12. A wrap-up for this period is as follows:
- A total of 5,547 U.S. and ARVN forces were committed in airmobile
assaults. Extractions of forces from areas of operations consisted of 1,525
U.S Forces. Repositioning of 639 ARVN troops was accomplished.
- The total sorties flown was 6,118 for a total of 2,192 flying
hours.
13. This was a full period and every member of this battalion are to be
congratulated for their accomplishments. Added congratulations must go to
the maintenance personnel who have kept us ABOVE ALL.
14. In the area of civic action, which I feel is as vital as combat
operations, this battalion is making great strides. In addition to our
heavy operation schedule for the period, the 145th Aviation Battalion was
active in the areas of Community Relations, Education and Training, and
Health and Sanitation. A total of $VC 16,020 was collected by the 197th
Aviation Company to purchase baby beds for Saigon orphanage. Officers and
enlisted men from A/501st Aviation conducted 4 one-hour English classes for
the Bien Hoa National Police. Members of the 118th Aviation Company
continued to provide support to Bien Hoa orphanage in the form of 320 lbs
of rice, 100 lbs of peanuts, powered milk, cooking oil, condiments and
various cleaning products. In addition, two doctors visited the Leprosy
colony for the purpose of treating patients. Letters received by members of
the 68th Aviation Company indicate that local drives in their hometowns are
making progress and donations for distribution to the local populace will
be forthcoming.
"FIRST IN VIETNAM"
HORST K. JOOST, Lt. Colonel, Inf
Commanding

SUBJECT: Commander's Combat Note Number 9 13 March 1966
\SUMMARY OF OPERATION 4 MARCH THROUGH 11 MARCH 1966\
This week the 145th Aviation Battalion accomplished a variety of combat
and combat support missions which contributed significantly toward beating
Victor Charlie.
The battalion, or elements thereof, conducted three multi-ground
battalion airmobile assaults or extractions; two airmobile assaults in
which company sized ground elements were employed; and one airmobile
company reinforced the lift of another aviation battalion.
The 197th Aviation Company, in addition to providing their normal armed
reconnaissance and marking of LZ's, and armed escort for all airmobile
operations, sank 6 sampans and damaged 9 sampans by their lightning Bug
operations.
The battalion effort on the VC score board for this week is as follows:
An estimated 58 VC killed, a body count of 36 VC killed, 27 structures
destroyed and 20 damaged, and 31 sampans destroyed and 31 damaged. This one
weeks toll is a commendable figure. It is especially significant when it is
realized that some ground combat units of brigade size can't match this
claim.
On 4 March, the 118th Aviation Company, reinforced by A/501st Aviation
Battalion, supported the 1st Aviation Battalion with 15 UH-1D troop
carriers and 6 armed helicopters to lift 405 troops of the 5th ARVN
Division from Lai Khe into an operational area Northeast of Phu Loi.
On 5 March, the 118th Aviation Company reinforced by A/501st Aviation
Battalion, employed 11 troops carriers and armed helicopters to lift 111
troops of the 1st Bde, 1st U.S. Inf Div from a pick-up site fifteen
kilometers North of Tan Uyen into a landing zone at Tan Uyen. In the
afternoon the same ground element was lifted back to its original departure
point.
A major operation was conducted by this battalion, reinforced by
aviation elements of the 1st U.S. Infantry Division on 6 March 1966. The
unit being supported was the 25th ARVN Division. Fifty UH-1D troop
carriers, 27 UH-1B armed helicopters, and 2 O1-D fixed wing aircraft were
assembled to execute this operation. The plan was to extract four infantry
battalions from two pick-up sites twelve kilometers south of Tay Ninh
during the hours of darkness, and conduct two combat assaults into two
landing zones four kilometers Southwest of Cu Chi at daybreak. Due to a
dense ground fog in the pick-up area, the pick-up had to be delayed until
later in the morning. Eight hundred and twenty-two ground troops conducted
the assault. Moderate automatic weapons fire was encountered during the
landing, resulting in one helicopter being hit. The fires of the organic
gunships of the airmobile companies, and of the 197th Aviation Company were
placed on this enemy fire which served to suppress it. Armed helicopters
committed to ground battle also took a toll of nine structures destroyed
and eleven damaged. During the airmobile assault of the last ground
elements, a group of 10 VC were spotted fleeing the area. Gunships of the
197th were immediately over the spot and opened fire. The result - eight VC
killed and two possibles. Body count was confirmed by ground elements. It
is worthy to know that we had some frustrated crews when they realized that
their mission didn't permit them to land and recover the VC weapons. It is
also regrettable that the weather conditions did not permit the night
extraction and the dawn assault to be executed as planned. As the tactical
information permits, it is intended in the future to conduct more night
operations.
At 1440 hours on 8 March, a CIDG company conducting search and destroy
operations 10 kilometers west of Tay Ninh was attacked and surrounded by an
estimated two company size VC force. The 118th Aviation Company
(reinforced) was assembled for a reaction operation and flown to Tay Ninh.
There they picked-up 200 troops of the 25th ARVN Division and airlifted
them into an operational area to reinforce the CIDG unit. This operation
again demonstrates the flexibility and rapid response capability of
helicopter units. From the time the alert was received by the Battalion
Operation Center, until troops were landed in the operational area, only
105 minutes had elapsed. This is an amazingly short time considering that
the aircraft had to be recalled from other missions.
The last large operation of the period was conducted on 9 March when
two battalions of the 173rd Airborne Brigade assaulted an operational area
deep into War Zone D, 16 KM East of Phouc Hoa. During the troop carrier
lifts, ten attached CH-47 helicopters lifted 41 sorties of artillery and
supplies into the operational area. Five lifts of the fifty assault
helicopters were required to complete an airmovement of the ground
elements. Twenty-seven armed helicopters provided air escort and
suppressive fire support. Automatic weapons fire was received by flight
elements enroute to the operational area and sniper fire was encountered in
the landing zone. One aircraft was hit.
During the period the 145th Aviation Battalion provided administrative
and combat support to the 1st (US) Infantry Division, 173rd (US) Airborne
Brigade and III ARVN Corps.
Operational statistics are as follows:
Rotary Wing: Total Sorties - 4,948
Total Flying Hours - 1,818
Passengers Flown - 5,984
Fixed Wing: Total Sorties - 224
Total Flying Hours - 339

The aviation company of this battalion, thus far not mentioned is the
68th. In its silent, modest approach to mission accomplishment, it is
already flying 293 hours over program for the month. This is 104 hours over
the next highest company. It also has one aircraft less than the other
companies.
This battalion has been assigned a new, unique, and challenging mission
which will enable us to operate with the U.S. Navy. Plans are being
developed at this time and more information will be released as the project
develops. Captain Brofer, 197th Aviation Company has been assigned as the
Battalion Project Officer.

\SUMMARY OF CIVIC ACTIONS\
During the period units of the battalion were active in the areas of
Community Relations, Education and Training, Health and Sanitary,
Construction and Communications. Personnel from the 197th Aviation Company
constructed a fence within the An Loc Orphanage, along with organizing a
drive to obtain materials to repair a perimeter fence damaged by Viet Cong.
In addition the officers and men donated 400 pounds of cookies and candy, 1
case of body soap and 1/2 case of mosquito repellent. The majority of these
donations were sent to members of the unit from supporters in the United
States. The 118th Aviation Company performed loudspeaker and leaflet
support for Psychological Welfare operations for Voice of America for a
period of three hours. The officers and men also donated 3,000 $VN to the
Bien Hoa Orphanage along with 300 pounds of rice, 10 pounds of sugar and
1/2 case of wash soap. Doctor Altomonte attended to the sick at the
orphanage. Members of the 120th Aviation Company continued to provide
support to the Go Vap Orphanage in the form of $47.50 MPC, and 2,540 $VN,
one-hundred bags of cement for building projects, 2 cases of cornmeal, 4
cases of evaporated milk and 60 pounds of beans. Captain Wurster from the
129th Med Det surveyed the health needs at the orphanage and concluded that
the children receive adequate treatment from their own doctor. A
conversational English class was conducted by A/501st Aviation Battalion
for the Bien Hoa National Police. Coordination has been made with the MACV
Sector Advisor to sponsor a Now Life Hamlet in the Ho Nai Refugee area.
Many units work in this area but with 80,000 refugees and more arriving
each day, there is a tremendous opportunity to help in the traditional
American spirit. Our first project will be to field a MEDCAP team.
HORST K. JOOST, Lt Colonel,
Inf
Commanding

SUBJECT: Commander's Combat Note #11 21 March 1966
\SUMMARY OF OPERATIONS 11 MARCH THROUGH 17 MARCH 1966\
The 145th Aviation Battalion conducted six major airmobile assaults
this week. Four of these major operations were conducted in two consecutive
days. Two of these operations were rapid reactions requiring recall and
assembly of aircraft from other tasks.
The 197th Aviation killed 4 VC confirmed by body count. The company
also destroyed 9 sampans (one being 35 feet in length). Four VC
installations were destroyed and 8 damaged.
This week the armed helicopters of A/501st Avn Bn, and the 118th, 68th
and 197th Aviation Companies had numerous occasions to prove their worth by
protecting the troop carrier aircraft and the ground elements they were
supporting. The gunners on the troop carriers also had several
opportunities to prove to the VC that it isn't healthy to fire at a
helicopter.
On 11 March 1966, the 145th C.A.B. (Reinf) assembled at the forward
command post at 0600 hours to receive the final briefing and organize for
combat. This operation was the second airmobile assault conducted in
support of operation "Silver City" in War Zone D. Fifty UH-1D troop
carriers and thirty-one UH-1B armed helicopters were committed in support
of the 173rd (US) Airborne Brigade. The Battalion combat assault landed six
hundred and fifty-six troops from Bien Hoa into the landing zone eighteen
kilometers east of Phouc Hoa.
Since their employment into this area, the 173rd Airborne Brigade has
achieved phenomenal success against the enemy. At last count (which is
incomplete) for operation Silver City over 300 emeny dead have been
counted, and a vast store of arms, documents, and supplies have been
captured.
Two major operations were conducted on 14 March 1966. At 0935 hours,
two companies of the 145th C.A.B. (68th and A/501st), attached to the 11
C.A.B., landed at the staging area two kilometers north of Cu Chi. Twenty
UH-1D troop carriers and six UH-1B armed helicopters were committed in
support of the 25th (US) Inf. Div.. Two hundred and seventy-two troops were
airlifted in two lifts from the staging area into the operational area
twelve kilometers southwest of Cu Chi. Hostile small arms and
semi-automatic weapons fire was encountered. This was the first airmobile
operation conducted in support of the 25th (US) Inf. Div since its arrival
in the Republic of South Vietnam.
At 1100 hours on 14 March 1966, fifty-two UH-1D and twenty-nine UH-1B
armed Helicopters were committed in support of the 25th ARVN Division. The
Battalion flew to intermediate staging areas located at Trang Bang and Tram
Vang where five hundred and twenty troops were loaded and later combat
assault landed into an operational area seven kilometers northwest of Duc
Hoa. Light to moderate small arms fire was encountered during the first
combat assault. The Battalion then flew to Tan An and Ben Luc where an
additional five hundred and twenty troops were loaded and combat assault
landed into the second landing zone seven kilometers southwest of Duc Hoa
and airlifted one hundred troops from that location into the second landing
zone. During the entire operation, one aircraft was hit.
At 0230 hours on 15 March 1966 the 145th Aviation Battalion reacted
immediately to a rapid reaction request from III ARVN Corps. Under the
cover of darkness the 145th Aviation Battalion assembled for final briefing
and to conduct final organization for combat.
The flight elements departed the assembly area at 0620 hours and
picked up the first lift of troops of the 5th ARVN Division at Lia Khe
during darkness. With the assistance of the 145th Battalion Pathfinders,
the loading proceeded in an orderly fashion. At dawn, two hundred and
forty-six troops were combat assault landed into a landing zone eight
kilometers south, southeast of Ben Cat. The troop carriers then returned to
Bien Hoa and airlifted an additional three hundred and twenty troops into a
second landing zone twelve kilometers south of Ben Cat. During the
operation the 197th Aviation Company was responsible for evacuating twelve
casualties, destroying four structures and damaging eight others.
This reaction operation was initiated with the purpose of reinforcing
ARVN elements in the area that had been attacked during the night. The
landing areas were chosen with the intent to block the enemy and destroy
them. During the landings an intense amount of automatic weapons fire was
received from the south eastern edge of the "Iron Triangle". Information
was relayed from the ground elements to the 5th ARVN Division Commander,
located with the 145th Aviation Battalion Commander in the Command and
Control aircraft, that the enemy was in fact withdrawing to the Iron
Triangle. It was determined that tactical air would not be on station for
at least one half hour. The Division Commander asked what the 145th
Aviation Battalion could do to engage the enemy. He was informed we could
turn all guns on enemy. As the last elements were landed in the assault,
the order was given to all 145th Aviation Battalion elements to prepare for
offensive firing. Instructions were transmitted while companies were making
a forming turn to echelon the Battalion. Four companies consisting of a
total of 37 troop carriers and 19 gunships were spaced one minute apart,
echelon right, at an altitude of 1500 feet. On the signal of the lead
company all weapons of the gunships and slicks fired into the suspected
enemy areas along the eastern edge of the "Iron Triangle". The width of
area was covered extensive, and the density of strikes within the beaten
zone was awesome. It is frustrating not to know the extent of damage
incurred on the enemy. It is certain that we caused damage, since this fire
covered the area from which we were receiving automatic weapons fire. A
total of seventy-eight thousand rounds of 7.62 ammunition, three hundred
and fifty 2.75 inch rockets, and one hundred and thirty-five rounds of 40mm
ammunition were expended during the one firing pass.
At 0830 hours, on the same day, the 145th Aviation Battalion (Reinf),
again assembled for combat in support of another airmobile assault.
Forty-three UH-lD troop carriers and twenty-seven UH-lB armed helicopters
flew to intermediate staging areas at Cu-Chi and an area eight kilometers
northwest of Duc Hoa. From these two locations four hundred and ten troops
of the 25th ARVN Division were airlifted in one combat assault into the
operational area six kilometers west of Duc Hoa. Small arms and
semi-automatic fire was received in the vicinity of the landing zone and
one of the attached aircraft was hit.
On 15 March in support of Operation Silver City the 335th AHC
responded when two thousand VC encircled the 2/503rd Inf, the attacked
began just after sunrise, the Cowboys responded by sling-loading ammunition
into the landing zone under withering hostile fire. The VC left behind four
hundred of their dead.
On 16 March, the 145th Aviation Battalion (Reinf) reacted immediately
to a rapid reaction initiated by the 1st (US) Infantry Division in support
of the 173rd (US) Airborne Brigade. At 0935 hours the battalion Operations
Center was notified of the rapid reaction. By 1200 hours, twenty-eight
UH-lD troop carriers and sixteen UH-1B armed helicopters had been recalled
from III ARVN Corps support missions, assembled at the forward command post
and lifted two hundred troops of the 1st (US) Infantry Division (2nd
Brigade) into a landing zone twenty-two kilometers north of Bien Hoa.
Throughout the remainder of the day an additional twelve hundred and thirty
troops were lifted from Lai Khe, Long Than North (Bearcat), and Phuc Ving
into two landing zones in the operational area. Due to the immediate
requirement for additional support in the second landing zone, troops were
repositioned from one landing zone to the other. Small arms and
semi-automatic weapons fire was encountered in the vicinity of the landing
zones; however, there were no aircraft hit. Throughout the entire
operation, the flight elements arrived at the pickup sites prior to the
time the ground elements were organized for air movement. The rapidity
with which this rapid reaction was accomplished indicates the flexibility
which is ever present within the companies of the Battalion.
On 17 March, the 68th Aviation Company was attached to the 11th
Aviation Battalion to support the 25th (US) Infantry Division in search and
destroy operations being conducted eight kilometers southeast of Tay Ninh.
Ten UH-lD troop carriers and two UH-lB armed helicopters were involved in
the operation which was staged from Phu Loi. One hundred and twelve troops
of the 2nd Brigade, 25th (US) Infantry Division were airlifted in one lift
and combat assault landed into the operational area.
During the 11-17 March time period, the 74th Aviation Company
conducted the following missions:
Command and Liaison - 39 Air Escort - 21
Radio Relay - 13 Visual Reconnaissance - 76
Artillery Adjustment - 27 Photo - 1
Air Control - 30 Forward Air Control - 1
Surveillance - 12 Logistics - 5
During 11 March through 17 March 1966 the 145th Aviation Battalion
also provided normal administrative and combat support to the 1st (US)
Infantry Division, 173rd (US) Airborne Brigade and III ARVN Corps.
Operational statistics for rotary wing aircraft in support of
operations are as follows:
Total Sorties - 4221
Total Flying Hours - 1668
Passengers Flown - 6196
Operational statistics for fixed wing aircraft in supportations are as
follows:
Total Sorties - 252
Total Flying Hours - 538
Due to the large influx of new aviators in the Battalion a vigorous
training program is now under way within the companies to insure that all
newly assigned personnel receive a detailed and thorough standardization
flight check prior to flying on III Corps aviation support missions.

\SUMMARY OF CIVIC ACTIONS\
This week 11 March to 17 March 1966 the 145th Aviation Battalion
accomplished a variety of Civic Actions in its effort to expand the Civil
Affairs Program. In the area of commerce the Battalion and subordinate
units provided approximately 300 jobs for the local populace on a
continuous basis, broken down as follows:
Bn Hq & HHD - 30 118th Avn Co - 70
68th Avn Co - 50 197th Avn Co - 50
74th Avn Co - 28 A/501st Avn Bn - 41
The 68th AVN CO relocated 201 ARVN and refugees on three separate
operations conducted in the Xuan Loc, Tanh Ninh area. In addition they
transported 3,500 lbs of food and personal belongings associated with the
move. Preliminary planning was accomplished with U.S. Advisors at Can Co
for the company's sponsorship. The 68th has also extended an offer to help
the An Phong welfare organization when assistance is needed.
The 74th accomplished initial coordination with the Phu Loi Civic
Actions Coordinator and it is anticipated that work will begin very soon.
Help is needed in the education, Community Relations and Construction
fields.
The 118th accomplished Civic Actions in virtually all areas. One
hundred civilians were evacuated from a village in the Song Be area that
was supposed to be over-run by Viet Cong. At the same time two gunships
evacuated two civilians that needed immediate medical attention. Both of
these operations were done under extreme hazardous conditions and in only a
few hours duration. The gunship received several rounds of small arms fire
while completing the medical evacuation. Twenty-two bags of rice which were
located on a search and destroy mission in the operational area north of
Phu Loi were lifted to home station. The rice was donated to help relieve
some financial burden of the Bien Hoa Orphanage. In addition the officers
and men have volunteered their off-duty time to help construct plywood and
tin-lined cupboards at the orphanage. Donations for the week were: Two
cases of jam, 50 cans of bread, 12 lbs of sugar, 100 lbs of peanuts, 600
lbs of white rice,200 lbs of powdered milk, 1 case of bath soap, 1 dozen
wash clothes, 15 tooth brushes and tooth paste packs, 6 dozen diapers,
assorted children's clothes, 10 lbs of salt, and 2 cases of candies. The
following medical supplies and cleaning products were donated by the
officers: 1 case of chlorine bleach, 1 case of insect spray, 1 case of
auromycin eye ointment, and 2 boxes of assorted vitamins to fulfill their
daily needs. The 118th also flew a psychological warfare mission for three
hours duration. During the mission the Voice of America and leaflets
offered the words of freedom and safety from the South Vietnamese
Government in the Tan Uyen area. Doctor Altomonte treated patients again at
the Leper Colony for various illness other than leprosy. This assistance
has greatly helped in isolating the disease and has lessened the suffering
of those afflicted with leprosy. SP4 Amisano has been giving English
classes to the children around Cong-Ly. He is affectionately known as the
"teacher" and this kind of people to people program is the very foundation
of our civic actions here in Vietnam.
The 197th continued to provide support to the An Lac Orphanage in the
areas of Health and Sanitation, and Community Relations. Donations included
1 case of body soap, 5 lbs of tooth brushes and tooth paste, 40 lbs of
flour, 15 lbs of sugar and 20 lbs of candy. Emphasis is being placed on
improving the cleanliness of the children. Civic organizations in the U.S.
supporting the 197th sponsoring of the orphanage have indicated that 80 lbs
of clothes is on the way and it will be a continuous program from then on.
A/501st Avn Bn was active in the areas of Community Relations,
Transportation and Education. An English class was taught for the National
Police of Bien Hoa. The officers and men donated 12,875 $VN worth of
clothes, writing pads, readers, and coloring books which were presented to
the Catholic Orphanage of Bien Hoa. On 13 March two helicopters assisted
the 5th ARVN Division in relocating 45 civilians, bag and baggage, from
Song Be to Duc Phoung. Also during the course of normal missions 300 lbs of
US AID rice and 200 lbs of school supplies were transported to a remote
village northeast of Song Be.
The effort to expand civic action activities has shown some real
progress in the last week (11-17 March 1966) despite the loss of the 120th
Aviation Company which was very active in Civil Affairs.

Commander's Combat Note #12 28 March 1966
Summary Of Operations 18 March Through 24 March 1966
The 145th Aviation Battalion conducted two major airmobile assaults,
and two extractions, and on five occasions provided aviation reinforcement
to other units during the period. Included was reinforcement to the II
Corps and IV Corps aviation.
The 197th Aviation Company sank three sampans and damaged three. The
company also destroyed two V.C. structures. During the support of the 25th
ARVN Division, three armed helicopters evacuated 14 ARVN casualties.
On 18 March 1966, the 145th Aviation Battalion employed 28 UH-ID troop
carriers and UH-13 armed helicopters to support 25th (ARVN) Division in air
assaults operations 13 kilometers southwest of Duc Hoa. From the staging
area at Duc Hoa, 595 troops were airlifted in three successive assaults.
Light small arms and automatic weapons fire was encountered on the 2nd and
3rd assaults. Three aircraft were hit.
During the 2nd assault ten Viet Cong was sighted in the open 400
meters north of the landing zone. Although tactical air, organic artillery
and mortars were available and could have been used, the airmobile force
commander took advantage of the flexibility, fire power and rapid response
of the armed helicopters. The target was immediately engaged and
neutralized with seven Viet Cong estimated killed.
At 1620 hours, the 145th Aviation Battalion responded to a rapid
reaction notification to air land one battalion (317 troops) from the 25th
(ARVN) Division to reinforce the troops that had been air landed earlier in
the day. The responsiveness of the Aviation Battalion was clearly evident
as the entire operation, from notification to termination, took only one
hour and thirty minutes. Moderate ground fire was received from the
vicinity of the landing zone and two aircraft were hit. Thirty one ARVN
casualties were evacuated, under fire, after the assault troops had landed.
Only through the close covering fire provided by the gun ships was it
possible to remove those casualties without losing an aircraft to the enemy
fire. All personnel participating are to be commended for their courageous
behavior in the face of enemy fire. I also want to commend Lieutenant
Holcomb, 74th Aviation Company for his quick thinking and actions, while
flying fixed wing cover in support of this operation.
The 118th Aviation Company, also on this day, committed five UH-1D
troop carriers and four UH-1B armed helicopters to extract 46 ARVN Special
Forces from a site 25 kilometers north of Suoi Da, in support of operation
MARCH EAGLE I.
On 19 March 1966 Company A/501st and 118th Aviation Company teamed
together to extract troops of the 1st Brigade, 1st Infantry Division (US),
from a site 20 kilometers southeast of Phuoc Vinh. Ten UH-1D troop carriers
and two UH-1B helicopters were used to extract 112 troops in two airlifts.
The 145th Aviation Battalion employed seventeen UH-1D troop carriers
and ten UH-1B armed helicopters in support of III (ARVN) Corps missions on
20 March 1966.
On 21 March 1966, the Battalion supported the 173rd Airborne Brigade
in Operation Silver City by employing thirty-three UH-1D troop carriers and
eight UH-1B armed helicopters to extract 1186 troops of the 1st and 2nd
Battalion 503rd Airborne Infantry in six air lifts.
In the afternoon the Battalion supported III (ARVN) Corps with twenty
nine UH-1D troop carriers and eight UH-1B armed helicopters. Three hundred
CIDG troops were extracted from the landing zone 16 kilometers of Xom Cat
and air lifted to Bien Hoa.
Operation Silver City terminated at 1635 hours on 22 March 1966, as
the 145th Aviation Battalion employing forty UH-1D troop carriers and
nineteen UH-1B armed helicopters, extracted six hundred and ninety troops
of the 1st Battalion, RAR from landing zone along the Song Be River. In
addition to the troops, the Aircraft lifted 4.2 mortars, several Engineer
assault boats and other crew-served weapons.
The flexibility and rapid reaction of the 145th was proven again as
the Battalion responded to a late request by the ground commander to depart
the staging area thirty minutes earlier then scheduled.
Offensive firing highlighted the operation. Seven UH-1B armed
helicopters conducted offensive firing along the banks of the Song Be River
opposite the landing zone. The remaining twelve UH-1B armed helicopters
were placed in support of the commander. While in orbit east of the landing
zone they received small arms and automatic weapons fire from a location
four kilometers east of the landing zone. The target was immediately
engaged and neutralized.
On 23 March, the 68th Aviation Company, reinforced by the 118th
Aviation Company, responded to a rapid reaction request to support the IV
(ARVN) Corps. Ten UH-1D troop carriers and UH-1B armed helicopters air
lifted two hundred and seventy nine troops in one air assault and four
extractions in the vicinity of Muc Hoa.
Three UH-1B armed helicopters from the 197th Aviation Company
supported the 25th (ARVN) Division at Duc Hoa.
On 24 March, the 118th Aviation Company reinforced the 1st Aviation
Company, 1st (US) Infantry Division, Airlifting 185 troops with five UH-1D
troop carriers in five combat air assaults. Enemy fire was received in
vicinity of the landing zone.
On 24 March 1966, A/501st Aviation Company departed this station to
reinforce the aviation of the II Corps. The unit departed in a posture
prepared to operate in the field for an extended period. With only a short
warning, aviation again proved their responsiveness to mission
accomplishment, when this company moved a couple hundred miles and was
ready to operate on arrival. These short notice, field operations will
become more frequent. Therefore, all companies must update their plans for
such contingencies.
During the week, 18 March 1966 through 24 March 1966, the 74th
Aviation Company accomplished the following tasks:
\TYPE MISSION\ \TOTAL NUMBER\
Visual Reconnaissance 64
Forward Air Control 2
Radio Relay 20
Surveillance 25
Artillery adjustment 21
Naval Vessel escort and road column
Observation 35
Command Liaison 19
Logistics 3

Operational statistics for rotary wing aircraft in support of
operations are as follows:
Total Sorties 4315
Total Flying Hours 1551
Passengers Flown 5045
Operational Statistics for fixed wing:
Total Sorties 229
Total Flying Hours 538
This week, I am pleased to announce that the first Combat Crewman's
Badges were awarded to Sergeant Major L. A. DuBrey, the Battalion Sergeant
Major, and SP5 Buster R. Timberlake, crew chief for the Battalion
Commander's Command and Control aircraft. These were the first awards of
the many Combat Crewmen wings and Combat Aviator wings that have been
earned by members of the Battalion. Wear these wings proudly.

\SUMMARY OF CIVIC ACTIONS\
During the week the 145th Aviation Battalion Hq & Hq Det continued its
plans to expand Civic Actions in the surrounding communities. Three
thousand pounds of Viet Cong captured rice was donated to the parish
through the chief. The parish, in turn, will distribute the rice to
refugees who are unable to provide for themselves. In this category there
are many blind, incapacitated, ill, and elderly refugees. Approximately one
hundred adults and children observe this demonstration of good will which
will do much to foster the Vietnamese-American Relations. On Sunday,
several officers attended Catholic Mass at the refugee village, and
surveyed the school needs. Pictures were taken, and information gathered to
send home in an effort to solicit home town help.
The 68th Aviation Company was active in the civic action area by
evacuating two hundred and fifty eight ARVN dependents and refugees on four
different operations in as many days. One of the evacuation operations was
from a village recently over-run by the Viet Cong on two separate
occasions. Incident to the movement of the dependents and refugees, 12,000
pounds of foodstuff, and personal belongings were moved.
This week the 74th Aviation Company obtained volunteers, written
material, and classroom spaces to teach Conversational English classes to
Vietnamese children in Phu Cuong, two afternoons each week. Two volunteers,
are aiding a Regional Forces Platoon in construction of new living quarters
in Phu Cuong. The Platoon presently lives, with dependents, in two crowded
buildings. The officers and men donated condensed milk, fresh milk, canned
hams, and orange juice to a local school to supplement the children's diet.
For construction at the school, five bags of cement were donated.
The 118th Aviation Company was active in many areas of civic affairs.
The officers of the 118th Avn Co donated thirteen dozen "Dixie-Cups" of ice
cream to the Bien Hoa Orphanage. The celebration was a complete surprise to
the children who gave their hardiest thanks. It will be a long time before
this act of generosity is forgotten. The company also donated the following
list of items to the orphanage: Flour, sugar, cases of canned food, soap
for personal use, baby night shirts and assorted children's clothing, salt,
cooking oil, powdered milk, and a few toys of various kinds donated by
relatives from the States. Doctor Altomonte donated another six hours work
at the Leper Colony on Sunday. SP4 Amisano again donated time each day this
past week to teaching the children on Cong La Street English at night. The
classes are approximately 1 1/2 hours long and recently a couple of the
Bien Hoa National Police also attended.
The 118th Aviation Company, in the course of their operational
missions, transported a total of 250 lbs of medical supplies and dressings
and evacuated ten civilians from Da Thelgen area because of injuries and
tuberculosis.
Despite the fact that the 197th Aviation Company was engaged in moving
from Saigon to Bien Hoa, the company still found the time to accomplish
civic actions in their support of the An Lac Orphanage. The company has
already explored the possibility of supporting a boys farm in the Bien Hoa
area that is affiliated with the An Lac Orphanage. The soap was a gift from
the people of the state of New Hampshire, in response to a request for
support. The officers and men donated: rice, dried beans, cases of
cherries, cases of dehydrated potatoes, cases of dehydrated eggs, cases of
egg noodles, cases of jello, a case of orange juice, a case of cocoa, and
approximately 20 pounds clothing.
A/501st Aviation Battalion was active in the area of community
relations and education. On 24 March, 1500 pounds of Viet Cong captured
rice was donated to the Catholic orphanage of Bien Hoa. Also a
conversational English class was taught to the National Police of Bien Hoa.
Horst K. Joost, Lt.
Colonel, Inf
Commanding

Commander's Combat Note #
SUMMARY OF OPERATIONS 25 MARCH THROUGH 31 MARCH 1966
A total of one hundred and eleven troops were landed on two landing
zones nine miles northeast of PHU CUONG.
On 30 March, Company A/501st, employing eight UH-1D troop carriers and
two armed helicopters, airlifted ninety-nine troops of the 1st (US)
Infantry Division from Bien Hoa to a landing zone fifteen kilometers north
of Tan Uyen. In the afternoon the company again supported the 1st (US)
Infantry Division by lifting two hundred and seventy-two troops in five
assaults from Bear Cat.
On 31 March 1966, Company A/501st reinforced the 1st Aviation
Battalion, 1st (US) Infantry Division with seven troop carriers and
airlifted one hundred and ninety nine troop in five combat air assaults
from Vung Tau to a landing zone three kilometers east of Phu My.
During the week the 74th Aviation Company conducted the following task:
Sorties
Visual Reconnaissance 87
Radio Relay 22
Forward Air Control 1
Surveillance 42
Command Liaison 16
Escort 49
Artillery Adjustment 47
Logistics 9
On 26 March the 74th Aviation Company celebrated their first
anniversary since activation. During the one year period they have set a
commendable record of 22,438 flying hours, consisting of 15,503 sorties.
Congratulations and continued success.
Operational statistics for the rotary wing aircraft of the Battalion
for this week's period are as follows:
Total Sorties 5004
Total Flying Hours 1495
Passengers Flown 4865
Operational statistics for fixed wing aircraft for the Battalion are as
follows:
Total Sorties 333
Total Flying Hours 519
The 145th Aviation Battalion has gone to sea. We now have a task force
of gunships which are operating with the U.S. Navy with the mission of
providing aerial fire support for naval patrol boats operating in the river
and delta areas to destroy the Viet Cong and to secure shipping lanes. At
present two armed helicopters operate from the deck of the Seventh Fleet
Dock Landing Ship U.S.S. Belle Grove. The team work developed between the
Army helicopter crew and the Navy landing teams is something to behold when
a helicopter is launched and landed.
The helicopters were first landed aboard the vessel on 25 March 1966.
The first rapid-reaction was called on 26 March, to assist the Marine
Landing Force during operation JACK STAY in the Rung Sat Special Zone. The
operation consisted of directing an ambush party from the air to move to a
safe area, and to escort a river patrol boat employing Underwater
Demolition Teams. On 27 March, the gunships were launched to escort medical
evacuation patrol boats. Also on that day the fire team was launched to
support a swift boat that was attacked by V.C. gunfire. The fire team
expended twenty four rockets and 5,000 rounds of 7.62 caliber ammunition
against the VC ground fires.
Captain D. R. Brofer is the Project Officer and commander of the
gunship task force. This project will soon be expanded and all companies
will provide crews and aircraft for the Task Force. The army crews are
enthusiastic about the duty and I was pleased to have the Captain of the
U.S.S. Belle Grove tell me that he has worked with the Army on numerous
occasions but he has never met a more gung-ho, mission-oriented group of
army people as these gun crews.
In the field of training, a program has been initiated by the Battalion
in the adjustment of artillery fire. The goal is to have every rotary wing
and fixed wing aviator proficient in the adjustment of artillery fires.
SUMMARY OF CIVIC ACTIONS
The 145th Aviation Battalion Hq and Hq Det conducted its biggest
operation to date, in the area of Community Relations. 30,000 pounds of
bulgur wheat were obtained from the Catholic Relief Society through
coordination with the III Corps G-5. The bulgur was transported to the Bui
Vinh refugee village during a two day operation. This donation consitutes
the basic staple for approximately 2000 refugees for one month. The bulgur
will be distributed to the needy by members of the Hq and Hq Det and
members of the community under the supervision of the GVN. A fund was
established by the Battalion Headquarters to provide money for
approximately 60 school children to attend the elementary school, and also
buy school supplies. Contributions received on March 31st amounted to
17,000 piasters, enough to sustain the program for the remaining school
year. 2000 piasters were turned over to the Parish Chief for March and
April. In the area of communication, 150 pounds of books, magazines and
leaflets were obtained through JUSPAO and donated to the Bui Vinh refugee
center. These materials will be used to stock a reading room and will
contribute to the psychological warfare effort.
In addition to normal missions the 68th Aviation Company evacuated or
relocated 119 ARVN dependents and refugees on four separate operations.
11,500 pounds of personal belongings and foodstuffs were also transported
in conjunction with these movements. In coordination with the Korean
Hospital, four Vietnamese civilians were transported from Phu My to the
Korean Hospital for surgery. Aircraft returning from normal missions
provided this transportation. On the spot first aid was also administered
by a gunship crew, on a normal mission at Vo Dat, to two small children
with severe cuts.
The 74th Aviation Company was active in the areas of Community
Relations, Sanitation, Health, and Construction. The officers and men
donated 20 cartons of dixie cups to the Phu Cuong school. In addition, 1
case of tooth paste was donated to the school along with instructions for
its use. Two volunteers continued to assist a Regional Forces Platoon in
the construction of new living quarters.
The 118th Aviation Company was very active this week in civic action
activities. Armed elements evacuated two injured children and one woman
from a village over-run by the Viet Cong, thus saving their lives. The
Officers and men donated the following to the Bien Hoa orphanage: Brown
sugar, powdered soup, assorted jams, canned vanilla pudding, raisins, corn
beef, canned beef, peanut butter, egg noodles, white rice, powdered milk,
boxes of clothing, and toys. Doctor Alomonte made his weekly visit to the
Leper Colony and treated fifteen patients for common illnesses. A project
was also completed at the orphanage to improve the sanitation of the toilet
area. SP/4 Amisano again held Conversational English classes for the local
residents of Cong Ly Street. In addition to normal missions, the airmobile
elements relocated approximately 50 refugees from a Viet Cong controlled
outlying area of Song Be to a New Life Hamlet in Song Be.
The 197th Aviation Company was busy this week completing its move to
Bien Hoa. However, on 25 March the home of one of its Vietnamese employees
was completely destroyed by fire. The 197th immediately responded by
donating food and clothing for the family and construction material for a
new house. In the area of commerce the unit has provided employment for
approximately 20 local Vietnamese in the Bien Hoa area.
A/501st Aviation Battalion, although on an operational mission near Ban
Me Thuot for most of the period, continued its Conversational English class
for the National Police of Bien Hoa. Representatives of the company visited
a Montagnard village in the operation area when it was learned that the
villagers would not leave the village to hunt and fish because of their
fear of armed helicopters. This visit did much to foster
Vietnamese-American relations.
Horst K. Joost, Lt.Colonel, Inf
Commanding

SUBJECT: Commander's Combat Note # 15 9 April 1966
SUMMARY OF OPERATIONS 1 APRIL THROUGH 7 APRIL 1966
The 145th Aviation Battalion made great strides this week in
demonstrating that Army Aviation is a significant and vital part of combat
operations in defeating the Viet Cong in Vietnam.
Evidence of damage to the Viet Cong from this Battalion's effort is
obvious from this weeks score board: Nineteen V.C. killed, thirty-nine
estimated killed, three wounded prisoners, thirty-three V.C. structures
destroyed and twenty damaged, eighteen sampans sunk and fourteen damaged,
and one truck destroyed.
One of the major efforts this week was the aviation support of the 2nd
Brigade, 25th (US) Division during operation "CIRCLE PINES" from 30 March
to 4 April. All units of the Battalion provided support, however, 118th
Aviation Company was assigned mission responsibility. The area of
operations was to the north of a line running from Cu Chi to Trung Lap and
to the Saigon River. This operation was a classic example of how aviation
should and should not be employed. Some significant lessons were learned.
The most significant being that Army Aviation can't be dispatched as taxi
cabs to perform a mission. Close coordination and understanding must be
established between the aviation unit commander and the support ground
commander, and the individual pilot must know the current situation. It was
discovered that, during the initial days of the operation, aircraft that
were being assigned to support the Brigade on a single mission basic were
being subjected to enemy fire when lifting resupply to forward elements.
This fire ranged from single shot snipping to medium and heavy automatic
weapons fire. In an attempt to bring order to this situation, Major
Underwood, Commanding Officer of the 118th Aviation Company was assigned
the mission to support the operation until termination. Troop carrier
aircraft and gunship of all other companies of the Battalion reinforced the
118th Aviation Company during the remainder of the operation as required.
By close association with the command and staff elements of the supported
Brigade, the aviation commander was able to advise how and where to best
use airlift and aerial fire support. He was able to study the enemy fire
techniques and take appropriate counter measures to protect the aircraft
and incur maximum damage to the enemy. At one stage of the operation the
Brigade was supported by eleven troop carrier aircraft and fourteen armed
aircraft. By the employment of appropriate tactics with gunships against
enemy ground fire, hits on troop carrier aircraft were considerably reduced
and the score of V.C. kills mounted. After the aviation leadership, advice
and management was established, the supported Brigade enjoyed the type of
support that aviation is designed to produce. Also, no aircraft stood idle-
this critical resource was fully used. Within these few days, aviation was
employed as follows: Lift supplies from support base to forward employed
elements; command, control and liaison for commanders and staff; radio
relay; armed escort of ground columns, reconnaissance by fire in advance of
ground columns; armed escorts for troop carrier aircraft; preparation by
fire of a landing zone; reconnaissance and marking of a landing zone;
airlift of troops in an airmobile assault; armed reconnaissance of a river
and aerial fire against V.C. river traffic; armed aircraft strikes on
target designated by forward ground elements which were too close to
friendly troops for tactical air engagement (some strikes were 100 meters
in front of friendly troops); and medical evacuation of wounded. What
started out to be an operation where aviation was piecemealed to support
the Brigade for occasional mission, turned out to be a well coordinated
operation in which aviation was effectively and economically used and
contributed significantly to success of the operation. This reversal is due
to the fact that an aviation unit commander was assigned a mission and he
felt the responsibility toward that supported unit. That personal
responsibility in fact kept his company maintenance working overtime to
come up with several more aircraft available for missions than programed.
A summary of the result achieved and resources employed for this
operation is shown below:
118th A/501st 68th 197th total
Total Flying Hours 253 77 45 33 408
Total Sorties Flown 913 26 132 26 1097
Total Tons Cargo 90 19 7 -- 116
Passengers Lifted 879 273 40 -- 1192
Medevacs 17 3 2 1 23
V.C. Structures 10/5 2/2 7/5 4/6 23/18
destroyed/damaged
V.C. Sampans 3/10 0/0 6/7 0/0 9/10
destroyed/damaged
Total task performed 1197 341 90 32 1660

Rounds expended
7.62mm 55,000 10,000 16,000 24,000 105,050
40mm 500 0 80 50 630
Rockets 234 28 52 98 412

V.C. KIA Confirmed 5 0 0 4 9
Estimated 10 3 3 15 31

During the week (1 April - 7 April 1966) the 197th Aviation Company,
operating on independent missions (excluding the support rendered in the
operation described above) claimed eight sampans sunk, four sampans
damaged, ten V.C. structures destroyed, one truck destroyed and three V.C.
killed.
The combined effort of the 145th Aviation Battalion conducted an
operation in support of Operation GREENE EAGLE in the Tay Ninh area on 5
April. This operation consisted of conducting an air assault of 200 CIDG
troops into an area to establish security for an artillery support base.
105mm howitzer artillery was then airlifted by Chinooks into the secured
base and artillery registered. The next air assault consisted of lifting
710 CIDG troops into two landing zones for the conduct of a search destroy
operation. This air assault was highlighted by the employment of tear gas
dispensed by helicopters to create a barrier to an avenue of approach into
the landing zone. After the tear gas was dispensed, offensive fire was
conducted over the tear gassed area by dropping sixty 81mm mortar rounds
from a helicopter, and by firing armed helicopters and machine guns from
troop carrying aircraft. The fire power accounted for four enemy conformed
killed, three wounded prisoners, and a possible four other V.C. killed.
Later in the day the assaulting force was extracted and reemployed in
another airmobile assault against a suspected V.C. location. During this
operation the 197th Aviation Company was also credited with three V.C
killed and estimated four V.C. killed from the result of strikes placed
against enemy ground fire.
On 7 April, the 68th Aviation Company conducted an airmobile assault
with 190 RF/PF troops in an area 15 kilometers south of Hon Quan.
The 74th Aviation Company performed the following tasks during the
period:
Tasks
Visual reconnaissance 100
Escort Missions 40
Psychological warfare 3
The armed aircraft task force of this Battalion, operating with the
Navy, has been designated Task Force Sea Wolf. At present the task force is
operating aboard the U.S.S. Belle Grove in the Rung Sat Special Zone.
During the week these gunships provided forward air control support for the
navy tactical air strikes, escorted friendly patrol boats and LST's and
LOM's during the U.S. Marine Corps extraction from the Rung Sat Special
Zone, conducted night and day reconnaissance, which located a V.C. bunker
and tunnel complex, and conducted strikes on enemy positions and sampans.
With a result of one sampan destroyed and two structures damaged. A gunship
also evacuated a wounded Vietnamese Marine.
Training in Artillery adjustment from an aerial platform has been
initiated by the Battalion this week.
The operational statistics for the period are:
Rotary Wing:
Total Sorties 4428
Total Flying hours 1404
Passengers 5421
Fixed Wing:
Total Sorties 329
Total Flying hour 556
The following awards were received by the Battalion:
Distinguished Flying Cross 6
Bronze Star "Valor" 1
Air Medal "VALOR" 11
Army Commendation Medal 3
Purple Heart 10
The following promotions were received:
Capt to Major 2
E-2 to E-3 11
E-3 to E-4 3
E-4 to E-5 11
E-6 to E-7 1

SUMMARY OF CIVIC ACTIONS (1 April - 7 April 1966)
The Hq & Hq Detachment donated 4500 pounds of rolled wheat, candy and
canned goods to the Bui Vinh refugee center.
The 68th Aviation Company evacuated or relocated 114 ARVN dependents
and refugees in the VO DAT, XUAN LOC area. 10,000 pounds of personal
belongings and foodstuffs were airlifted concurrently with the dependents
and refugees. Final coordination was made at Can Gio by representatives of
the 68th Aviation Company, in an effort to begin several projects in that
community.
The officers and men of the 74th Aviation Company distributed coolaide
to the children of the 5th ARVN Division Dependents School at Phu Loi. In
addition, coolaide, orange juice, candy and cookies were donated to the
HIET BINH XA School. Lt Ebert and Sp/4 Montey conducted a conversational
English Language Seminar for the faculty of the HIET BINH XA School.
The 118th Aviation Company evacuated twenty-five refugees from a 25th
Inf Div operational area. Armed elements medically evacuated five
Montagnards from a V.C. controlled area to HON QUAN. As a result of this
evacuation, intelligence was gained, and later the same day armed elements
made strikes based upon this intelligence. Here is another example of an
immediate pay-off of Civic Action efforts. Donations to the Bien Hoa
Orphanage this week consisted of a large amount of foodstuffs, assorted
toys, plastic baby bottles with nipples, and clothing for infants and
children. In addition, the following items were donated to the Catholic
Orphanage in TU DUC: Preserves and jellies, peanut butter, tooth paste and
brushes, and assorted children's clothing. Doctor Altomonte made his weekly
visit to the Leper Colony at TAN UYEN and treated twenty-five patients.
Doctor Altomonte also donated medical supplies to the Bien Hoa Orphanage in
an effort to improve the health and sanitation level. Sp/4 Amisano
continued his conversational English instruction each day this week to the
children of Cong Ly street and several Bien Hoa National Police.
A/501st Aviation Battalion was active in Refugee Assistance,
Transportation, Education, and Community Relations. On 6 April, airmobile
elements evacuated 125 refugees from near a the Cambodian border to Bien
Soi. The refugees, mostly women and children, had been rendered homeless by
a search and destroy operation. Transportation was also provided for the
Bien Hoa JUSPAO representative, Mr. Martin, in support of psychological
warfare. The officers and men made the following donations: 1500 pounds of
rice to the Catholic Orphanage, and 17,478 piasters to a private Bien Hoa
school for the purchase of school supplies. Conversational English classes
were conducted for members of the Bien Hoa National Police.

Horst K. Joost, Lt.
Colonel, Inf
Commanding

Commander's Combat Note: #17 16 April 1966
HELICOPTER TACTICS
1. On a recent operation of the 145th Avn Bn, over a period of five
days it became apparent that the VC in the area of Cu Chi were well trained
in anti-heliborne tactics. A large number of aircraft were hit and several
men were wounded. Most of the aircraft hit were either on low final
approach or had just taken off. The VC have an extensive tunnel system in
this area and are well dug in. They also have overhead cover and it is
difficult to detect them from the air. In one instance there were three cal
.50 MGs within a 6 KM radius in a triangular shape that opened fire on an
aircraft at 2500: and continued firing until the aircraft was over 5000:.
2. There are several sound principles which can be followed to reduce
the chance of an aircraft being hit. In areas like Cu Chi troop carrier
aircraft should never operate at less than 2500 ft. unless accompanied by
an armed escort. At low level an aviator's best defense is speed. On
approaches to the same LZ alter the approach from time to time.
3. The 197th Avn Co has twelve cardinal rules that apply to armed
aircraft. Most of them also apply to troop carriers. They are proven as
effective tactics.
1. Do not overfly the target.
2. Do not fly in the deadman zone without a reason (100'-1000').
3. Never fly the 180 degree wing position.
4. Always assume that the area is hot.
5. Always make a high reconnaissance.
6. Never fire until you have the friendly forces located.
7. Never fly parallel to terrain features.
8. Avoid firing over the heads of friendly troops.
9. Expend only when you have a worthwhile target.
10. Always know the situation.
11. Take your time.
12. Brief your elements to a man.
4. Commanders, remember, an aviator must be briefed on the tactical
situation and his mission to be effective. Detailed coordination with the
supported ground commander will help to clarify; the enemy situation. Use
all the protective measures avialable to you. If gunship escort will
increase the probability of mission accomplishment- use it.
Above all, avoid flying over known hostile position if you can
accomplish your mission.
"First In Vietnam"
Horst K. Joost, Lt
Colonel, Inf
Commanding

Commander's Combat Note #18 16 April 1966
SUMMARY OF OPERATIONS 8 APRIL THROUGH 14 APRIL 1966
On Easter Sunday the 145th Aviation Battalion , reinforced by elements
of the 11th Aviation Battalion, conducted an airmobile assault, employing
489 troops of MIKE FORCE, III (ARVN) Corps approximately 25 kilometers
South of Bien Hoa. The force was landed in three lifts. It was planned to
extract the force on the following day, however, at 1445 hours this
Battalion was alerted and responded to a rapid reaction request to extract
the force immediately. Aviation was recalled from other missions and
assembled for the extraction which was completed by 1905 hours.
On 11 April, the Battalion returned to the Cu Chi area to support the
25th (US) Division. A jolly time can always be expected when operating in
this area and we were not disappointed. Over 500 troops were employed in an
airmobile assault of four lifts ten miles northwest of Cu Chi. No artillery
or tactical air preparation was used on the landing zone due to the
proximity of a village. As the first elements approached, the gunships
marking and reconnoitering received moderate automatic weapons fire. The
gunships returned the fire, allowing the troop carriers to land. Light
enemy fire persisted throughout the assault with the result of four
aircraft being hit. The battalion's gunship continued to provide close in
fire support to the ground elements after the completion of the lift.
For the last two days of the period, the 145th Aviation Battalion
supported the 173rd Airborne Brigade in conducting eight airmobile assaults
and two extractions in the Song Be area.
The gunships of the 197th Aviation Company again added to the toll of
Viet Cong destruction. In one action, gunships responded to a call from an
Air Force forward air controller who spotted Viet Cong in the open near Duc
Hoa. The gunships engaged with a result of ten confirmed dead Viet Cong.
The company's total score for the week is three sampans destroyed and five
damage, five structures destroyed and three damaged, and ten confirmed Viet
Cong killed and six estimated killed.
The 74th Aviation Company flew 142 visual reconnaissance and 39 escort
missions during the period.
Task Force Sea wolf continued to operate from the U.S.S. Belle Grove in
support of Naval operations in the Rung Sat Special Zone. Their activities
consisted of giving area and aircraft orientation flights to river patrol
boat commanders, conducting daylight and night visual reconnaissance of the
river areas, conducting airstrikes against Viet Cong targets, and flying
cover for patrol boats. On two occasions Task Force Sea wolf was
instrumental in stopping Viet Cong attacks against friendly villages by
repeated firing runs against the besiegers. The total score for the Task
Force for this period is one sampan destroyed and two damaged, and two
confirmed Viet Cong killed and four estimated killed.
Operational statistics for the period are as follows:
Rotary Wing:
Total Sorties 4440
Total Flying Hours 1640
Passengers 6040
Fixed Wing:
Total Sorties: 393
Total Flying Hours 605
Training:
The airmobile companies of the Battalion are conducting in-country
orientation briefings and flights to aviators of the 25th (US) Aviation
Battalion.
Awards:
The following is a recapitulation of awards received:
8 April- 14 April Since 1 January 65
Distinguished Service Cross 0 2
Silver Star 0 15
Legion of Merit 1 3
Distinguished Flying Cross 2 120
Soldiers Medal 0 9
Bronze Star "Valor" 0 26
Bronze Star 1 95
Air Medal "Valor" 4 277*
Air Medal 0 9,486*
Army Commendation Medal "Valor" 0 50
Army Commendation Medal 8 286
Purple Heart 3 186
* It is worthy of note that these 9,763 Air Medals represent in excess
of 375,875 combat flying hours by members of this Battalion!!

SUMMARY OF CIVIC ACTIONS (8 April - 14 April
1966)
On 14 April, the HQ & HQ Detachment, 145th Aviation Battalion donated
3000$VN piasters to purchase school furniture for a self help construction
project in the Bui Vinh Parish. In the psy-war effort, thirty pounds of
reading material were placed in the community reading room.
The 68th Aviation Company was active in the area of transportation. On
12 April, an airmobile element medically evacuated a wounded child to Bien
Hoa Provincial Hospital for immediate attention. In addition, the company
evacuated or relocated 62 ARVN dependents and refugees and 2500 pounds of
personal belongings and foodstuffs in the course of normal missions.
In the area of Community Relations, the officers and men of the 74th
Aviation Company donated a case of fresh eggs to Regional Forces dependents
on Easter, 500 pounds of clothing collected by the Washington States
Highway Patrol to the Duc Hoa Refugee Center, and foodstuffs to an employee
with a recent death in his family. 5900$vn piasters were turned over to the
Phu Cuong orphanage for the purchase of supplies and materials.
The 118th Aviation Company made significant contributions in the civic
actions in support of 25th Division operations at Cu Chi. Airmobile
elements medically evacuated a total of 15 GVN civilians to medical
facilities at Trung Lap. In addition, approximately 50 refugees were
evacuated from search and destroy areas to the Cu Chi District Headquarters
for immediate refugee assistance. The officers and men donated over 1000
pounds of foodstuff, 9 boxes of assorted clothing and sanitation items to
the Bui Vinh Refugee Center, and the Bien Hoa Orphanage. Captain Cooper
personally donated 1200 pencils inscribed "From an American Soldier of the
118th Aviation Company", to the Bien Hoa and Bui Vinh School children in a
friendship gesture. Sp/4 Amisano conducted English classes for the
residents of Cong Ly Street. Doctor Altomonte treated approximately thirty
patients and local civilians during his weekly visit to the Tan Uyen Leper
Colony. Doctor Altomonte's effort at Tan Uyen were cited by the District
Chief as a major contribution in the pacification effort in this Viet Cong
influenced area.
The officers and men of the 197th Aviation Company donated 100 pounds
of clothing and health and sanitation items to the An Loc Orphanage on
Easter Sunday. An armed element of the company branched out in the
communications field when it dropped psy-war leaflets in the Run Sat
Special Zone at the request of the NHA BE District Chief.
This week, A/501st Aviation Battalion accepted limited sponsorship of
the Bui Hiep Refugee Center. In addition, 9 refugees were evacuated in the
Ham Tam area by airmobile elements on 11 April. Ten Bien Hoa National
police attended the weekly conversational English class conducted by
members of the unit.

HORST K. JOOST, Lt Colonel, Infantry
Commanding

Commander's Combat Note # 19 23 April 1966
SUMMARY OF OPERATIONS 15 APRIL THROUGH 21 APRIL 1966
Long in need of praise have been a number of aviation activities which
are not necessarily glamorous or receive much recognition but which are all
important to the mission accomplishment of the 145th Aviation Battalion.
The first of these is the support provided to us during each airmobile
operation by Captain Thurman, Operations Officer, 56th Transportation
Company, and his aircraft recovery crews. During this month alone he has
recovered three downed UH-1D aircraft out of hostile territory. Each
recovery has been performed under duress but with such efficiency that in
no instance did it interfere or detract from the airmobile mission. Our
highest praises to this unit.
Another unsung activity is the constant cover we receive from the 57th
Medical Detachment (Air Ambulance) during airmobile operations. They are
always overhead when needed. In a recent Battalion operation, one
helicopter ambulance received eight hits while evacuating wounded U.S.
Forces. They always come back for more.
Our own 74th Aviation Company is constantly aloft to provide radio
relay service, weather advisory, visual reconnaissance and air artillery
adjustments during airmobile operations. These aircraft spend many long
hours over the objective area. They are the first aircraft over the
objective area and usually the last to leave after the operation is
completed.
The next activity is that of our Battalion Pathfinder Detachment. This
Detachment is commanded by Lieutenant Grover D Westfall. It precedes the
troop carrier aircraft into the pick up site to organize and control troop
loading and aircraft landing for pickup. During an extraction, these
personnel depart the extraction zone after the last ground elements are
airborne.
The 145th Aviation Battalion supports the III (ARVN) Corps with
helicopters on a daily basis. Every company in the Battalion receives a
turn at this duty. In the performance of this duty aircraft are dispatched
throughout the III Corps area, and engage in a variety of missions. Locally
we brand these as "Pigs and Rice" missions, the name being derived from the
requirement to frequently haul these commodities. These missions are
administrative and tactical in nature. An example of some administrative
support: This Sunday a helicopter was used to lift Post Exchange supplies
and operate as an airmobile PX to fourteen extremely isolated post which
are inaccessible by road in the III Corps area. Religious service are
conducted in this manner to isolated posts. Daily mail and courier flights
are made to all posts in the three division tactical areas. Helicopters are
used to resupply the ARVN forces located on a number of high pinnacles in
the Corps area. These outposts exist only by helicopter resupply. Popular
forces personnel and occasionally their dependents and belongings are
transported to new locations. A helicopter pilot flying these missions
cannot allow himself to become shook about what he may see being loaded in
his aircraft. Other administrative tasks are to transport advisors to these
remote outposts, the only contact they have with the forces at these
locations.
The tactical mission for the Corps consist of providing armed
helicopter fire teams daily to each of the three ARVN divisions. These
teams are used to conduct strikes against Viet Cong locations, provide
escort for road convoys and aerial reconnaissance. Psychological warfare
loudspeaker missions are flown by troop carrier helicopters, supported by a
fire team. These missions can always be counted on to prompt a reaction by
fire from the Viet Cong. Another tactical mission is the delivery by
helicopter of Recondo Teams. This week, three Recondo Teams were employed
by this Battalion into Viet Cong suspect areas. Gunships cover these
deliveries.
Daylight and night reconnaissance is made around the Bien Hoa Air Base
complex by a fire team. The senior advisor of the Dong Nai area credits
this continuous surveillance as a major contributing factor to the security
from Viet Cong attack that the Air Base has enjoyed.
Now for the airmobile operations conducted this week.
On 15 April, Company A/501st Aviation Battalion supported the 173rd
Airborne Brigade by conducting two airmobile assaults and four extractions.
A total of 425 troops were lifted in twelve lifts. Enemy ground fire was
received in the landing zone.
On 16 April, the 68th Aviation Company, supported the 2d Brigade, 25th
(US) Division by airlifting 126 troops in two airmobile assaults, northwest
of Cu Chi.
Company A/501st, continued to, support the 173rd Airborne Brigade, by
conducting six airmobile assaults with 333 troops of the First Royal
Australian Regiment in the vicinity of Song Be.
On 17 April, A/501st supported the 173d Airborne Brigade by conducting
five airmobile assaults and one extraction in the vicinity of Song Be. A
total of 367 troops were lifted.
The 145th Aviation Battalion conducted an airmobile operation on 18
April for the 25th (ARVN) Division, ten kilometers Northwest of Tan An.
This operation demonstrated some problems in coordination and control when
an unscheduled, unannounced and uncontrolled air strike with White
Phospherous ordnance struck the landing zone immediately prior to the time
of the troop landing. Aircraft were diverted for forty-five minutes until
the smoke in the landing zone dissipated. A total of 510 troops than
assaulted four landing zones. During this operation, armed helicopters of
the 68th Aviation Company engaged a squad of Viet Cong with a result of
three kills estimated.
Company A/501st again supported the 173d Airborne Brigade on 18 April,
by conducting ten combat assaults with 563 troops in the Song Be area.
On 20 April, the 145th Aviation Battalion Supported III (ARVN) Corps
CIDG Forces by airlifting 570 troops in four air assaults out of Song Be to
two landing zone thirty kilometers east of Song Be. One highlight of the
assault was the first employment of the XM-31 20mm cannon sub-system in a
combat operation. The System is currently being tested by the 197th
Aviation Company (Armed). It consists of 2 - 20mm cannons which are
flexible in elevation, mounted on each side of the UH-1B helicopter. This
weapon system was used for the helicopter prestrike of the wooded areas
surrounding the landing zone. The assault was uncontested.
Also on 20 April 1966, the 118th Aviation Company supported the Capitol
Military Region by conducting an airmobile assault with 100 troops ten
miles southwest of Saigon. Later in the day this force was extracted.
On 21 April, the 68th Action company departed for Vinh Long to
reinforce the 13th Aviation Battalion in support of the IV Corps (ARVN) for
a three day period.
The activities of the 197th Aviation Company while operating on
separate gunship missions account for seven Viet Cong estimated KIA, four
Sampans sunk and two damaged, seven structures destroyed.
The 74th Aviation Company (FW) performed the following tasks during the
period:
Visual Reconnaissance 102
Escort Missions 76
Photo Missions 2
Operation Sea Wolf moved into Phase II this week by assembling armed
helicopters and additional crew and support personnel to outfit another
naval vessel. Personnel are undergoing training to land on LST decks at
this time. Also the U.S.S. Belle Grove is being replaced with another LSD.
This Battalion received a message this week from Commander and Captain of
the U.S.S. Belle Grove Naval Task Force 116 which praised the Sea Wolf
Operation. An extract follows:..." In addition we must doff our hats to the
highly capable Army helo pilots who so rapidly integrated into their fire
support role and who so admirably carried out their assignments. Their
quick adjustment without any hitch to night and day flying from our helo
and super decks was testimony to their outstanding professional competence.
Shipmated in every sense of the word their presence will be sorely missed.
However we depart secure in the knowledge that fire team support of the
river forces will be in the best of hands. Please convey to USMACV and the
Commanding Officer 145th Aviation Battalion our "well done" to Captain
Brofer and his fine crews for a truly superlative performance."
Operational statistics for the week are as follows:
Rotary Wing :
Total Sorties 4332
Total Flying Hours 1480
Personnel Lifted 5803
Fixed Wing:
Total Sorties 402
Total Flying Hours 538
Personnel of the 25th Aviation Battalion continued with their
in-country flight training.
Awards received by the Battalion this week:
Distinguished Flying Cross 1
Bronze Star "Valor" 1
Air Medal "Valor 8
Air Medal 166
Army Commendation MS 4
Purple Heart 1
At a brief ceremony on 19 April 1966, in Bien Hoa, Honour-Smith
Compound was dedicated in memory of Lt. Colonel Charles M. Honour Jr.,
formerly Battalion Commander of the 145th Aviation Battalion, and Captain
Albert M. Smith Jr, formerly Battalion Assistant Adjutant.
After Chaplain (Major) Hugh N. Barnes conducted a short memorial
service, Brigadier General Robert T. Knowles, Chief of Staff II Field
Forces V, and Lt. Colonel Horst K. Joost, Commanding Officer of the 145th
Aviation Battalion, unveiled a large sign at the gate of Honour-Smith
Compound. Honour-Smith Compound, previously known as Cong-Ly Complex,
Houses parts of three separate units, II Field Forces V, the 145th Aviation
Battalion, and 232d Signal Company.

SUMMARY OF CIVIC ACTIONS (15 April - 21 April
1966)
The Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment donated soap to the nearby
Refugee Village School.
The 68th Aviation Company re-located 12 refugees, 23 ARVN dependents,
and 2600 pounds of personal belongings. A company delegation was sent to
the fishing village of Can Gio. The party took along a donation of soap,
toothpaste, clothes, toilet articles, school supplies, and miscellaneous
items which were obtained by Captain Gore from the American Legion in his
home town. Four enlisted members have volunteered to teach English classes
and a medical aid program is being planned.
The 74th Aviation Company continued its activities started last week.
English classes were taught to children in Phu Cuong. Volunteers aided a
Regional Forces Platoon in construction of new living quarters in Phu
Cuong. Officers and men donated more condensed milk, fresh milk, canned
hams, and orange juice to local school to supplement the children's diet.
The 118th Aviation Company was active in many areas of civil affairs.
Fifty pounds of clothing was gathered and donated by the Officers and
Enlisted men of the 118th Aviation Company and distributed to the refugee
center at Binh Vinh. Captain Glen R. Weber donated Vietnamese ice cream
cones to the local children at Hung Trung Province while on a joint service
operation on 19 April 66. These children were combat refugees and were
greatly taken by this act. Sp/4 Amisano conducted conversational English
classes for the eight straight week on Cong-Ly Street. His classes now
range to 25 students or more counting the Bien Hoa National Police
attending. The Officers of the 118th Aviation Company, contributed
donations to the Bien Hoa Orphanage of the following items: Blankets,
towels, infant playsuits, toys, soap, tooth paste, talcum powder, tooth
brushes, hair brushes, combs, boxes of clothes, adhesive tape, childrens
shampoo, boxes of crayons, coloring books, surgical soap, infant shoes, and
assorted childrens clothing and a good supply of food stuff. The Company
also made donations of food stuffs and clothing to the Tu Duc Orphanage.
Doctor Altomonte made his weekly visit to the Tan Uyen Leper Colony and
treated twenty patients and local civilians.
THe 197th Aviation Company provided additional support to the An Loc
Orphanage in Saigon by donating 1000 pounds of rice and a case of One-a-day
Vitamins.
A/501st Aviation Battalion's Officers donated 6,785$VN piasters to
purchase school furniture for a self help project at Bui Vinh Refugee
Center. Three volunteers conducted a two hour conversational English class
for forty residents of Tam Hiep. This was followed by another class on 21
April 66 for approximately fifty residents. Six bags of cement and several
types of school supplies were donated to Tam Hiep. A USAF Lieutenant was
transported to Due Tu for coordination with the District Chief in making a
short film about refugees. A new project was begun by making initial
contact with Due Tu Sub-Sector Chief and Tam Hiep Hamlet Chief.
Horst K. Joost Lt. Colonel, Infantry
Commanding

Commander's Combat Note #21 30 April 1966
SUMMARY OF OPERATIONS 22 APRIL THROUGH 28 APRIL 1966
This week I wish to praise the outstanding work performed by our
maintenance detachments which have month after month kept the aircraft of
this Battalion flying several thousand hours over the program. These units
are the 391st Transportation Detachments, supporting the 68th Aviation
Company; the 563d Transportation Detachment, supporting the 74th Aviation
Company; The 573d Transportation Detachment, supporting the 118th Aviation
Company;The 571st Transportation Detachment, supporting the 197th Aviation
Company; and the 151st Transportation Detachment, supporting A/501st
Aviation Battalion.
During the period the 145th Aviation Battalion conducted one airmobile
operation involving all companies of the Battalion. The other operation
consisted of companies of this Battalion reinforcing other aviation units,
companies operating independently to support ground combat units, and daily
III (ARVN) Corps support. The 197th Aviation Company continued to conduct
numerous Lighting Bug and other aerial fire support missions, while the
74th Aviation Company provided fixed wing support to U.S. and ARVN Forces
in the III Corp area. Operation Sea Wolf continued to strike at the Viet
Cong in the Rung Sat Special Zone.
Company A/501st continued their supporting of the 173d Airborne Brigade
in the Song Be Area on 22 April, by conducting an assault and a subsequent
extraction with 476 troopers.
On 23 April, the 68th Aviation Company returned from the IV Corps Area,
where they supported the 21st (ARVN) Division for two days. During that
time they conducted seven combat assaults and one extraction in the Vi
Thanh area. Two aircraft were hit by enemy fire.
This was a busy day for the 118th Aviation Company, conducting two
airmobile operations for III (ARVN) Corps. The first operation consisted of
airlifting two CIDG Companies, one from Bien Hoa and the other from Dong
Xoai to an area thirty kilometers east of Song Be. Also lifted were 90 CIDG
dependents. The second operation was initiated by the company when they
responded to the requirement to relocate the 9th (ARVN) Regiment to Song
Be. In ten lifts the company relocated 1150 troops, the last portion being
conducted during the hours of darkness.
The 68th Aviation Company and Company A/501st supported the 1st (US)
Infantry Division's operation BIRMINGHAM on 24 April. These companies
airlifted 549 troops in five airmobile assaults northwest of Tay Ninh.
Enemy ground fire accounted for four aircraft being hit.
The 118th Aviation Company responded to a rapid reaction to support the
Capital Military Region by extracting 120 ARVN troops from a site 10
kilometers east of Saigon. In order to respond to this mission it was
necessary to recall the aircraft of company from a variety of tasks
locations within the III Corps area. From alert to mission accomplishment
one hour and forty minutes elapsed.
On 26 April, ten armed helicopters of the Battalion flew in support of
MACV directed missions. Company A/501st supported the 25th (ARVN) Division
by airlifting 96 ranger troops in two combat assaults in the vicinity of
Duc Hoa.
On 28 April, the 145th Aviation Battalion supported III (ARVN) Corps'
portion of operation BIRMINGHAM, BY AIRLIFTING 1406 troops of the Airborne
(ARVN) Division in four combat assaults thirty kilometers north of Tay
Ninh. In a subsequent action, 280 ARVN Rangers were airlifted in one combat
assault north of Tay Ninh.
The armed helicopters of the 197th Aviation Company accounted for five
sampans sunk and one damaged.
The 74th Aviation Company conducted the following fixed wing missions
for the period:
Visual Reconnaissance 85
Escort Missions 77
Radio Relay 16
Artillery Adjustment 86
Forward Air Control 4
Command Liaison 70
Command Staff Liaison 7
The activities of Task Force Sea Wolf for the past two weeks consisted
of flying armed aircraft support for river patrol boats in the Rung Sat
Special Zone supporting the Nha Be (Headquarters) and Soi Rap-Long Than
River Areas. The armed helicopters operate from two naval vessels at this
time; they are the LSD Tortuga and the LST Floyd County. The armed aircraft
flew a total of 82 hours for the two week period accounting for an
estimated 10 Viet Cong killed and two sampans destroyed. On 26 April, the
U.S.S. Tortuga was visited by General Westmoreland, COMNAVFORC, at which
time they were able to witness the armed helicopters in action.
The operational statistics for the Battalion are as follow:
Rotary Wing
Total Sorties 4723
Total Flying Hours 1688
Total Passengers 6263
Fixed Wing
Total Sorties 400
Total Flying Hours 585
Training
Training in the conduct of night airmobile operations on platoon and
company level progressed as operational committments permitted.
The awards received by members of this Battalion this week are as
follows:
Air Medal for Valor 11
Air Medal 144
Purple Heart 8
This week this Battalion was awarded its 10,000th Air Medal since
January 1965. The 10,000th Air Medal was awarded to Specialist E-5 James
Bryant, (Crewchief) Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 145th
Aviation Battalion.
CIVIC ACTION (22 April - 28 April 1966)
This Battalion should be proud of the dynamic civic action program that
it is promoting. Many worthwhile and lasting contributions are made that
are vivid demonstrations of the motives of the United States Forces in
Vietnam. Each unit of this Battalion feels a responsibility for segment of
Vietnamese Life and each active participant obtains personal satisfaction
that he is doing just a little more than he was expected to do. In
transacting all civic action projects through GVN province officials we are
assured that the need for assistance is valid and it strengthens the tie of
the people to the government. We are thankful for the generous assistance
that we have received from a number of wives, families, and organizations
in the United States in the form of contributions. I am certain that their
efforts are well rewarded by observing the expression of gratitude in the
face of a bare-cheeked-behind, Vietnamese youngster receiving a good set of
clothes.
On 26 April the Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 145th
Aviation Battalion donated 2715$VN piasters to purchase school furniture
for the self help construction project at Bui Vinh. In addition, a water
truck with driver supported the school construction project for three days.
Thirty pounds of clothing received from supporters in the United States
were distributed to sixty refugee families in Bui Vinh. Chaplin Barnes
distributed approximately 400 pounds of foodstuffs and sanitation items at
the Don Bosco school in Saigon.
The 68th Aviation Company was active in the area of transportation.
During the week, airmobile elements evacuated and relocated 86 refugees and
ARVN dependents and 5000 pounds of foodstuff and household goods.
The Officers and men of the 74th Aviation Company donated approximately
300 pounds of foodstuffs to the 5th ARVN Division dependents. In addition,
the officers donated 3 cases of soap to the children at Thu Dan Mot through
the local GVN official. Members of the 4th Platoon accomplished an
emergency medical evacuation of a refugee mother and daughter to the Phu
Cuong Hospital.
The 118th Aviation Company donated foodstuff, clothing and sanitation
items to the orphanage, evacuated refugees at Song Ben and was active in
the Health & Sanitation, and Education fields. The officers and men donated
2000 pounds of foodstuffs, and 200 pounds of clothing, cleaning products
and medical supplies to the Bien Hoa Orphanage. Sp-4 Amisano conducted
conversational English classes for residents of Cong Ly Street. Airmobile
elements evacuated 37 refugees on two separate occasions from search and
destroy areas to refugee centers at Song Be and Duc Hoa. Doctor Altomonte
treated approximately 25 patients on his weekly visit to the Tan Uyen Leper
Colony.
The 197th Aviation Company continued its support to the An Loc
Orphanage. Thirty pounds of clothing received from supporters in the United
States, and two cases of soap were donated to the orphanage. Sp-5 Geary, a
medic, gave on the spot medical aid to include a tetanus shot to a
Vietnamese National who had stepped on a nail. The officers assisted the
orphanage in obtaining water during this critical period by providing a
pump and an operator to fill the water reservoir at the orphanage.
A/501st Aviation Battalion accomplished a variety of task in their
support of Bui Heip refugee center. At the request of the Chief, a truck
was provided to transport building material for the self-help school
project. Conversational English classes were conducted on the 25th and 28th
and as a result of the interest generated, classes will be given four days
per week starting 2 May. In addition, airmobile elements evacuated a total
of 50 refugees from a search and destroy area west of Tay Ninh.
Horst K. Joost Lt. Col Inf
Commanding

Commander's Combat Note #22 8 May 1966
SUMMARY OF OPERATIONS 29 APRIL THROUGH 5 MAY 1966
This week the 145th Aviation Battalion provided combat aviation
support to every major U.S. and ARVN unit located in the III Corps area.
On 29 April, the 118th Aviation Company supported the 1st Infantry
Division by airlifting 460 troops in seven combat assaults in the vicinity
of Tay Ninh.
The 68th Aviation Company supported the 25th (ARVN) Division by
airlifting 210 troops and 15 tons of cargo.
On 30 April, the 145th Aviation Battalion supported III (ARVN) Corps
with one airmobile company, the 25th (US) Division with three airmobile
companies, and MACV with fifteen armed helicopters. During the operation of
these armed helicopters in the Rung Sat Special Zone, a light fire team
received enemy fire and retaliated with a strike which resulted in
destroying five sampans and damaging one, and killing two Viet Cong. Cargo
on sampans destroyed was observed to be web equipment and steel helmets.
On 1 May, the 118th Aviation Company again supported the 1st U.S.
Division by extracting 190 troops from a location 30 kilometers north of
Tay Ninh. The extraction was contested by the enemy.
In the same general area, the 68th Aviation Company supported the 25th
(ARVN) Division by repositioning troops and supplies.
The 197th Aviation Company, performing a mission in the Rung Sat
Special Zone, sank two sampans, destroyed one Viet Cong structure and
damaged four others. Operating for the 5th (ARVN) Division, another light
fire team of the company destroyed 25 Viet Cong structures which resulted
in achieving large secondary explosions. During this strike the fire team
leader overheard a radio transmission from Special Forces troops operating
in the vicinity, stating that their supply of food, water and ammunition
was exhausted. The team leader having finished his assigned mission,
diverted his gunship to haul 3000 pounds of supplies to this force.
Results: Another aviation mission accomplished, and a ground combat element
rendered combat effective. On 2 May 66, the 118th Aviation Company again
operated in the Tay Ninh area in support of the 1st (US) Infantry Division
by extracting 390 troops in six lifts. Enemy small arms fire was
encountered during the extraction.
The 68th Aviation Company supported the 25th (ARVN) Division in the Tay
Minh area, by repositioning 164 Troops and 23 tons of cargo.
On 3 May, the 145th Aviation Battalion employed one aviation company in
support of the III (ARVN) Corps administrative and supply missions, one
company in support of the 25th (ARVN) Division, and one company in support
of the 25th (US) Division.
The largest operation of the week was conducted on 4 May, when the
Battalion, reinforced by Company A/82 Aviation Battalion supported the
173rd Airborne Brigade in the conduct of an airmobile assault in the War
Zone D, northwest of Tan Uyen. Two airborne infantry battalions of 1382
troops assaulted three landing zones in seven lifts. Although all three
LZ's were heavily prepared by artillery, tactical air and armed helicopters
prior to the landing, enemy small arms fire was received during the assault
landing.
On 5 May, two airmobile companies supported III (ARVN) Corps missions,
and one company remained on alert to support the tactical needs of the 173d
Airborne Brigade.
The 197th Aviation Company had a full day by providing five light fire
teams and one heavy fire to support MACV requirements, and one light fire
team in support of the 10th (ARVN) Division.
During the week, Company A/501st Aviation Battalion provided the bulk
of the III (ARVN) Corps administrative and supply support.
The scoreboard of damage inflicted on the enemy this week by the 197th
Aviation Company shows: fourteen sampans destroyed and three damaged;
twenty six structures destroyed and four damaged; and five Viet Cong killed
by air.
Certain damage was inflicted on the enemy from the gunship of other
companies and from the offensive fire technique during assault landings,
however, the extent of this damage cannot be verified.
The 74th Aviation Company (fixed wing) missions performed during the
week were:
Visual Reconnaissance 38
Escort 23
Radio Relay 3
Artillery Adjustment 43
Forward Air Control 2
Command Support Liaison 3
Command Liaison 45
Combat Observation 20

OPERATION SEA WOLF
Captain Charles R. Williams has replaced Captain Brofer as Commander of
Task Force Sea Wolf. Captain Brofer will be leaving soon on rotation. I
wish to commend him for his outstanding effort in organizing the Task Force
and creating an effective combat aviation unit that is providing aerial
fire support for the U.S. Navy.
The operations of the Task Force this week in the Rung Sat Special Zone
consisted of providing aerial reconnaissance, medical evacuation, overhead
cover for naval swift boats, strikes against Viet Cong concentrations,
sampans and installations.
The scoreboard for the week is:
Possible Viet Cong KIA 18
Sampans Destroyed 2
Structures Destroyed 2
Structures Damaged 2
The operational statistics for aircraft performance for the Battalion
this week are as follows:
Rotary Wing
Total Sorties 3705
Total Flying Hours 1128
Total Passengers 3896
Fixed Wing
Total Sorties 193
Total Flying Hours 280
Training
Training in the firing of the 20mm weapons system continues. the 197th
Aviation Company is training in conjunction with Air Force forward air
controllers in the use of night vision devices for detecting targets and
developing techniques and procedures for engaging targets at night. The
Battalion Pathfinder Detachment is training with the glide slope device to
develop techniques aimed at improving the Battalion's capabilities to
conduct night airmobile assaults.
The total flying hours for the units of this Battalion for the month of
April are as follows:
68th Aviation Company 1948
118th Aviation Company 2167
197th Aviation Company 1573
A/501st Aviation Battalion 1595
74th Aviation Company 2540
-----
9823
It is of interest to note this total represents 2153 hours flown over
the program.
Awards and Decorations:
The highlights of the awards and decorations received this week were
sixteen Vietnamese Crosses of Gallantry which were presented by Major
General Lulan, Commanding General of the 10th (ARVN) Division, to members
of the 197th Aviation Company. Eight of the medals were with Silver Star,
and eight with Bronze Star devices. The awards were presented for the
actions of two light fire teams on 22 February 1966, conducting repeated
strikes against the enemy in support of ARVN ground operations near
Tanh-Linh, Bin-Tuy Province.
Special recognition is given this week to all the signal detachments of
this Battalion. Communications are the life blood of airmobile operations
and all aviation activity. The avionics maintenance personnel are a vital
cog in ability for each unit to function effectively. Each of these units
has performed with exceptional distinction:
282nd Signal Detachment
320th Signal Detachment
198th Signal Detachment
94th Signal Detachment
Keep up the good work.

CIVIC ACTION (29 April - 5 May 1966)
On 5 May the Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 145th Aviation
Battalion donated 2,000$VN piasters to provide elementary school fees for
approximately sixty (60) refugee children for the month of May. In
addition, transportation was provided for the Duc Tu District Vietnamese
Information Service Representative who visited an outlying area for the
purpose of psychological warfare activities and to deliver 400 pounds of
relief supplies.
The officers and men of the 68th Aviation Company donated clothing,
soap, and school supplies to Can Gio. Airmobile elements of the company
evacuated 40 refugees and ARVN dependents, and airlifted 1500 pounds of
personal belongings and foodstuffs on two separate operations. The 74th
Aviation Company gave two baskets of flowers for a memorial service to the
Phu Cuong hospital. The officers and men donated 220 pounds of foodstuffs
to the widows of the 5th ARVN Division Dependents and 500 pounds to the Phu
Cuong Orphanage.
The officers and men of the 118th Aviation Company donated 600 pounds
of foodstuff and a variety of childrens' clothing (200) pounds to the Bien
Hoa Orphanage. While on an operational mission with the 1st Infantry
Division, the company mess fed 100 children A rations for a two day period.
The children had been displaced as a result of search and destroy
operations and were waiting relocating assistance. Doctor Altomonte treated
25 patients at the Tan Uyen Leper Colony. In addition, two officers
accompanied Doctor Altomonte on his visit and distributed food and clothing
to the patients. Ap/4 Amisano initiated another class of conversational
English for the residents of Cong-Ly Street. Airmobile elements evacuated
25 refugees and 2100 pounds of personal belongings from an outlying area to
Xuan Loc. USOM Relief were also airlifted from Duc Hoa to the Cu Chi area
for refugee assistance.
The 197th Aviation Company continued their support of the An Lac
Orphanage in Saigon and expanded their program to include the An Lac
Orphanage Farm in Bien Hoa Province. 700 pounds of foodstuff were donated
to the farm, and 4500$VN piasters were donated to the orphanage in Saigon.
A water pump and operator were provided to the An Lac farm which pumped
over 3000 gallons of water to allow showers and other hygiene measures, the
first in several months. Doctor Balette initiated medical program
assistance for 583 Nationals. Accompanied by two Air Force doctors he drove
to Vinh Long, where they explained and treated over 200 Vietnamese of all
ages. On 1 May Doctor Balette examined each child at the An Lac farm. On 3
May he returned with two nurses from the 93rd Evacuation Hospital and
treated 183 children. On 4 May Doctor Balette spent the afternoon at An Lac
orphanage in Saigon where he treated over 200 children.
A/501st Aviation Battalion conducted four (4) two (2) hour
conversational English classes for the residents of Bui Hiep. The class
consisted of approximately fifty (50) students each. Airmobile elements
evacuated 28 refugees from operational areas.

Horst K. Joost Lt. Colonel, Infantry
Commanding

Commander's Combat Note # 23 15 May 1966
SUMMARY OF OPERATIONS 6 MAY THROUGH 12 MAY 1966
Operations
The largest scale airmobile operation conducted by the 145 Aviation
Battalion this week occurred on 6 May, when 1350 troops of the 173d
Airborne Brigade were extracted from War Zone D. Four airmobile companies
were employed in seven lifts to extract the ground elements. Moderate small
arms was received during the first and second lifts resulting in several
aircraft being hit. Suppressive fire by armed helicopters on enemy fire,
prior to the third lift, significantly decreased enemy activity and no
further hits were sustained.
For the remainder of the week, Company A/501st Aviation Battalion
provided support to the 1st (US) Infantry Division for three days, and the
68th Aviation Company for two days.The 118th Aviation Company supported the
25th (US) Infantry Division on 12 May, By airlifting 238 troops in two
combat assaults and two extractions, southwest of Trang Bang. All companies
of the Battalion provided aviation support for the units of III (ARVN)
Corps during the week. The 118th Aviation Company provided the largest
share of this support.
The 118th Aviation Company was called upon to fly loud speaker
psychological warfare missions. This mission involves the use of a UH-1D
equipped with a battery of loudspeakers externally mounted. Controlled by a
member of the advisory team of the Psywar Section III Corps (ARVN),
prerecorded tapes or in some instances a captured Viet Cong will broadcast
appeals to surrender. Often leaflets are dropped to supplement the
information broadcast over the loud speakers.
A light team accompanies this mission as escort as a matter of standard
operating procedures. Quite often the recipient of the propaganda
broadcasts are inclined to answer with bullets.
The 197th Aviation Company scored one sampan sunk and one Viet Cong
killed during the period. Other activities of the company consisted of
effectively suppressing enemy automatic weapons fire directed against a
Psy-war aircraft, and other armed helicopter strikes at the request of
ground elements. Two light teams of the company performed a dramatic rescue
of eleven survivors of a CH-47 crash 22 miles southeast of Saigon. This act
required that rockets be jettisoned in order to lighten the load, landing
in an extremely confined and non-secured area, which demanded the utmost in
pilot skills.
The 74th Aviation Company performed the following tasks:
Visual Reconnaissance 97
Forward Air Control 4
Escort Missions 56
Flare Missions 2
Task Force Sea Wolf continued to operate from naval vessels in support
of the U.S.Navy in the Rung Sat Special Zone. They provided overhead cover
for the extraction of a SEAL team which came under enemy fire. Two firing
passes suppressed the enemy fire. One fire team reacted to providing aerial
weapons fire on an estimated Viet Cong squad attacking a hamlet. The attack
was stopped and an estimated six Viet Cong were killed by the aerial fire
support. In another action a fire team struck a preplanned target and
located a Viet Cong campsite which was struck. The results, 10 possible
Viet Cong killed by air.
The U.S. Tortuga steamed out of Vung Tau and operated to the south
during the period. A "first" was achieved by Lieutenant Reed, when he
landed his helicopter while the ship was underway at night during marginal
weather after returning from a mission. The vessel had to be located by Lt.
Reed by use of the low frequency homer. Task Force Sea Wolf also provided
overhead cover for the evacuation of personnel from the crashed CH-47
mentioned above. On one occasion a fire team provided overhead cover for an
ARVN ground operation west of Con Gio. For the period, Task Force Sea Wolf
estimates 20 Viet Cong killed as a result of their air action.
The operational statistics for the week are as follows:
Rotary Wing
Total Sorties Flown 4155
Total Flying Hours 1549
Total Passengers 4512
Fixed Wing
Total Sorties Flown 338
Total Flying Hours 481
Training
The 20mm system is being rotated among the companies of the Battalion
in order that all armed helicopter personnel receive instruction in the
system. The personnel of the Pathfinder Detachments are training with a
Portable Non-Directional beacon, and Glide Slope receiver equipment for
night operations. The 68th Aviation Company is preparing to train the 5th
Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, in the conduct of airmobile
operations, which will commence 14 May 1966.
Aviation Safety
I am pleased to note that so far this month the Battalion has not
experienced a single recordable aircraft accident. This I feel reflects
highly on the attitude and professionalism of all the aviators in the
Battalion. Keep up the good work and we shall continue to remain "First in
Vietnam".
On the 11th of May 1966 while preforming armed convoy escort a UH-1B
piloted by WO's Reeves and Nisson of the 197th Avn Co. received damage from
enemy automatic weapons. Displaying the utmost in professionalism and
calmness Wo's Reeves and Nisson piloted their crippled aircraft, which was
on fire to a friendly position and executed a force landing sustaining no
further damage to their aircraft. This outstanding achievment by WO's
Reeves and Nisson saved a UH-1B from total destruction. Well Done!
Awards and Decorations
The following awards were received by members of this Battalion, during
the week:
Bronze Star"Meritorious Service" 6
Air Medal "Valor" 1
Air Medal 323
Army Commendation "Meritorious Service" 4
Purple Heart 2
The following promotions were received during the week:
Captain to Major 1
Lt to Capt 3
E-6 to E-7 1
E-3 to E-4 14
E-2 to E-3 12
This week I want to commend the men of the Medical Section of the 145th
Aviation Battalion. They perform daily in caring for routine sick call. In
life and limb. We now have a new Battalion Surgeon, Capt Quinnon R. Purvis.
The three supporting medical detachments and their commanders are:
93rd Med Det, Bien Hoa, Capt Joe Altomonte
430th Med Det, Vung Tau, Capt John Quakenbush
774th Med Det, Bien Hoa, Capt Julio Balette
SUMMARY OF CIVIC ACTIONS (6 May - 12 May 1966)
On 10 May the officers and men of Headquarters and Headquarters
Detachment 145th Aviation Battalion donated 2500$VN piasters to Bui Vinh
for the purchase of additional school furniture for the self-help
construction projects. Five hundred and fifty school kits were obtained
from USAID to be distributed on 14 May at the dedication ceremony. Fifty
kits were made up from Battalion resources making a total of six hundred
kits, one for each child enrolled. Chaplain Barnes distributed seven
hundred pounds of foodstuff to the Don Bosco Boys School and fifty pounds
of school supplies were donated to the Bui Vinh Elementary School.
Airmobile elements of the 68th Aviation Company evacuated and
relocated a total of 77 refugees and ARVN dependents during the week, along
with airlifting 3500 pounds of personal belongings. Sp/5 Gibbs conducted
three Conversational English classes for 35 nationals at the Vietnamese -
American Cultural Center in Vung Tau. The officers and men of the 68th
Aviation Company and members of the Sea Wolf project donated 2 cases of
soap, toothpaste and candy on a visit to the refugee village of Can Gio.
The 74th Aviation Company distributed 1000 pounds of foodstuffs to the
5th ARVN Division widows and orphans. The Phu Cuong elementary school
construction fund received a donation of 2500$VN piasters from the officers
and men of the 74th Aviation Company.
The officers and men of the 118th Aviation Company donated
approximately 1700 pounds of foodstuffs to the Bien Hoa orphanage and the
Bui Vinh Refugee Center. In addition, assorted clothing, toys and items for
personal hygiene were donated to both locations. two hundred pounds of
school supplies including a dozen mechanical pencil sharpeners, paper and
pencils were donated to the orphanage elementary school. Doctor Altomonte
treated twenty patients on his weekly visit to the Leper Colony and
Sergeant Summers from the 93rd Medical Detachment gave emergency treatment,
including immunization, to two Vietnamese Nationals with severe cuts.
Airmobile elements evacuated and relocated 15 refugees from Ham Tam to Xuan
Loc and airlifted approximately two hundred pounds of personal belongings.
The officers and men of the 197th Aviation Company provided 5000
gallons of water to the An Lac Orphanage farm where water continues to be
in critical supply. Sp/5 Willingham organized Conversational English
classes two nights a week for the children and staff at the orphanage in
Saigon. Fifty pounds of clothing received by Captain Brofer from the V.F.W.
in his home town were donated to the orphanage. Doctor Balette held sick
call at the orphanage in Saigon and the farm and treated 198 children. In
addition, 213 children at the farm received piperazine treatment (worm
treatment). SFC Jones, the unit mess sergeant, prepared four cakes and Sp/4
Tillis donated 100 packs of gum in an effort to make the operation a
success. Doctor Balette's efforts at the farm are already influencing the
surrounding community. Local villagers are also attending sick call.
The officers and men of A/501st Aviation Battalion initiated a school
fees program for orphans, refugee children and children whose parents are
unable to work in Bui Hiep. 3000$VN piasters were donated to provide school
fees for 100 children for the month of May. For Conversational English
classes with approximately 40 in attendance were conducted for residents of
Bui Hiep. Air elements evacuated twenty-five refugees and personal
belongings from a search and destroy area near Ba Ria. Transportation was
provided for the Bien Hoa Province Chief and five members of the Provincial
Staff for the purpose of coordination visits to the sub-sectors.
Horst K Joost, Lt. Col. Inf.
Commanding

Commander's Combat Note # 24 21 May 1966
SUMMARY OF OPERATIONS 13 MAY THROUGH 19 MAY 1966
Anyone who is not intimately familiar with the functions of an Army
Aviation Battalion is always awed when he learns of the diversified
activity of such a unit. The various missions that were accomplished by the
Battalion during the week are excellent examples of this unique capability.
It is a tribute to all members of this Battalion that they accept each new
task as a personal challenge. This attitude seeks to accomplish each
mission better than before. The high professional reputation that this
Battalion enjoys can be attributed to this enthusiasm.
This week found the 145th Aviation Battalion conducting nine separate
airmobile operations in support of the 1st (US) Infantry Division, the 25th
(US) Infantry Division, and the 173d Airborne Brigade. Each day, III (ARVN)
Corps units were supported with at least one airmobile company and armed
helicopter fire teams.
The highlights of activities began on 13 May, with Company A/501st
Aviation Battalion, airlifting 613 troops of the 1st (US) Infantry
Division, in 11 combat assaults from Dau Tieng to a landing zone to the
southwest. This company remained to provide aviation support for the
Division, and conducted another air assault on 15 May, with 394 troops in
an area northwest of Ben Cat.
The Battalion conducted an airmobile assault with elements of the 25th
(US) Division.
The 145th Aviation Battalion controlled the conduct of an airmobile
operation on 16 May, when five airmobile companies were assembled to
support the 2d Brigade 25th (US) Infantry Division. After a two hour
weather delay, 812 troops assaulted two landing zones 15 kilometers of Cu
Chi. Three aircraft were hit by ground fire. The few hits received can be
attributed to the excellent pre-strikes by tactical air, artillery and
gunships of the 197th Aviation Company. The high volume of accurate
suppressive fires laid down on final approach by the assault helicopters
and accompanying gunships, and the offensive fires conducted by all
elements on departing the landing zones undoubtedly contributed to
discouraging the enemy fire. On completion of the assault, the 118th
Aviation Company remained to support the Brigade by airlifting Engineer
supplies into the objective area and on the return trip evacuating large
quantities of captured enemy materiel.
On 17 May, after having participated in an airmobile operation with the
Battalion, the 118th Aviation Company returned in the afternoon to support
the 25th (US) Infantry Division, by lifting 133 troops. For the next two
days the company conducted three more airmobile assaults for the 25th (US)
Infantry Division by lifting a total of 400 troops and 14 tons of cargo.
All the missions of the 118th Aviation Company were not combat in nature.
This can be attested to by the Thunderbird crew which flew a USO show from
Saigon to Tay Ninh. Two talented young ladies were members of the troupe.
On the morning of 17 May, this Battalion controlled the combat assault
of a battalion of the 173d Airborne Brigade north of Baria. Participating
aviation elements were 197th Aviation Company, A/82nd Aviation Battalion
and the 118th Aviation Company. A total of 737 troops were lifted in 5
assaults. In order to achieve mass in the objective area, the initial lifts
were positioned in a secure area north of Baria. A road was as the landing
area. The first assault of the objective area was performed by the last
lift from Bien Hoa, and subsequent lifts picked up the personnel previous
positioned near the objective area. In this manner the entire battalion was
in the objective area in a short time employing the minimum number of
aircraft to do the job.
On 19 May, This Battalion responded to a quick reaction mission to
support the 1st (US) Infantry Division. Aircraft of the Battalion were
recalled from other missions and assembled at Lai Khe where they lifted 485
troops in a combat assault south of Loc Ninh. Time for assembly of all
forces at Lai Khe was one hour and thirty minutes. The lack of adequate
refueling facilities avialable at Lai Khe required units to fly to Bien
Hoa, Phuc Vinh, Cu Chi and Phu Loi to refuel between lifts. Consequently,
valuable time was lost in getting the entire ground unit assembled and
additional flying time was put on the aircraft.
The 68th Aviation Company conducted airmobile training for the newly
arrived 5th Battalion, Royal Australians which culminated in a practice
airmobile assault. Some progress was made also in the understanding between
Free World Forces. Major Cook, Commanding Officer, 68th Aviation Company
has learned some Australian, and Lt. Colonel Warr, Commanding Officer 5th
Royal Australian Regiment, has a better grasp of the American language.
The 197th Aviation Company, in addition to supporting the Battalion
airmobile operations by prestriking and marking landing zones, achieved a
high toll of the enemy. A light fire team in support of the 5th (ARVN)
Division, on 14 May, destroyed 10 enemy structures and damaged 25. A body
count of four Viet Cong was confirmed and a possible 12 more estimated.
Other activity by the company during the week destroyed three enemy
structures, sank five sampans and damaged twenty others.
The Firebirds of Company A/501st Aviation Battalion conducted a strike
on a suspected enemy location while on patrol of the Dong Nai sensitive
area. Two days later a report was received from the Senior Advisor of the
area that this strike resulted in 24 Viet Cong killed by count and 3
wounded.
The 74th Aviation company's role as weather advisory to the air mission
commander is becoming increasingly more important for making decisions on
the conduct of airmobile operations. In two instances this week the fixed
wing pilot's observations were the basic for go or no go on operations. The
tasks performed by the company for the week were as follows:
Type Tasks Number
Visual Reconnaissance 117
Radio Relay 3
Artillery Adjustment 32
Combat Observation 31
Combat Support liaison 9
Command and Liaison 50
Route Surveillance 40
Task Force Sea Wolf operations this week varied from providing overhead
cover for three visiting U.S. Senators aboard a patrol boat, to conducting
strikes to relieve the enemy pressure on an ARVN force in contact. The fire
teams continued to operate from the two naval vessels. On 17 May, a fire
team was called to place a strike on a Viet Cong element that was in
contact with a Regional Force Unit. After the strike, contact was broken
and the Viet Cong withdrew. A fire team provided over head cover while
salvage crews removed Viet Cong material and equipment from nine Viet Cong
sampans.On 18 May, a fire team reacted to a call to strike a Viet Cong
element attacking a friendly outpost. The fire team was on target in twelve
minutes from notification and was instrumental in breaking off the attack.
The toll inflicted on the enemy by Sea Wolf was 15 Viet Cong killed and
five sampans destroyed.
The operational statistics for the week are as follows:
Rotary Wing:
Total Sorties 5308
Total Flying Hours 1625
Total Passengers 4512
Fixed Wing:
Total Sorties 328
Total Flying Hours 432
Training:
The airmobile training with the Australians conducted by the 68th
Aviation Company has been mentioned previously. This company also conducted
a class for its aviators on aerial artillery adjustment. A Pathfinder
element of the 1st Cavalry Division visited the Battalion to relate their
experiences of airmobile operations with emphasis on night operations.
DECCA training for the Battalion Staff was initiated.
Awards and Decorations:
The following awards and decorations were received by members of the
Battalion this week:
Distinguished Flying Cross 1
Air Medal 229
Army Commendation Medal 1
The following promotions were announced:
1st Lieutenant to CAptain 3
WO1 to WO2 1
E-2 to E-3 30
Recognition for a job well done goes to the Security Platoon of the
Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 145th Aviation Battalion. The men
of this platoon have the important job of providing security for all
companies of the Battalion. Their task requires constant alertness,
knowledge of infantry weapons and tactics, and that they be model soldiers
in appearance and actions. These men protect and safeguard our
installations. They have demanding jobs and I am justly proud of their
contribution to enable the 145th Aviation Battalion to successfully
accomplish its mission.

CIVIC ACTIONS (13 May - 19 May 1966)
This week the officers and men of Headquarters and Detachment, 145
Aviation Battalion donated 50 pounds of clothing to the Bui Vinh Refugee
Center. Four water trucks supported the new school construction project and
support was provided to renovate the old school.
The enlisted men of the 68th Aviation Company donated one case of soap
to the village of Can Gio and Sp/5 Gibbs instructed three Conversational
English Classes at the Vung Tau Vietnamese-American Cultural Center for
approximately thirty-five students each class.
The officers and men of the 74th Aviation Company donated seven hundred
pounds of food stuffs to the widows and orphans of the 5th ARVN Division
and three cases of soap to the dependents.
The officers and men of the 118th Aviation Company donated 1100 pounds
of foodstuff and 100 pounds of clothing to the Bien Hoa Orphanage and the
Bui Vinh Refugee Center. In the health and sanitation area, four cases of
soap, assorted sanitation items and nursery equipment were donated to the
Bien Hoa Orphanage Nursery. Sp/4 Amisano conducted a Conversational English
Class for fifteen residents of Cong Ly Street. The 118th supported the Tan
Uyon Leper Colony in the construction field in addition to its normal
medical support. Doctor Altomonte treated 28 patients during his weekly
visit. Airmobile elements also evacuated twenty-five refugees from an
operation area to Cu Chi and airlifted 2400 pounds of Viet Cong captured
rice.
The officers and men of the 197th Aviation Company donated thirty
pounds of clothing and health and sanitation items including two cases of
soap, insect repellent and detergents to the An Lac Orphanage farm.
Approximately 5000 gallons of water were provided for the basic sanitation
needs of 200 children. Captain Balette continued to expand his medical
support to both the farm and the orphanage in Saigon where medical
attention has been virtually non-existent. He treated 250 children during
normal sick call and administered the tuberculine test to 173 children at
the farm. In addition, Doctor Balette gave 38 smallpox and 202 tetnus shot
and treated fifteen adults from community surrounding the farm.
Airmobile elements of A Company, 501st Aviation Battalion conducted
emergency medical evacuations for five Vietnamese Nationals on two separate
occasions. Transportation was provided for the Province Chief on three
occasions for the purpose of coordinating with village leaders, Hamlet
meetings, and to attend civic action functions. The officers and men
donated 5000$vn piasters worth of school supplies to the Bui Hiep school
system. Motor Pool personnel of A/501st Aviation Battalion, working in
conjunction with members 7th ARVN Airborne Battalion and residents of Bui
Hiep, rebuilt the bridge at the main entrance to Bui Hiep, and replaced the
drainage system under the bridge. A/501st Aviation Battalion provided the
materials for this project which is an excellent illustration of a common
project with US personnel, ARVN and civilians working together. Four
two-hour English classes were conducted this week for the residents of Bui
Hiep.
Horst K. Joost, Lt. Col.
Infantry
Commanding

Commander's Combat Note #25 28 May 1966
SUMMARY OF OPERATIONS 20 MAY THROUGH 26 MAY 1966
The 145th Aviation Battalion conducted three battalion controlled
airmobile operations this week. The major share of the Battalion airlift
was employed to support the operations of the 25th (US) Infantry Division,
northeast of Trung Lap. Daily, airlift and armed helicopter were employed
to support the III (ARVN) Corp tactical and administrative missions. In
addition to Task Force Sea Wolf, all companies of the Battalion furnished
armed helicopter support to protect shipping in the Rung Sat Special Zone.
The period open on 20 May with the 145th Aviation Battalion,
reinforced by Company A/25th Aviation Battalion and the 116th Aviation
Company, conducting an extraction of an infantry battalion (25th (US)
Division) and re-employing them in an airmobile assault in another area.
This type of operation demands precision timing, since the new landing zone
is being prepared by artillery and tactical air and armed helicopters,
while the troops are being extracted. Gro;u;nd fire was received during the
extraction and the assault of the new landing zone. Although 14 aircraft
were hit during the operation, it was executed with flawless precision.
During this operation two O-1 aircraft of the 74th Aviation Company
(Aloft 44 and 99) spotted and reported Viet Cong in the open, moving away
from the assault LZ. Gunships of the 197th Aviation Company took up the
pursuit and scored two known Viet Cong kills.
Following this operation, the 118th Aviation Company provided daily
aviation support to the 2nd Brigade, 25th (US) Infantry Division, and
Company A/501 Aviation Battalion provided daily support to the 1st Brigade,
25th (US) Infantry Division. This situation enabled us to evaluate the
amount of work that is performed by Army Aviation to support two Infantry
brigades when employed in combat. At the end of a week's support of the
Brigade, the 118th Aviation Company submitted the following data:
Week (20-26 May) Entire Support period
(16-27 May)
Troops Lifted 1785 3328
Cargo Lifted 307 Tons 413 Tons
Hours flown 518 921
Troop Aircraft (339) (628)
Armed Aircraft (179) (293)
Total Sorties 2367 3202
Ammunition Expended:
7.62 rounds 121,000 143,960
40MM rounds 330 2,350
2.75MM Rockets 412 755
Scoreboard:
Sampans destroyed 25 33
structures destroyed 5 30
Viet Cong Killed (Confirmed) 21 50
Viet Cong Killed (Estimated) 27 30
Aircraft hit 16 21
Number of hits received 22 27
It is of further interest to note that at the end of this period, of
the 40 Aviators present in the company, 6 achieved over 120 flying hours
since the beginning of the mouth, 19 achieved over 100 flying hours, and 25
over 90 flying hours. Also by the end of this period, this company had
flown 689 hours over program.
Company A/501st Aviation Battalion's support of the 1st Brigade for
the same period consisted of:
Troop lifted 900
Cargo lifted 146 tons
Hours flown 356
total sorties 1200
Viet Cong killed 4 confirmed
One afternoon during the period, the 68th Aviation Company also
provided support to the 25th (US) Infantry Division by lifting 43 troops
and 48 tons of cargo.
It must be recognized that in addition to the aviation support
provided by this Battalion, the organic aviation of the 25th Division also
provided support to the two Brigades. These figures are significant
indicators of the degree to which Army Aviation is inextricably a part of
ground combat operations in Vietnam.
On the morning of 22 May, the 145th Aviation Battalion, airlifted an
infantry battalion of the 173rd Airborne Brigade from Bien Hoa to a landing
zone north of Baria. Company A/501st which participated in this operation
reverted to support the 25th (US) Infantry Division in the afternoon.
The 68th Aviation Company conducted an independent airmobile operation
on 23 May, in support of the 25th (ARVN) Division. A total of 245 troops
and four tons of cargo were lifted to an LZ, 35 kilometers northwest of
Saigon. In the afternoon, this company supported the 25th (US) Infantry
Division by lifting 43 troops and 48 tons of cargo. On 25 May, this company
again supported the 25th (ARVN) Division with four troop carriers and two
armed helicopters. Two combat assaults were conducted with an infantry
company, west-northwest of Duc Hoa.
The 5th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, was airlifted into its
first combat assault since arriving in country on 24 May. Under the control
of the 145th Aviation Battalion, the 68th Aviation Company, Company A/82nd
Aviation Battalion and the 116th Aviation Company participated in the
operation by conducting five lifts from Vung Tau to an LZ, north of Baria.
The 197th Aviation Company provided the landing zone pre-strike,
marking, and over head cover, for the assault of the 25th (US) Infantry
Division on 20 May 1966. The company also flew armed helicopter support in
the Rung Sat Special Zone and 62 Lighting Bug sorties. The results of the
company's action this week accounts for four Viet Cong killed confirmed and
four probables, eight sampans destroyed, and eight structures destroyed. a
late report from advisor channels revealed that the armed helicopter strike
conducted by the company on 18 May, resulted in four Viet Cong killed and
three wounded. Secondary explosions were also observed.
The 74th Aviation Company continued to provide valuable weather
advisory, visual reconnaissance, radio relay, artillery adjustment and
escort missions.
Task Force Sea Wolf was credited with saving another village which was
under attack by the Viet Cong. Eighteen minutes after being alerted, fire
team conducted a strike against the attacking Viet Cong, forcing them to
withdraw. Other activities of the force consisted of flying overhead cover
for patrol boats and conducting strikes on enemy sampans. The score board
for the Task Force this week was 12 Viet Cong killed, Two sampans damaged
and two structures destroyed.
The operational statistics for the 145th Aviation Battalion for the
week are as follows:
Rotary Wing:
Total hours flown 2167
Total passengers 4423
Total Sorties 7450
Fixed Wing:
Total hours flown 452
Total Sorties 436
The Scoreboard
Sampans
Structures
V.C. KIA (B.C.) V.C. KIA (EST) Destroyed
Destroyed
118th Avn Co 20 30 18 -
197th Avn Co 4 4 8 8
68th Avn Co 1 - - 4
A/501st Avn Bn 5 3 - 4
Sea Wolf 12 - 2 2
----- ----- ----- -----
Total 42 37 28 18
The following story was related after a "routine" flight from Cu Chi to
Trung Lap, a distance of some seven kilometers, that took one hour and 15
minutes to accomplish!
A UH-1D manned by a Company Commander, as Aircraft Commander, his
Operations Officer as pilot, the Battalion Aircraft Maintenance Technician
as gunner and the regularly assigned Crew Chief, departed Cu Chi for a
flight to Trung Lap. The only passenger was an Aviation Liaison Officer.
The clouds were formed into a solid overcast at about 600 feet so the
Aircraft Commander elected to fly "on the deck" to his destination. After
having traveled only about 1/2 mile the pilot spotted a group of VC
directly in front of the helicopter diving into trenches, and yelled "VC,
Shoot'em". The aircraft was placed in a tight left orbit over the trenches,
at a very low altitude, and the crewchief began pouring machine gun fire
into the trenches. Almost immediately the gun jammed. The aircraft was
rolled over into a right orbit to give the other gunner a chance to fire.
He was to get off one burst and his gun jammed. The Liaison Officer was
sitting in the middle pointing out the location of the VC and shouting
orders to fire. The Aircraft Commander was calling for armed helicopters
while the pilot was calling for artillery. The gunners were alternating
shouts of "jammed" and "Permission to fire, sir?", as the Aircraft
Commander rolled the chopper back and forth attempting to allow the gunner,
whose gun was working at the time, to place fire on the enemy. The VC had
recovered enough by this time that they were putting up quite a volume of
fire at the pitching and rolling, very low, helicopter.
The Liaison Officer continued to point out the location of the
VC--announced to all that the VC were shooting at them and encouraged the
gunners to keep up the fire by giving them short jabs with his fist as he
shouted "Fire!, Fire!, Fire!," The Liaison Officer suddenly realizing that
he had little protection from the VC bullets, seized a chest protector and
began placing it over his chest. On second thought he placed it on his seat
and went back to his shouting of encouragements.
Two armed helicopters arrived on the scene and started their firing
runs. The flight leader called, in an over increasingly high pitched
voice,--"Im receiving fire--I'm receiving intense fire--I'm being hit." The
artillery began to fall and the pilot attempted to adjust. Each time he
received an "On the way" the pilot would turn the aircraft to avoid another
aircraft or allow a gunner to fire. After several frustrating attempts to
sense the rounds, effective fire was finally placed on the VC positions.
Following the artillery concentration, an airstrike of napalm was
called and marked by the dodging and weaving chopper. After one hour of
circling and shooting, the chopper continued on its administrative way,
hardly the worse for wear except for the one bullet hole and a lot of sore
throats and hands, but behind them the forces of the Viet Cong had 25 fewer
in its ranks.
Training:
A three day USARV training and standardization on conference was
conducted in Saigon during the period 23-25 May 1966.
The primary objectives were to establish standardized in-country
orientation, pre-flight procedures and starting procedures in both the
UH-1D and the UB-1B and the revision of USARV Regulation on 95-1 and 95-6.
All aviation elements of company size and larger thought out South Vietnam
were represented. The three day conference pointed out the definite lack of
present standardization; proper corrective action is now underway. All
information pertinent to the company standardization instructor pilots and
instructor pilots will be disseminated at the next standardization board
meeting.
Awards and decorations received by members of this Battalion during the
week are:
Distinguished Flying Cross 5
Air Medal "Valor" 1
Air Medal 620
Purple Heart 6
Promotions received during the week:
Lt. to Captain 1
E-7 to E-8 2
E-6 to E-7 2
E-5 to E-6 1
E-4 to E-5 1
E-3 to E-4 14
E-2 to E-3 1
CIVIC ACTIONS
Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment continued to supply needed
water to the Don Bosco Orphanage and worked continuously on community
relations at Bui Vinh. The 12,500 $VN donated on 12 May 1966 has been
utilized by the orphanage to purchase lumber and ready-made school
furniture.
The 68th Aviation Company continued support of the refugee village of
Can Gio with a donation of a case of soap by the enlisted men. Sp/5 Gibbs
conducted Conversational English Classes for Vietnamese Nationals at the
Vietnamese-American Cultural Center in Vung Tau. Captain Quakenbush, Flight
Surgeon, visited the village with two of his corpsmen to coordinate a sick
call program.
The 74th Aviation Company donated milk, candy and soap to the orphanage
at Lai Thieu. A good supply of foodstuffs was also donated to the widows
and orphans of 5th ARVN Division through the Division G-5. The company also
provided foodstuff to the refugees in Binh Duong province through the 5th
ARVN Division Civic Actions Platoon.
The 118th Aviation Company donated food, Clothing, sanitation items and
baby items to the Bien Hoa Orphanage. Two hundred yards of black material
for clothing was donated to the Tan Uyen Leper Colony. Doctor Altomone made
his weekly visit to the leper Colony and treated thirty patients. Airmobile
elements of the company supplied the local Vietnamese civilians with 80
tons of captured white rice and one ton of captured material from Viet Cong
caches. Captured food, clothing, material and tools were transported from
the 25th Infantry Division area to Cu Chi for distribution to needy
families.
Officers and men of the 197th Aviation Company fire teams evacuated
three critically injured Vietnamese Nationals from the Run Sat Special
Zone. Support was provided the An Lac Orphanage by members of the "Raider"
Platoon, donating candy and gum for the children and repairing plumbing.
Thirty-six hundred gallons of potable water provided the An Lac Orphanage
for sanitation purposes. Sp/5 Willingham held his weekly English class for
the staff and children of the an Lac Farm. In the absence of Doctor
Balette, Sp/5 Willingham held sick call on Monday 23 May, and gave
immunizations to include 160 typhoid shots; he also treated 15 children
with ear infections. On 25 May, he again conducted sick call and checked
the progress of his earlier treatments.
Airmobile elements of Company A/ 501st Aviation Battalion made an
emergency medical evacuation of a Vietnamese National women and child from
Cu Chi to Saigon. Both had been wounded by the Viet Cong. Civil affairs
representatives of the company made their weekly coordination visit with
the Hamlet Chief of Bui Hiep. A 3/4 ton truck was provided Bui Hiep to
transport building materials for the self-help school construction project.
Captain Haan and first Sergeant Howell donated a large quantity of
clothing, soap, tooth brushes, tooth paste and candy to Bien Hiep. A two
hour Conversational English class was conducted for 35 residents of Bui
Hiep. The company also conducted an emergency medical evacuation from the
village.
Horst K. Joost Lt. Colonel
Infantry
Commanding

Commander's Combat Note # 26 4 June 1966
SUMMARY OF CIVIC ACTIONS FOR THE PERIOD 27 MAY THROUGH 2 JUNE 1966
The 145TH Aviation Battalion put its full weight behind a fund-raising
campaign for the proposed III Corps Orphanage which is under construction
near the Dong Nai River at Bien Hoa. The project is the largest joint civic
action endeavor conducted by Free World and Vietnamese military forces.
Final tabulation has not been completed, but all companies and detachments
of the 145th Aviation Battalion reported 100% participation in the
campaign.
The battalion's civic action mission continued to expand as units took
on new projects and accelerated old ones.
Sergeant Ishikawa of Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment visited
the Bui Vinh school to assist in supervision and asses further needs of the
school's renovation program. Plans have been formulated to double the
detachment's continual water resupply project at Bui Vinh Refugee Center.
Some 40 pounds of clothing and bath supplies were donated to the Bien Hoa
Orphanage.
The 68th Aviation Company initiated its MEDCAP II program at the
village of Can Gio. Captain Quakenbush and two of his corpsmen, plus two
nurses of the 36th Evacuation Hospital treated 80 villagers at the first
weekly sick call. Captain Richard Ragland and his gun ship crew performed a
daring but heartbreaking mission when they hovered over a mine field to
recover the body of a 13-year-old Vietnamese boy. Sp/4 Richard Bone got out
of the helicopter to pick up the boy's mangled body. The company donated
more than 100 pounds of clothing and items of personal hygiene to the
refugees of Can Gio. Sp/5 Gibbs taught English to 35 students at the
Vietnamese-American Cultural Center in Vung Tau.
The 74th Aviation Company joined forces with the 5th ARVN Division G-5
and the division's Civil Affairs Platoon in three separate projects.
Officers and men of the company donated and distributed nearly a ton of
powdered milk, eggs, dried and canned foods to the Lai Thieu Orphanage, to
widows and orphans of the 5th Division, and to the village of Ben Cat and
Can Dinh. Sp/5 Daw supervised a team which distributed food and
refreshments to 3000 people at a 1st Division sponsored party in Vinh
Tuong. Other members of the unit took time to help in the 1st Division's
pacification and civic action project southwest of Phu Loi.
The 118th Aviation Company continued its almost daily support of the
Bien Hoa Orphanage by donating 600 pounds of captured rice, 200 pounds of
other foodstuffs, as well as toys, clothing, school supplies, candy and
cloth. The unit gave 25 gallons of ice cream for a party at the orphanage.
Dr Altomonte took 200 meters of cloth to Tan Uyen, treated 18 patients at
the leper colony there, and also treated 10 local civilians.
Results of the 197th Aviation Company's all-encompassing program in
support of the An Lac Orphanage Farm are vivid. Captain Balette vaccinated
37 children to achieve 100% protection against small pox. He also reports
that all ear and head infections have been cured. And he began a weekly
series of classes on personal hygiene for workers at the An Lac Farm. Sp/5
Willingham finds that many of his students are learning to speak English
rapidly. In one of his semi-weekly classes last week he taught 90 children.
Other members of the unit supplied the farm with 3,600 gallons of potable
water and continued normal donations of food and clothing.
A helicopter crew from Company A,501st Aviation BAttalion, flew an
expectant mother from Hiep Hoa to Cong Hoa, arriving at the hospital only
moments before the woman delivered. The unit conducted a nightly classes in
English for 35 residents of Bui Hiep. It donated 3,000$VN, which will allow
100 students to attend school during the month of june. Four volunteers
helped renovate a school classroom at Bui Hiep. The Civic Action Officer
met with a parish priest and teaches to organize and plan expansion of the
unit's efforts in Bui Hiep.
Horst K. Joost Lt. Colonel,
Infantry
Commanding

Commander's Combat Note #27 6 June 1966
SUMMARY OF ACCOMPLISHMENTS
In these Commander's Notes I have attempted to show the members of
this Battalion what they are contributing toward winning the conflict in
Vietnam. It has been evident that an aviation Battalion is in fact a combat
unit. The toll inflicted on the enemy as a result of actions by this
Battalion each week, attest to this fact. In this regard it is worthy to
note that the destruction inflicted on the enemy by this aviation battalion
has at times exceeded that of the infantry brigades for the same period.
The scoreboard of damage inflicted on the enemy by the 145 Aviation
Battalion for an eleven month period is phenomenal. While it is difficult
to quantify success by numbers, numbers themselves are meaningless unless
they are compared. I will attempt to quantify this Battalion's
accomplishments into meaningful comparisons.
For the eleven month period, the Battalion achieved in Viet Cong kill
of 1,378. These are confirmed by count and do not include estimated kills
witch would increase the figure at least fourfold. Equated to Viet Cong
units, the figure of confirmed kills represents the destruction of from the
three to six battalions.
For the same eleven month period, 1807 Viet Cong structures were
destroyed, and 625 sampans sunk. The high for monthly sampan destruction
was achieved last month when 85 were destroyed. Suffice it to say that this
had placed a heavy demand on Viet Cong boat building and certainly has
resulted in many supplies and personnel lost.
The total passengers lifed during the eleven month period was 259,103.
To make this figure meaningful it was determined that the average number of
personnel lifted each month during the period was 23,555. Assuming an
infantry battalion strength of 450 for an airmobile assault, approximately
53 infantry battalions, or an equivalent of 6 infantry divisions are lifted
each month by this battalion.
The cargo lifted was 4,752 tons for the eleven month period. This
represents an equivalent of approximately 105 additional infantry
battalions that could have been lifted in combat assaults.
The total number of hours flown for the eleven month period by the
units of the battalions was 110,766. To make this figure meaningful,
consider that it would take 14 aircraft flying for 24 hours a day for
eleven months to achieve that total. It is also worthy to note that the
total hours flown each month by the current five companies of the Battalion
are equal to or exceed that of the total flown when the Battalion had two
additional airmobile companies and one airmobile platoon.
The conclusion reached after examining these figures can only
demonstrate that this Battalion is making a significant contribution to the
Vietnamese conflict.
These achievements have however, not gone unrewarded. The members of
the 145 Aviation Battalion are proud to wear the twice awarded Vietnamese
Cross of Gallantry with Palms. A tally of individual awards since January
1965 attests to the bravery and service of the Battalion members.
Distinguished Service Cross 2
Silver Star 16
Legion of Merit 3
Distinguished Flying Cross 131
Soldier's Medal 19
Bronze Star"Valor" 27
Bronze Star"Meritorious Service" 102
Air Medal "Valor" 308
Air Medal 11,527
Army Commendation "Valor" 52
Army Commendation Meritorious Service 307
Purple Heart 203
In the desire to build a lasting influence on the Vietnamese people,
and perhaps due to the implacable urge to balance killing from some
rational purpose, the members of the 145th Aviation Battalion had developed
an extensive Civic Action program. It is a planned program witch is
realistic, widely diversified, and all important it involves all members of
the command as contributors.
The achievements and activities of this Battalion for the past four
months in the area of civic actions are summarized below:
Contributions of money, food, clothing, medical assistance, time, and
labor had touched directly the lives of some 16,000 needy Vietnamese
citizens on a continuing basis. Units in the battalion supports four
orphanages and four refugee villages with weekly donations and assistance.
This past month the battalion responded to a call of assistance for
donations to be used for the construction of the Dong Hai Orphanage. This
project is under the sponsorship of the Commanding General III Corps, Major
General Nguyen Bao Tri, and Mrs. Tri. In spite of all the other civic
action donations conducted to support various company projects, the members
of this Battalion participated 100%, and a check of $1,427 is being
presented for this worthy cause.
In addition, aviation crews evacuate sick and injured civilians,
relocate refugees, deliver food and supplies, and transport civic action
workers in all parts of the III Corps area in conjunction with daily
missions.
Many of the benefits of these civic actions are intangible. Feelings
of gratitude, mutual respect, and confidence cannot be measured in
statistics.
But benefits which lend themselves to the statistics show that the
impact of the battalion's programs is enormous.
The men of the 145th Aviation Battalion had donated 100,000 pounds of
food, enough to provide a basic diet for 3,000 refugees for a 30-day
re-adjustment period. Enough clothing had been distributed to outfit more
then a thousand persons whose belongings were destroyed by the ravages of
war.
More then $5,000 in cash has been given directly to impoverished
peoples. Some $3,600 of this, which was ear marked for education, provided
enough tuition fees and school supplies for 1,200 children to attend
classes for a year.
Battalion surgeons have treated 1,800 Vietnamese patients and
administered vaccine and anti-biotics to 800 more. Units had donated 1,200
pounds of soap, detergents and other supplies to improve health and
sanitation in widespread areas. Two orphanages and two villages depend
entirely upon the battalion's resources for professional medical
assistance.
Soldiers had used after-duty hours to present some 2,500 student hours
of instruction in English, personal hygiene and basic construction methods.
Others assisted in construction of two school houses built under the
self-help program.
Helicopter crews had evacuated 1,800 refugees and 65,000 pounds of
house-hold goods from war-torn areas. Additionally they had transported
more then 85 tons of food and other items captured by friendly ground
forces.
The program has snowballed since the creation of Special Staff section
(S-5, civil Affairs) three months ago. Enthusiasm generated by competition
among units is even felt in the United States where numerous civic,
fraternal and religious organizations, and even entire communities have
drives in progress to collect donations for distribution through the 145th
Aviation Battalion.
Every individual in the battalion has asserted his willingness to
assist the Vietnamese people in their war against poverty, hunger,
suffering and insurgent aggression. Most important, by dealing through
Province representatives on all projects, these actions are helping to
crystallize the allegiance of the people to the Government of Vietnam.
Driven by this spirit, the Civic Actions program continues to expand.
The summary and analysis of these achievements by members of this
Battalion speak for themselves. It is not without loss of members of our
ranks that these achievements were possible. For them, I urge that each
member of this command examine himself to insure that he has the sense of
urgency and mission accomplishment that was fundamental in setting this
splendid record. Our goal is to strive for even greater accomplishments in
the future.
It is with great pride that I congratulate each member of this command
for his efforts and achievements.
First in Vietnam
Horst K. Joost, Lt. Colonel, Infantry
Commanding

On the 21st of April 1966 Nowell N. Estes, Jr., General, USAF
Commander sent a letter to General William C Westmoreland, Commander US
Military Asst Command, Vietnam. The subject of the letter was Search and
Rescue Operations in Southeast Asia, and resulted in many members of the
145th C.A.B. receiving Letters of Commendation. This series of letters
serves as an example of the letters.

SUBJECT: Search and Rescue Task Force Operation in S.E.A.
TO: General W.C. Westmoreland Date, 21 April 1966
1. During the past eighteen (18) months, search and rescue task forces
have saved over 240 lives in the course of combat aircrew members who have
been forced to eject from their damaged aircraft. Frequently, the spotlight
of national interest has been focused on these activities, and our units
have received recognition from the highest level.
2. In reviewing many detailed mission reports, I have been especially
impressed by the exceptional professionalism and dedication displayed by
the members of the USAF 602nd Tactical Fighter Wing, Navy pilots from the
Carrier Task Groups, and Army aviators from the armed helicopter units.
Flying in all kinds of weather and over some of the most hazardous terrain
in the world, the pilots from units of all three Services have repeatedly
exposed themselves to hostile air and ground fire. Time and again they have
provided the vital low-level fire support which has enabled our helicopters
and HU-16's to effect survivor pick-up. They have all established a truly
remarkable record.
3. Translating the present figures into meaningful terms, the aircrew
recovery record alone now stands at something approaching the equivalent of
five squadrons of fighter pilots who have been returned to fight another
day. It is significant to note that this includes US Navy, US Air Force,
and VNAF pilots engaged in a wide range of combat action. This represents a
most significant amount of combat capability, and the additive morale
factor is beyond measure. Simply stated, the degree of success that our
ARRS units have achieved has been possible only because of the untiring
support, exceptional courage, and outstanding technical competence
displayed by the Air Force, Navy, and Army pilots who have played such a
vital role in this life saving operation.
4. Without reservation, our "Jolly Green" and "Crown" crew members are
proud to fly in combined operations with such gallant and dedicated
professionals. Their contribution to the accomplishment of a mission
dedicated to the basic philosophy "That Others May Live" is a source of the
deepest pride and gratitude.
Nowell N. Estes,Jr., General, USAF
Commander

SUBJECT: Search and Rescue Task Force Operations in S.E.A.
TO: Commanding General, United States Army Vietnam 28 Apr 66
It is indeed a pleasure to forward the attached letter from General
Nowell N. Estes, Jr., Commander Military Aircraft Command, commending the
outstanding accomplishments by the Army aviators of your command. To
General Estes' praise I wish to add my own expression of appreciation and
to congratulate the pilots and crewmen for a job well done.
W. C. Westmoreland
General, United States Army
Commanding

SUBJECT: Search and Rescue Task Force Operations in S.E.A.
TO: Commanding General, United States Army Aviation brigade 28 Apr 1966
It is with real pleasure that I forward the attached letter of
commendation. The splendid record compiled by Army aviators in rescue and
low level fire support missions point up their significant contribution to
the successful accomplishment of numerous ground operations. Their
demonstrated daring, aggressiveness and professionalism have resulted in
the saving of countless American lives. Their efforts have been in keeping
with the highest traditions of the United States Army.
Jean E. Engler
Lieutenant General, US Army
Deputy Commanding General

SUBJECT: Search and Rescue Task Operations in S.E.A.
TO: All Personnel, USA Aviation Brigade 21 Apr 66
1. It is with great pride that the attached testimony is received and
passed on to you who have made the reason for such plaudits a reality.
2. Each of you is to be congratulated not only for this specific
accomplishment, but for your continued outstanding performance in all
facets of Army Aviation.
G.P. Senneff, Jr.
Brigadier General, USA
Commanding

SUBJECT: Commendation
TO: Commanding Officer, 145th Aviation Battalion 21 Apr 66
1. Your resourcefulness, dedication, and high degree of professionalism
is indeed evident, not only to those connected with Army Aviation, but
obviously to the sister services.
2. My sincere congratulations to each of you. I am confident you will
continue to display these high standards of performance on future
operations.
Raymond F. Campbell, Jr.
Colonel, Armor
Commanding

SUBJECT: Letter of Commendation
TO: CO,A/501st Aslt Hel Co. 6 June 66
It is always a pleasure to receive and pass on correspondence of this
nature. I add my commendation to that of Colonel Raymond F. Campbell, Jr.
Performances of this nature reflect well on Army Aviation and serve to
maintain the 145th Aviation Battalion as "First in Vietnam".
Horst K. Joost
Lt. Colonel, Inf
Commanding

SUBJECT: Letter of Commendation 20 June 1966
TO: 1/Lt. John R. Mateyko, 05406512
A/501st Aslt Hel Co (UH-1) (A)
This correspondence, indorsed by General Westmoreland, is a fitting
testimonial to your personal efforts in numerous search missions and
several actual rescue operations. The professionalism displayed by you in
the discharge of your duties has made this team effort effective and
meaningful in saving several crews of downed aircraft. You are to be
commended for a job well done.
Gordon T. Carey
Major, Armor
Commanding
(Editorial Note) This series of Commendation serves as an example of what
we accomplished as a team, regardless of dates or unit, every man in each
unit played a part in accomplishing the mission.

Under LTC Joost command the 118th Assault Helicopter Company received
the Meritorious Unit Commendation for the period June 1963 to June 1966.
And the 117th and the 135th Assault Helicopter Companies were awarded the
Valorous Unit Award for the period 1-20 June 1966 while serving with other
battalions in Operation Hawthorne/Dan Tang in Kontum Province.
LTC Walter F Jones replaced LTC Joost on June 17, 1966. Under LTC
Jones the 118th Aviation Co. (AML) was awarded the Valorous Unit Award for
their actions on 19 July 1966. Movement of the 68th Combat Avn Co (AML)
from Vung Tau to Bien Hoa during the period 10 through 17 July 1966,
resulted in this unit being more centrally located in the III Corps
Tactical Zone and in a better position to support operations, by
elimination of a significant amount of daily dead-head flying time. The
planned movement of the 147th Medium Helicopter Company from Vung Tau to
Phu Loi will locate it more centrally within the III CTZ and again reduce
dead-head time to and from daily operations. It is also essential to reduce
aircraft crowding at Vung Tau, thus improving safety of operations there.
The 335th AHC was awarded the Meritorious Unit Commendation for Achievement
in the performance of outstanding service in RVN from May 1965 to July
1966. The 120th A.H.C. was transferred to Capital Avn Bn on 1 July of 1966.
A special project was under taken and all Airmobile Light Companies are
being augmented with an additional airlift platoon (seven aircraft), this
brought the average number of UH-1D aircraft assigned to each unit to 21.
The requirement existed for each airmobile company to be capable of
airlifting the assualt element of one rifle company.
Training of four VNAF pilots commenced on 8 August and completed on 7
November 1966. The training included transition in UH-1 aircraft and 90
days tactical training with the 145th C.A.B. The 184th Avn Co (Surv Light)
arrived in Vietnam and was assigned to the 145th on 13 August 1966. While
serving with 10th C.A.B. the 117th Assault Hel. Co. was awarded the
Meritorious Unit Commendation service for the period of December 1965 to
September 1966. The 1st of September 1966 brought a name change for A Co,
501st Avn Bn to the 71st A.H.C..
On 13 September 1966 during a night combat assault mission, a flight
of seven aircraft from the 68th Avn Co encountered extremely bad weather
and were forced to divert from their route of flight. One aircraft, it fuel
presumably gone, was seen descending into the trees, apparently in a
controlled maneuver. Neither the aircraft nor the four crew members were
found as of 31 October 1966.
From the 14th of September 1966 to the 24th of November 1966 the 145th
was involved in Operation Attleboro, the largest U.S. operation to date in
Vietnam. On 19 October 1966 a sizable enemy base area was uncovered in War
Zone C (Tay Ninh Province).
During September the Armed Helicopter Standardization Training tested
the gunship platoons of 12th Avn Gp, 1st place was the 118th Bandits, 2nd
place was the 68th Mustangs, 3rd place was the 116th Stingers, with the
197th in 5th, and 71st in 8th.
1 October 1966 brought another name change for the 197th A.H.C., they
became the 334th Armed Helicopter Company, this was the fourth and would be
the last name change for them. The 334th A.H.C. retained their fine history
earned under the names UTT, 68th A.H.C., 197th A.H.C., and continued with
many more first and unit awards. Co A, 82nd Avn Bn name was changed to the
335th Avn Co on 1 October 1966.
The 145th was the first Aviation Battalion to fly "Smoke Ship" combat
operations in Vietnam. During October 1966 the 334th AHC added a new
project to its bag of tricks. Gober's Gasser, a gas-laying helicopter
designed for use during airmobile assaults, made its debut.
Air Cavalry Task Force: To counter the roadside tax collection efforts
of the Viet Cong and to conduct other small raids type operations, an air
cavalry task force was organized within the 334th Aviation Company (AML)
(Armed). The company was augmented by one platoon of UH-1D helicopter to
provide a troop lift capability. The basic organization of the task force
included one armed platoon of five helicopters, a slick platoon, a command
and control ship, and a psy-war ship with a loudspeaker system mounted.
Attached to this force was a TOE infantry platoon, an ALO, a forward
observer, an interpreter and two national policemen to assist in
identification of friendly civilians.
Also during the 1 August to 31 October 1966 time period steel matting
was installed in the 334th Avn Co parking ramp and all 145th units
completed construction of aircraft revetment for passive defense of
aircraft against enemy attack. USAF bomb containers and sandbags were the
materials used. "L" shaped revetments (on the front and one side of
helicopters) were adopted as standard. The 145th constructed six two-story
tropical barracks at Bien Hoa to billet two Aviation Companies which were
directed to vacate VNAF buildings. Construction began for a fifty
helicopter parking ramp and aircraft maintenance facilities for two
Aviation Companies at Bien Hoa. The Consolidated 145th Battalion Dispensary
at Bien Hoa had one of its proposed two building completed in October and
is now operational.
For heroism while engaged in aerial flight in connection with military
operations against a hostile force: The men of the 71st AHC distinguished
themselves by heroic actions on 14 October 1966, in the Republic of
Vietnam, while serving as crew members of aircraft which were paticipating
in a hazardous combat assault in support of the 30th ARVN Ranger Battalion.
Five minutes prior to the arrival of the lift helicopters, a team of armed
helicopters performed a reconnaissance of the proposed landing site and
discovered that the tree lines adjacent to the landing zone were heavily
infested with anti-aircraft weapons positions. The armed aircraft received
an intense volume of hostile fire on their initial pass. Determined to
accomplish the mission and to overpower the Viet Cong in that area, the
lift helicopters continued their approach and landed the Rangers one
hundred and fifty meters from the enemy stronghold. The company was the
target of an intense volume of enemy fire on the first wave of the assualt.
Ten helicopters were struck by hostile fire. Because the Rangers were
helplessly pinned down in the landing zone, the 71st AHC voluntarily
undertook the mission of returning to the same landing site with a
supporting element of the Rangers. During the second wave of the assualt,
the enemy fire became even more intense than before. The armed escort
continually placed devastating defensive fire on the enemy positions.
Through the combined efforts of the armed helicopters and the door gunners
of the lift helicopters, effective fire was placed into the enemy positions
and caused many Viet Cong casualties and prevented the enemy from utilizing
all of his available firepower. Even though the aircraft were subjected to
continuous small arms and automatic weapons fire, the flights into and out
of the area were successfully completed and only light casualties were
sustained. Their actions were in keeping with the highest traditions of the
military service and reflect great credit upon themselves, their unit and
the United States Army. WO Robert L Pruhs and Sp4 Louis Turchi were Killed
In Action that day.
During the month of November 1966 the 145th C.A.B. established a
forward command post at Tay Ninh West Airfield in support of Operation
"Attleboro". During this period the battalion controlled elements of the
11th, 13th, 25th, and 52nd Aviation Battalions as well as its organic
components.
OPERATION ATTLEBORO
The 145th Combat Aviation Battalion Forward Command Post at Tay Ninh
(West) Airfield became operational at 111330 November 1966. The mission of
the 145th Combat Aviation Battalion was to provide command and control,
troop carriers, armed helicopters, pathfinders and rapid refueling support
to the 25th Infantry Division during "OPERATION ATTLEBORO II" from 11 to 24
November 1966. On 21 November the 145th Combat Aviation Battalion conducted
two combat assaults, two extractions and one repositioning, all of
battalion size. All of the operations utilized A Company, 25th Aviation
battalion and the 118th and 175th Assault Helicopter Companies. The first
operation was a combat assault from Fire Support Base #1(XT 275785) To XT
2757962.This lift of the 2nd Battalion, 14th Infantry was compleated by
0840 with 26 UH/1D's transporting 176 troops and flying 35 hours and 110
sorties. The second operation of the day was a combat assault of the 1st
Battalion of the 27th Infantry from Fire Support Base #2 (XT 272861) to
XT272938. A total of 342 troops were carried in 20 UH/1D which flew 15
hours and 162 sorties. The thrid operation was an extraction of the 2nd
Battalion, 14th Infantry from XT 272962 to Fire Support Base #2 (XT
272861) A total of 276 troops were transported in 110 sorties and 35 hours
by 25 UH/1D's. One helicopter from the 175th Assault Helicopter Company
received one hit at XT 225685 however there were no casualties. The fourth
operation of the day was the extraction of the 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry
from XT 272940 to Fire Support Base #2 (XT 272861). This lift saw a total
of 342 troops transported in 15 hours and 162 stories by 20 UH/1D's.The
final operation of the day involved repositioning the 2nd Battalion, 14th
Infantry from Fire Support Base #2 (XT 272861) to Tay Ninh (West) 20
UH/1D's moved 276 troops in 108 sorties and 54 flying hours. The 145 Combat
Aviation Battalion conducted two operations on 22 November utilizing A
Company, 25th Aviation Battalion and the 71st Assault Helicopter Company.
The first operation was a combat assault for the 2nd Battalion, 27th
Infantry from XT 270863 to XT 373854. 19 UH/1D's carried 330 troops in 158
sorties and 25 flying hours. In the afternoon the unit was extracted from
XT 375857 to XT 272865. 19 UH/1D's carried 330 troops in 160 sorties and 25
hours. On 23 November the 145th Combat Avaition Battalion conducted five
tactical operations to include two combat assaults, two extractions and one
repositioning. The following units were utilized on all operations:A and B
Companies, 25th Aviation Battalion and the 71st and 116th Assault
Helicopter Companies. The first operation was a repositioning of one
company of the 2nd Battalion, 14th Infantry from Tay Ninh (West) to Fire
Support Base #2 (XT 272861), with 26 UH/1D's transporting 120 troops in 20
sorties and 10 flying hours. The second operation of the day, a combat
assault for the 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry from XT 285869 into three LZ's
located at XT 198870, XT 193869 and XT 189869. A total of 360 troops were
transported by 26 UH/1D's flying 28 hours 132 sorties. Fire was recieved at
XT 195870 however no aircraft were hit. The thrid mission was a combat
assault conducted for the 2nd Battalion, 14th Infantry from Fire Support
Base #2 (XT 272861) to XT 198806. 26 UH/1D's carried 264 troops in 100
sorties and 20 flying hours. The forth mission of the day was an extraction
of the 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry from PZ's (XT 198870, XT 193869 and XT
189969) to Fire Support Base #2. A total of 26 UH/1D's carried 300 troops
and flew 132 sorties and 28 hours. The day's fifth operation was the
extraction of the 2nd Battalion, 14th Infantry from XT 198806 to Fire
Support Base #1 (XT 275785) and from there to Tay Ninh (West). 26
helicopters carried 400 troops in 150 sorties and flew 40 hours. On the
24th of November the 145th Combat Avaition Battalion conducted two tactical
operations utilizing the 71st and 118th Assault Helicopter Companies and A
and B Companies, 25th Aviation Battalion. 26 UH/1D's were utilized on both
operations. The first mission was the repositioning of the 1st Battalion,
27th Infantry from Fire Support Base #2 to Tay Ninh (West). A total of 408
troops were carried in 208 sorties and 100 flying hours. The second
operations of the day was the extractions of the 2nd Battalion, 27th
Infantry from Fire Support Base #2 to Fire Support Base #1 and from there
to Cu Chi. A total of 924 troops were transported in 1998 sorties and 128
hours flown. In Support of "OPERATION ATTLEBORO" elements controlled by the
145th Combat Aviation Battalion flew 1334 hours and 5857 combat sorties
with 9105 troops being lifted. 13 aircraft took hits, however none had to
be recovered.
On 1 December 1966 LTC Howard M Moore replaced LTC Jones. And the
135th was awarded the Meritorious Unit Commendation for the period January
1966 to December 1966 while serving with the 10th C.A.B.
The following is the History Newsletter of 71st Assault Helicopter
Company for 1 January 1967 to 31 January 1967. COMBAT HIGHLIGHTS for the
71st AHC: 2 Jan 67: This month began in support of the 25th Inf Division in
location around Binh Chanh. Moderate fire was received on the first lift
with two aircraft being hit and one pilot wounded. Seven more lifts were
made with no fire being received until the last. During the afternoon
extractions were made with no reported VC activity. The Firebirds provided
a heavy fire team in support of the operation. The Rattlers flew a total of
70.6 hours and made 258 sorties. 4 Jan 67: The Rattlers returned to Binh
Chanh again in sopport of the Tropic Lightening Division and preformed two
lifts with no enemy activity. The second mission was at Rach Kien where
lifts were made. Light sniper fire was received but Charlie proved to be a
bad shot. Later in the afternoon, the Rattlers played checkers by lifting
and extracting the 3rd Battalion a total of 12 times. Some light fire was
reported. Total time was 77.4 hours and 453 sorties. 5 Jan 67: The 25th
Division obtained the aid of the Rattlers in the Nha Be area for six lifts
into pacified areas. Upon completion, the flight moved to Rach Kien for
three lifts. Automatic weapons fire was received on approach, landing, and
takeoff. The firebirds suppressed the area and destroyed five structures.
Six aircraft took hits, but there were no casualties. Administration and
logistic support was provided preceeding the extraction which required five
lifts. The flight was released after racking up 92.5 hours and flying 402
sorties. 8 Jan 67: Eagle flights were conducted for the 25th Division with
extractions preformed later in the day. Light sniper fire was acted upon by
the Firebirds resulting in one VC KIA and one structure destroyed. Flight
task took a total of 42 hours and 164 sorties. 10 Jan 67: The Rattlers were
assisted by the Little Bears (A/25 25INF) for insertion of U.S. and R.V.N.
troops northeast of Binh Chanh. The Rattlers provided the reaction force,
logistical flights and extractions after the insertion was made. Smoke
ships were utilized for screening the canal lines. Several rounds of
harassing fire was heard, but had no effect. A total of 42 sorties were
extracted. Flight hours were 69.7 and total sorties were 271. 11 Jan 67: A
rapid reaction was performed in support of the 9th Infantry Division to
assure the Rattlers were on their toes. Three lifts were made with fire
being received on all approaches and take-offs from the LZ. The flight time
was 21.3 and 110 sorties. 14 Jan 67: Artillery fire and an air strike
delayed the first lift in support of the old standby, 25th. Upon completion
of the mission, resupply was begun followed by an extraction during the
afternoon. 17 Jan 67: The Rattlers were placed on alert while the 25th
Division made plans for the conduct of an eagle flight. After being called
out just before lunch, the flight was made and extraction and reinsertion
was preformed two hours later. An extraction for for late afternoon was
cancelled due to a difficult tactical situation. Flight hours logged were
57.5 and 167 sorties were completed. 18 Jan 67: The flight journeyed to
Binh Chanh for eagle flights planned by the 25th Division. Two LZ's and
PZ's were utilized for the insertion and extraction. Automatic weapons fire
was received, but no damage to aircraft or crews resulted. The Firebirds,
assisted by tracked vehicles, destroyed one structure. Resupply missions
ended the day. A tally of 172 sorties and 65.2 hours recorded. 19 Jan 67: A
change of scenery was experienced by the Rattlers who supported the 3rd
ARVN Airbourne Battalion for eagle flights and the 4 U.S. Division for an
extraction. The flights were made into friendly areas because no fire was
reported. Extractions were made in an area southeast of Dau Tieng. The
flights made 196 sorties during the day and a total of 75.7 flight hours.
23-27 Jan 67: The Rattlers sent 4 UH-1D and 2 UH-1C aircraft to Song Be for
the conduct of Recondo operations for II FFV. Missions were also conducted
for the subsector advisor and Special Forces in the area. The Firebirds
provided reconnaissance support on the recondo missions and engaged targets
of oppurtunity under the direction of the local FAC in the Song Be area.
The Recondo Teams consisted of four men who were lowered into selected
areas and removed at later times and their purpose was to provide
intelligence information about the enemy. Several accidents occured in
which ships were damaged. Total hours flown during this time were 82.5 and
148 sorties were flown. The Firebirds destroyed 58 structures and damaged
3. A total of 9 secondary explosions were reported and ammo used on the
mission was 390 2.75 rockets and 90,000 rounds of 7.62 machinegun ammo. The
Rattlers hauled 4.2 tons of cargo and carried 119 passengers. 29 Jan 67:
The Rattlers provided support to the 199th Infantry Bde in areas around Cat
Loi and Nha Be. Four lifts were made into various LZ's. The U.S. Navy used
four slicks and a heavy fire team for a classified SEAL mission. Total
hours were 51.7 with 175 sorties. Some automatic weapons fire was received,
but no damage was reported. Support was provided the 173rd Airborne Bde for
insertion of a long range patrol at 1730 hours. Three six man patrols were
inserted in various LZ's in War Zone D. The flight remained airborne until
after dark. No fire was received during the operation. Total hours were
10.7 and 41 sorties. 31 Jan 67: The 71st made an extration for the 9th
Infantry Division in an area around Bear Cat. The assistance of a CH-47 was
utilized to cut the time of lifting the 600 man force. The LZ was extremely
small and allowed only four aircraft to enter at a time. Total flight time
for the day was 53.3 and sorties totaled 198.
Civic actions for the 71st AHC during the month of January 1967 was
the Rattlers done an excellent job of donating money to be used for
purchasing food, closing, and toys for the people at Bui Hung. Work is
still continuing at the church with many materials being supplied by the
71st. The 71st's civic action program under the direction of Captain Keller
has aided many people and brought many friends to the Rattlers.
Moments To Remember; The day Captain Mangum flew with the Firebirds in
order to test the weapons system. The AC said, "Arm the system", so Captain
Mangum flipped the switch. A pop was heard, then the crew chief said,
"They're gone, - he jettisoned my rocket pods." All that was seen for the
rest of the flight was a red glow coming from the copilot's seat. Well done
Jettison 6!
The following is the History Newsletter of 71st Assault Helicopter
Company for 1 February 1967 to 28 February 1967. COMBAT HIGHLIGHTS for the
71st AHC: 5 Feb 67: The Rattler flight accompanied by a light fire team
from the Firebirds, departed Bien Hoa and arrived over Phuoc Vinh at 1630
hours. The operation was in support of the 1st Bn, 26th Inf, 1st US Inf
Division. Four lifts were made into 3 LZ's around a village three
kilometers northeast of Phoc Vinh. Small arms fire was reported on take off
from LZ #1 with no aircraft reporting hits. The area was worked over by
the Firebirds and an artillery strike. No further fire was recieved. Total
flight time was 31.9 hours and 107 sorties were logged. 8 Feb 67: Tay Ninh
was the destination and suport of the 190th LT Inf Brigade was the mission.
Resupply, command and control, and administrative flights comprised the
day's operations. Automatic weapons fire was reported throughout the day
with one aircraft recieving damage due to hostile fire. The Rattlers logged
72.6 hours and 279 sorties during the day. 12 Feb 67: Today's flight was in
support of the 199th Inf Brigade. The Rattlers preformed six combat assults
and five extractions. Two aircraft were damaged by enemy fire and one
crewmember recieved minor injuries from sharpnel. Operations consisted of
hualing a combination of United States and ARV troops.The days flight time
was 110.2 hours and 338 sorties were flown. 13 Feb 67: Support was again
given to the 199th for insertions and extractions southeast of Saigon. The
Firebirds made preparations of the LZ's and artillery was fired also.
Automatic weapons fire was recieved by the Rattlers and also by the troops.
Gunship support was provided continuously and an air strike was called in
upon completion of the mission. Flight hours were 98.7 and sorties totaled
319. 15 Feb 67: The Rattlers journeyed to Tay Ninh and arrived at 0730 to
begin resupply and personnel moves. One company was inserted at a
battalion extracted during the days operations. Artillery and gunships
prepared the areas and some small arms fire was recieved after the lift.
The Rattlers flew 111 hours and preformed 301 sorties with 11 slicks and 4
gunships. No aircraft damage was reported. 26 Feb 67: The Rattlers moved to
Tay Ninh to provide support to operation "Junction City". Many resupply
missions were carried out and several combat assaults were made. The
Firebirds provided support to the company as well as standby for the
operation. Enemy fire was recived during our stay, but damage to aircraft
was light.
The 335th A.H.C. (formerly Co A, 82nd Avn Bn.) earned the Meritorious
Unit Commendation for the period 1 August 1966 to 31 January 1967. The
Valorous Unit Award was earned by the 145th C.A.B., 68th A.H.C., 118th
A.H.C., and 334th A.H.C. for their actions on the 19th of March 1967 under
the command of LTC Howard Moore in the Battle of Soui Tre. The Vietnamese
Cross of Gallantry with Palm was awarded to the 145th C.A.B., 68th, 118th,
120th, 147th, 213th, 334th, 335th Aviation Companies for the period 1 March
1966 to 26 March 1967. These last two awards were earned during Operation
Junction City in Tay Ninh Province, 2,728 known enemy casualties. The 117th
was awarded the Meritorious Unit Commendation for the period 5 September
1966 to 31 March 1967. In March of 1967 the 184th Avn Co was transferred to
the 11th Avn Bn and in April of 67 the 71st A.H.C. was transferred to the
14th Avn Bn.
THE BATTLE OF SOUI TRE
On 19 March 1967, the 145th Combat Avaition Battalion distinguished
itself by exceptionally valorous actions in the prelude of what was to
become known as the battle of Suoi Tre- the most significant one/day battle
to date in the III Corps Tactical Area. The 145th Combat Aviation Battalion
was operating in direct support of 3rd Brigade, 4th infantry Division, with
the mission to conduct a combat assult into a landing zone located
approximately five miles north of Suoi Da, Republic of Vietnam. The initial
operational plans were made for the assult to take place on 18 March 1967,
several miles further north of the actual landing zone: however obstacles
prevented the 2nd Battalion, 22nd Infantry (Mech) and the 22nd Battalion,
34th Armor from securing the landing zone as planned. On the evening of 17
March, the assult was rescheduled for 19 March with the landing zone
changed to the new location. The armored and mechanized elements were
unable to meet this new schedule. It was then decided that the assult would
be conducted into an unsecured landing zone with the armored and mechanized
elements scheduled to reinforce the infantry at a later time. The hazards
of this unsecured landing zone were known to be many as there were
relatively few clearings in the dense jungle which were adequate for
airmobile operations. Past experience indicated that when there were few
clearings in the area, the Viet Cong either mine or establish ambushes on
or near the potential landing zones. Professionalism and esprit de corps
prevailed as the aviators of the 68th and 118th Assult Helicopter Companies
eagerly awaited the termination of the twenty minute artilly preparation
which would mark the beginning of the first lift. The assault was under the
control of the Commanding Officer, 145th Combat Aviation Battalion. The
lift units were supported by gunships of both assault helicopter companies
and those of the 334th Armed Helicopter Company. The first lift encountered
little resistence upon entering the landing zone, but received automatic
weapons fire upon departure. At the moment the aircraft of the second lift
touched down, a command detonated 155mm artillery round was exploded. Two
helicopters were completely destroyed and five others seriousy damaged from
sharpnel. More mines were detonated and the landing zone became a holocaust
of fire and flying steel. The Viet Cong were in well established bunkers
and had numeric superiority- it was later learned that major portions of
two Viet Cong regiments were engaged in the battle. Heroism became the norm
rather then the exception. Realizing the necessity for reinforcing the
ground units already in the landing zone, the decision was made to land
additional troops into a landing zone immediately adjacent to the initial
landing zone. The 118th Assault Helicopter Company "Thunderbirds" and the
68th Assault Helicopter Company "Top Tigers" wasted no time getting another
load of troops aboard and into the air. The tremendous urgency of the
situation was relized by all. The lift approched through sporadic ground
fire which culminated in the detonation of another mine which damaged the
lead aircraft. The next element approached through a withering hail of
automatic weapons fire and was met with another mine upon landing.
Initially suppresive fire from escort gunships was impossible due to
friendly elements scattered throughout the area. Showing the utmost in
determination and a remarkable tactical grasp of the situation the armed
helicopters located the emeny emplacements and supported the troop carrying
aircraft by delivering accurate and deadly fire on the enemy. The armed
helicopters were only able to accomplish the needed accuracy by flying
directly into the barrage of fire. Their actions were instrumental in
preventing the loss of additional lives and aircraft. Under the calm,
inspirational leadership of the battalion commander, the companies
preformed in a manner that was in the highest traditions of Army Aviation.
The courageous air crews flew eight lifts into the landing zone after the
initial holocaust with individual acts of heroism being numerous as
indicated by five indivduals being awarded the Silver Star, 19 the
Distinguished Flying Cross, 14 the Bronze Star for valor and 96 the Air
Medal for valor. Four enlisted crew members of the first helicopter downed
in the landing zone immediately began stripping the helicopters of radios,
weapons, and other valuable equipment. Realizing that the landing zone was
in imminent danger of being engulfed in flames, they secured fire
extinguishers and flack vests to fight the blaze. Failing the thwart the
fire, they ran through the inferno looking for the wounded. As the blaze
advanced, it set off hand grenades that had been dropped during the
confusion of the initial mine explosions. These men began giving medical
aid to wounded infantry soldiers and loading them onto helicopters which
came back on succesive lifts. They voluntarily remained in the landing zone
under heavy fire throughout the morning and afternoon. Another enlisted
crew member braved the exploding mines and rescued his critically injured
pilot and mortally wounded door gunner from their burning helicopter. Then
he carried the pilot under intence automatic weapon fire to an evacuation
helicopter across the landing zone. He returned and removed the radios and
weapons from the helicopter prior to returning to the evacuation helicopter
where he preformed life saving first aid to the wounded. A warrant
officer's aircraft recieved extensive damage during the initial blast;
however he determined that the urgency of the situation warranted the
helicopter being flown and he made three successive lifts in his damaged
ship to deliver additional reinforcements to the beleagured ground troops.
These are only but a few examples of the many acts of bravery which occured
during this action. There were cases of downed aviators taking machineguns
and providing supressive fires in the landing zone for sucessive lifts
instead of being immedediaely evacuated. In several instances, aircraft
which were severely damaged were flown out of the landing zone to more
secure areas so that they could be air lifted without incurring additional
damage.
LTC John A Todd replaced LTC Moore on the 7th of August 1967. The
190th A.H.C. arrived in Vietnam and was assigned to the 145th on 2
September 1967, shortly there after to be sent on temporary duty to I Corp
with the Marines and returned to Bien Hoa on the 16th of November 1967. The
213th Assault Support Helicopter Company was awarded the Meritorious Unit
Commendation for the period 13 February 1967 to 15 October 1967.
On 22 October 1967, the Cobra flew its first combat mission. On that
day two Cobras from the Playboy Platoon of the 334th Armed Helicopter
Company were flown by Major Donald Becker and Warrant Officer Welch from
Bien Hoa to Nui Dat in support of the Australian Tack Force.
Under the Command of LTC Todd the Presidential Unit Citation was
awarded for the period of 6 to 23 November 1967 by the Commander-in-Chief
of the Armed Forces of the United States to the 335th Assault Helicopter
Company. The award to the "Cowboys" was for extraordinary heroism during
Operation Mac Arthur in Kontum Province in November 1967.
The 335th Assault Helicopter Company, prior to being transferred out
of the 145th CAB, was assigned the mission of supporting the 173rd Airborne
Brigade, they conducted airmobile assaults with the 2/503d on 11 November
1967 in the area south-west of Dak To. The landing zone was to be hewn out
of the dense jungle and bamboo by B-52 strikes and numerous other
airstrikes. Close examination of the intended landing zone by the command
and control party revealed an area sufficient for only one aircraft at a
time. The first troops on the ground immediately initiated clearing
operations to enlarge the landing zone, while additional troops were being
inserted. This landing zone soon became Fire Support Base 16. At
Approximately 1200 hours, 11 November 1967, the 1/503d made strong contact
with an estimated battalion sized force.
The 335th AHC was called upon to reinforce the beleaguered unit with C
4/503d. The nearest landing zone to the area would accommodate only one
aircraft at a time. During this operation enemy fire was received going
into and coming out of the landing zone. The armed helicopters immediately
placed suppressive fires on the enemy, however, this did not deter the
enemy from firing at all of the helicopters. Fortunately no aircraft were
hit on this part of the operation. The armed helicopters demonstrated
remarkable skill according to the commander of the ground forces. They
placed rocket and machine gun fire scant meters from the friendly lines,
and escorting the troop carrying helicopters into the landing zone.
During the time this action was in progress, a single ship was
resupplying C 1/503d with badly needed ammunition. In order to complete the
mission the pilot had to fly dangerously near the enemy position. On each
trip into the area he experienced heavy enemy rifle and automatic weapons
fire. Realizing he had received numerous hits, the pilot landed to inspect
the aircraft and found it no longer airworthy. He immediately procured
another aircraft and continued the mission. Again he received numerous hits
and was barely able to return to a secure area before being forced to land.
The timely arrival of reinforcements and ammunition turned the tide of
battle and most assuredly saved C 1/503d from being overrun and
annihilated.
The 335th AHC provided general support to the 173rd Airborne Brigade
with resupply missions and insertion of Long Range Reconnaissance Patrols
(LRRP).
Many times the only mean for landing a LRRP was by using a rope
dropped from the hovering helicopter allowing the team members to repel to
the ground. The pilots demonstrated outstanding airmanship, and courage
while hovering in one spot, above 100 foot trees, under enemy fire, to
place the team in the correct location.
Numerous times the team would make contact with a superior enemy
force, necessitating immediate extraction. Without hesitation the pilots of
the 335th AHC came to their rescue, again hovering above the trees,
offering a perfect target for the enemy.
On 19 November 1967 the 2/503d started to move up the northern slope
of Hill 875. As they neared the crest of the hill they met with extremely
heavy resistance, resulting in heavy casualties. The 335th AHC was again
called upon to deliver critical supplies. The landing zone was not large
enough to accommodate even one helicopter, so it was necessary to employ
the kick-out method. The enemy controlled the crest of the hill, which
provided unlimited fields of fire at aircraft approaching to points below
the crest. Also, pin point accuracy in dropping the supplies was an
absolute must, for to miss the target area by even a few meters on the side
of the hill increased the difficulty in retrieving them by one hundred
fold. To obtain this accuracy an extremely low airspeed was required,
making the helicopters a virtual "sitting duck" for enemy gunners.
On each sortie into this area, the helicopters met extremely heavy
fire. Realizing the urgency of their mission, the crews never faltered in
providing the ground unit with the life sustaining supplies. Although
numerous aircraft were hit and aircrew members wounded, the men of the
335th AHC could not be deterred and continued their mission, even though
their very lives were at stake. One aircraft attempted a sling load
delivery of a landing zone clearing kit. He encountered murderous fire and
was forced to jettison the load, returning to a secure area where
inspection of the aircraft revealed sufficient damage to preclude further
flight. Without immediate assistance the 2/503d could not hope to hold
their position. Three companies of the 4/503d were dispatched to reinforce.
The 4/503d also met with sharp resistance, sustaining heavy casualties.
When the 4/503d join up with the 2/503d there remained approximately one
hundred effective fighting men. These two units were able to fight their
way to a position approximately one hundred meters down the slope where a
landing zone clearing kit was successfully dropped. After a landing zone
was cut out of the jungle, the 335th AHC aircraft again braved the intense
enemy fire in order to evacuate two hundred twenty-two wounded to distant
medical facilities. Without this timely evacuation, many of these wounded
would have surely died.
On 22 November 1967, the 335th AHC assisted by elements of the 52nd
Combat Aviation Battalion conducted an airmobile operation with the 1/12th
Infantry, 4th US Inf. Div. southeast of Hill 875.
On 23 November 1967 the remnants of the 2d and 4th Battalions, 503d
Inf., mounted an attack on the crest of Hill 875. The attack commenced at
1100 hours and the hill was secured at 1120 hours. The enemy had retreated,
leaving their dead, numerous large bunkers with up to twenty feet of
overhead cover, and numerous items of equipment. During the battle the
335th AHC participated in all phases, experiencing the most hazardous of
combat conditions.
The 335th AHC had ten wounded in action, while the 173d Abn Bde had
118 killed in action, 271 wounded in action and three missing in action.
The NVA losses were 298 by body count. Nine of the 335th AHC helicopters
received extensive combat damage. Three were evacuated by CH-47, four were
repaired for a one time flight to home station, and two continued to fly.
The support provided to the 173d Abn Bde by the 335th AHC during this
operation was truly outstanding and on repeated occasions necessitated the
air crews performing above and beyond the call of duty. Without their
efforts, the tide of battle would have most probably been turned in favor
of the enemy.
Part of the 334th A.H.C. was transferred to Thailand the 24th of
November 1967 on temporary duty to fly escort duty over the Ho Chi Minh
Trail. They were to fly gunship cover for troops placing and picking up
listening devices all along the Ho Chi Minh Trail. Their refuel point was
to be Khe Sanh which went under seize shortly there after, the mission was
called off the 3rd of March 1968.
LTC Robert M Deets assumed command of the 145th Combat Aviation
Battalion on 1 December 1967. LTC Deets started his military career as a
Navy Seabee in 1943. He was a member of an underwater demolition team and
earned the Bronze Star for Valor. He began his career as an Army officer
through a direct commission in November of 1951. Prior to being assigned to
the 145th he was assigned to S-3 at 12th Group. Thanks to LTC Deets we have
this very fine detailed report on the Battalion's History.
On 7 December 1967 the 190th Assault Helicopter Company conducted
airmobile operations with the 4th Bn, 7th Regt, 5th Inf Div (ARVN). The
unit was to receive an ATT in conjunction with a search and destroy
operation. The landing zone was prepared for the assault by artillery and
airstrikes under the command of an aircraft from the 74th Reconnaissance
Airplane Company. The first assault went as planned with negative fire
received. The second assault into LZ#2 met with heavy automatic weapons
fire from the right front. Chalk 10 was shot down in the landing zone and
chalk 9 made an emergency landing eight hundred meters north of the LZ.
This aircraft had received sixteen hits. The troops in LZ #2 were pinned
down under voluminous enemy fire and without the planned, subsequent lift,
were in danger of annihilation. On the next lift into the LZ the lead
aircraft was engulfed by intense enemy fire that wounded or killed all of
the ARVN troops on board. Several other aircraft in flight were hit causing
two to make forced landings in the pickup zone and another at Cu Chi.
The FAC from the 74th Recon Airplane Company continued to direct
artillery and airstrikes on the entrenched enemy. To provide cover for the
remaining lifts, the smoke aircraft was employed. Braving the murderous
enemy fire, he repeatedly provided smoke cover for the remaining lifts. A
heavy fire team from the 334th Armed Helicopter Company was scrambled to
assist in the operation. They attacked the enemy fortifications with
determination and tenacity, disregarding their personal safety in order to
place their fires to the best advantage. The remaining aircraft were
utilized to airlift a reserve company into the area. The aircrews did not
hesitate in continuing their mission even in the face of devastating enemy
fire. The smoke ship was hit and forced to return to Bien Hoa for repairs.
Numerous medical evacuation flights were attempted; however, each time the
aircraft met with murderous enemy fire. A second smoke ship was called out
to assist in the operation. After two passes through the area, providing a
smoke screen for medical evacuation flights, he too was hit and forced to
land in the landing zone. realizing the precarious position the crew of the
smoke ship was in, an armed helicopter from the 190th AHC braved the
intense, enemy, automatic weapons fire to land and extract them.
As nightfall approached, the ground troops ran low on ammunition.
Again a crew from the 190th AHC volunteered to deliver the desperately
required ammunition and at the same time extract the remaining wounded.
Although the enemy was literally filling the sky with bullets, the mission
received light to heavy combat damage. Three medical evacuation helicopters
were damaged, one making a forced landing five miles east of Cu Chi,
another making a forced landing just inside the perimeter at Cu Chi and the
third taking numerous hits and wounding the gunner.
Two smoke aircraft were hit, one making a forced landing in the
landing zone and the other being grounded after returning to the station.
Of the aircraft that received the combat damage six required evacuation by
CH-47, four were repaired and released for a one time flight to home
station, two were repaired and returned to the flight, and seven were hit
but continued to fly.
On 8 December 1967 the 68th Assault Helicopter Company supported the
30th and 38th Ranger Battalions in combat assaults for search and destroy
operations southeast of Phu Cong. The initial phases of the operation
progressed as planned with negative resistance. Prior to the combat assault
into LZ #3 the armed helicopters discovered occupied enemy bunkers on the
north side. Although the area was hit by artillery, a decision was made to
disregard LZ #3 and insert the troops into LZ 12.
The element moving west encountered steady resistance after moving
about four hundred meters west along the small north-south stream line.
Additional forces were inserted into LZ #4. The flight reported enemy fire
on takeoff. The ground unit moved south and immediately made contact. Two
medical evacuation missions were requested for eleven wounded in action and
one killed in action. The two aircraft attempted to land at the position by
flying low level but the enemy fire was so heavy that they had to abort the
mission. Both aircraft were hit and one crew chief owes his life to his
chest protector. While providing cover for medical evacuation, the armed
helicopter fire team were taken under heavy fire. One armed helicopter was
hit, necessitating his return to home station for repairs.
An aerial observer from the 74th Reconnaissance Airplane Company
directed numerous artillery and airstrikes upon the enemy positions. While
the artillery concentration distracted the enemy, a medical evacuation was
successfully completed. However, on his second trip in for wounded he came
under heavy enemy fire and received numerous hits. Another call for medical
evacuation was received. Since no other aircraft were immediately
available, the 68th AHC command and control aircraft accepted the mission.
Although enemy fire laced the area, three wounded in action and one killed
in action were successfully evacuated. Again the requirement for a medical
evacuation came forth and again the mission was completed in spite of the
extremely heavy automatic weapons fire.
Artillery, tactical air and armed helicopters continued to strike the
area. An AH-1G Cobra light fire team from the 334th Armed Helicopter
Company arrived and joined in the attempt to neutralize the enemy automatic
weapons positions. On one rocket pass the sky seemed to be filled with
enemy fire, hitting one armed helicopter and seriously wounding the pilot.
Although an extraction had been planned, the tactical situation and
approaching darkness necessitated implementation of the alternate plan
which called for withdrawal by boat. The 68th AHC sustained two wounded in
action, while the ground units had three killed in action and twenty-two
wounded in action. Enemy losses were not known. Six helicopters were hit,
one requiring evacuation by CH-47, two repaired for a one time flight to
home station and three continued to fly.
On 14 December 1967 the 190th Assault Helicopter Company was diverted
from the assigned mission to support Company A, 5th Special Forces Group
(CIDG), in airmobile operations in th area west of Hiep Hoa, RVN. On final
approach to LZ #L the flight received light automatic weapons fire. One
armed helicopter was hit damaging the hydraulic system and wounding the
crew chief. Two subsequent lifts were made into the same landing zone.
Sporadic M-79 fire hit in the landing zone while the aircraft were on the
ground, however, no aircraft were damaged. About one hour after the
insertions, the ground troops made contact with an estimated regimental
sized force. Tactical air and two light fire teams provided immediate
support. The enemy was well entrenched and possessed a minimum of six fifty
caliber machine guns.
The fire from these weapons plus countless small and automatic weapons
was devastation and deadly. Yet fire support to assist the ARVN's in
breaking contact was a dire necessity. A Cobra light fire team proved its
worth time and time again as they challenged the fifty caliber positions,
never once faltering in the attack. The efforts of these armed helicopters
bore fruit and the unit was able to break contact and withdraw.
This success was not without cost as three armed helicopters were
hit, one of which made an emergency landing with the aircraft on fire.
Although the sky was filled with enemy fire, the downed aircraft's wingman
threaded his way down through the hail of bullets to pull the crew
practically out of the enemy's hands. The action of the armed helicopters
in the face of vastly superior enemy fire power, was the factor that made
the difference between annihilation and successful withdrawal of the
outnumbered ground units. The 190th Assault Helicopter Company had two crew
members wounded, one armed helicopter totally destroyed and three other
aircraft hit.
On 17 December 1967 the 118th Assault Helicopter Company was diverted
from its schedule for a tactical emergency in support of the 604th CIDG,
25th Infantry Division (ARVN) in the area southwest of Bao Tri. A unit of
the 604th CIDG was in heavy contact and in dire need of immediate
reinforcements. The emergency standby, light fire teams from the 68th AHC
had been scramble to support the ground unit in contact. Even though the
area had been struck repeatedly by tactical airstrikes and armed
helicopter, the enemy continued to offer strong resistance. On each pass
the armed helicopters drew heavy automatic weapons fire, resulting in one
aircraft hit and forced to make and emergency landing. The landing was
effected in a secure area. After several airstrikes on the enemy positions,
the flight departed the pickup zone with a company to reinforce the unit in
contact.
Although a smoke screen was employed, the flight encountered an
intense volume of fire during the approach to the landing zone, on the
ground in the landing zone, and during takeoff. Two aircraft were hit by
enemy fire during take off and made emergency landings three kilometers
east of the landing zone. Two other aircraft in the flight followed then to
the ground and extracted all members and weapons. These aircraft also
received fire while on the ground near the downed aircraft. While
reconnoitering the area, an armed helicopter from the 68th Assault
Helicopter Company was hit by automatic weapons fire, wounding the crew
chief. Whenever a helicopter got near the area, the ground seemed to be
covered with white flashes as the enemy automatic weapons opened fire. No
area in the vicinity of the doomed aircraft seemed to be free of the enemy
and making an insertion of a security force by air was impractical. For
this reason, elements of the 25th ARVN Division stationed in Bao Trai were
directed to proceed over land to the area to provide security until an
extraction of the aircraft could be effected. One element mounted in APC's
moved west from Boa Trai while a second element moved to the southwest to
act as a blocking force. The element to the north encountered resistance
about four hundred meters north on the downed aircraft and halted. A
Diamondhead armed helicopter, was shot down and made an emergency landing
while supporting this element. The crew was extracted by his wingman,
however all armament, including XM-21 system, remained with the aircraft.
Also, an armed helicopter from the 190th AHC flown by a crew from the
118th AHC was shot down. This aircraft crashed and burned.The crew was
picked up by the alternate C & C aircraft, quite shaken, but otherwise
unhurt. The ARVN troops were making no progress and it is becoming
increasingly apparent that they did not intend to reach the aircraft. With
the prospect of these aircraft remaining in an insecure area over night,
recovery of the XM-21 system became a major concern.
While a Cobra light fire team from the 334th Armed Helicopter Company
and a light fire team from the 25th Infantry Division (US) placed
continuous fires on the area of heaviest VC fire, a UH-1C from the 118th
AHC with a volunteer crew, approached the downed aircraft low level from
the east. Upon landing, two men jumped out and removed the two guns. The
intense fire placed on the enemy positions couple with the fading light,
permitted successful recovery of the guns. The professionalism displayed by
the aircrew members involved in this operation was outstanding. Regardless
of the situation, mission accomplishment was foremost in their minds. In
this operation there were six crew members wounded, two hospitalized, and
four treated and released. One armed helicopter was destroyed and seven
armed and nine troop carrier helicopters received combat damage.
On 18 December 1967 the 68th Assault Helicopter Company supported
the 1/27th Infantry, 25th Infantry Division (US) on airmobile operations
southwest of Bao Tri, RVN. The mission of the ground unit was to secure the
area around three helicopter that had been shot down in order so extraction
by CH 47 helicopters could be affected. The three helicopters had been shot
down on 17 December and had remained without security. After intensive
artillery and tactical air preparation, air assaults were made into LZ 1
and LZ 2 with only light resistance. The ground unit initially encountered
no resistance and soon advanced to the first downed aircraft. The armed
helicopters of the 68th AHC, while covering the advance of the ground unit
in the direction of the other two aircraft, received heavy automatic
weapons fire from the same area where the enemy had been entrenched the
previous day. The aerial observer, from the 74th Reconnaissance Company,
flying above the area continued to direct airstrikes and artillery against
the enemy positions. Movement by the ground troops was impeded because of
heavy fire from the tree lines and canals. A second element moved west and
then north to circumnavigate the enemy position.
Meanwhile the light fire teams were assisting the ground unit in
contact with the enemy. On each firing pass the armed helicopters received
heavy fire from the numerous heavily fortified positions. Two aircraft were
hit and one crew chief was wounded. More artillery and tactical airstrikes
were employed, allowing the ground unit to advance very slow. However,
their movement was continually hampered by sporadic sniper fire. Time was
growing short for a daylight extraction of the downed aircraft. The
decision was made to attempt an extraction, utilizing the smoke aircraft,
even though the enemy fields of fire covered the area.
After the aircraft was rigged, the smoke ship put down a ring of smoke
around the downed aircraft while the light fire teams suppressed the area,
enabling the CH-47 to make the extraction. The ground unit continued to
have heavy contact and at this point were running dangerously low on
ammunition. Oblivious to the heavy enemy automatic weapons fire, an
aircraft from the 68th AHC accomplished the ammunition resupply mission.
Armed helicopters provided escort for the resupply aircraft, many times
literally looking down the barrels of the enemy weapons. Two flare equipped
aircraft from the 118th AHC were scrambled to provide battlefield
illumination. A Cobra light fire team, from the NETT Team, was diverted
from another mission to augment the light fire teams on station.
Extraction of the two remaining helicopters was of prime importance.
As the armed helicopters placed suppressive fire on the enemy positions,
the aircraft with the rigging crews made a low level approach and landed
beside the aircraft. By this time the only light on the scene was that
provided by the flare aircraft, and determining the location of the downed
aircraft was extremely difficult. To aid in fixing the exact location, the
rigging aircraft remained on the ground turning on his rotating beacon on
call. This signal enabled the CH-47 crews to locate the downed aircraft.
Without this signal, determining a location that would permit a
landing would have been extremely difficult if not impossible. The first
aircraft was extracted without incident. However, as the CH-47 departed the
area with the UH-1, it received heavy automatic weapons fire, wounding the
gunner. The armed helicopters placed immediate fire on the enemy positions,
curtailing further enemy fire. The ground troops had not planned to remain
in the field overnight, therefore, receipt of the night kit, rations and
ammunition was imperative. Although the area contained many enemy
positions, and location of the landing zone in the dim light of the aerial
flares was extremely difficult, the 68th AHC made seven sorties into the
landing zone. It was necessary to utilize aircraft landing lights to locate
the land zone, thus making them an even better target for enemy gunners.
Despite these hazards, the aircrews pressed forward with the mission,
providing the ground unit with life sustaining items. The 68th AHC had one
wounded in action and five aircraft received combat damage. Four aircraft
required evacuation by CH-47 helicopters, however, three were from the
previous days operation.
Three other helicopters were repaired on the spot and cleared for a
one time flight to Bien Hoa. Another was damaged but continued to fly. At
approximately 0200 hours, 19 December 1967, the ground unit was attacked
with mortars, RPG and automatic weapons fire. If the two aircraft had not
been extracted prior to this time, they would have been destroyed or badly
damaged.
On 25 December 1967, Christmas Day, the 145th C.A.B. invited 120
children from Bui Vinh Orphanage to have dinner at the 334th AHC Mess Hall,
they were served turkey with all the trimmings.
On 28 December 1967, the 118th Assault Helicopter Company supported
the 1st Battalion, 25th Infantry Division (ARVN) on airmobile operations
near Bao Trai, RVN. After a weather delay until 1100 hours, the operation
proceeded without undue difficulty. At approximately 1600 hours the
decision was made to extract the southern element and a light fire team was
instructed to perform a reconnaissance of the area. They received heavy
automatic weapons and small arms fire, sustaining numerous aircraft hits
and one door gunner wounded in action.
The ground unit was directed to move further to the north and prepare
for extraction. In the meantime the element located at LZ #2 was extracted
without incident. The southern element had moved into a new position but
was still receiving fire from the east and south. Artillery was called in
to provide cover for the unit while it moved farther to the north. The
standby smoke aircraft from the 334th Armed Helicopter Company was
scrambled to assist in the extraction. The ground unit secured another
landing zone, reporting only sniper fire from the north.
The armed helicopter made a reconnaissance of the area and drew very
light fire, so the decision was made to proceed with the extraction. As the
smoke aircraft started its pass, it encountered extremely heavy automatic
fire along the north flank. The smoke aircraft was hit and three crewmen
were wounded but they remained on station to provide the desperately needed
smokescreen.
The flight started receiving heavy fire just short of the landing
zone, while on the ground, and after take off. The fire was coming from all
sides while the flight was in the landing zone. Continuous suppression from
all the armed helicopters and the door gunners on the troop carrying
helicopters failed to diminish the rate of enemy fire. The first two
aircraft received numerous hits and both crew chiefs were wounded. Four of
the enemy were killed by the door gunners while the flight was on the
ground. On take off two aircraft were crippled by fire, necessitating
emergency landings approximately two thousand meters from the landing zone.
The first aircraft was on fire as it landed. All crews, radios and
weapons were evacuated. The ground troops that were aboard the downed
aircraft provided security. The remaining aircraft proceeded directly to
the hospital at Cu Chi to drop off the wounded ground troops and aircrew
members. Two of these aircraft returned to the AO while the other two
remained at Cu Chi, not flyable due to combat damage. The emergency standby
fire team and the flare aircraft were scrambled. Sufficient troops to
secure the area until a company size force could move to the area by foot
were to be inserted by the flyable aircraft.
By this time the area was in total darkness, the only light being
that provided by the aerial flares. The remaining lifts were made under
extremely hazardous conditions, without further incident. There were eight
aircrew members wounded in action. A total of ten aircraft were damaged by
enemy ground fire. Of these, two remained on the ground in the AO overnight
and were extracted the following morning. One remained overnight at Cu chi
and was extracted the following morning, while the remaining damaged
aircraft were repaired and flown back to Bien Hoa Airbase.
During this time period the 334th AHC became the first aviation
company to fly combat operations in AH-1G Huey Cobra Gunships in Vietnam.
On 31 December 1967 the Meritorious Unit Commendation was awarded to
the 68th AHC, 118th AHC, and 334th AHC for the period 1 January 1967 to 31
December 1967. The 335th AHC was awarded the Meritorious Unit Commendation
for the period 1 February 1967 to 31 December 1967.
January 1968 brought the return of the 117th AHC to the 145th CAB from
the 10th CAB, and the loss of the 335th AHC to the 268th CAB.

BATTLE OF BIEN HOA
TET OFFENSIVE 1968
On the morning of 31 January 1968, the Bien Hoa Air Base, III Corps
Headquarters, the Prisoner of War Compound, and other key installations
around the Bien Hoa - Long Binh area received enemy mortar and rocket fire.
The Communists were starting to carry out a plan that they had studied for
a considerable period of time. The attacking forces, elements of the 274th
and 275th Viet Cong Regiments, along with the 68th Regiment, 9th VC
Division, had been recruiting and training their leaders for a substantial
length of time. It was instilled in the minds of their soldiers that this
ultimate plan could not fail, and that victory would surely be theirs. A
prisoner later captured stated that he was told by commanders that Bien Hoa
would "drop into their hands like a ripe apple". "Charlie" felt that such
an offensive, one that involved ground attacks on major military complexes,
would be completely unexpected. He was right but he completely
underestimated the retaliatory firepower of the allied forces, and most of
all, the devastating assaults of the armed helicopter.
Approximately 1600 hours, 30 January, Lt. Col. Robert M. Deets'
secretary reported to the 145th Battalion Operations Office that her home
was taken over by the Viet Cong and was to be used for the operational
headquarters within the city of Bien Hoa.
While a silent Bien Hoa Air Base slept, Colonel Nick Psaki and LTC
Deets set up their Operational Plan Charlie - Charlie, knowing the enemy
forces would unleash a devastating attack. Beginning at 3 O'clock in the
morning of 31 January 1968, they launched their surprisingly
well-coordinated assaults at major installations throughout the
countryside. The assaults came within minutes of each other. Throughout
Vietnam, Americans awakened to a new phase in the war. The Bien Hoa Air
Base received approximately 150 rounds of enemy rocket and mortar fire.
Almost simultaneously the Viet Cong ground forces made their move to
overrun the base. Formed into four companies of 52 men each, his soldiers
penetrated the perimeter between bunkers in the 101st Airborne Division
cantonment area and the III Corps Headquarters, gradually making their way
to the approach end of runway 27. It was there they were met by the
gunships led by Captain Kenneth Rubin, 334th Gunship Company, assigned by
the Command and Control of Checkmate Charlie-Charlie.
Captain Rubin and his "Firefly" team had just returned from a mission
near Duc Hoa when they were told to engage the enemy on the east side of
the airbase. They spotted the Viet Cong off the eastern end of the runway
and awaited clearance to fire. An emergency standby fire team from the
118th Assault Helicopter Company was soon airborne and on station. Captain
Rubin was then given permission to engage the enemy. After approximately 30
minutes his team needed to refuel and the mission was given to the 118th
Gunship Team. Captain Rubin and his Australian Co-pilot were both wounded
and their helicopter shot-up so bad it was rendered non-flyable. Captain
Rubin was given another helicopter and then formed another "Firefly Team"
and later returned for further action. Lt. Col. Anderson and Major Jarrett
requested and were given permission to insert their Cobra "NETT" Team into
the action. Their flying was outstanding and was a major factor in winning
the Battle of Bien Hoa. Contact with the Viet Cong lasted until late in the
morning. By that time almost every helicopter fire team in the battalion
had participated in the effort to destroy the firmly emplaced enemy in this
action.
All night long personnel had received sporadic small arms fire from
the water tower near the entrance to the air base. The 12th Combat Aviation
Group Commander, Colonel Nick Psaki and elements of the 68th Combat
Aviation Company, personally eliminated the enemy while men on the ground
observed the battle only 100 meters away. By noon the tower was under
control and the enemy guerillas were dead, but they were hard to beat in
their well-fortified positions.
III Corps Headquarters, adjacent to the air base came under mortar
attack at 0545 hours. By 0700 hours the VC had begun to move from his
vulnerable position off the end of the runway to the buildings across the
street from the headquarters. The occupants of the compound received
automatic weapons and RPG rocket fire from the new enemy emplacements.
Gunships and armored vehicles from the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment
engaged the enemy forces in house to house fighting and drove them from
their positions. The Viet Cong casualties were extremely heavy during this
encounter.
Elements of the 145th Combat Aviation Battalion supported other
hard-hit installations during the widespread Tet Truce Offensive. At the
same time Bien Hoa Air Base received its first incoming rounds, the nearby
Long Binh Complex, Headquarters 11 Field Force, received rocket mortar
fire. Elements of the 274th and 275th Viet Cong Regiments launched a heavy
ground attack around that area. Twenty-four hours earlier the most
elaborate military headquarters in Vietnam had enjoyed an uneventful duty
day, but suddenly it was fighting for its life. Attacking from across
highway 1A from Khu Gia Vien Village, commonly known as "windows village,"
the heavily armed enemy assaulted the defensive perimeter. The "Mustang"
fire teams from the 68th Assault Helicopter Company, and "Striker" AH-1G
"Cobra" helicopters from the NETT Team proceeded immediately to the area to
give fire support to the embattled friendly forces. Continuous air assaults
were provided by these ships to repel the enemy attacks. It was later
learned that beneath "Widows Village", "Charlie" had built an elaborate
tunnel complex, complete with ammunition and supplies, making himself well
prepared for an assault on the 12th CAG and the Long Binh complex.
The Viet Cong also launched a major effort in the Saigon-Cholon area.
The "Bandits", gunships of the 118th Assault Helicopter Company launched
combat assaults against Viet Cong firmly emplaced in the Phu Tho Race
Track. Elements of the 68th Assault Helicopter Company were in heavy
contact with enemy forces occupying the Cholon district of Saigon. Cobra
aircraft from the 334th Armed Helicopter Company and Cobra NETT Team were
also dispatched to Saigon to add their devastating firepower on the enemy.
Helicopters of the 190th Assault Helicopter Company were called upon to
evacuate the besieged defenders of the American Embassy, who were hard hit
by the daring enemy.
Since the American New Year, there had been strong indications the
enemy was planning such a major offensive. Since January 20th United
States military along with our own Vietnamese intelligence sources had
suspected the enemy's intentions. The 274th and 275th Viet Cong Regiments
were located as far north as Bu Dop in early January. Their north to south
cross-country movement placed them in the vicinity of the Dong Nai River by
the end of the month. The 68th Regiment of the 9th Viet Cong Division moved
from a position near Tay Ninh in early January to Bien Hoa in time for the
attack on January 31. As early as the 2nd of December, a warning order had
been given to the residents of Bien Hoa City that they had better stop
cooperating with the U.S. Forces or face annihilation. At seven o'clock in
the evening of 30 January 1968, seven Viet Cong rode by the main gate of
the 145th Combat Aviation Battalion and shouted, "Yankee--tonight you die".
These VC were armed with pistols, automatic weapons, and one grenade
launcher.
Minutes before the first rocket round impacted on the air base the
enemy forces had penetrated the perimeter and were poised for the attack.
The attacks of the Viet Cong caught almost everyone by surprise except
Colonel Psaki and Lt. Col. Deets. Those who were accustomed to the
unimpeded everyday routine of "rear area" living suddenly found themselves
thrust into action against a determined enemy force. In place of an
uneventful night's rest, the American and Allied Force on the air base were
shaken from their beds by the blinding flash and deafening explosion of
impacting Chinese Communist 122mm rockets. Suddenly the Bien Hoa Air Base
wasn't secure as it was thought to be. Immediately following the initial
rocket attack the sky was lined with tracers and one was faced with the
stark realization that this was no ordinary mortar attack. The action
seemed painfully close, and immediate reaction to the harrowing enemy
threat was paramount. Crew Chiefs quickly readied their aircraft for
action. Maintenance personnel prepared themselves to keep all aircraft
flyable. Aircraft commanders gave last minute briefings to their crews and
were soon airborne in an all-out effort to repulse the Communist intruders.
In order to continue to give the ground commander the maximum effort he had
learned to expect from the 145th, all personnel worked longer hours under
more strenuous conditions; "Charlies" presence was keenly felt. Maintenance
personnel worked virtually around the clock in order to put damaged
aircraft back in flying conditions. Ground crews refueled and reloaded
their helicopters in record time. Company clerks and cooks learned how to
be door gunners, and basic infantry training was put to use. For the first
time in many months there was no mail, it was backlogged in Ton Son Nhut
Air Base or stacked up in San Francisco. Everybody became accustomed to "C"
rations, and meals in the mess halls were few.
The effort put forth by the members of the 145th Combat Aviation
Battalion resulted in the successful defense Bien Hoa, while Air Force
fighter aircraft were initially forced to remain on the ground, Army
helicopters were quickly aloft and defending the perimeter of the air base.
The men of the 145th Combat Aviation Battalion kept the enemy in place
until the job was done.

Operational Data
145th CAB
31 January 1968 to 29 February 1968
Passengers Transported . . . . . . . . . . .24,069
Sorties Flown . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14,673
Tons of Cargo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7,199
Hours Flown . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13,380
Passengers Medevac . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 201
Confirmed Viet Soldiers Killed . . . . . . . . 407
Estimated Viet Soldiers Killed . . . . . . . . 513
Structures Destroyed . . . . . . . . . . . . . 676
Structures Damaged . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 168
Sampans Destroyed . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70

By the 1st of May 1968 things had just about gotten back to normal in
Vietnam. The 145th C.A.B. had the units of HHC, 68th, 118th, 135th, 190th,
and the 334th assigned to it at the time.
On 1 July 1968 LTC Robert M. Deets turned over command of the 145th
CAB to LTC Gerald L Waldron. Under LTC Waldron's command the Meritorious
Unit Commendation was awarded to the 190th AHC for the period 9 August 1967
to 27 July 1968.
On the 24th of December 1968, LTC Carl H McNair, Jr assumed command of
the 145th CAB, taking over for LTC Gerald L Waldron.
This is from the first edition of the 145th Combat Aviation Battalion
Monthly News (dated 10 February 1969). The purpose of the "News" is to
establish a battalion informed on "What's Happening" at the local level.
FROM THE TIGER'S DEN
The 68th "Top Tigers" recently initiated a new program within their
company. The program is designed to honor members of the unit who perform
their normal duties in an outstanding manner. The program will consist of
having a Crewchief, Gunner, Mechanic, Driver and Soldier of the Month.
Individuals in the grade of E5 and below will be selected from each duty
section. The platoon leaders and platoon sergeants will determine those
individuals who performed their duties in an outstanding manner and who
displayed outstanding military appearance and bearing during the month. The
individuals who are selected will receive three days off from their duties
and will be presented a plaque with their name and award engraved on it.
Also the names of the individuals will be placed on the new "Top Tiger of
the Month" sign that has recently been constructed in front of the company
orderly room.
The "Top Tigers of the Month" for this month have already been
selected and they are: Soldier- Sp4 Oliver W Watson, Crewchief- Sp4 John E
Green, Gunner- Sp4 Patrick H Corder, Mechanic- Sp4 Robert D Marrs, Driver-
Sp4 Merle A Larson
FROM THE EAGLE'S NEST
The "Thunderbirds" of the 118th would like to take this opportunity to
introduce Major John A Britton, the new Thunderbird 6. Major Britton
completed his civilian education at Iowa State University in 1956 with a
B.S. in Industrial Administration, but his schooling did not stop there.
Since then he has been to a dozen Army schools and training programs, the
most unusual being the Deep Sea Survival School. It was at this school that
he was required to spend hours in a one man life raft, and was thrown out
and dragged by parachute harness from a speed boat. When Major Britton was
asked about the training, he said, "There was no final exam and everyone
was continually tested for a week - if you didn't drown you passed the
course"
Another interesting assignment Major Britton had was with the Army
International Olympic Rifle Team. In 1959, while participating with the
team, he won the National Championship in the International Smallbore Free
Rifle Shooting match at Camp Perry, Ohio.
Major Britton served one previous tour in RVN between 29 June 1963 and
29 April 1964. Upon his return from RVN, he held the positions of Battalion
Executive Officer for the 53rd Aviation Battalion and Company Commander of
the 1st Aviation Company. Thunderbird "6" then attended a Counterinsurgency
course for a year before his return to RVN, and he worked as Assistant G-1
at the 1st Aviation Brigade prior to arriving at the 118th.
The new Company Commander has many ratings and awards to his credit.
They include Ranger, Parachutist, and Army Aviator badges, plus two Army
Commendation Medals, a Distinguished Flying Cross, and the Vietnamese Cross
of Gallantry with Palm. Thunderbird "6" is also qualified in seven types of
aircraft, is both Fixed and Rotor Wing rated, and has a standard Instrument
ticket.
All the officers and men of the Thunderbirds welcome our new "6" and
hope his tour with us will be as successful as his past assignments.
FROM THE COLISEUM
The Gladiators of the 190th Assault Helicopter Company, 145th Combat
Aviation Battalion, have been selected to train two highly skilled
Vietnamese Aviators in the employment of the armed helicopter. The
Gladiators will be the first unit in Vietnam to introduce the Vietnamese
Air Force to the UH-1C gunship. This Gun Platoon has garnered an unrivaled
record of safety and achievement during their tactical assault operations.
The Gladiators appreciate this opportunity to forward their gunnery
techniques.
The two history making Vietnamese Air Force Aviators are CPT Buu Ngo
of the 217th Squadron, and 1Lt Vo Van Minh of the 211th Squadron, both from
the 74th Wing at Can Tho Air Base. Cpt Ngo has flown the UH-1A, B, D, H,
and a majority in the CH-34 for a collective total of 2000 hours. 1LT Minh
has flown the UH-1D and H models for 100 hours while collecting an amazing
2450 hours in a CH-34. A very adept, aviator with 2550 total flying hours,
he is also an Instructor Pilot in the CH-34. Their training was initiated
on 14 January and will continue for 30 days through 13 February 1969.
The Skipper of the Gladiators, 1LT Robert Goivannoni, reported that
his Aircraft Commanders will qualify both pilots in M-3, the M-5, and the
M-21 gunnery systems. Upon completion of their tour with the Gladiators,
they will return to their units to possess others with the invaluable
instruction.
FROM THE SNAKE PIT:
Charlie Cong is suffering from Excedrin Headache No. 334. In the last
ten days the Communists have lost over 94 men and 66 sampans to the blazing
guns of the Saber Company Cobras.
Eighteen miles southwest of Saigon and barely two miles from the vital
Ben Iuc bridge, the Raider Platoon made heavy contact with a VC force in a
staging area. When the smoke cleared, the VC had withdrawn leaving 41 of
their comrades behind.
A similar action took place Friday night just six miles northwest of
Bien Hoa on the Dong Nai River. Sixty communists were caught in the Firefly
spotlight and brought under intense fire. The enemy attempted to rally and
return the gunship fire, but lost 21 killed in the effort.
These incidents have seriously hampered the Communists attempt mass
men and material for assaults on key villages in their attempt to cut the
link between the capital and the rice-rich Mekong Delta.
WELL DONE
1LT Bryant, Johnny L., 334th Aerial Wpns Co- While flying over as
enemy position, 1LT Bryant's aircraft received ground fire with the
hydraulic and electrical systems being shot out. 1LT Bryant successfully
landed the aircraft with no further damage.
1LT FRIGA, George W., 118th Aslt Hel Co- While picking up to hover,
the 90 degree drive shaft to the tail rotor gear box failed. 1LT Friga
executed emergency procedures, landing the aircraft with light damage to
the skids.
SALUTE:
A well deserved salute is extended to the following individuals
with-in the Battalion who were decorated during the month of January for
their valorous actions and meritorious service.
BURNS, David A.-WO1-190TH-DFC, WEBSTER, Geoffrey-CPT-68TH-DFC, DAVIDTER,
John A.-SP4-68TH-DFC, WALKER, Wayne T.-WO1-118TH-BS, DAY, James
A.-SP4-190TH-AM "V", BROWN, Frank E.-SP4-190TH-AM "V", DENT, Rudolf
L.-SP4-190TH-AM "V", HALL, Charles E.-SP4-68TH-AM "V", MURPHY, Micheal
T.-WO1-68TH-AM "V", DAWKIMS, Glenn R.-SP4-68TH-AM "V", PRESTON, Thurman
R.-SP4-68TH-AM "V" OLC, WIESCHOWSKI, Ronald L.-SP4-190TH-AM "V", AIGLER,
Kenneth T. Jr-SP4-190TH-AM "V", CALIENDO, Stephen N-SP4-190TH-AM "V",
CHRISTY, Larry D-SP5-190TH-AM "V", KENNEDY, Terry B-PFC-68TH-AM "V",
YOUSEY, James L.-SP4-68TH-AM "V", DUNN, James D.-SP4-68TH-AM "V", NEGLIA,
Salvatore C.-1LT-190TH-AM "V", SMITH, Andrew H.-SP4-68TH-AM "V", BIRELY,
Richard E-CW2-118TH-AM "V", ALEXANDER, Nicholas B-WO1-118TH-AM "V", ALLEN,
Ronald T.-WO1-190TH-AM "V", FAIRFIELD, Kenneth R-SP4-118TH-AM "V",
STICKLEY, Dennis W-WO1-68TH-AM "V", JAMES, John W.-SP5-118TH-ACM "V",
KARVONEN, Robert E.-SSG-118TH-ACM "V", MYERS, David O.-SP4-68TH-ACM "V",
TAYLOR, Gerald E.-SP4-68TH-ACM "V", GURNSEY, Earl F.-SP4-118TH-ACM "V",
CUNNINGHAM, Robert J.-WO1-68TH-ACM, ZIEGLER, Russell W.-SP4-190TH-ACM,
WILLOUGHBY, Raymond-SP5-190TH-ACM, WILMS Robert H. Jr.-CW2-68TH-ACM

LTC John J Top assumed command of the 145th CAB on the 31st of May
1969, continuing the traditions passed on to him by LTC Carl H McNair and
all the other former Commanders of the 145th CAB.
LTC John J Top turned over command to LTC Jack Seliskar on the 23rd of
November 1969.
The 334th Aviation Company (Attack Helicopter), commanded by Maj. John
R. McQuestion, on April 29th, 1970, was the first Aviation Company to fly
into Cambodia, (officially). And just to keep the record straight, those of
us who were there know we flew into Cambodia years before that. The 334th
AHC mission was in support of the official 60 day, 20 mile clean out
operation into Cambodia in May and June 1970, that all units of the 145th
CAB participated in.
LTC Jack Seliskar turned over command of the 145th CAB on the 19th of
May 1970 to LTC Calvin G Dodd.
On 13 June 1970, 1Lt Scott R Alwin, 68th AHC, 145th CAB, was awarded
his 102nd through 108th Air Medal which set the record for the most Air
Medals held by an Army Aviator.
On the 15th August 1970, LTC William H Dillard assumed the command of
the 145th CAB from LTC Calvin G Dodd.
In September of 1970 the 190th AHC entered into joint training with
the South Vietnamese Air Force.
LTC Richard D Kenyon took over for LTC William H Dillard on 1 December
1970. The 190th Avn Co left Vietnam on the 10th of December 1970.
In February 1971 the 68th Avn Co (AHC) entered into joint training
with the South Vietnamese Air Force. And on the 1st of April 1971 the 68th
AHC left Vietnam.
In April of 1971 the 242d Avn Co (ASHC) joined the 145th CAB. And in
May of 1971 the 145th Combat Aviation Battalion was relocated to Long Binh.
Command of the 145th CAB was turned over to LTC William J Lumpkins on
the 19th of July 1971 by LTC Richard D Kenyon. Also in July of 1971 the 25th Avn Co and the 213th Avn Co joined the 145th CAB. The 334th Avn Co (Armed Escort) was transferred to the 12th Combat Aviation Group in July
1971.
On the 31st of August 1971 the 118th Avn Co (AHC) left Vietnam.
On 1 October 1971 the 242d Avn Co departed Vietnam.
The 117th Avn Co (AHC) joined the 145th CAB for the third time in December 1971. And on the 26th of March 1972 the 117th AHC and the 25th Avn Co (CAC) left Vietnam.
On 31 March 1972 the 213th Avn Co was deactivated.
LTC William J Lumpkins turned over command of the 145th Combat Aviation Battalion to LTC Neal C Petree on the 1st of April 1972. On the 2nd of April 1972 the 145th Combat Aviation Battalion left Vietnam.

At the curent time I have very little information on the 145th C.A.B. after it left Vietnam. I beleive it was stationed at Hunter Army Airfield, Georgia until 30 Sept 1982 when deactivated. And then reactivated at Fort Rucker, Alabama as the 1st Bn., 145th Aviation Regiment on 20 November 1987. Here is a list of 145th C.A.B. commanders after it left Vietnam:

LTC Earnest W. Rhyan, Jr. 3 June 1972 - 19 Dec 1972

LTC Lawrence A. Bell 15 May 1973 - 29 May 1974
LTC Duane C. Ingram 30 May 1974 - 26 Nov 1975
LTC Paul J. Wenzel 26 Nov 1975 - 7 June 1977
LTC Harold E. Culley 8 June 1977 - 8 Jan 1976
LTC Phillip W. Gaskins 9 Jan 1979 - 25 June 1981
LTC John M. Kilkenny 26 Jun 1981 - 30 Sep 1982

Reactivated as 1st Battalion, 145th Aviation Regiment 20 November 1987

LTC Michael S. Byington 20 Nov 1987 - July 1989
LTC James Diamond July 1989 - July 1991

 

Battalion History

 

 

11 December 1961 To 2 April 1972

 

 

During 1961 a general survey of the situation throughout Vietnam was
made by General Maxwell Taylor, President Kennedy's military advisor. One
item which he emphasized in his report was the lack of mobility of the ARVN
troops.
To correct the situation, orders were sent to the 8th and 57th
Transportation Companies (Light Helicopter) in the Fall of 1961 to deploy
to Vietnam. Both units were equipped with Piasecki 21 Shawnee helicopters
(Flying Banana).
Early November found the officers and men of the 8th and 57th
Transportation Companies starting to think about Thanksgiving and Christmas
leaves. Little did they realize that Thanksgiving would be spent on the
Pacific Ocean and Christmas would be a sacred moment or two in South
Vietnam, crammed between maintenance and missions. When the flag went up
and the order to move was received, the procedures were old hat.
Inspections, checks, allotments etc., were more or less routine.
In four days, one hundred percent of all TO&E aircraft were flyable
and ready to depart. At 1000 hours, 6 November 1961, twenty H-21's from the
57th Trans Co. departed Gray Field, Fort Lewis, Washington for Stockton,
California. At 1900 hours, 8 November 1961, twenty Helicopters arrived at
Stockton, California without incident. This included a night flight over
the Sierra Mountains, reaching an altitude of 10,500 feet.
On 21 November 1961, the units of the 8th and 57th departed for
"destination unknown" aboard the USNS Core. Twenty-one days later, crowds
gathered to observe the Banana Helicopters docked at Saigon, Vietnam.
Hundreds and hundreds of people gazed with admiration at the big
helicopters with U.S. Army boldly written across the side. As rapidly as
possible the cacoons were removed, engines pre-oiled and the crowds waited
expectantly as the first helicopter prepared for flight. Smoke blew out of
the exhaust as the engine roared into action. Slowly the blades started to
turn. Faster and faster until the pilot made all of his flight checks. Then
with a powerful lurch, the first United States Army Cargo Helicopter to fly
in South Vietnam, lifted off the deck of the carrier USNS CORE and sped
down the Mekong River to the Saigon International Airport. Another first
for the 57th Transportation Company. One by one the H-21's moved noisily
off the carrier to their new home in a strange and unfamiliar land.
The units arrived on the USNS Core on 11 December 1961, 12 days later
the units carried out the first airmobile action of the Vietnam War. The
22nd of December 1961 will be long remembered by the men who served with
the 8th and 57th Trans Companies on that day. Operating jointly, members of
the 8th and 57th Transportation Company (Light Helicopter), a training
exercise was conducted north of the city of Saigon. Everyone knew that this
was a rehearsal for the real thing that was to follow. Thirty H-21
helicopters loaded to maximum capacity with crack Vietnamese paratroopers
raced across the docile countryside. Take-off, check points, release points
and the landing area were hit with exact timing indicating the degree of
professionalism and training that these two units possessed. The training
exercise was completed successfully in every detail and we know that we
were ready for the "big one ".
The first combat assault in Vietnam, on 23 December 1961, was
conducted in pineapple fields about 10 miles east of Saigon and just south
of the village of Duc Hoa with 30 aircraft from both the 8th and 57th
Transportation Companies participating. At dawn on the morning of 23
December 1961, the pilots examined their aircraft with unusual
thoroughness. Each item on the pre-flight check list was carefully
scrutinized. Simultaneously the Vietnamese paratroopers quietly and orderly
broke themselves into chalk loads and assembled around the helicopter that
was to make history for them. Slowly the time passed. One hour, two, then
three. The pilots laughed nervously as intelligence patiently tried to get
a fix on the radio that we were after. Then the word came. Go! With the
57th Transportation Company leading into a small page in history, thirty
helicopters formed in echelons right and left, gaining speed as they left
the Saigon Airport behind. On time, and on target, the helicopters flared
for a landing into and almost impossible zone. Perpendicular rows of
pineapple fields deep in mud and water. If ever pilot training and
technique paid dividends, this was the day. Small arms fire broke out
immediately and several of the aircraft were under fire as they departed
the area to return for additional troops and reinforcements. All the
aircrafts departed this area but one. As the pilots looked back they could
see the cloud of black smoke and orange flames reaching for the sky and
there was little doubt as to what had happened. Another, but undesirable
first for the 57th Transportation Company. The first aircraft to be lost to
insurgent activity while on an operational mission. Operation Chopper was a
great success.
On the 24th of December 1961, Specialist Fourth Class George F.
Fryett, was reported kidnaped by the insurgent Viet Cong. The 57th
Transportation Company and the 8th Transportation Company were jointly
alerted to prepare to mass a large number of troops as soon as the location
of this American soldier was determined. Frantic preparations were made to
continue making ready the H-21's for this most important mission. That word
wouldn't come untill June 1962.
On 2 January 1962, the word was received and for the first time, a
large number of troops were delivered into an otherwise inaccessible area.
One thousand and thirty six troops were flown into a hole in the jungle.
This landing zone was no more than 300 yards by 150 yards. The ground was
soft and the zone was further confined by isolated trees and brush growing
at random. Tall, towering jungle trees ridged the area and the Viet Cong
roamed at will throughout this dense foliaged area. Without incident, this
mission was performed to the amazement of the Vietnamese staff and
commanders who were now grasping the importance of helicopter in their
operations and the complete freedom and flexibility it would give them in
future actions.
The one problem which arose was with their limited range the units
could only be used in the countryside around Tan Son Nhut Airbase. To help
the situation the 93rd Transportation Company arrived in Vietnam the 26th
of January 1962 in the Da Nang area.
On 15 December 1961, the 93rd Transportation Company departed from
Quonset Point, Rhode Island, aboard the U.S.S Carr for their long voyage
from their deep rooted homes at Fort Devens, Massachusetts, to a new
challenge in the Republic of South Viet Nam. After arriving at Subic Bay,
Phillippines Islands, the company transferred their men and equipment
aboard the U.S.S Princeton and continued to Da Nang, Viet Nam, arriving on
25 January 1962. On 1 February 1962, only six days later, the 93rd
Transportation Company was operational and began their dangerous flying
mission in Viet Nam.
The 93rd Transportation Company readily accepted their new challenging
tactical mission of providing air transportation for combat troops of the
Republic of South Viet Nam to expedite the tactical operations and
logistical support in the forward areas of the combat zones. This also
includes transportation of troops, equipment and supplies into inaccessible
areas and evacuation of combat casualities.
Even with the third company the airmobile assets were still spread
thin and all three units experienced a serious shortage of spare parts. To
provide a utility supply network for the H-21s the 18th Aviation Company
equipped with U-1A Otter aircraft arrived in Vietnam 7 February 1962. The
339th Transportation Company arrived with the 18th AVN CO to provide
aviation and maintenance support to all aviation type units in Vietnam at
the time.
The 57th Medical Detachment (Helicopter Ambulance) arrived in February
1962 with the first "Hueys" in Vietnam. These new units were the beginning
of a greatly increased aid program aimed at improving the capability of the
South Vietnamese to fight the growing guerrilla force.
A one time priority of training became the goal for the 57th Trans Co.
Helicopters departed regularly to train the Infantryman on the minimum
procedures he must grasp prior to being sent on an assault mission. In
three months, the 57th Transportation Company adequately trained 26,364
men. We now had the flexibility to move anywhere in the Mekong Delta Area
and displace trained troops. At first awed by the helicopters, the
Vietnamese soldier soon came to look forward to an assault by the
helicopter. Slowly, the local commanders began to employ the helicopters
more and more in less stereotyped missions. New ideas were sought and in
every case the pilots of the 57th Transportation Company carried them out
to the letter. An entire new concept in thinking and maneuver against the
insurgent forces made the helicopter the most desired tool in their
inventory. The ratio of men employed, to Viet Cong destroyed, clearly
demonstrated the soundness of helicopter vertical envelopment.
With the arrival of the United States Marine Squadron came and even
greater lift capability. Instead of fifteen choppers, we could now employ
thirty or more. The men of the 57th Transportation Company eagerly greeted
the Marines and passed on to them the experience that they had gained
during the many assault missions they had flown.
The CH-21 Army helicopters rapidly became "the pack horses of the Viet
Namese mountains, jungles and rice paddies" flying dangerous supply routes
that a few months earlier took land parties week to negotiate. Soon the
helicopters crews of the 93rd were much at home shuffling equipment across
the mountains. Loads varied from howitzers attached to slings riding below
the ships to disassembled parts of two bull dozers which were flown to a
U.S. Army Special Forces outpost to build an airstrip.
On 22 April 1962, another first was recorded for the 57th
Transportation Company. A massive mission of thirty helicopters, lifting
1,104 troops, flown jointly by United States Marines and United States Army
Helicopter pilots descended upon a little known area in an effort to
suppress those who wish to overthrow the government. With minimum planning
and liaison, the mission was performed in training-film style. Each unit
moving directly to the appointed place at the appointed time with split
second timing.
Specialist Forth Class George F Fryett of the 57th Trans Co was
released by the insurgent Viet Cong forces on June 23, 1962, after being
held captive since the 24th of December 1961.
On 27 June 1962, General Hightower selected the 93rd Transportation
Company and attached units as the most outstanding company visited in the
Republic of South Viet Nam. General Hightower visited a majority of the
organizations in Viet Nam but chose an aviation unit, the 93rd
Transportation Company as the most outstanding.
To provide better command of the helicopter and fixed wing units the
45th Transportation Battalion was deployed from Fort Sill, OK. On 1 July
1962 the 45th Trans Bn. arrived in Vietnam.
On the 19th of July 1962, a triple threat was passed against the Viet
Cong. On this day, for the first time, forty helicopters deposited their
troops in an area south west of Ben Cat. These choppers were flown by the
57th Transportation Company, United States Marines, and Vietnamese Air
Force pilots. Four hundred and eighty soldiers were massed adjacent to a
suspected Viet Cong strong point. Landed in flooded rice paddies with mud
and water up to the waist and chests of the debarking men. A feat deemed
impossible just a few short months ago.
As of the 24th of July 1962 the 57th Trans Co has flown 4,583 hours in
support of the Vietnamese forces. A grand total of 133,464 ton miles of
cargo have been flown to assist this nation in its struggle for
independence and freedom form the Viet Cong. 51,358 troops have been
transported by helicopter to insure the eventual defeat of the insurgents.
On 2 August 1962, the 93rd Transportation Company conducted the first
large scale heliborne operation ever conducted in the I Corps Tactical Zone
which consisted of a two company raid on the Viet Cong 5th Region
Headquarters in th Do XA area. The participation of the 93rd Transportation
Company permitted the rapid capture of the Viet Cong radio station and
caused heavy casualties to be inflected upon the enemy.
On 30 August 1962, the 93rd Transportation Company participated in
Operation "Lam Son II" another air-mobile combat assault against a
hard-core Viet Cong Battalion deep in the jungles of Quang Ngai Province,
complimented by 10 CH-34 helicopters of the 1st Helicopter Squadron VNAF, a
heavy ground fog covered the landing zone preventing the first lift until
two hours after the pre-strike, instead of immediately after the strike as
planned. Despite encountering heavy fire from the alerted and prepared Viet
Cong the loss of two CH-21 helicopters to enemy ground fire and the
wounding of four crew members, the 93rd Transportation Company successfully
completed two air lifts into the heavily enemy infested landing zone. Of
the twelve helicopters from the 93rd Transportation Company, nine were hit
and damaged by enemy fire and two shot down. Six persons were killed and
five wounded in helicopters during "Lam Son II". All objectives were taken,
40 Viet Cong guerrillas were killed, six prisoners were taken, many enemy
supplies including an ammunition dump were destroyed and valuable
intelligence documents were seized. The psychological effect of this
successful raid deep within enemy held territory was immeasurable.
On 12 September 1962, the advance party departed Da Nang on a
classified mission to relocate the 93rd Transportation Company.
33rd and 81st Trans. Co. arrived in Vietnam on 17 September 1962. With
the arrival of the last two Companies the Battalion was complete, the first
of its kind in Vietnam.
On 19 September 1962 the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing of Soc Trang and the
93rd Transportation Company of Da Nang exchanged locations, the 93rd saying
farewell to the mountains and jungle thus moving to their present location
at Soc Trang Airfield in the flat Mekong River Delta. Air lifting the
company to Soc Trang required transportating 47 loads; 855,299 pounds of
cargo; 196,142.2 cargo-ton miles; 53,068 passenger miles and 96 hours of
flight time. On 23 September 1962, the first operational mission in the
Delta area was flown.
With the arrival of the Utility Tactical Transport Helicopter Company
on 3 October 1962 a whole new concept in airmobility was born. The UTT was
equipped with 15 UH-1A "Huey" Gunships, originally designated "Test
Escort". In November 1962 the UTT was reinforced with 11 new UH-1B model
Huey, the B models were greatly improved. Thus was born the first Combat
Aviation Battalion in Vietnam (and the world I believe) although it
wouldn't be designated as such until September 1963.
Here is a letter from Al Comptom who served with the UTT as a crew
chief when they arrived:
Dear James, With the data I have collected I am sending you some more
information on the old UTT.
I arrived on Okinawa SO 209, 28 July, 1961. The Company was located
on a high hill overlooking the China Sea. The area was known as Sukiran.
The airfield was located right next to the sea and known as Hamby Army
Airfield. I was originally assigned to the 25th Trans Det, the support
maintenance unit, but was assigned to the UTT on SO 208 11 Oct, 1961. I
was assigned to the 3rd platoon and SFC Francis "Smitty" Smith was my
Platoon Sgt. I believe we had 5 UH-lA models in our platoon. They were
all like new 1959 models. We had an old Papa-san who did nothing but
walk the line and wax them. They were beautiful. The finish was like
glass. I was made crew chief around Dec, 1961 and my ship no. was
59-1659. I named her the "Virginia Creeper". The CO was Maj Robert L.
Runkle. Capt. Ivan Slavich was the Exec Off. Duty on Okinawa was good.
We flew missions to outlying islands and sometimes just tooled around
the main island. As crew chief I always flew co-pilot position. It was
not unusual for the chiefs to get in as much "stick time" as the pilots.
Sometime near the end of 1962 an uneasy feeling came over me as our
basic missions began to change. I had heard little of Vietnam. We began
altering and modifying the ships. Suddenly looks didn't mean as much as
they did before. Electricians were all over us making up wiring
harnesses and such. Then they brought on 30 cal machine guns. The old
air cooled type I had used in the 50's in Korea. These were mounted one
on each skid. Then came the tubes for the 2.75 rockets. One on each side
of the fuselage. By this time rumors were flying. Then came a briefing
and the rumors were confirmed. We were going to Nam as the first attack
helicopter formed in the Army. We trained and trained. We lived on the
firing range trying to get the bugs out. It was a real home made set up.
30 cal ammo for the guns was laid out in rows on the floor of the ship
and hand fed through a chute through the floor to the guns. It took 2
people, one on each side to accomplish this. Hence the door gunner was
born. He would assist the crew chief in his duties. This ammo on the
floor thing was terrible. Later on we devised a box to hold it. It had a
divider in the center so each half fed one gun. The ammo would still
overfeed so we installed a weighted bar to ride on top of it and help
control the feed. Then problems with the guns jamming. Once we lifted
off, the weight was so that the skids rode too low for us to reach the
guns to clear. So we installed a long arm to the bolt mech. Now we could
reach out and unjam them. Trouble was, the static electricity when we
grabbed the handle was eating us up. So we taped foam rubber to them and
it worked. The rockets worked pretty well once we got all the electrical
bugs out. Only thing was, the pilot had to put a grease pencil mark on
the windshield in front of him for a cross hair. Whenever a different
pilot flew the ship he would have to re-locate the mark. In Sept we
loaded up, bag and baggage, onto Airforce C-123's and C130's at Kadena
airfield, and said goodby to our families not knowing when or if we
would see them again. A platoon had previously been sent to Thailand and
would join us at Tan Son Nhut. We set up in a tent city and squatted
over slit trenches. Our main mission was to support troop-carrying
H-21's. My platoon was soon sent to Soc Trang. In the mean-time the
company had set up in new Quarters with roofs and screened in walls. Tho
we still had to sleep with our mosquito nets to keep from being carried
away. Right after we first arrived our beautiful ships were flown over
to a do it yourself paint shop and everything was painted over except
the tail number, with drab rough texture OD paint. Capt Slavich made Maj
and took over the company on Nov 25,1962. He was a former Marine and a
combat vet of Korea. He acquired the nick-name "Drivin Ivan". He was
hell when he was well and he was never sick. Our first casualty was
Johnie Lee. I don't remember his rank. Spec 4 or 5 I believe SSGT. He
was killed by a round that penetrated the bottom of the ship. He was in
operations but always wanted to fly. On this particular day in the first
part of November, Spec 5 Donald Bunner, a crew chief, let Johnie take
his flight. Don always felt bad about this afterwards. The old A models
were good but we were flying them into the ground. The hours were
adding up on them faster than we could count. We encountered severe
cracking and just plain not enough power. On the same mission with
Johnie Lee was a young Capt named Joel R. Steine. He was flying pilot
and took a round through the windshield, instrument panel and hitting
him in the chest just over his heart. His co-pilot a MAAG Lt Col took
the controls while Capt Steine removed a 30 cal round from the pocket of
his flak jacket. He was only bruised. In late Nov. 1962 we started
receiving the newer more powerful B models. They were fitted with
factory made rocket pods and quad 7.62 machine guns. I traded in my old
A model and received no 878. We took our second casualty around Jan 2,
1963. Sgt William "Bill" Deal. His ship was shot down in a battle at Ap
Bac near Tam Hiep in the Delta area. Bill had been my door gunner until
the B models came in and he was given a ship of his own. He was a good
friend. A buddy. I'm sorry I never got to meet his family. He was from
Mays Landing, N.J.
The location on the wall for Johnie Lee is 1 E 14. For Bill Deal
it's 1 E 15. Tom Derosier went back to the States and to flight school.
I next saw him at the 7th Army Aviation Safety and Standardization Det.
in Germany. He was a 1st Lt but was promoted to Capt while there. I
later found he had returned as a pilot to Nam and was killed. E 23 27.
He was a real decent person. Very quiet and shy. The last I heard of
Col. Slavich he was living in Charlotte, N.C. I believe he was in real
estate a middle-management executive with McGuire Properties. He was a
hell of a guy!
Enclosed is a picture of me (the one with the flight helmet on!)
taken by Richard Tregaskis. From his book "Vietnam Diary". The main
thing about the picture is that the whole time these were taken, and the
time we spent in the ship bringing him in, he had a frag grenade taped
to the back of his leg! It wasn't found until after we had turned him
over for interrogation! They gave it to me but Tregaskis asked me if he
could have it so I gave it to him. I don't know if he ever had it
de-fused! Hope you'll be able to use this information I'm sending. It
has taken several days to get it all together. I seem to have forgotten
a lot of things that happened back then. I do remember our movie house
was named in honor of Johnie Lee. I remember a bronze plaque being
installed with his name on it. I wonder what ever happened to it? So
long for now. Al Compton
On 17 December 1962, orders were received assigning the 18th Aviation
Operating Detachment from Okinawa to Soc Trang per General Order 45, USASG,
effective 5 December 1962. The 18th A.O.D. has the mission of facilitating
all Army flight operations by providing flight information planning data,
coordination of day, night and instrument flights, navigational aids, and
Air traffic control for the aviation unit to whom it is attached. The 18th
A.O.D. is established with 39 Enlisted Men and 5 officers to provide it
services for handling a daily air traffic count of 50. At Soc Trang, the
18th A.O.D. normally handles as aircraft count of 103 daily.
In December the 93rd Transportation Company established another
mile-stone and record by flying 1,017.2 hours in a single month in the
Republic of South Viet Nam.
On 20 December 1962, during an airmobile assault with ARVN troops near
Tuy Hoa, CWO Charles Raymond Holloway of the 81st was killed in action.
Subsequently the base at Pleiku was officially named Camp Holloway.
Throughout 1963 the UTT would be used as a test unit for the Army to
determine the effectiveness of armed helicopters. It was demonstrated that
armed helicopters employing the tactics and techniques developed by the UTT
could provide adequate protection for airmobile operations against an
insurgent force similar to the Viet Cong. The new year also brought many
changes in types of missions. In addition to escorting transport
helicopters, now providing reconnaissance, convoy protection, and close
support for ARVN ground troops became major roles.
AP BAC - 2 January 1963, on 2 January 1963 the 93rd Transportation
Company started the new year on a tragic note. While supporting the 7th
Infantry ARVN Division from a staging area located at a small dirt strip at
Tan Hiep, the entire flight of the CH-21, U.S. Army helicopters from the
93rd Transportation Company was ambushed by an entrenched hard-core Viet
Cong reinforced Battalion on the fourth assault rifle lift committing the
reserve forces. In the final stage of the approach from contour level, heavy
machine gun and automatic rifle fire was received. Without regard for
personal safety, the ten helicopters proceeded past the armored personnel
carriers and the main advancing body to land their troops in the designated
landing zone. Not one helicopter aborted or failed to complete its mission
of getting the troops into the landing zone.
Although hit by ground fire the first four aircraft were able to make
successful take-offs from the area. The fifth aircraft, however, was shot
down due to heavy ground fire. The crew of the sixth helicopter
unhesitatingly diverted their take-off and attempted to pick up the crew of
the downed aircraft and were immediately shot down also. The landing zone
was untenable due to enemy fire which prevented further rescue attempts. The
remainder of the flight departed for the staging area although the second
aircraft had to make a force landing due to damage from the ground fire
received. The downed crews were left to fend for themselves in the rice
paddies ahead of the main attacking force, where they remained under enemy
fire for the next eight hours. One man was dead and five had been wounded by
enemy fire.
Upon return to the staging area, assessment of damage to the seven
remaining helicopters revealed only two were flyable. Approximately one hour
later information was received from ground troops in the area that firing
had subsided and evacuation of the downed crews could be made. The rescue
aircraft was landed despite sporadic ground fire and damage to the aircraft.
When the loading of the wounded and crews was attempted, the tempo of enemy
fire increased and a heavy volume of fire entered the cockpit wounding the
pilot. This forced the aircraft to make an immediate take-off leaving the
wounded and crews behind. The aircraft was flown out of the landing zone,
but 1/2 mile away a forced landing had to be made due to damage from enemy
fire. Meanwhile, at the staging area, two other helicopters had been rapidly
repaired from parts of other downed aircraft. For the remaining hours of the
afternoon, ammunition and medical evacuations were flown by these ships into
the first three landing zones.
Approximately eight hours from the time they were shot down, the crews
and their wounded were finally picked up by ARVN armored personnel carriers.
Then they had to ride for approximately two hours through attacks with the
armored personnel carriers until an area was reached where they could be
evacuated by helicopter.
At the days end, nine Americans had been wounded and one killed in
action, Sgt William L Deal of the UTT in support of the 93rd Trans Co. Of
the ten helicopters committed on the mission, all ten had been hit by enemy
fire, four had been shot down and only three helicopters were flyable to
return to the airfield.
On 2 January 1963, Sergeant William L Deal was the first UTT man to be
fatally wounded. It was realized that the effectiveness of helicopters
against prepared positions was limited.
On 3 and 4 January maintenance personnel from the 93rd Transportation
Company flew to the downed aircraft and with disregard for their personal
safety and only concern for their equipment and the ultimate recovery of the
downed aircraft, they went into the areas for two days under hostile fire,
remaining there to effect repairs.
The heroism, esprite-de-corps and comradish displayed throughout the
entire action upholds the common knowledge of the spirit the officers and
men to the 93rd Transportation Company have as being perhaps among the best
if not the best in the Army.
On 10 January 1963, the 93rd and the 57th Trans Companies suffered
another air tragedy when a CH-21 helicopter from the 57th Transportation
Company enroute from Soc Trang to Saigon crashed with three 93rd officers
riding as passengers. All seven persons aboard the aircraft were killed. The
three officers from the 93rd Transportation Company were Captain Donald B.
Toth, 1st Lt Lewis L. Stone and 1st Lt Charles M. Fitts.
On the brighter side in January the 93rd Trans Co received a playful 9
month Bengal tiger mascot named "Tuffy" from MAAG Laos. After his arrival,
Tuffy was showered with attention and affection from Privates to Generals,
Tuffy was good natured, playful and usually harmless. For many in the
company a scratch or scar from Tuffy was a treasured memory never to be
forgotten. Tuffy's diet was not that of a normal tiger. His favorite dishes
included weiners, steaks, meat balls, and spaghetti. In the cool of the
evening, Tuffy always took his daily swim in his own private swimming pool.
Thus with a playful Bengal tiger as company mascot, the members of the 93rd
Transportation Company soon became widely known as the Soc Trang Flying
Tigers.
In February 1963 one platoon of the UTT was deployed to support the
Marines in the mountainous region around Da Nang.
On 4 March 1963, Major Edward C. Seymour, the present commander,
assumed command of the 93rd Transportation Company relieving Major Paul E.
Ewing who was reassigned to the 45th Transportation Battalion at Ton Son
Nhut.
In March of 1963 the Army started replacing the H-21 Shawnee
helicopters (Flying Banana) with the new UH-1 Huey helicopters.
On 27 March 1963, the first Machine Gun Platoon, of 1 officer and 20
Enlisted men, arrived for 90 days TDY from the 25th Infantry Division in
Hawaii for duty as gunners on the CH-21 helicopters of the 93rd
Transportation Company.
In April 1963, planning and coordination between UTT and ARVN
commanders brought about the operation called "Eagle Flight". Because of
it's success, this type of operation was used extensively in the months
following. Before the first year of combat was completed, 41 Eagle Flight
had been conducted.
In early June 1963 armed helicopters were initiated into four other
companies, and the UTT armament section was requested to assist with
installation of the weapons and to train personnel.
The Army redesignated most of the units of the 45th Trans. Bn. on 25
June 1963. The 8th Trans. Co. was redesignated the 117th Aslt. Hel. Co.,
33rd Trans to 118th AHC, 81st to 119th AHC, 57th to the 120th AHC, and 93rd
redesignated 121st AHC, retaining their men, equipment, location and
history. The 118AHC with its UH-1B gunships (Bandits) became the first
Assault Helicopter Company in Vietnam. The Bandits were credited with 150
enemy kills in the first month.
Also in June, Tuffy, the Soc Trang tiger mascot weighing over 250
pounds and 15 months old, departed the 121st Aviation Company for the Teledo
Ohio Zoo. Tuffy no longer will have his own private pool but will also
suffer a reduction in rank from Number 1 Top Tiger of the 121st Aviation
Company to Number 6 Bengal Tiger of the Toledo Zoo.
In July 1963, the 121st Aviation Company was transferred from the 45th
Trans Bn to the Delta Avn Bn (Prov), and topped their previous record flying
time by having a busy flying month totaling 1,064 hours. Also in July the
119th AHC was transferred to the 52nd Avn Bn.
On 23 August 1963, the 121st Aviation Company again established another
record by having the largest Decorations and Awards Presentations Ceremony
in the history of Viet Nam by decorating forty-four (44) individuals (almost
1/4 of the company). Lieutenant Colonel Wayne N. Phillips , Commanding
Officer of the Delta Aviation Battalion and Major Edward C. Seymour,
Commander of the 121st Aviation Company presented on the date, three (3)
Distinguished Flying Cross, one (1) Bronze Star with Valor, thiry-seven (37)
Air medals and fifty-four (54) Oak Leaf Clusters to the Air medal, and 14
Purple hearts.
In August the 121st Aviation Company again topped the 1000 hour a month
mark by flying 1,019.1 hours.

145th Combat Aviation Battalion Begins

The 45th Transportation Battalion was redesignated the 145th Combat
Aviation Battalion on 24 September 1963 and brought to a close the 45th
Transportation Battalion and gave birth to the 145th Combat Aviation
Battalion. With the redesignation of the 45th a new chapter in aviation
history began. The second and last 45th Battalion Commander in Vietnam,
LTC. Kenneth D. Mertel, became the first Commander of the 145th Combat
Aviation Battalion and continued the "Old Warriors" proud history. The new
145th retained the slogan earned by the 45th, "First In Vietnam". The
slogan originally given to the 45th for being the first Aviation Battalion
in Vietnam would take on a new meaning in the 145th, the meaning of being
first and foremost in all aspects of airmobile tactics and equipment.
The 145th started it's history with the units of the UTT, 18th Avn,
117th AHC, 118th AHC, 120th AHC, 339th Trans, HHC 145th CAB, and elements
of the 57th MED DET., having lost the 119th AHC to the 52nd CAB and the
121st to Delta Avn. Bn.. I believe the 57th Med. Det. was assigned to and
supported by the 145th at this time. The units of the 145th continued their
mission of supporting the South Vietnamese Units and working out airmobile
tactics that would be the basis for all airmobile operations through out
the war.
LTC. Mertel turned over command of the 145th to LTC. Charles M.
Grandelli on the 29th of November 1963. After the riots and overthrow of
the Dien government in November 1963 the news media started to notice the
Vietnam War. Under the command of LTC. Grandelli the largest heliborne
assault operation ever executed to date by US Forces in support of ARVN
troops took place on the 17th and 18th of January 1964. LTC. Grandelli
carried on the very fine traditions of the 145th until the 30th of March
1964 when he turned over command to LTC. John C. Hughes.
Due to their efforts the 145th Battalion and Airlift Platoon, UTT,
118th AHC, and the 120th AHC was awarded the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry
for operations between 2 June 1964 to 12 June 1964.
21 July 1964 brought about another change of command when LTC. Hughes
turned over command to LTC. Robert K. Cunningham. Shortly there after in
August of 1964 the UTT was redesignated the 68th Aviation Company, this was
just a name change, the personnel, equipment, and mission remained the
same.
August 18, 1964 was the day the last CH-21C flew in Vietnam. CWO
Charles D. Holbrook from the 120th Aviation Company flew the last CH-21C
from Saigon to Vung Tau to be transported back to the United States on that
date.
In October 1964 the 18th Aviation Company (Fixed Wing) was transferred
to the 14th Combat Aviation Battalion.
Shortly after midnight on 1 November 1964, Viet Cong staged a mortar
attack on Bien Hoa Air Base. Four men were killed and 62 were wounded in
the enlisted compound. An estimated 30 rounds of 82mm mortar fire were
received. Troops of the 145th reacted with courage and determination as
standby fire teams were launched and defensive bunkers were manned. One of
the UH-1B's rescued a VNAF aviator whose A1-E had crashed in flames during
the attack, resulting in the battalion's first two Vietnamese Flying
Crosses with star.
In December of 1964, A Company, 501st Aviation Battalion was assigned
to the battalion and became operational very quickly due to an infusion and
training program conducted by the 118th Aviation Company.
Distinguished Unit Citation, 121st Avn Co: - Award of the
Distinguished Unit Citation by the President of the United States of
America to the following units of the Armed Forces of the United States is
confirmed in accordance with paragraph 194, AR 672-5-1. The text of the
citation as announced by President Lyndon B Johnson on 7 March 1966 reads
as follows: The 121st Aviation Company (Air Mobile Light) United States
Armed Forces, and attached units- 2nd Medical Dispensary (General), 80th
Transportation Detachment (Cargo Helicopter Field Maintenance), 82nd
Medical Detachment (Helicopter Ambulance), 134th Medical Detachment, 257th
Signal Detachment, Detachment 7, 30th Weather Squadron, United States Air
Force, 6th Airlift Platoon, and the 5th Gunner Detachment. By virtue of the
authority vested in me as President of the United States and as Commander
in Chief of the Armed Forces of the United States I have today awarded the
Distinguished Unit Citation to the 121st Aviation Company (Air Mobile
Light) United States Armed Forces, and attached units for extraordinary
heroism in the Republic of Vietnam. The 121st Aviation Company (Air Mobile
Light) and attached units distinguished themselves by extraordinary heroism
while engaged in military operations in the Republic of Vietnam on 5
December 1964. The members of this Company and the foregoing unit
demonstrated indomitablecourage and professional skill while providing
direct support for a Republic of Vietnam military ground operation in
territory know to be dominated by insurgents. Their outstanding
effectiveness resulted in the success of aerial troop lifts despite
exposure to intensive hostile gun fire, in the timely modification of
techniques which kept pace with the rapidly changing tactical situation,
and in the on-the-spot field maintenance for aircraft. Prompt medical
assistance was given to the combat soldier and a countless number of
friendly casualties were quickley evacuated from the battlefield. Through
their fortitude, perseverance, and gallant efforts, these brave officers
and men contributed in great measure to the progress of the
counterinsurgency effort conducted in the Republic of Vietnam. The devotion
to duty, outstanding achievements, and extraordinary heroism displayed by
the members of the 121st Aviation Company (Air Mobile Light) and the
participating units reflect great credit upon themselves and the Armed
Forces of the United States.
March of 1965 brought about many changes in the 145th. The 68th
Aviation Company, formerly the UTT, went through another name change, now
the 197th Aviation Company. The 74th Aviation Company (Fixed Wing) arrived
in Vietnam and was assigned to the 145th. With the addition of A Company /
501st Avn Bn and the 74th Avn Co the 145th was larger then ever before.
Here is a letter written to me by David Price about name and unit
patch changes of the UTT, 68th, 197th Armed Helicopter Company:
Dear Jim: I don't know who designed the UTT patch. The Company was
wearing it when I arrived in June 1964. However, I designed the 197th
patch. We had a contest in the company and I won. I have an article
from Stars & Stripes with a photo of me receiving the prize (a
Savings Bond) from our C.O. Maj Jim Jaggers. I think my design was
selected largely because we were sick of name changes and ripping off
one pocket patch and sewing on another. As you know we were UTT, then
68th Armed Hel Co, then 197th, same people, just bureaucratic Army
B.S. on what we should be called. We knew we were UTT! I could
probably find the article if your interested. Keep up the good work
Jim. I admire what you're doing. Dave Price

The first unit in Army Aviation to receive the Presidential Citation
for Vietnam service was awarded to the 197th Aviation Company (Armed
Helicopter) for their actions from 1 April 1965 to 3 April 1965.
Valorous Unit Award, 121st Avn Co and attached units: By direction of
the Secretary of the Army, under the provisions of paragraph 202.1, AR
672-5-1, the Valorous Unit Award is awarded to the 13th Avn Bn, assigned
and attached units (121st Avn Co. and Detachments) for extraordinary
heroism while engaged in military operation during the period of 4, 5, and
6 April 1965 in the vicinity of Vinh Binh, in Chuong Tien Province,
Republic of Vietnam, in direct support of the 21st ARVN Div.
In May of 1965 Company A/82nd Aviation Battalion arrived in Vietnam
and would soon become officially part of the 145th. As with many units that
arrived before and after this one, many of the personnel from other units
of the 145th and the new unit would be exchanged. The reason for this was
to bring experienced personnel to the new unit and to help break up the
DEROS dates. This also served to unite the units of the 145th into one
fighting unit.
On the 17th of May 1965 the 197th Aviation Company flew the first
"Lighting Bug", or more commonly know as "Firefly", mission. Here is the
complete story told by Marvin Myers, captain at the time:
According to the log that I kept on my activities, the first
"Lightning Bug" mission was flown on 17 May 1965. The device was
placed in the door of a slick and consisted of seven (I think that
was the number), of C-123 landing lights. This was the brainchild of
LTC Dick Thrower of USARV and he flew on most missions. I heard he
was later killed while working the system, after I had gone home.
Once we reached the target area the light was folded out and lit up
an area about the size of a football field.
Dick Jarrard was my co-pilot on the 17th and we flew out to the
Duc Hoa area to coordinate with ARVN on what we were going to be
doing that night. Four ships from the 3rd (Dragons) Platoon were
involved on the mission. Jarrard and I flew the low ship, and Jim
Reed (Dragon 33- Later killed in an accident at Fort Sill), flew as
leader of his Fire Team with Jan Bingen flying his wing. I don't have
a record of who flew the light ship with LTC Thrower in back aiming
the light.
At some point during the night, a Mohawk called up with
information that boats were on the canals. I believe he was using
SLAR. Anyway, we jumped in the ships and headed for Duc Hoa. Flying
just behind the beam, we were able to see well enough to fly at tree
top level. The concept was that we would acquire the target in the
low ship, push out a flare that would go off when it hit the ground,
and then Dragon 33 would engage it.
We did engage several folks that night, but on one run a round
apparently hit a flare and it went off in the aircraft. When we were
finally able to get it out of the aircraft, both Jarrard and I had
vertigo so bad we nearly crashed trying to figure out where we were.
This action took place between the battle of Song Be and the
Battle of Dong Xoi. Since the Dragons were the first guns on the
scene at Dong Xoi at around 3:00 A.M. (0300), I think the experience
we had with lightning Bug probably saved our lives.
The 197th Aviation Company also flew the first combat mission using
the M-5 40mm grenade launching system on 29 May 1965. Here is the report
from Cpt. Marvin Myers:
I fired the system with a Jim Anderson (Cpt-possible Ordinance
Corp) on 27 May 1965. The first combat mission was flown on 29 May
65, and I believe we were just north of Tan Uyen when we encountered
a squad of VC in the open (every gun ship drivers dream). The tail
number of the aircraft was 986 and we moved in for the kill. I began
to pump out 40mm and the VC were running for all they were worth.
Still , the rounds fell short. We moved in closer and closer and I'm
sure the VC couldn't believe they were still alive. Finally, we were
so close, an M-79 would have done as well. I recorded that we fired
some 300 rounds and right now, I doubt if we hit anyone. Later the
ship was equipped with rockets as well as the grenade launcher, but
it was not one of our favorite weapons, because of its limited range.
BATTLE OF DONG XOAI
At 0100 hours, 10 June 1965, the 118th Aviation Company (Air Mobile,
Light) was directed by the III Corps Tactical Operation Center to send its
standby fire team immediately to Dong Xoai. They were told that the Dong
Xoai Special Forces Camp had been under extreme heavy mortar and small arms
fire since midnight. The fire team approached the town at 0130 hours and
started making firing passes once they were in position over the town. They
were engaged by the Viet Cong as soon as they began firing and the tracers
from their guns kept the enemy gunners aware of their position. Without the
slightest hesitation, the two armed helicopters kept up a steady stream of
fire to silence the enemy guns surrounding the Special Forces compound. Not
until after they had expended all their ammunition, and the fire team
leaders helicopter was hit by ground fire and the pilot wounded, did the
two helicopters leave the battle area.
At the time that the light fire team was closing Bien Hoa, III Corps
had decided to reinforce Dong Xoai by helicopters at first light with
Vietnamese infantry. At 0430 hours, flight crews of the 118th Aviation
Company were on flight line preparing for the combat assault at day light.
The town of Dong Xoai is situated at the most important road junction
in the heart of War Zone D. The United States Special Forces has
established a fortified compound and numerous strong points at strategic
locations taking the entire area under their command. Many parts of the
fortifications were still under construction when the first mortar shells
awoke the defenders.
At 0600 hours, 10 June 1965, all flyable 118th Aviation Company
aircraft departed Bien Hoa for a combat assault on Dong Xoai. The morale of
the company was high. They had grown fond of the Special Forces over three
years in which the company has served in Viet Nam. Many members of the
Special Forces B Detachment at Dong Xoai were friends of the company.
Although the tactical situation was extremely confused at Dong Xoai and
only scattered intelligence as to the enemy's strength and positions had
reached III corps, the 118th was ready to do anything within their
capability to aid the garrison under attack.
Phuoc Vinh, the nearest fortified town to Dong Xoai, was the staging
area. Elements of the 1st Battalion 7th Regiment ARVN, were going to make
the first assault with the 118th Aviation Company. Due to the urgency of
the situation, there was little time to gather data on the enemy situation.
The landing zone for the first assault was an open field two miles north of
Dong Xoai and next to the road that led to the Thanh Loi Plantation. In
case more ground troops were needed, two more landing zones were chosen at
suitable strategic areas in the vicinity of Dong Xoai.
The formation of 118th helicopters begin to receive fire as they began
to descend east of Dong Xoai. On final approach into the first landing zone
more fire was received. The flight held suppressive fire as it was not
known at the time whether friendly troops were in the area. Seconds before
the flight touched down the lead helicopter reported what appeared to be
friendly civilians waving to them from the edge of the landing zone. The
flight leader at once gave the order to the crews to hold their fire
because they were friendly civilians in the area. As soon as the ships
landed and the troops started unloading the civilians dove into concealed
fox holes where they had their weapons hidden and immediately engaged the
helicopters. Due to the fact the whole flight of helicopters were low on
fuel and were able to become airborne and out of the range of small arms
very quickly, no major damage to the flight element resulted. However, with
the departure of the helicopters, the Viet Cong directed their fire on the
assault troops in the landing zone. The enemy had utilized the lack of
intelligence on the part of the allied forces to their best advantage at
the crucial moment by deceiving the heliborne force. Once the troops were
committed, they were ambushed. The Viet Cong, from their well prepared
positions, systematically cut down the lead elements of the 1st Battalion,
7th Regiment. Later when the battle was over, it was disclosed that the 1st
Battalion ceased to be a fighting unit twenty minutes after it was
committed into the Viet Cong trap.
When the 118th Aviation Company returned to Phuoc Vinh for more
soldiers and fuel, they were informed that the Viet Cong had anticipated
heliborne reinforcements for the surrounded Special Forces Camp were
employing strong units with heavy weapons and they intended to occupy Dong
Xoai. It was also disclosed that all the friendly troops had been forced to
reposition themselves inside the main compound that had the best defensive
capability.
When the 118th helicopters, loaded with soldiers of the remaining
elements of the 1st Battalion, 7th ARVN departed Phuoc Vinh they set their
organic armed helicopter platoon ahead of the flight to conduct a
reconnaissance of the intended landing zone. The armed fire teams made
repeated passes over the air strip at the Thanh Loi Plantation. They
carefully check the entire platation for traces of the enemy concentrations
but were able to find no evidence of the Viet Cong using the plantation to
stag attack on Dong Xoai. The fact that the enemy up until the battle of
Dong Xoai, had never used a plantation openly as a headquarters and staging
area caused the flight elements to hold their suppressive fire power again
as the helicopters approached to land.
As the 118th Aviation Company's formation of fourteen troop helicopter
approached the landing strip a heard of cattle appeared and moved up the
strip to the intended landing area. The lead helicopter made a decision to
land the troops short of the original intended area. The decision saved
many lives. No sooner had the skids of the first helicopter touched ground
when a tremendous explosion was seen and heard and felt. The enemy had
detonated a hugh claymore mine planted at the original landing area. The
explosion of the mine was a signal. Within seconds of the explosion,
reports of automatic weapons came from all members of the formation. The
soldiers and helicopters were caught in a hail storm of bullets and
exploding mortar rounds. The enemy fire was coming from everywhere. In the
well kept and beautiful plantation mansions they were firing from windows
and roofs. Among the rubber trees fire from concealed bunkers and fox
holes. At once, the armed escorts of the 118th Aviation Company charged in
and fired everything they had on both sides of the helicopters still
unloading their troops. At the same time the door gunners of the troops
carries were burning up the barrels of their machine guns to suppress the
enemy fire. It was only a few seconds since the formation of the
helicopters had landed, and yet it was already eternity for the helicopter
crews and the ARVN solders on the ground. Scores of the brave little
Vietnamese solders were falling in front of the eyes of the helicopter
crews as they watched them leap from the aircraft and fall as enemy bullets
slammed into their bodies. The helicopters were also receiving heavy damage
in those seconds on the ground. One of the troops carriers had a mortar
round explode right outside the cockpit causing it to roll over immediately
on its side. A split second later it exploded in a ball of fire. The entire
crew was killed. The remaining helicopters were taking off at this time.
All guns were firing, but the enemy fire was not decreasing in intensity.
From roof tops, windows doorways and trenches, enemy bullets ripped into
helicopters, When at last the whole formation was out of range of the enemy
weapons, only one helicopter reported negative damage.
The Viet Cong had planned the attack on Dong Xoai with superb care.
There was no question left in anyone's mind that further heliborne assaults
into available landing zones would mean annihilation to the majority of the
ground troops and at tremendous risk to the aviation elements. The 118th
Aviation Company commander, in temporary command of the entire Army
Aviation efforts in Dong Xoai at the time ordered the remaining elements
with troops aboard back to the staging area. The last helicopters to land
at Phou Vinh were two armed helicopters from the 118th. The fire team
remained over the battle area to act as radio communication relay and fire
support for the ground troops. The light fire team had expended ammunition
and had lost all communications with the ground assault elements. It was
not known at this time whether the Special Forces compound was still
holding out after almost 18 hours of continuous attack.
The 118th Aviation Company's flight surgeon in charge of the medical
aid station at Phuoc Vinh was at the communication center requesting Air
Force C/130 transports to evacuate over a hundred wounded ARVN soldiers
when a relayed radio came through from Dong Xoai. It was one of the
Americans in the Dong Xoai Special Forces compound. The message was tragic
and heroic. It said I am using my last battery for my radio and there is no
more ammunition; we are all wounded, some of the more serious wounded are
holding grenades with safety pins already pulled. The Viet Cong are
attacking in human waves. The last wave has been defeated but we are
expecting the next wave now.
The commander of the 118th, Maj Harvey E Stewart, who was present and
heard the radio message stood up and said "I am going in". With that he
went to the parked helicopters. Five other officers followed him and
enlisted crew members just climbed into their seats and waited for take
off.
Three Helicopters departed Phouc Vinh for Dong Xoai to evacuate the
brave solders who were holding out to the last grenades. When they were
about to close Dong Xoai, A message to all air units in the Dong Xoai area
came over the radio. Dong Xoai was declared to a free strike area and
everything that moved would be bombed and strafed. The three helicopters,
nevertheless, pressed on without hesitation. Such was the moral present in
the 118th Aviation Company. Had there been need for the entire company to
go to Dong Xoai, the company would have volunteered to the man.
The 118th Aviation Company's own organic helicopters again played a
vital role in the successful execution of the mission. The armed escort
contacted Air Force fighter bombers in the area and ask for their fire
support. While the Air Force made their bomb runs over the town the armed
escorts went in from the south with all guns firing. One quarter of a mile
south of Dong Xoai compound was a water crossing. The Viet Cong had
concealed in the area two French armored cars that were captured earlier in
the battle. The armed helicopters were able to discover these mobile
weapons platforms during their low reconnaissance by fire and engaged them
with rockets. Their accurate fire effectively rendered the armored cars
incapable of further combat. Had the .50 cal. machine guns on those armored
cars not been put out of action, they would have taken a serious toll of
the troop carriers as they approached Dong Xoai.
The three troop carriers now moved in from the south. They were fast
and low and their door gunners were firing at any trace of Viet Cong
activity in range. There was constant firing and marking of targets all
along the flight route into the soccer field at Dong Xoai. With complete
surprise they touched down in the soccer field outside the Special Forces
compound. Hastily, the Viet Cong organized an attack. The crews reported
enemy standing up on the compound walls and firing down at the helicopters
not more then fifty feet away. While the helicopters were being hit from
all directions and the door gunners firing at point targets at close range,
a crew chief leaped from the helicopter and exposed himself completely to
the enemy fire. He fired a full magazine from his M14 at the compound
entrance, then with disregard for his own safety, fought his way into the
compound and brought out the last defenders of the outpost. For this act of
valor the crew chief was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. There were
nine wounded Americans and eight Vietnamese that were rescued from Dong
Xoai that afternoon. They were the last survivors of the original defenders
of Dong Xoai.
At the debriefing held at Phuoc Vinh after the three helicopters had
returned, an interesting event came to everyone's attention. Within seconds
after the take off of the evacuation helicopters, the area where they had
landed exploded into mortar fire and it was raked with large caliber
machine gun fire in all quadrants. The fact that the helicopters were able
to successfully complete their mission can be attributed to the element of
surprise and the daring courage of the 118th helicopter crews. The Viet
Cong were evidently expecting a landing in the heart of Dong Xoai. The
extra seconds it took them to reposition their weapons to bear down upon
the helicopters that were making the evacuation allowed the successful
accomplishment of that daring mission. For their courage above and beyond
the call of duty, the three crews were decorated with one Distinguished
Service Cross, five Silver Stars, one Distinguished Flying Cross and five
Air Medals for heroism.
With the evacuation of the compound, the armed helicopters and Air
Force fighter bombers were free to make strike over the entire area. The
armed helicopters made strike after strike stopping only to rearm and
refuel. There was constant rain of fire from the sky in the whole area, was
the remark made by III Corps advisor in a 118th Aviation Company command
and control helicopter.
Late in the afternoon of 10 June 1965, the 52nd Ranger Battalion
arrived in Phuoc Vinh. Plans were immediately put into effect to take them
to Dong Xoai. Verbal orders were given to the aviation company commanders
while the crews made last minute checks on their helicopters prior to
becoming airborne. As the battalion-sized airmobile force neared Dong Xoai,
the final decision was to put the Rangers into the soccer field where the
successful evacuation was made a few hours before.
The 118th Aviation Company was again given the honor of leading the
combat assault. The flight route was the same as we used on the previous
evacuation mission. The helicopter slipped into the soccer field receiving
only scattered small arms as they landed. Once on the ground, however, the
Rangers were being shot down as they tried to move from the landing zone to
the compound and toward the center of town. The enemy, nevertheless, must
not have expected another daring assault that day and the air strikes must
have done their job well. The Viet Cong hastily prepared a defense around
the church in town which had become their forward command post. However,
resistance was slowly put to an end, the compound was secured, the town
reoccupied. Dong Xoai was under control of the allied forces once again
when darkness came that day. The success of the last assault must be
attributed to the high degree of mobility and flexibility of our fighting
force, and the determination and willingness of our flight crews in their
helicopters.
The 118th Aviation Company returned to Bien Hoa after the lift of 52nd
Ranger Battalion on 10 June 1965. The day of heavy fighting had caused the
loss of one entire helicopter crew and aircraft, plus almost every
helicopter having received bullet and shrapnel damage. Ten purple hearts
were awarded to members of the 118th Thunderbirds as a result of this
action.
During the night, more detailed intelligence of the enemy situation
was developed. The enemy had initially committed a full regiment of regular
troops with heavy supporting elements. Seven Viet Cong anti-aircraft gun
positions were destroyed by air in and around Dong Xoai. Hundreds of mortar
round from enemy mortars had destroyed practically every fortification in
the Special Forces Compound. But the devastation air strikes and
bombardments had caused the Viet Cong to suffer heavy losses. During the
day a second regiment with headquarters at the Thanh Loi Plantation had to
be committed for the attack on the compound. The Viet Cong used human wave
attacks on the compound was repeatedly beaten back before the defenders
were evacuated when their ammunition gave out. However, even though the
Viet Cong occupied all of Dong Xoai by late afternoon 10 June 1965, it was
not long before they were overwhelmed by the allied forces. The arrival of
the battle wise ARVN Ranger Battalion was enough to break all organized
resistance in the immediate vicinity of the town.
The next morning 11 June 1965 118th Aviation Company was back in full
strength at Phouc Vinh. There was to be a battalion sized combat assault
with the 118th as the lead element. One hundred paratroopers of the 7th
airborne Battalion ARVN were lifted by the 118th into the soccer at Dong
Xoai. Although fire was expected by the aviation units, the armed escorts
flew low to draw fire from the enemy prior to the arrival of the troops
carrying helicopters, no enemy fire was received. The assault was completed
with the arrival of the remaining elements of the airmobile battalion.
Large scale medical evacuation of ARVN casualties began immediately
after the air landing of the paratroopers on 11 June 1965. Hostilities were
coming to a halt in Dong Xoai except for isolated and rear guard action.
The wounded were brought to the soccer field and loaded on helicopters.
There were almost no medical facilities at Dong Xoai all the casualties
were taken to Phuoc Vinh where the 118th Aviation Company flight surgeon
had set up a clearing station. The doctor had been working for over forty
hours with little rest when the mass evacuation of wounded ARVN soldiers
began. Helicopters continued to bring to Phuoc Vinh seriously wounded and
the medical personnel were overwhelmed with the work. At one time there
were over two hundred wounded awaiting treatment at Phuoc Vinh. The medical
personnel worked diligently and many soldiers lives were saved.
On 12 June 1965, again staging from Phuoc Vinh, Republic of Vietnam,
the company lifted elements of the first battalion 48 Regiment ARVN. The
mission of the 1st Battalion was to reinforce the garrison already located
at Dong Xoai. The troop strength at Dong Xoai was approaching a thousand
and sufficient strength was present to secure the town.
Except for isolated snipers and enemy soldiers that were trapped in
the town itself, the maine body of the enemy had vanished. There was only
small units engagements on 12 June 1965. The 118th provided armed
helicopters support on a continuous basis to give fire support to the
ground forces. There was enemy fire but no casualties were sustained by the
flight crews. The armed helicopters also made an extensive reconnaissance
and search of the areas where the elements of the 1st Battalion 7th
Regiment were committed to battle on 10June 1965. They were unable to
detect any signs of the ARVN unit. The 118th thus prepared for an assault
on the following day.
Also other action on 12 June 1965 is outlined by WO Ralph Orlando
letter about a rescue attempt that day:
"On day 3, the 12th, I flew a slick with Major Harvey Stewart since
the Bandit ships were long gone upon my return from R&R. Much of
this day was spent in and around Dong Xoai in poor flying conditions
& with a stick buddy whose flying skills gave me some worry. I
witnessed from him what I thought was a man pulling half a train,
but in latter years I realized I witnessed bravery at it's finest
but did not recognize it. We got involved in a rescue attempt of an
Air Force F-100 pilot calling a May Day over Thanh Loi Plantation.
The pilot parachuted into the rubber trees & sent up a flare to mark
his position. The Major had me land into the closest open area about
200 meters from the smoke. The Major & Lt Scott, the doorgunner,
took off into the heavy canopy of the plantation. William Quatse,
the crewchief, & I were told to wait only a few minutes & then leave
for Phouc Vinh since our fuel was very low. Finally, after about 5
mins. we saw the Major & Lt running toward us. They dove onto the
helicopter floor & said to pull pitch. The shots coming at us told
me that was probably a great idea. Back at Phouc Vinh, the Major
informed me that the pilot was hanging in the trees, the area was
covered by V.C. & it looked like the pilot had been killed. Ralph
Orlando
After being in continuous operations for over 72 hours, the 118th
Aviation Company still provided the majority of the helicopters for the
assault on 13 June 1965. Despite the heavy casualties and excessive damage
to the helicopters, the morale of the company remained extremely high. Many
of the helicopters now carried volunteer gunners consisting of clerks and
cooks from the company.
The company went to Xuan Loc to pick up soldiers belonging to the ARVN
43 Regiment. A hundred soldiers were lifted into a landing zone a half mile
north of the original assault area conducted on the first day of the
operation. From the landing area, the soldiers were to move through the
jungle and rubber trees to search for the troops that had disappeared
shortly after they were landed. During the conduct of the assault,
scattered small arms fire was received from the enemy hiding in the vast
Thanh Loi Plantation. The company did not sustain any damage to the
helicopters, nor any casualties. The enemy in this assault, turned out to
be the weather which came to be a serious hazard to flight.
The lift of the 43 Regiment was conducted at night under minimum
lighting conditions. All during the daylight hours, fire teams searched for
the 7th Regiment soldiers. Finally the situation become too urgent not to
risk an air assault and ground search. The 118th was the only airmobile
company experienced in night assaults. The assault was accomplished
according to schedule. However due to the rapidly deteriorating weather on
the return flights, the pilots were unable to hold their formation and
helicopters were scattered all over "War Zone D". There was hidden
thunderstorms through out the area. Heavy rain reduced visibility to bare
minimum and winds gusting up to forty knots made any helicopter flying
extremely difficult. Only the high degree of training and professionalism
of the aviators prevented sure disaster and loss of crews and helicopters.
The flight returned to Bien Hoa individually with every helicopter
accounted for at 2330 hours. Many of the helicopters had but few minutes of
fuel remaining.
The Dong Xoai battle was to have a final chapter on 20 June 1965. On
that date the largest heliborne operation in the III Corps area was to
climax the closing of the battle. The 118th Aviation Company was again
chosen to lead the assault of seventy-seven troop carriers and forty armed
escorts. Staging for Hon Quan, the mission of the heliborne force was to
conduct combat assaults to the area north of Dong Xoai where reconnaissance
patrols and intelligence indicated a concentration of Viet Cong forces in a
rubber plantation it was believed that they were remnants of the two enemy
regiments that had attacked Dong Xoai. It appeared that the enemy was now
attempting to withdraw and break contact.
One thousand and eighty-nine paratroopers which were the entire 3rd
and 8th ARVN Airborne Battalions, cream of the Vietnamese Army, were landed
by combat assault. Minor damages were sustained by a single helicopter
which was caused by one enemy small arms bullet. There was no other
incidents of enemy resistance that day.
On 20 June 1965, the battle of Dong Xoai came to a close for the 118th
Aviation Company.

Distinguished Unit Citation were awarded to the 145th C.A.B., 117th
AHC, 118th AML, 120th AHC, 197th AHC, and Company A/501st Avn. BN. for
their actions between 10 June 1965 to 13 June 1965.
24 June 1965 LTC. Cunningham turned over command of the 145th to LTC.
Charles M. Honour Jr.. As it would turn out LTC. Robert K. Cunningham would
be the longest 145th Battalion Commander in Vietnam, serving as Battalion
Commander for 11 months and 2 days. And LTC. Honour would be the only
Battalion Commander to be Killed in Action with the 145th.
In August of 1965 the 117th Aviation Company would be transferred to
the 52nd Combat Aviation Battalion not to be returned until January 1968.
During the month of October 1965 the 145th C.A.B. supported the 173rd
Airborne Brigade in numerous search and destroy operations in the "Iron
Triangle" and "War Zone D". The first combat assaults in support of the 1st
Infantry Division were also made during the month of October. A Co, 82nd
Avn Bn was re-assigned to the 173rd Airborne Brigade on 18 October 1965.
November of 1965 brought about another award for the 145th C.A.B., the
Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Palm for its service from 29 December
1964 to 4 November 1965. On November 16, 1965 the second youngest Army
Aviator to be Killed in Combat in South Vietnam was Dana Edward Brann, 19,
born August 8, 1947. He died in action while serving with the 120th
Aviation Company, may he rest in peace. November also brought the return of
the 68th Aviation Company to the Battalion. Although the 68th got its name
from the other 68th that served with the Battalion, this 68th was a brand
new unit. The new 68th worked hard to up hold the image of the other 68th
it was named after, after a short time the members of the other 68th
(197th) began to accept the new unit. The Meritorious Unit Commendation was
awarded to the 197th AHC for its outstanding service from May to November
1965.
In the months of November and December 1965 the 145th C.A.B.
participated in an allied operation called "Operation Rice Bowl". The
object of the operation was to secure the rice fields in the valley North
of Vo Dat, and deny the Viet Cong use of the freshly harvested rice. Also
during this same period the battalion welcomed the recently arrived 68th
Aviation Company to Bien Hoa which was initially stationed at Vung Tau.
1 January 1966 started off with LTC Charles M Honour commanding the
Battalion. In the next two years the 145th would be credited with many
"First" and many awards. Starting in 1965 the Army started building up many
new helicopter units and battalions, Vietnam would become known as the
Helicopter War. The 145th played a large part in the build up and set the
example for other battalions to follow.
On New Years Day 1966, the 335th AHC was involved in Operation
Marauder in the bao Trai area, then Operation Crimp in the Hobo Woods.
On 18 February 1966 LTC Charles M Honour was killed in a helicopter
crash between Bien Hoa and Saigon. LTC Horst K Joost, who was the executive
officer of the 173d Airborne Brigade at the time, replaced LTC Honour on 20
February 1966. The 335th AHC gave support to the 1st Inf Div at Di An
during the month of February 1966.

SUBJECT: Commanders Combat Note #1 23 February 1966
I am proud to have been designated to command the 145th Aviation
Battalion. This organization has distinguished itself on many occasions. It
enjoys an esteemed reputation and has set the pace for other similar units
arriving in Vietnam.
I intend to maintain this high state of professionalism while being
cognizant that we are all first and foremost ground combat qualified and
then are qualified to provide aviation combat support.
Army aviation has changed the course of this conflict from a ground
bound, ambush-susceptible slugging match, to a highly mobile and flexible
posture that has been instrumental in keeping the Viet Cong off-balance.
Army Aviation is providing the Free World Forces an offensive capability
which is confronting the Viet Cong with an unpredictable nemesis. You are
writing this chapter in history.
We must be mindful however, that our enemy carefully studies our every
move and attempt to predict our pattern so that he can strike our weak
spot. We must not be complacent with our past successes. We must constantly
strive to improve our techniques and procedures. We must also be efficient
with our resources of manpower and materiel. A non-combat loss of personnel
and aircraft through an accident is a score for our enemy.
This battalion is an integrated team. Although basically the slick
helicopter crew is the "bread and butter" of our many tasks, they are
supported by everyone that makes up the organization. This includes the
gunships, which provides protective fires, to the maintenance, avionics,
operations, mail clerks, cooks, and all others that make the team. The
success of each operation is the result of a contribution from each team
member. Always bear this in mind!
Keeping everyone in this battalion informed is one of my goals. To this
end, I will periodically publish a Commander's Combat Note which is
intended to be disseminated to all members of the organization.
CLEAR LEFT AND RIGHT
HORST K JOOST, Lt Colonel, Inf
Commanding

The 1st Aviation Brigade was formed on the 1st of March 1966 and the
145th served under the 12th Group of the 1st Aviation Brigade. This was
done for better command and control of all army aviation units and
operations.

SUBJECT: Commander's Combat Note #7 5 March 1966
\SUMMARY OF OPERATIONS 21 FEBRUARY THROUGH 3 MARCH 1966\
1. During this period the 145th Aviation Battalion, in addition to
moving to Bien Hoa, conducted nine major airmobile operations, two of which
were conducted in one day. Our armed helicopters operating at night,
accounted for 18 sampans or boats sunk, one of which was carrying VC troops
and explosives, 15 sampans were damaged, and five VC huts were destroyed.
On 23 February, armed helicopters of 197th Aviation Company were
responsible for the VC withdrawal from an attack on as ARVN compound when
they brought fire to bear on the attackers.
2. This battalion supported by the 2d Brigade, 1st U.S. Infantry
Division, on 21 February, during operation MASTIFF, by conducting six
combat assaults with three infantry battalions, into two landing zones, 15
kilometers southeast of Dau Tieng. Forty-four troop carriers and 32
gunships were employed. Enemy small arms and automatic weapons fire was
received during the landings. Aircraft damage was slight. Suppressive fire
from aircraft placed on enemy positions was possible for decreasing the
volume and intensity of VC fire.
3. On 22 February this battalion airlifted a regiment of the 10th ARVN
Division from An Loc, vicinity of Xuan Loc, and conducted an airmobile
assault 43KM to the south, near Binh Gia. Thirty UH-1D's and 17 UH-1B's
(armed) were employed in the operation. No air or artillery preparation of
the LZ was used in order to achieve surprise during the landing, and to
preclude the possibility of setting the dry grass which covered the LZ on
fire. The gunships of the 197th Aviation Company led the way by a few
minutes and placed accurate and deadly fire on the treeline which encircled
the LZ. The initial assault was accomplished with no enemy fire on the LZ.
The gunship preparation however, necessitated the subsequent lifts to be
diverted to an alternate LZ. The response on the part of all elements was
immediate when modifications plans were made from the battalion command and
control aircraft. Gunships diverted to the new LZ and began to place fire
on suspected areas. The troop carriers modified the formation while
airborne to compensate for the new conditions on the LZ. Between lifts, Air
Force tactical air placed strikes on enemy ground fire along the helicopter
flight routes, which had begun to become active. This operation
demonstrated the flexibility of airmobile operations by being able to
adjust to changing conditions with a minimum amount of radio transmission
from a single command element. It also demonstrated the team work inherent
in the gunships, troop carriers, and Air Force tactical air.
4. The 2d Brigade, 1st (US) Infantry Division was extracted from two
landing zones by this battalion on 25 February, employing 31 UH-1D
helicopters and 17 armed helicopters. These troops were lifted back to Dau
Tieng prepared to be re-committed to another airmobile assault. Enemy small
arms and automatic weapons fire was received by flight elements in the
vicinity of the extraction zones. Three aircraft hits were sustained.
5. The morning of 26 February found this battalion assembling 20 troop
carriers and 14 armed helicopters to airlift elements of the 25th ARVN
Division and assault two landing zones located 15 KM Northeast of Ben Luc
in order to conduct search and destroy operations against Viet Cong forces,
supplies and installations. Ground fire was received and one aircraft was
hit.
6. At 1700 hours that evening, the battalion lifted elements of the
173rd Airborne Brigade into one landing zone in war zone D, 11KM Northwest
of Bien Hoa. This assault was designed to commit a reaction force into a
blocking position to entrap a VC main force element, that was being engaged
by the paratrooper elements previously lifted into area. Enemy fire was
received from numerous locations around the assault LZ as the helicopters
landed. Two aircraft received damage. During the extraction one UH-1D troop
carrier from the 118th Aviation Company experienced a flame out and was
successfully landed without damage in a rice paddy in the vicinity of the
operational area. A night recovery of the downed aircraft by a CH-47
helicopter was executed. This latter accomplishment demonstrated the
teamwork that we have developed in accomplishing any mission.
7. Early in the morning of 28 February, a main force Viet Cong,
estimated to be a regiment, attacked and over ran the ARVN secured town of
Vo Xu located east of Vo Dat in the Rice Bowl area. At 0455 hours the 145th
Aviation Battalion was alerted to provide a rapid reaction airmobile
capability to reinforce the friendly forces in Vo Xu. By 0630 hours, forty
UH-1D troop carriers and 17 UH-1B armed carriers were on alert at Bien Hoa,
Vung Tau and Tan Son Nhut. All aircraft and crews were assembled, briefed
and organized for combat by 0730 hours. One Ranger Battalion was airlifted
from Duc Hoa and positioned at Vo Dat. Another was lifted from Bao Trai and
positioned at Vo Dat. Another ARVN Ranger Battalion was then lifted from An
Loc and an airmobile assault conducted south of Vo Xu. One of the Rangers
Battalion positioned at Vo Dat next conducted an assault on the same LZ.
These assaults were designed to entrap and intercept the VC that had
attacked Vo Xu earlier in the day. Three aircraft were hit by enemy ground
fire. During the assault, one troop carrier experienced a hard landing, and
could not be flown out of the LZ. Immediate action was taken to prepare the
aircraft for liftout. A CH-47 helicopter arrived and within seconds
snatched the aircraft out of the LZ. This recovery was performed with such
speed that it did not interfere with the tactical plan of the ground
elements. This day's operation proved on several occasions that Army
Aviation are more responsive to rapid reaction than are the ground
elements. Planning for the conduct of the operation was accomplished in the
cockpit by commanders and staff while flying to assembly areas. Short,
standardized briefings and mission type orders are the keys to rapid
reaction.
8. On 1 March 2/503 Inf Battalion, 173rd Airborne Brigade, was
extracted from their operational area in War Zone D, to the Brigade base.
Three lifts employing twenty-eight UH-1D and thirteen UH-1B (armed)
helicopters. Hostile ground fire was encountered during the lift out.
9. In the early morning of 2 March, the battalion again assembled its
elements for an airmobile assault. Thirty UH-1D troop carriers and eighteen
UH-1B armed helicopters were employed. This time elements of the 25th ARVN
Division were lifted from Trang Bang and Cu Chi to assault three landing
zones were prepared by tactical air strikes and armed helicopters, however,
light to moderate automatic and semi-automatic enemy weapons fire was
encountered. Gunships and tactical air was placed on this ground fire. One
troop carrier was hit. During the airmobile assaults an air observer
detected approximately 40 VC fleeing west toward the Cambodian border.
Gunships gave chase and worked the area over with their weapons. Damage to
the VC was unknown.
10. On the last day of the reporting period, 3 March, this battalion
conducted an airmobile assault with element of the 10th ARVN Division south
of Baria, immediately adjacent to the sea coast. Twenty-seven UH-1D and 25
UH-1B armed helicopters were employed. Troop pick-up was from a road north
of Baria. Four lifts completed this operation. Light to moderate hostile
fire was encountered during the assault. Armed helicopters and tactical air
strikes worked over these enemy locations during and between lifts. No
aircraft hits were sustained.
11. In addition to these operations this battalion provided normal
command and liaison, administrative and logistical support for III ARVN
Corps.
12. A wrap-up for this period is as follows:
- A total of 5,547 U.S. and ARVN forces were committed in airmobile
assaults. Extractions of forces from areas of operations consisted of 1,525
U.S Forces. Repositioning of 639 ARVN troops was accomplished.
- The total sorties flown was 6,118 for a total of 2,192 flying
hours.
13. This was a full period and every member of this battalion are to be
congratulated for their accomplishments. Added congratulations must go to
the maintenance personnel who have kept us ABOVE ALL.
14. In the area of civic action, which I feel is as vital as combat
operations, this battalion is making great strides. In addition to our
heavy operation schedule for the period, the 145th Aviation Battalion was
active in the areas of Community Relations, Education and Training, and
Health and Sanitation. A total of $VC 16,020 was collected by the 197th
Aviation Company to purchase baby beds for Saigon orphanage. Officers and
enlisted men from A/501st Aviation conducted 4 one-hour English classes for
the Bien Hoa National Police. Members of the 118th Aviation Company
continued to provide support to Bien Hoa orphanage in the form of 320 lbs
of rice, 100 lbs of peanuts, powered milk, cooking oil, condiments and
various cleaning products. In addition, two doctors visited the Leprosy
colony for the purpose of treating patients. Letters received by members of
the 68th Aviation Company indicate that local drives in their hometowns are
making progress and donations for distribution to the local populace will
be forthcoming.
"FIRST IN VIETNAM"
HORST K. JOOST, Lt. Colonel, Inf
Commanding

SUBJECT: Commander's Combat Note Number 9 13 March 1966
\SUMMARY OF OPERATION 4 MARCH THROUGH 11 MARCH 1966\
This week the 145th Aviation Battalion accomplished a variety of combat
and combat support missions which contributed significantly toward beating
Victor Charlie.
The battalion, or elements thereof, conducted three multi-ground
battalion airmobile assaults or extractions; two airmobile assaults in
which company sized ground elements were employed; and one airmobile
company reinforced the lift of another aviation battalion.
The 197th Aviation Company, in addition to providing their normal armed
reconnaissance and marking of LZ's, and armed escort for all airmobile
operations, sank 6 sampans and damaged 9 sampans by their lightning Bug
operations.
The battalion effort on the VC score board for this week is as follows:
An estimated 58 VC killed, a body count of 36 VC killed, 27 structures
destroyed and 20 damaged, and 31 sampans destroyed and 31 damaged. This one
weeks toll is a commendable figure. It is especially significant when it is
realized that some ground combat units of brigade size can't match this
claim.
On 4 March, the 118th Aviation Company, reinforced by A/501st Aviation
Battalion, supported the 1st Aviation Battalion with 15 UH-1D troop
carriers and 6 armed helicopters to lift 405 troops of the 5th ARVN
Division from Lai Khe into an operational area Northeast of Phu Loi.
On 5 March, the 118th Aviation Company reinforced by A/501st Aviation
Battalion, employed 11 troops carriers and armed helicopters to lift 111
troops of the 1st Bde, 1st U.S. Inf Div from a pick-up site fifteen
kilometers North of Tan Uyen into a landing zone at Tan Uyen. In the
afternoon the same ground element was lifted back to its original departure
point.
A major operation was conducted by this battalion, reinforced by
aviation elements of the 1st U.S. Infantry Division on 6 March 1966. The
unit being supported was the 25th ARVN Division. Fifty UH-1D troop
carriers, 27 UH-1B armed helicopters, and 2 O1-D fixed wing aircraft were
assembled to execute this operation. The plan was to extract four infantry
battalions from two pick-up sites twelve kilometers south of Tay Ninh
during the hours of darkness, and conduct two combat assaults into two
landing zones four kilometers Southwest of Cu Chi at daybreak. Due to a
dense ground fog in the pick-up area, the pick-up had to be delayed until
later in the morning. Eight hundred and twenty-two ground troops conducted
the assault. Moderate automatic weapons fire was encountered during the
landing, resulting in one helicopter being hit. The fires of the organic
gunships of the airmobile companies, and of the 197th Aviation Company were
placed on this enemy fire which served to suppress it. Armed helicopters
committed to ground battle also took a toll of nine structures destroyed
and eleven damaged. During the airmobile assault of the last ground
elements, a group of 10 VC were spotted fleeing the area. Gunships of the
197th were immediately over the spot and opened fire. The result - eight VC
killed and two possibles. Body count was confirmed by ground elements. It
is worthy to know that we had some frustrated crews when they realized that
their mission didn't permit them to land and recover the VC weapons. It is
also regrettable that the weather conditions did not permit the night
extraction and the dawn assault to be executed as planned. As the tactical
information permits, it is intended in the future to conduct more night
operations.
At 1440 hours on 8 March, a CIDG company conducting search and destroy
operations 10 kilometers west of Tay Ninh was attacked and surrounded by an
estimated two company size VC force. The 118th Aviation Company
(reinforced) was assembled for a reaction operation and flown to Tay Ninh.
There they picked-up 200 troops of the 25th ARVN Division and airlifted
them into an operational area to reinforce the CIDG unit. This operation
again demonstrates the flexibility and rapid response capability of
helicopter units. From the time the alert was received by the Battalion
Operation Center, until troops were landed in the operational area, only
105 minutes had elapsed. This is an amazingly short time considering that
the aircraft had to be recalled from other missions.
The last large operation of the period was conducted on 9 March when
two battalions of the 173rd Airborne Brigade assaulted an operational area
deep into War Zone D, 16 KM East of Phouc Hoa. During the troop carrier
lifts, ten attached CH-47 helicopters lifted 41 sorties of artillery and
supplies into the operational area. Five lifts of the fifty assault
helicopters were required to complete an airmovement of the ground
elements. Twenty-seven armed helicopters provided air escort and
suppressive fire support. Automatic weapons fire was received by flight
elements enroute to the operational area and sniper fire was encountered in
the landing zone. One aircraft was hit.
During the period the 145th Aviation Battalion provided administrative
and combat support to the 1st (US) Infantry Division, 173rd (US) Airborne
Brigade and III ARVN Corps.
Operational statistics are as follows:
Rotary Wing: Total Sorties - 4,948
Total Flying Hours - 1,818
Passengers Flown - 5,984
Fixed Wing: Total Sorties - 224
Total Flying Hours - 339

The aviation company of this battalion, thus far not mentioned is the
68th. In its silent, modest approach to mission accomplishment, it is
already flying 293 hours over program for the month. This is 104 hours over
the next highest company. It also has one aircraft less than the other
companies.
This battalion has been assigned a new, unique, and challenging mission
which will enable us to operate with the U.S. Navy. Plans are being
developed at this time and more information will be released as the project
develops. Captain Brofer, 197th Aviation Company has been assigned as the
Battalion Project Officer.

\SUMMARY OF CIVIC ACTIONS\
During the period units of the battalion were active in the areas of
Community Relations, Education and Training, Health and Sanitary,
Construction and Communications. Personnel from the 197th Aviation Company
constructed a fence within the An Loc Orphanage, along with organizing a
drive to obtain materials to repair a perimeter fence damaged by Viet Cong.
In addition the officers and men donated 400 pounds of cookies and candy, 1
case of body soap and 1/2 case of mosquito repellent. The majority of these
donations were sent to members of the unit from supporters in the United
States. The 118th Aviation Company performed loudspeaker and leaflet
support for Psychological Welfare operations for Voice of America for a
period of three hours. The officers and men also donated 3,000 $VN to the
Bien Hoa Orphanage along with 300 pounds of rice, 10 pounds of sugar and
1/2 case of wash soap. Doctor Altomonte attended to the sick at the
orphanage. Members of the 120th Aviation Company continued to provide
support to the Go Vap Orphanage in the form of $47.50 MPC, and 2,540 $VN,
one-hundred bags of cement for building projects, 2 cases of cornmeal, 4
cases of evaporated milk and 60 pounds of beans. Captain Wurster from the
129th Med Det surveyed the health needs at the orphanage and concluded that
the children receive adequate treatment from their own doctor. A
conversational English class was conducted by A/501st Aviation Battalion
for the Bien Hoa National Police. Coordination has been made with the MACV
Sector Advisor to sponsor a Now Life Hamlet in the Ho Nai Refugee area.
Many units work in this area but with 80,000 refugees and more arriving
each day, there is a tremendous opportunity to help in the traditional
American spirit. Our first project will be to field a MEDCAP team.
HORST K. JOOST, Lt Colonel,
Inf
Commanding

SUBJECT: Commander's Combat Note #11 21 March 1966
\SUMMARY OF OPERATIONS 11 MARCH THROUGH 17 MARCH 1966\
The 145th Aviation Battalion conducted six major airmobile assaults
this week. Four of these major operations were conducted in two consecutive
days. Two of these operations were rapid reactions requiring recall and
assembly of aircraft from other tasks.
The 197th Aviation killed 4 VC confirmed by body count. The company
also destroyed 9 sampans (one being 35 feet in length). Four VC
installations were destroyed and 8 damaged.
This week the armed helicopters of A/501st Avn Bn, and the 118th, 68th
and 197th Aviation Companies had numerous occasions to prove their worth by
protecting the troop carrier aircraft and the ground elements they were
supporting. The gunners on the troop carriers also had several
opportunities to prove to the VC that it isn't healthy to fire at a
helicopter.
On 11 March 1966, the 145th C.A.B. (Reinf) assembled at the forward
command post at 0600 hours to receive the final briefing and organize for
combat. This operation was the second airmobile assault conducted in
support of operation "Silver City" in War Zone D. Fifty UH-1D troop
carriers and thirty-one UH-1B armed helicopters were committed in support
of the 173rd (US) Airborne Brigade. The Battalion combat assault landed six
hundred and fifty-six troops from Bien Hoa into the landing zone eighteen
kilometers east of Phouc Hoa.
Since their employment into this area, the 173rd Airborne Brigade has
achieved phenomenal success against the enemy. At last count (which is
incomplete) for operation Silver City over 300 emeny dead have been
counted, and a vast store of arms, documents, and supplies have been
captured.
Two major operations were conducted on 14 March 1966. At 0935 hours,
two companies of the 145th C.A.B. (68th and A/501st), attached to the 11
C.A.B., landed at the staging area two kilometers north of Cu Chi. Twenty
UH-1D troop carriers and six UH-1B armed helicopters were committed in
support of the 25th (US) Inf. Div.. Two hundred and seventy-two troops were
airlifted in two lifts from the staging area into the operational area
twelve kilometers southwest of Cu Chi. Hostile small arms and
semi-automatic weapons fire was encountered. This was the first airmobile
operation conducted in support of the 25th (US) Inf. Div since its arrival
in the Republic of South Vietnam.
At 1100 hours on 14 March 1966, fifty-two UH-1D and twenty-nine UH-1B
armed Helicopters were committed in support of the 25th ARVN Division. The
Battalion flew to intermediate staging areas located at Trang Bang and Tram
Vang where five hundred and twenty troops were loaded and later combat
assault landed into an operational area seven kilometers northwest of Duc
Hoa. Light to moderate small arms fire was encountered during the first
combat assault. The Battalion then flew to Tan An and Ben Luc where an
additional five hundred and twenty troops were loaded and combat assault
landed into the second landing zone seven kilometers southwest of Duc Hoa
and airlifted one hundred troops from that location into the second landing
zone. During the entire operation, one aircraft was hit.
At 0230 hours on 15 March 1966 the 145th Aviation Battalion reacted
immediately to a rapid reaction request from III ARVN Corps. Under the
cover of darkness the 145th Aviation Battalion assembled for final briefing
and to conduct final organization for combat.
The flight elements departed the assembly area at 0620 hours and
picked up the first lift of troops of the 5th ARVN Division at Lia Khe
during darkness. With the assistance of the 145th Battalion Pathfinders,
the loading proceeded in an orderly fashion. At dawn, two hundred and
forty-six troops were combat assault landed into a landing zone eight
kilometers south, southeast of Ben Cat. The troop carriers then returned to
Bien Hoa and airlifted an additional three hundred and twenty troops into a
second landing zone twelve kilometers south of Ben Cat. During the
operation the 197th Aviation Company was responsible for evacuating twelve
casualties, destroying four structures and damaging eight others.
This reaction operation was initiated with the purpose of reinforcing
ARVN elements in the area that had been attacked during the night. The
landing areas were chosen with the intent to block the enemy and destroy
them. During the landings an intense amount of automatic weapons fire was
received from the south eastern edge of the "Iron Triangle". Information
was relayed from the ground elements to the 5th ARVN Division Commander,
located with the 145th Aviation Battalion Commander in the Command and
Control aircraft, that the enemy was in fact withdrawing to the Iron
Triangle. It was determined that tactical air would not be on station for
at least one half hour. The Division Commander asked what the 145th
Aviation Battalion could do to engage the enemy. He was informed we could
turn all guns on enemy. As the last elements were landed in the assault,
the order was given to all 145th Aviation Battalion elements to prepare for
offensive firing. Instructions were transmitted while companies were making
a forming turn to echelon the Battalion. Four companies consisting of a
total of 37 troop carriers and 19 gunships were spaced one minute apart,
echelon right, at an altitude of 1500 feet. On the signal of the lead
company all weapons of the gunships and slicks fired into the suspected
enemy areas along the eastern edge of the "Iron Triangle". The width of
area was covered extensive, and the density of strikes within the beaten
zone was awesome. It is frustrating not to know the extent of damage
incurred on the enemy. It is certain that we caused damage, since this fire
covered the area from which we were receiving automatic weapons fire. A
total of seventy-eight thousand rounds of 7.62 ammunition, three hundred
and fifty 2.75 inch rockets, and one hundred and thirty-five rounds of 40mm
ammunition were expended during the one firing pass.
At 0830 hours, on the same day, the 145th Aviation Battalion (Reinf),
again assembled for combat in support of another airmobile assault.
Forty-three UH-lD troop carriers and twenty-seven UH-lB armed helicopters
flew to intermediate staging areas at Cu-Chi and an area eight kilometers
northwest of Duc Hoa. From these two locations four hundred and ten troops
of the 25th ARVN Division were airlifted in one combat assault into the
operational area six kilometers west of Duc Hoa. Small arms and
semi-automatic fire was received in the vicinity of the landing zone and
one of the attached aircraft was hit.
On 15 March in support of Operation Silver City the 335th AHC
responded when two thousand VC encircled the 2/503rd Inf, the attacked
began just after sunrise, the Cowboys responded by sling-loading ammunition
into the landing zone under withering hostile fire. The VC left behind four
hundred of their dead.
On 16 March, the 145th Aviation Battalion (Reinf) reacted immediately
to a rapid reaction initiated by the 1st (US) Infantry Division in support
of the 173rd (US) Airborne Brigade. At 0935 hours the battalion Operations
Center was notified of the rapid reaction. By 1200 hours, twenty-eight
UH-lD troop carriers and sixteen UH-1B armed helicopters had been recalled
from III ARVN Corps support missions, assembled at the forward command post
and lifted two hundred troops of the 1st (US) Infantry Division (2nd
Brigade) into a landing zone twenty-two kilometers north of Bien Hoa.
Throughout the remainder of the day an additional twelve hundred and thirty
troops were lifted from Lai Khe, Long Than North (Bearcat), and Phuc Ving
into two landing zones in the operational area. Due to the immediate
requirement for additional support in the second landing zone, troops were
repositioned from one landing zone to the other. Small arms and
semi-automatic weapons fire was encountered in the vicinity of the landing
zones; however, there were no aircraft hit. Throughout the entire
operation, the flight elements arrived at the pickup sites prior to the
time the ground elements were organized for air movement. The rapidity
with which this rapid reaction was accomplished indicates the flexibility
which is ever present within the companies of the Battalion.
On 17 March, the 68th Aviation Company was attached to the 11th
Aviation Battalion to support the 25th (US) Infantry Division in search and
destroy operations being conducted eight kilometers southeast of Tay Ninh.
Ten UH-lD troop carriers and two UH-lB armed helicopters were involved in
the operation which was staged from Phu Loi. One hundred and twelve troops
of the 2nd Brigade, 25th (US) Infantry Division were airlifted in one lift
and combat assault landed into the operational area.
During the 11-17 March time period, the 74th Aviation Company
conducted the following missions:
Command and Liaison - 39 Air Escort - 21
Radio Relay - 13 Visual Reconnaissance - 76
Artillery Adjustment - 27 Photo - 1
Air Control - 30 Forward Air Control - 1
Surveillance - 12 Logistics - 5
During 11 March through 17 March 1966 the 145th Aviation Battalion
also provided normal administrative and combat support to the 1st (US)
Infantry Division, 173rd (US) Airborne Brigade and III ARVN Corps.
Operational statistics for rotary wing aircraft in support of
operations are as follows:
Total Sorties - 4221
Total Flying Hours - 1668
Passengers Flown - 6196
Operational statistics for fixed wing aircraft in supportations are as
follows:
Total Sorties - 252
Total Flying Hours - 538
Due to the large influx of new aviators in the Battalion a vigorous
training program is now under way within the companies to insure that all
newly assigned personnel receive a detailed and thorough standardization
flight check prior to flying on III Corps aviation support missions.

\SUMMARY OF CIVIC ACTIONS\
This week 11 March to 17 March 1966 the 145th Aviation Battalion
accomplished a variety of Civic Actions in its effort to expand the Civil
Affairs Program. In the area of commerce the Battalion and subordinate
units provided approximately 300 jobs for the local populace on a
continuous basis, broken down as follows:
Bn Hq & HHD - 30 118th Avn Co - 70
68th Avn Co - 50 197th Avn Co - 50
74th Avn Co - 28 A/501st Avn Bn - 41
The 68th AVN CO relocated 201 ARVN and refugees on three separate
operations conducted in the Xuan Loc, Tanh Ninh area. In addition they
transported 3,500 lbs of food and personal belongings associated with the
move. Preliminary planning was accomplished with U.S. Advisors at Can Co
for the company's sponsorship. The 68th has also extended an offer to help
the An Phong welfare organization when assistance is needed.
The 74th accomplished initial coordination with the Phu Loi Civic
Actions Coordinator and it is anticipated that work will begin very soon.
Help is needed in the education, Community Relations and Construction
fields.
The 118th accomplished Civic Actions in virtually all areas. One
hundred civilians were evacuated from a village in the Song Be area that
was supposed to be over-run by Viet Cong. At the same time two gunships
evacuated two civilians that needed immediate medical attention. Both of
these operations were done under extreme hazardous conditions and in only a
few hours duration. The gunship received several rounds of small arms fire
while completing the medical evacuation. Twenty-two bags of rice which were
located on a search and destroy mission in the operational area north of
Phu Loi were lifted to home station. The rice was donated to help relieve
some financial burden of the Bien Hoa Orphanage. In addition the officers
and men have volunteered their off-duty time to help construct plywood and
tin-lined cupboards at the orphanage. Donations for the week were: Two
cases of jam, 50 cans of bread, 12 lbs of sugar, 100 lbs of peanuts, 600
lbs of white rice,200 lbs of powdered milk, 1 case of bath soap, 1 dozen
wash clothes, 15 tooth brushes and tooth paste packs, 6 dozen diapers,
assorted children's clothes, 10 lbs of salt, and 2 cases of candies. The
following medical supplies and cleaning products were donated by the
officers: 1 case of chlorine bleach, 1 case of insect spray, 1 case of
auromycin eye ointment, and 2 boxes of assorted vitamins to fulfill their
daily needs. The 118th also flew a psychological warfare mission for three
hours duration. During the mission the Voice of America and leaflets
offered the words of freedom and safety from the South Vietnamese
Government in the Tan Uyen area. Doctor Altomonte treated patients again at
the Leper Colony for various illness other than leprosy. This assistance
has greatly helped in isolating the disease and has lessened the suffering
of those afflicted with leprosy. SP4 Amisano has been giving English
classes to the children around Cong-Ly. He is affectionately known as the
"teacher" and this kind of people to people program is the very foundation
of our civic actions here in Vietnam.
The 197th continued to provide support to the An Lac Orphanage in the
areas of Health and Sanitation, and Community Relations. Donations included
1 case of body soap, 5 lbs of tooth brushes and tooth paste, 40 lbs of
flour, 15 lbs of sugar and 20 lbs of candy. Emphasis is being placed on
improving the cleanliness of the children. Civic organizations in the U.S.
supporting the 197th sponsoring of the orphanage have indicated that 80 lbs
of clothes is on the way and it will be a continuous program from then on.
A/501st Avn Bn was active in the areas of Community Relations,
Transportation and Education. An English class was taught for the National
Police of Bien Hoa. The officers and men donated 12,875 $VN worth of
clothes, writing pads, readers, and coloring books which were presented to
the Catholic Orphanage of Bien Hoa. On 13 March two helicopters assisted
the 5th ARVN Division in relocating 45 civilians, bag and baggage, from
Song Be to Duc Phoung. Also during the course of normal missions 300 lbs of
US AID rice and 200 lbs of school supplies were transported to a remote
village northeast of Song Be.
The effort to expand civic action activities has shown some real
progress in the last week (11-17 March 1966) despite the loss of the 120th
Aviation Company which was very active in Civil Affairs.

Commander's Combat Note #12 28 March 1966
Summary Of Operations 18 March Through 24 March 1966
The 145th Aviation Battalion conducted two major airmobile assaults,
and two extractions, and on five occasions provided aviation reinforcement
to other units during the period. Included was reinforcement to the II
Corps and IV Corps aviation.
The 197th Aviation Company sank three sampans and damaged three. The
company also destroyed two V.C. structures. During the support of the 25th
ARVN Division, three armed helicopters evacuated 14 ARVN casualties.
On 18 March 1966, the 145th Aviation Battalion employed 28 UH-ID troop
carriers and UH-13 armed helicopters to support 25th (ARVN) Division in air
assaults operations 13 kilometers southwest of Duc Hoa. From the staging
area at Duc Hoa, 595 troops were airlifted in three successive assaults.
Light small arms and automatic weapons fire was encountered on the 2nd and
3rd assaults. Three aircraft were hit.
During the 2nd assault ten Viet Cong was sighted in the open 400
meters north of the landing zone. Although tactical air, organic artillery
and mortars were available and could have been used, the airmobile force
commander took advantage of the flexibility, fire power and rapid response
of the armed helicopters. The target was immediately engaged and
neutralized with seven Viet Cong estimated killed.
At 1620 hours, the 145th Aviation Battalion responded to a rapid
reaction notification to air land one battalion (317 troops) from the 25th
(ARVN) Division to reinforce the troops that had been air landed earlier in
the day. The responsiveness of the Aviation Battalion was clearly evident
as the entire operation, from notification to termination, took only one
hour and thirty minutes. Moderate ground fire was received from the
vicinity of the landing zone and two aircraft were hit. Thirty one ARVN
casualties were evacuated, under fire, after the assault troops had landed.
Only through the close covering fire provided by the gun ships was it
possible to remove those casualties without losing an aircraft to the enemy
fire. All personnel participating are to be commended for their courageous
behavior in the face of enemy fire. I also want to commend Lieutenant
Holcomb, 74th Aviation Company for his quick thinking and actions, while
flying fixed wing cover in support of this operation.
The 118th Aviation Company, also on this day, committed five UH-1D
troop carriers and four UH-1B armed helicopters to extract 46 ARVN Special
Forces from a site 25 kilometers north of Suoi Da, in support of operation
MARCH EAGLE I.
On 19 March 1966 Company A/501st and 118th Aviation Company teamed
together to extract troops of the 1st Brigade, 1st Infantry Division (US),
from a site 20 kilometers southeast of Phuoc Vinh. Ten UH-1D troop carriers
and two UH-1B helicopters were used to extract 112 troops in two airlifts.
The 145th Aviation Battalion employed seventeen UH-1D troop carriers
and ten UH-1B armed helicopters in support of III (ARVN) Corps missions on
20 March 1966.
On 21 March 1966, the Battalion supported the 173rd Airborne Brigade
in Operation Silver City by employing thirty-three UH-1D troop carriers and
eight UH-1B armed helicopters to extract 1186 troops of the 1st and 2nd
Battalion 503rd Airborne Infantry in six air lifts.
In the afternoon the Battalion supported III (ARVN) Corps with twenty
nine UH-1D troop carriers and eight UH-1B armed helicopters. Three hundred
CIDG troops were extracted from the landing zone 16 kilometers of Xom Cat
and air lifted to Bien Hoa.
Operation Silver City terminated at 1635 hours on 22 March 1966, as
the 145th Aviation Battalion employing forty UH-1D troop carriers and
nineteen UH-1B armed helicopters, extracted six hundred and ninety troops
of the 1st Battalion, RAR from landing zone along the Song Be River. In
addition to the troops, the Aircraft lifted 4.2 mortars, several Engineer
assault boats and other crew-served weapons.
The flexibility and rapid reaction of the 145th was proven again as
the Battalion responded to a late request by the ground commander to depart
the staging area thirty minutes earlier then scheduled.
Offensive firing highlighted the operation. Seven UH-1B armed
helicopters conducted offensive firing along the banks of the Song Be River
opposite the landing zone. The remaining twelve UH-1B armed helicopters
were placed in support of the commander. While in orbit east of the landing
zone they received small arms and automatic weapons fire from a location
four kilometers east of the landing zone. The target was immediately
engaged and neutralized.
On 23 March, the 68th Aviation Company, reinforced by the 118th
Aviation Company, responded to a rapid reaction request to support the IV
(ARVN) Corps. Ten UH-1D troop carriers and UH-1B armed helicopters air
lifted two hundred and seventy nine troops in one air assault and four
extractions in the vicinity of Muc Hoa.
Three UH-1B armed helicopters from the 197th Aviation Company
supported the 25th (ARVN) Division at Duc Hoa.
On 24 March, the 118th Aviation Company reinforced the 1st Aviation
Company, 1st (US) Infantry Division, Airlifting 185 troops with five UH-1D
troop carriers in five combat air assaults. Enemy fire was received in
vicinity of the landing zone.
On 24 March 1966, A/501st Aviation Company departed this station to
reinforce the aviation of the II Corps. The unit departed in a posture
prepared to operate in the field for an extended period. With only a short
warning, aviation again proved their responsiveness to mission
accomplishment, when this company moved a couple hundred miles and was
ready to operate on arrival. These short notice, field operations will
become more frequent. Therefore, all companies must update their plans for
such contingencies.
During the week, 18 March 1966 through 24 March 1966, the 74th
Aviation Company accomplished the following tasks:
\TYPE MISSION\ \TOTAL NUMBER\
Visual Reconnaissance 64
Forward Air Control 2
Radio Relay 20
Surveillance 25
Artillery adjustment 21
Naval Vessel escort and road column
Observation 35
Command Liaison 19
Logistics 3

Operational statistics for rotary wing aircraft in support of
operations are as follows:
Total Sorties 4315
Total Flying Hours 1551
Passengers Flown 5045
Operational Statistics for fixed wing:
Total Sorties 229
Total Flying Hours 538
This week, I am pleased to announce that the first Combat Crewman's
Badges were awarded to Sergeant Major L. A. DuBrey, the Battalion Sergeant
Major, and SP5 Buster R. Timberlake, crew chief for the Battalion
Commander's Command and Control aircraft. These were the first awards of
the many Combat Crewmen wings and Combat Aviator wings that have been
earned by members of the Battalion. Wear these wings proudly.

\SUMMARY OF CIVIC ACTIONS\
During the week the 145th Aviation Battalion Hq & Hq Det continued its
plans to expand Civic Actions in the surrounding communities. Three
thousand pounds of Viet Cong captured rice was donated to the parish
through the chief. The parish, in turn, will distribute the rice to
refugees who are unable to provide for themselves. In this category there
are many blind, incapacitated, ill, and elderly refugees. Approximately one
hundred adults and children observe this demonstration of good will which
will do much to foster the Vietnamese-American Relations. On Sunday,
several officers attended Catholic Mass at the refugee village, and
surveyed the school needs. Pictures were taken, and information gathered to
send home in an effort to solicit home town help.
The 68th Aviation Company was active in the civic action area by
evacuating two hundred and fifty eight ARVN dependents and refugees on four
different operations in as many days. One of the evacuation operations was
from a village recently over-run by the Viet Cong on two separate
occasions. Incident to the movement of the dependents and refugees, 12,000
pounds of foodstuff, and personal belongings were moved.
This week the 74th Aviation Company obtained volunteers, written
material, and classroom spaces to teach Conversational English classes to
Vietnamese children in Phu Cuong, two afternoons each week. Two volunteers,
are aiding a Regional Forces Platoon in construction of new living quarters
in Phu Cuong. The Platoon presently lives, with dependents, in two crowded
buildings. The officers and men donated condensed milk, fresh milk, canned
hams, and orange juice to a local school to supplement the children's diet.
For construction at the school, five bags of cement were donated.
The 118th Aviation Company was active in many areas of civic affairs.
The officers of the 118th Avn Co donated thirteen dozen "Dixie-Cups" of ice
cream to the Bien Hoa Orphanage. The celebration was a complete surprise to
the children who gave their hardiest thanks. It will be a long time before
this act of generosity is forgotten. The company also donated the following
list of items to the orphanage: Flour, sugar, cases of canned food, soap
for personal use, baby night shirts and assorted children's clothing, salt,
cooking oil, powdered milk, and a few toys of various kinds donated by
relatives from the States. Doctor Altomonte donated another six hours work
at the Leper Colony on Sunday. SP4 Amisano again donated time each day this
past week to teaching the children on Cong La Street English at night. The
classes are approximately 1 1/2 hours long and recently a couple of the
Bien Hoa National Police also attended.
The 118th Aviation Company, in the course of their operational
missions, transported a total of 250 lbs of medical supplies and dressings
and evacuated ten civilians from Da Thelgen area because of injuries and
tuberculosis.
Despite the fact that the 197th Aviation Company was engaged in moving
from Saigon to Bien Hoa, the company still found the time to accomplish
civic actions in their support of the An Lac Orphanage. The company has
already explored the possibility of supporting a boys farm in the Bien Hoa
area that is affiliated with the An Lac Orphanage. The soap was a gift from
the people of the state of New Hampshire, in response to a request for
support. The officers and men donated: rice, dried beans, cases of
cherries, cases of dehydrated potatoes, cases of dehydrated eggs, cases of
egg noodles, cases of jello, a case of orange juice, a case of cocoa, and
approximately 20 pounds clothing.
A/501st Aviation Battalion was active in the area of community
relations and education. On 24 March, 1500 pounds of Viet Cong captured
rice was donated to the Catholic orphanage of Bien Hoa. Also a
conversational English class was taught to the National Police of Bien Hoa.
Horst K. Joost, Lt.
Colonel, Inf
Commanding

Commander's Combat Note #
SUMMARY OF OPERATIONS 25 MARCH THROUGH 31 MARCH 1966
A total of one hundred and eleven troops were landed on two landing
zones nine miles northeast of PHU CUONG.
On 30 March, Company A/501st, employing eight UH-1D troop carriers and
two armed helicopters, airlifted ninety-nine troops of the 1st (US)
Infantry Division from Bien Hoa to a landing zone fifteen kilometers north
of Tan Uyen. In the afternoon the company again supported the 1st (US)
Infantry Division by lifting two hundred and seventy-two troops in five
assaults from Bear Cat.
On 31 March 1966, Company A/501st reinforced the 1st Aviation
Battalion, 1st (US) Infantry Division with seven troop carriers and
airlifted one hundred and ninety nine troop in five combat air assaults
from Vung Tau to a landing zone three kilometers east of Phu My.
During the week the 74th Aviation Company conducted the following task:
Sorties
Visual Reconnaissance 87
Radio Relay 22
Forward Air Control 1
Surveillance 42
Command Liaison 16
Escort 49
Artillery Adjustment 47
Logistics 9
On 26 March the 74th Aviation Company celebrated their first
anniversary since activation. During the one year period they have set a
commendable record of 22,438 flying hours, consisting of 15,503 sorties.
Congratulations and continued success.
Operational statistics for the rotary wing aircraft of the Battalion
for this week's period are as follows:
Total Sorties 5004
Total Flying Hours 1495
Passengers Flown 4865
Operational statistics for fixed wing aircraft for the Battalion are as
follows:
Total Sorties 333
Total Flying Hours 519
The 145th Aviation Battalion has gone to sea. We now have a task force
of gunships which are operating with the U.S. Navy with the mission of
providing aerial fire support for naval patrol boats operating in the river
and delta areas to destroy the Viet Cong and to secure shipping lanes. At
present two armed helicopters operate from the deck of the Seventh Fleet
Dock Landing Ship U.S.S. Belle Grove. The team work developed between the
Army helicopter crew and the Navy landing teams is something to behold when
a helicopter is launched and landed.
The helicopters were first landed aboard the vessel on 25 March 1966.
The first rapid-reaction was called on 26 March, to assist the Marine
Landing Force during operation JACK STAY in the Rung Sat Special Zone. The
operation consisted of directing an ambush party from the air to move to a
safe area, and to escort a river patrol boat employing Underwater
Demolition Teams. On 27 March, the gunships were launched to escort medical
evacuation patrol boats. Also on that day the fire team was launched to
support a swift boat that was attacked by V.C. gunfire. The fire team
expended twenty four rockets and 5,000 rounds of 7.62 caliber ammunition
against the VC ground fires.
Captain D. R. Brofer is the Project Officer and commander of the
gunship task force. This project will soon be expanded and all companies
will provide crews and aircraft for the Task Force. The army crews are
enthusiastic about the duty and I was pleased to have the Captain of the
U.S.S. Belle Grove tell me that he has worked with the Army on numerous
occasions but he has never met a more gung-ho, mission-oriented group of
army people as these gun crews.
In the field of training, a program has been initiated by the Battalion
in the adjustment of artillery fire. The goal is to have every rotary wing
and fixed wing aviator proficient in the adjustment of artillery fires.
SUMMARY OF CIVIC ACTIONS
The 145th Aviation Battalion Hq and Hq Det conducted its biggest
operation to date, in the area of Community Relations. 30,000 pounds of
bulgur wheat were obtained from the Catholic Relief Society through
coordination with the III Corps G-5. The bulgur was transported to the Bui
Vinh refugee village during a two day operation. This donation consitutes
the basic staple for approximately 2000 refugees for one month. The bulgur
will be distributed to the needy by members of the Hq and Hq Det and
members of the community under the supervision of the GVN. A fund was
established by the Battalion Headquarters to provide money for
approximately 60 school children to attend the elementary school, and also
buy school supplies. Contributions received on March 31st amounted to
17,000 piasters, enough to sustain the program for the remaining school
year. 2000 piasters were turned over to the Parish Chief for March and
April. In the area of communication, 150 pounds of books, magazines and
leaflets were obtained through JUSPAO and donated to the Bui Vinh refugee
center. These materials will be used to stock a reading room and will
contribute to the psychological warfare effort.
In addition to normal missions the 68th Aviation Company evacuated or
relocated 119 ARVN dependents and refugees on four separate operations.
11,500 pounds of personal belongings and foodstuffs were also transported
in conjunction with these movements. In coordination with the Korean
Hospital, four Vietnamese civilians were transported from Phu My to the
Korean Hospital for surgery. Aircraft returning from normal missions
provided this transportation. On the spot first aid was also administered
by a gunship crew, on a normal mission at Vo Dat, to two small children
with severe cuts.
The 74th Aviation Company was active in the areas of Community
Relations, Sanitation, Health, and Construction. The officers and men
donated 20 cartons of dixie cups to the Phu Cuong school. In addition, 1
case of tooth paste was donated to the school along with instructions for
its use. Two volunteers continued to assist a Regional Forces Platoon in
the construction of new living quarters.
The 118th Aviation Company was very active this week in civic action
activities. Armed elements evacuated two injured children and one woman
from a village over-run by the Viet Cong, thus saving their lives. The
Officers and men donated the following to the Bien Hoa orphanage: Brown
sugar, powdered soup, assorted jams, canned vanilla pudding, raisins, corn
beef, canned beef, peanut butter, egg noodles, white rice, powdered milk,
boxes of clothing, and toys. Doctor Alomonte made his weekly visit to the
Leper Colony and treated fifteen patients for common illnesses. A project
was also completed at the orphanage to improve the sanitation of the toilet
area. SP/4 Amisano again held Conversational English classes for the local
residents of Cong Ly Street. In addition to normal missions, the airmobile
elements relocated approximately 50 refugees from a Viet Cong controlled
outlying area of Song Be to a New Life Hamlet in Song Be.
The 197th Aviation Company was busy this week completing its move to
Bien Hoa. However, on 25 March the home of one of its Vietnamese employees
was completely destroyed by fire. The 197th immediately responded by
donating food and clothing for the family and construction material for a
new house. In the area of commerce the unit has provided employment for
approximately 20 local Vietnamese in the Bien Hoa area.
A/501st Aviation Battalion, although on an operational mission near Ban
Me Thuot for most of the period, continued its Conversational English class
for the National Police of Bien Hoa. Representatives of the company visited
a Montagnard village in the operation area when it was learned that the
villagers would not leave the village to hunt and fish because of their
fear of armed helicopters. This visit did much to foster
Vietnamese-American relations.
Horst K. Joost, Lt.Colonel, Inf
Commanding

SUBJECT: Commander's Combat Note # 15 9 April 1966
SUMMARY OF OPERATIONS 1 APRIL THROUGH 7 APRIL 1966
The 145th Aviation Battalion made great strides this week in
demonstrating that Army Aviation is a significant and vital part of combat
operations in defeating the Viet Cong in Vietnam.
Evidence of damage to the Viet Cong from this Battalion's effort is
obvious from this weeks score board: Nineteen V.C. killed, thirty-nine
estimated killed, three wounded prisoners, thirty-three V.C. structures
destroyed and twenty damaged, eighteen sampans sunk and fourteen damaged,
and one truck destroyed.
One of the major efforts this week was the aviation support of the 2nd
Brigade, 25th (US) Division during operation "CIRCLE PINES" from 30 March
to 4 April. All units of the Battalion provided support, however, 118th
Aviation Company was assigned mission responsibility. The area of
operations was to the north of a line running from Cu Chi to Trung Lap and
to the Saigon River. This operation was a classic example of how aviation
should and should not be employed. Some significant lessons were learned.
The most significant being that Army Aviation can't be dispatched as taxi
cabs to perform a mission. Close coordination and understanding must be
established between the aviation unit commander and the support ground
commander, and the individual pilot must know the current situation. It was
discovered that, during the initial days of the operation, aircraft that
were being assigned to support the Brigade on a single mission basic were
being subjected to enemy fire when lifting resupply to forward elements.
This fire ranged from single shot snipping to medium and heavy automatic
weapons fire. In an attempt to bring order to this situation, Major
Underwood, Commanding Officer of the 118th Aviation Company was assigned
the mission to support the operation until termination. Troop carrier
aircraft and gunship of all other companies of the Battalion reinforced the
118th Aviation Company during the remainder of the operation as required.
By close association with the command and staff elements of the supported
Brigade, the aviation commander was able to advise how and where to best
use airlift and aerial fire support. He was able to study the enemy fire
techniques and take appropriate counter measures to protect the aircraft
and incur maximum damage to the enemy. At one stage of the operation the
Brigade was supported by eleven troop carrier aircraft and fourteen armed
aircraft. By the employment of appropriate tactics with gunships against
enemy ground fire, hits on troop carrier aircraft were considerably reduced
and the score of V.C. kills mounted. After the aviation leadership, advice
and management was established, the supported Brigade enjoyed the type of
support that aviation is designed to produce. Also, no aircraft stood idle-
this critical resource was fully used. Within these few days, aviation was
employed as follows: Lift supplies from support base to forward employed
elements; command, control and liaison for commanders and staff; radio
relay; armed escort of ground columns, reconnaissance by fire in advance of
ground columns; armed escorts for troop carrier aircraft; preparation by
fire of a landing zone; reconnaissance and marking of a landing zone;
airlift of troops in an airmobile assault; armed reconnaissance of a river
and aerial fire against V.C. river traffic; armed aircraft strikes on
target designated by forward ground elements which were too close to
friendly troops for tactical air engagement (some strikes were 100 meters
in front of friendly troops); and medical evacuation of wounded. What
started out to be an operation where aviation was piecemealed to support
the Brigade for occasional mission, turned out to be a well coordinated
operation in which aviation was effectively and economically used and
contributed significantly to success of the operation. This reversal is due
to the fact that an aviation unit commander was assigned a mission and he
felt the responsibility toward that supported unit. That personal
responsibility in fact kept his company maintenance working overtime to
come up with several more aircraft available for missions than programed.
A summary of the result achieved and resources employed for this
operation is shown below:
118th A/501st 68th 197th total
Total Flying Hours 253 77 45 33 408
Total Sorties Flown 913 26 132 26 1097
Total Tons Cargo 90 19 7 -- 116
Passengers Lifted 879 273 40 -- 1192
Medevacs 17 3 2 1 23
V.C. Structures 10/5 2/2 7/5 4/6 23/18
destroyed/damaged
V.C. Sampans 3/10 0/0 6/7 0/0 9/10
destroyed/damaged
Total task performed 1197 341 90 32 1660

Rounds expended
7.62mm 55,000 10,000 16,000 24,000 105,050
40mm 500 0 80 50 630
Rockets 234 28 52 98 412

V.C. KIA Confirmed 5 0 0 4 9
Estimated 10 3 3 15 31

During the week (1 April - 7 April 1966) the 197th Aviation Company,
operating on independent missions (excluding the support rendered in the
operation described above) claimed eight sampans sunk, four sampans
damaged, ten V.C. structures destroyed, one truck destroyed and three V.C.
killed.
The combined effort of the 145th Aviation Battalion conducted an
operation in support of Operation GREENE EAGLE in the Tay Ninh area on 5
April. This operation consisted of conducting an air assault of 200 CIDG
troops into an area to establish security for an artillery support base.
105mm howitzer artillery was then airlifted by Chinooks into the secured
base and artillery registered. The next air assault consisted of lifting
710 CIDG troops into two landing zones for the conduct of a search destroy
operation. This air assault was highlighted by the employment of tear gas
dispensed by helicopters to create a barrier to an avenue of approach into
the landing zone. After the tear gas was dispensed, offensive fire was
conducted over the tear gassed area by dropping sixty 81mm mortar rounds
from a helicopter, and by firing armed helicopters and machine guns from
troop carrying aircraft. The fire power accounted for four enemy conformed
killed, three wounded prisoners, and a possible four other V.C. killed.
Later in the day the assaulting force was extracted and reemployed in
another airmobile assault against a suspected V.C. location. During this
operation the 197th Aviation Company was also credited with three V.C
killed and estimated four V.C. killed from the result of strikes placed
against enemy ground fire.
On 7 April, the 68th Aviation Company conducted an airmobile assault
with 190 RF/PF troops in an area 15 kilometers south of Hon Quan.
The 74th Aviation Company performed the following tasks during the
period:
Tasks
Visual reconnaissance 100
Escort Missions 40
Psychological warfare 3
The armed aircraft task force of this Battalion, operating with the
Navy, has been designated Task Force Sea Wolf. At present the task force is
operating aboard the U.S.S. Belle Grove in the Rung Sat Special Zone.
During the week these gunships provided forward air control support for the
navy tactical air strikes, escorted friendly patrol boats and LST's and
LOM's during the U.S. Marine Corps extraction from the Rung Sat Special
Zone, conducted night and day reconnaissance, which located a V.C. bunker
and tunnel complex, and conducted strikes on enemy positions and sampans.
With a result of one sampan destroyed and two structures damaged. A gunship
also evacuated a wounded Vietnamese Marine.
Training in Artillery adjustment from an aerial platform has been
initiated by the Battalion this week.
The operational statistics for the period are:
Rotary Wing:
Total Sorties 4428
Total Flying hours 1404
Passengers 5421
Fixed Wing:
Total Sorties 329
Total Flying hour 556
The following awards were received by the Battalion:
Distinguished Flying Cross 6
Bronze Star "Valor" 1
Air Medal "VALOR" 11
Army Commendation Medal 3
Purple Heart 10
The following promotions were received:
Capt to Major 2
E-2 to E-3 11
E-3 to E-4 3
E-4 to E-5 11
E-6 to E-7 1

SUMMARY OF CIVIC ACTIONS (1 April - 7 April 1966)
The Hq & Hq Detachment donated 4500 pounds of rolled wheat, candy and
canned goods to the Bui Vinh refugee center.
The 68th Aviation Company evacuated or relocated 114 ARVN dependents
and refugees in the VO DAT, XUAN LOC area. 10,000 pounds of personal
belongings and foodstuffs were airlifted concurrently with the dependents
and refugees. Final coordination was made at Can Gio by representatives of
the 68th Aviation Company, in an effort to begin several projects in that
community.
The officers and men of the 74th Aviation Company distributed coolaide
to the children of the 5th ARVN Division Dependents School at Phu Loi. In
addition, coolaide, orange juice, candy and cookies were donated to the
HIET BINH XA School. Lt Ebert and Sp/4 Montey conducted a conversational
English Language Seminar for the faculty of the HIET BINH XA School.
The 118th Aviation Company evacuated twenty-five refugees from a 25th
Inf Div operational area. Armed elements medically evacuated five
Montagnards from a V.C. controlled area to HON QUAN. As a result of this
evacuation, intelligence was gained, and later the same day armed elements
made strikes based upon this intelligence. Here is another example of an
immediate pay-off of Civic Action efforts. Donations to the Bien Hoa
Orphanage this week consisted of a large amount of foodstuffs, assorted
toys, plastic baby bottles with nipples, and clothing for infants and
children. In addition, the following items were donated to the Catholic
Orphanage in TU DUC: Preserves and jellies, peanut butter, tooth paste and
brushes, and assorted children's clothing. Doctor Altomonte made his weekly
visit to the Leper Colony at TAN UYEN and treated twenty-five patients.
Doctor Altomonte also donated medical supplies to the Bien Hoa Orphanage in
an effort to improve the health and sanitation level. Sp/4 Amisano
continued his conversational English instruction each day this week to the
children of Cong Ly street and several Bien Hoa National Police.
A/501st Aviation Battalion was active in Refugee Assistance,
Transportation, Education, and Community Relations. On 6 April, airmobile
elements evacuated 125 refugees from near a the Cambodian border to Bien
Soi. The refugees, mostly women and children, had been rendered homeless by
a search and destroy operation. Transportation was also provided for the
Bien Hoa JUSPAO representative, Mr. Martin, in support of psychological
warfare. The officers and men made the following donations: 1500 pounds of
rice to the Catholic Orphanage, and 17,478 piasters to a private Bien Hoa
school for the purchase of school supplies. Conversational English classes
were conducted for members of the Bien Hoa National Police.

Horst K. Joost, Lt.
Colonel, Inf
Commanding

Commander's Combat Note: #17 16 April 1966
HELICOPTER TACTICS
1. On a recent operation of the 145th Avn Bn, over a period of five
days it became apparent that the VC in the area of Cu Chi were well trained
in anti-heliborne tactics. A large number of aircraft were hit and several
men were wounded. Most of the aircraft hit were either on low final
approach or had just taken off. The VC have an extensive tunnel system in
this area and are well dug in. They also have overhead cover and it is
difficult to detect them from the air. In one instance there were three cal
.50 MGs within a 6 KM radius in a triangular shape that opened fire on an
aircraft at 2500: and continued firing until the aircraft was over 5000:.
2. There are several sound principles which can be followed to reduce
the chance of an aircraft being hit. In areas like Cu Chi troop carrier
aircraft should never operate at less than 2500 ft. unless accompanied by
an armed escort. At low level an aviator's best defense is speed. On
approaches to the same LZ alter the approach from time to time.
3. The 197th Avn Co has twelve cardinal rules that apply to armed
aircraft. Most of them also apply to troop carriers. They are proven as
effective tactics.
1. Do not overfly the target.
2. Do not fly in the deadman zone without a reason (100'-1000').
3. Never fly the 180 degree wing position.
4. Always assume that the area is hot.
5. Always make a high reconnaissance.
6. Never fire until you have the friendly forces located.
7. Never fly parallel to terrain features.
8. Avoid firing over the heads of friendly troops.
9. Expend only when you have a worthwhile target.
10. Always know the situation.
11. Take your time.
12. Brief your elements to a man.
4. Commanders, remember, an aviator must be briefed on the tactical
situation and his mission to be effective. Detailed coordination with the
supported ground commander will help to clarify; the enemy situation. Use
all the protective measures avialable to you. If gunship escort will
increase the probability of mission accomplishment- use it.
Above all, avoid flying over known hostile position if you can
accomplish your mission.
"First In Vietnam"
Horst K. Joost, Lt
Colonel, Inf
Commanding

Commander's Combat Note #18 16 April 1966
SUMMARY OF OPERATIONS 8 APRIL THROUGH 14 APRIL 1966
On Easter Sunday the 145th Aviation Battalion , reinforced by elements
of the 11th Aviation Battalion, conducted an airmobile assault, employing
489 troops of MIKE FORCE, III (ARVN) Corps approximately 25 kilometers
South of Bien Hoa. The force was landed in three lifts. It was planned to
extract the force on the following day, however, at 1445 hours this
Battalion was alerted and responded to a rapid reaction request to extract
the force immediately. Aviation was recalled from other missions and
assembled for the extraction which was completed by 1905 hours.
On 11 April, the Battalion returned to the Cu Chi area to support the
25th (US) Division. A jolly time can always be expected when operating in
this area and we were not disappointed. Over 500 troops were employed in an
airmobile assault of four lifts ten miles northwest of Cu Chi. No artillery
or tactical air preparation was used on the landing zone due to the
proximity of a village. As the first elements approached, the gunships
marking and reconnoitering received moderate automatic weapons fire. The
gunships returned the fire, allowing the troop carriers to land. Light
enemy fire persisted throughout the assault with the result of four
aircraft being hit. The battalion's gunship continued to provide close in
fire support to the ground elements after the completion of the lift.
For the last two days of the period, the 145th Aviation Battalion
supported the 173rd Airborne Brigade in conducting eight airmobile assaults
and two extractions in the Song Be area.
The gunships of the 197th Aviation Company again added to the toll of
Viet Cong destruction. In one action, gunships responded to a call from an
Air Force forward air controller who spotted Viet Cong in the open near Duc
Hoa. The gunships engaged with a result of ten confirmed dead Viet Cong.
The company's total score for the week is three sampans destroyed and five
damage, five structures destroyed and three damaged, and ten confirmed Viet
Cong killed and six estimated killed.
The 74th Aviation Company flew 142 visual reconnaissance and 39 escort
missions during the period.
Task Force Sea wolf continued to operate from the U.S.S. Belle Grove in
support of Naval operations in the Rung Sat Special Zone. Their activities
consisted of giving area and aircraft orientation flights to river patrol
boat commanders, conducting daylight and night visual reconnaissance of the
river areas, conducting airstrikes against Viet Cong targets, and flying
cover for patrol boats. On two occasions Task Force Sea wolf was
instrumental in stopping Viet Cong attacks against friendly villages by
repeated firing runs against the besiegers. The total score for the Task
Force for this period is one sampan destroyed and two damaged, and two
confirmed Viet Cong killed and four estimated killed.
Operational statistics for the period are as follows:
Rotary Wing:
Total Sorties 4440
Total Flying Hours 1640
Passengers 6040
Fixed Wing:
Total Sorties: 393
Total Flying Hours 605
Training:
The airmobile companies of the Battalion are conducting in-country
orientation briefings and flights to aviators of the 25th (US) Aviation
Battalion.
Awards:
The following is a recapitulation of awards received:
8 April- 14 April Since 1 January 65
Distinguished Service Cross 0 2
Silver Star 0 15
Legion of Merit 1 3
Distinguished Flying Cross 2 120
Soldiers Medal 0 9
Bronze Star "Valor" 0 26
Bronze Star 1 95
Air Medal "Valor" 4 277*
Air Medal 0 9,486*
Army Commendation Medal "Valor" 0 50
Army Commendation Medal 8 286
Purple Heart 3 186
* It is worthy of note that these 9,763 Air Medals represent in excess
of 375,875 combat flying hours by members of this Battalion!!

SUMMARY OF CIVIC ACTIONS (8 April - 14 April
1966)
On 14 April, the HQ & HQ Detachment, 145th Aviation Battalion donated
3000$VN piasters to purchase school furniture for a self help construction
project in the Bui Vinh Parish. In the psy-war effort, thirty pounds of
reading material were placed in the community reading room.
The 68th Aviation Company was active in the area of transportation. On
12 April, an airmobile element medically evacuated a wounded child to Bien
Hoa Provincial Hospital for immediate attention. In addition, the company
evacuated or relocated 62 ARVN dependents and refugees and 2500 pounds of
personal belongings and foodstuffs in the course of normal missions.
In the area of Community Relations, the officers and men of the 74th
Aviation Company donated a case of fresh eggs to Regional Forces dependents
on Easter, 500 pounds of clothing collected by the Washington States
Highway Patrol to the Duc Hoa Refugee Center, and foodstuffs to an employee
with a recent death in his family. 5900$vn piasters were turned over to the
Phu Cuong orphanage for the purchase of supplies and materials.
The 118th Aviation Company made significant contributions in the civic
actions in support of 25th Division operations at Cu Chi. Airmobile
elements medically evacuated a total of 15 GVN civilians to medical
facilities at Trung Lap. In addition, approximately 50 refugees were
evacuated from search and destroy areas to the Cu Chi District Headquarters
for immediate refugee assistance. The officers and men donated over 1000
pounds of foodstuff, 9 boxes of assorted clothing and sanitation items to
the Bui Vinh Refugee Center, and the Bien Hoa Orphanage. Captain Cooper
personally donated 1200 pencils inscribed "From an American Soldier of the
118th Aviation Company", to the Bien Hoa and Bui Vinh School children in a
friendship gesture. Sp/4 Amisano conducted English classes for the
residents of Cong Ly Street. Doctor Altomonte treated approximately thirty
patients and local civilians during his weekly visit to the Tan Uyen Leper
Colony. Doctor Altomonte's effort at Tan Uyen were cited by the District
Chief as a major contribution in the pacification effort in this Viet Cong
influenced area.
The officers and men of the 197th Aviation Company donated 100 pounds
of clothing and health and sanitation items to the An Loc Orphanage on
Easter Sunday. An armed element of the company branched out in the
communications field when it dropped psy-war leaflets in the Run Sat
Special Zone at the request of the NHA BE District Chief.
This week, A/501st Aviation Battalion accepted limited sponsorship of
the Bui Hiep Refugee Center. In addition, 9 refugees were evacuated in the
Ham Tam area by airmobile elements on 11 April. Ten Bien Hoa National
police attended the weekly conversational English class conducted by
members of the unit.

HORST K. JOOST, Lt Colonel, Infantry
Commanding

Commander's Combat Note # 19 23 April 1966
SUMMARY OF OPERATIONS 15 APRIL THROUGH 21 APRIL 1966
Long in need of praise have been a number of aviation activities which
are not necessarily glamorous or receive much recognition but which are all
important to the mission accomplishment of the 145th Aviation Battalion.
The first of these is the support provided to us during each airmobile
operation by Captain Thurman, Operations Officer, 56th Transportation
Company, and his aircraft recovery crews. During this month alone he has
recovered three downed UH-1D aircraft out of hostile territory. Each
recovery has been performed under duress but with such efficiency that in
no instance did it interfere or detract from the airmobile mission. Our
highest praises to this unit.
Another unsung activity is the constant cover we receive from the 57th
Medical Detachment (Air Ambulance) during airmobile operations. They are
always overhead when needed. In a recent Battalion operation, one
helicopter ambulance received eight hits while evacuating wounded U.S.
Forces. They always come back for more.
Our own 74th Aviation Company is constantly aloft to provide radio
relay service, weather advisory, visual reconnaissance and air artillery
adjustments during airmobile operations. These aircraft spend many long
hours over the objective area. They are the first aircraft over the
objective area and usually the last to leave after the operation is
completed.
The next activity is that of our Battalion Pathfinder Detachment. This
Detachment is commanded by Lieutenant Grover D Westfall. It precedes the
troop carrier aircraft into the pick up site to organize and control troop
loading and aircraft landing for pickup. During an extraction, these
personnel depart the extraction zone after the last ground elements are
airborne.
The 145th Aviation Battalion supports the III (ARVN) Corps with
helicopters on a daily basis. Every company in the Battalion receives a
turn at this duty. In the performance of this duty aircraft are dispatched
throughout the III Corps area, and engage in a variety of missions. Locally
we brand these as "Pigs and Rice" missions, the name being derived from the
requirement to frequently haul these commodities. These missions are
administrative and tactical in nature. An example of some administrative
support: This Sunday a helicopter was used to lift Post Exchange supplies
and operate as an airmobile PX to fourteen extremely isolated post which
are inaccessible by road in the III Corps area. Religious service are
conducted in this manner to isolated posts. Daily mail and courier flights
are made to all posts in the three division tactical areas. Helicopters are
used to resupply the ARVN forces located on a number of high pinnacles in
the Corps area. These outposts exist only by helicopter resupply. Popular
forces personnel and occasionally their dependents and belongings are
transported to new locations. A helicopter pilot flying these missions
cannot allow himself to become shook about what he may see being loaded in
his aircraft. Other administrative tasks are to transport advisors to these
remote outposts, the only contact they have with the forces at these
locations.
The tactical mission for the Corps consist of providing armed
helicopter fire teams daily to each of the three ARVN divisions. These
teams are used to conduct strikes against Viet Cong locations, provide
escort for road convoys and aerial reconnaissance. Psychological warfare
loudspeaker missions are flown by troop carrier helicopters, supported by a
fire team. These missions can always be counted on to prompt a reaction by
fire from the Viet Cong. Another tactical mission is the delivery by
helicopter of Recondo Teams. This week, three Recondo Teams were employed
by this Battalion into Viet Cong suspect areas. Gunships cover these
deliveries.
Daylight and night reconnaissance is made around the Bien Hoa Air Base
complex by a fire team. The senior advisor of the Dong Nai area credits
this continuous surveillance as a major contributing factor to the security
from Viet Cong attack that the Air Base has enjoyed.
Now for the airmobile operations conducted this week.
On 15 April, Company A/501st Aviation Battalion supported the 173rd
Airborne Brigade by conducting two airmobile assaults and four extractions.
A total of 425 troops were lifted in twelve lifts. Enemy ground fire was
received in the landing zone.
On 16 April, the 68th Aviation Company, supported the 2d Brigade, 25th
(US) Division by airlifting 126 troops in two airmobile assaults, northwest
of Cu Chi.
Company A/501st, continued to, support the 173rd Airborne Brigade, by
conducting six airmobile assaults with 333 troops of the First Royal
Australian Regiment in the vicinity of Song Be.
On 17 April, A/501st supported the 173d Airborne Brigade by conducting
five airmobile assaults and one extraction in the vicinity of Song Be. A
total of 367 troops were lifted.
The 145th Aviation Battalion conducted an airmobile operation on 18
April for the 25th (ARVN) Division, ten kilometers Northwest of Tan An.
This operation demonstrated some problems in coordination and control when
an unscheduled, unannounced and uncontrolled air strike with White
Phospherous ordnance struck the landing zone immediately prior to the time
of the troop landing. Aircraft were diverted for forty-five minutes until
the smoke in the landing zone dissipated. A total of 510 troops than
assaulted four landing zones. During this operation, armed helicopters of
the 68th Aviation Company engaged a squad of Viet Cong with a result of
three kills estimated.
Company A/501st again supported the 173d Airborne Brigade on 18 April,
by conducting ten combat assaults with 563 troops in the Song Be area.
On 20 April, the 145th Aviation Battalion Supported III (ARVN) Corps
CIDG Forces by airlifting 570 troops in four air assaults out of Song Be to
two landing zone thirty kilometers east of Song Be. One highlight of the
assault was the first employment of the XM-31 20mm cannon sub-system in a
combat operation. The System is currently being tested by the 197th
Aviation Company (Armed). It consists of 2 - 20mm cannons which are
flexible in elevation, mounted on each side of the UH-1B helicopter. This
weapon system was used for the helicopter prestrike of the wooded areas
surrounding the landing zone. The assault was uncontested.
Also on 20 April 1966, the 118th Aviation Company supported the Capitol
Military Region by conducting an airmobile assault with 100 troops ten
miles southwest of Saigon. Later in the day this force was extracted.
On 21 April, the 68th Action company departed for Vinh Long to
reinforce the 13th Aviation Battalion in support of the IV Corps (ARVN) for
a three day period.
The activities of the 197th Aviation Company while operating on
separate gunship missions account for seven Viet Cong estimated KIA, four
Sampans sunk and two damaged, seven structures destroyed.
The 74th Aviation Company (FW) performed the following tasks during the
period:
Visual Reconnaissance 102
Escort Missions 76
Photo Missions 2
Operation Sea Wolf moved into Phase II this week by assembling armed
helicopters and additional crew and support personnel to outfit another
naval vessel. Personnel are undergoing training to land on LST decks at
this time. Also the U.S.S. Belle Grove is being replaced with another LSD.
This Battalion received a message this week from Commander and Captain of
the U.S.S. Belle Grove Naval Task Force 116 which praised the Sea Wolf
Operation. An extract follows:..." In addition we must doff our hats to the
highly capable Army helo pilots who so rapidly integrated into their fire
support role and who so admirably carried out their assignments. Their
quick adjustment without any hitch to night and day flying from our helo
and super decks was testimony to their outstanding professional competence.
Shipmated in every sense of the word their presence will be sorely missed.
However we depart secure in the knowledge that fire team support of the
river forces will be in the best of hands. Please convey to USMACV and the
Commanding Officer 145th Aviation Battalion our "well done" to Captain
Brofer and his fine crews for a truly superlative performance."
Operational statistics for the week are as follows:
Rotary Wing :
Total Sorties 4332
Total Flying Hours 1480
Personnel Lifted 5803
Fixed Wing:
Total Sorties 402
Total Flying Hours 538
Personnel of the 25th Aviation Battalion continued with their
in-country flight training.
Awards received by the Battalion this week:
Distinguished Flying Cross 1
Bronze Star "Valor" 1
Air Medal "Valor 8
Air Medal 166
Army Commendation MS 4
Purple Heart 1
At a brief ceremony on 19 April 1966, in Bien Hoa, Honour-Smith
Compound was dedicated in memory of Lt. Colonel Charles M. Honour Jr.,
formerly Battalion Commander of the 145th Aviation Battalion, and Captain
Albert M. Smith Jr, formerly Battalion Assistant Adjutant.
After Chaplain (Major) Hugh N. Barnes conducted a short memorial
service, Brigadier General Robert T. Knowles, Chief of Staff II Field
Forces V, and Lt. Colonel Horst K. Joost, Commanding Officer of the 145th
Aviation Battalion, unveiled a large sign at the gate of Honour-Smith
Compound. Honour-Smith Compound, previously known as Cong-Ly Complex,
Houses parts of three separate units, II Field Forces V, the 145th Aviation
Battalion, and 232d Signal Company.

SUMMARY OF CIVIC ACTIONS (15 April - 21 April
1966)
The Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment donated soap to the nearby
Refugee Village School.
The 68th Aviation Company re-located 12 refugees, 23 ARVN dependents,
and 2600 pounds of personal belongings. A company delegation was sent to
the fishing village of Can Gio. The party took along a donation of soap,
toothpaste, clothes, toilet articles, school supplies, and miscellaneous
items which were obtained by Captain Gore from the American Legion in his
home town. Four enlisted members have volunteered to teach English classes
and a medical aid program is being planned.
The 74th Aviation Company continued its activities started last week.
English classes were taught to children in Phu Cuong. Volunteers aided a
Regional Forces Platoon in construction of new living quarters in Phu
Cuong. Officers and men donated more condensed milk, fresh milk, canned
hams, and orange juice to local school to supplement the children's diet.
The 118th Aviation Company was active in many areas of civil affairs.
Fifty pounds of clothing was gathered and donated by the Officers and
Enlisted men of the 118th Aviation Company and distributed to the refugee
center at Binh Vinh. Captain Glen R. Weber donated Vietnamese ice cream
cones to the local children at Hung Trung Province while on a joint service
operation on 19 April 66. These children were combat refugees and were
greatly taken by this act. Sp/4 Amisano conducted conversational English
classes for the eight straight week on Cong-Ly Street. His classes now
range to 25 students or more counting the Bien Hoa National Police
attending. The Officers of the 118th Aviation Company, contributed
donations to the Bien Hoa Orphanage of the following items: Blankets,
towels, infant playsuits, toys, soap, tooth paste, talcum powder, tooth
brushes, hair brushes, combs, boxes of clothes, adhesive tape, childrens
shampoo, boxes of crayons, coloring books, surgical soap, infant shoes, and
assorted childrens clothing and a good supply of food stuff. The Company
also made donations of food stuffs and clothing to the Tu Duc Orphanage.
Doctor Altomonte made his weekly visit to the Tan Uyen Leper Colony and
treated twenty patients and local civilians.
THe 197th Aviation Company provided additional support to the An Loc
Orphanage in Saigon by donating 1000 pounds of rice and a case of One-a-day
Vitamins.
A/501st Aviation Battalion's Officers donated 6,785$VN piasters to
purchase school furniture for a self help project at Bui Vinh Refugee
Center. Three volunteers conducted a two hour conversational English class
for forty residents of Tam Hiep. This was followed by another class on 21
April 66 for approximately fifty residents. Six bags of cement and several
types of school supplies were donated to Tam Hiep. A USAF Lieutenant was
transported to Due Tu for coordination with the District Chief in making a
short film about refugees. A new project was begun by making initial
contact with Due Tu Sub-Sector Chief and Tam Hiep Hamlet Chief.
Horst K. Joost Lt. Colonel, Infantry
Commanding

Commander's Combat Note #21 30 April 1966
SUMMARY OF OPERATIONS 22 APRIL THROUGH 28 APRIL 1966
This week I wish to praise the outstanding work performed by our
maintenance detachments which have month after month kept the aircraft of
this Battalion flying several thousand hours over the program. These units
are the 391st Transportation Detachments, supporting the 68th Aviation
Company; the 563d Transportation Detachment, supporting the 74th Aviation
Company; The 573d Transportation Detachment, supporting the 118th Aviation
Company;The 571st Transportation Detachment, supporting the 197th Aviation
Company; and the 151st Transportation Detachment, supporting A/501st
Aviation Battalion.
During the period the 145th Aviation Battalion conducted one airmobile
operation involving all companies of the Battalion. The other operation
consisted of companies of this Battalion reinforcing other aviation units,
companies operating independently to support ground combat units, and daily
III (ARVN) Corps support. The 197th Aviation Company continued to conduct
numerous Lighting Bug and other aerial fire support missions, while the
74th Aviation Company provided fixed wing support to U.S. and ARVN Forces
in the III Corp area. Operation Sea Wolf continued to strike at the Viet
Cong in the Rung Sat Special Zone.
Company A/501st continued their supporting of the 173d Airborne Brigade
in the Song Be Area on 22 April, by conducting an assault and a subsequent
extraction with 476 troopers.
On 23 April, the 68th Aviation Company returned from the IV Corps Area,
where they supported the 21st (ARVN) Division for two days. During that
time they conducted seven combat assaults and one extraction in the Vi
Thanh area. Two aircraft were hit by enemy fire.
This was a busy day for the 118th Aviation Company, conducting two
airmobile operations for III (ARVN) Corps. The first operation consisted of
airlifting two CIDG Companies, one from Bien Hoa and the other from Dong
Xoai to an area thirty kilometers east of Song Be. Also lifted were 90 CIDG
dependents. The second operation was initiated by the company when they
responded to the requirement to relocate the 9th (ARVN) Regiment to Song
Be. In ten lifts the company relocated 1150 troops, the last portion being
conducted during the hours of darkness.
The 68th Aviation Company and Company A/501st supported the 1st (US)
Infantry Division's operation BIRMINGHAM on 24 April. These companies
airlifted 549 troops in five airmobile assaults northwest of Tay Ninh.
Enemy ground fire accounted for four aircraft being hit.
The 118th Aviation Company responded to a rapid reaction to support the
Capital Military Region by extracting 120 ARVN troops from a site 10
kilometers east of Saigon. In order to respond to this mission it was
necessary to recall the aircraft of company from a variety of tasks
locations within the III Corps area. From alert to mission accomplishment
one hour and forty minutes elapsed.
On 26 April, ten armed helicopters of the Battalion flew in support of
MACV directed missions. Company A/501st supported the 25th (ARVN) Division
by airlifting 96 ranger troops in two combat assaults in the vicinity of
Duc Hoa.
On 28 April, the 145th Aviation Battalion supported III (ARVN) Corps'
portion of operation BIRMINGHAM, BY AIRLIFTING 1406 troops of the Airborne
(ARVN) Division in four combat assaults thirty kilometers north of Tay
Ninh. In a subsequent action, 280 ARVN Rangers were airlifted in one combat
assault north of Tay Ninh.
The armed helicopters of the 197th Aviation Company accounted for five
sampans sunk and one damaged.
The 74th Aviation Company conducted the following fixed wing missions
for the period:
Visual Reconnaissance 85
Escort Missions 77
Radio Relay 16
Artillery Adjustment 86
Forward Air Control 4
Command Liaison 70
Command Staff Liaison 7
The activities of Task Force Sea Wolf for the past two weeks consisted
of flying armed aircraft support for river patrol boats in the Rung Sat
Special Zone supporting the Nha Be (Headquarters) and Soi Rap-Long Than
River Areas. The armed helicopters operate from two naval vessels at this
time; they are the LSD Tortuga and the LST Floyd County. The armed aircraft
flew a total of 82 hours for the two week period accounting for an
estimated 10 Viet Cong killed and two sampans destroyed. On 26 April, the
U.S.S. Tortuga was visited by General Westmoreland, COMNAVFORC, at which
time they were able to witness the armed helicopters in action.
The operational statistics for the Battalion are as follow:
Rotary Wing
Total Sorties 4723
Total Flying Hours 1688
Total Passengers 6263
Fixed Wing
Total Sorties 400
Total Flying Hours 585
Training
Training in the conduct of night airmobile operations on platoon and
company level progressed as operational committments permitted.
The awards received by members of this Battalion this week are as
follows:
Air Medal for Valor 11
Air Medal 144
Purple Heart 8
This week this Battalion was awarded its 10,000th Air Medal since
January 1965. The 10,000th Air Medal was awarded to Specialist E-5 James
Bryant, (Crewchief) Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 145th
Aviation Battalion.
CIVIC ACTION (22 April - 28 April 1966)
This Battalion should be proud of the dynamic civic action program that
it is promoting. Many worthwhile and lasting contributions are made that
are vivid demonstrations of the motives of the United States Forces in
Vietnam. Each unit of this Battalion feels a responsibility for segment of
Vietnamese Life and each active participant obtains personal satisfaction
that he is doing just a little more than he was expected to do. In
transacting all civic action projects through GVN province officials we are
assured that the need for assistance is valid and it strengthens the tie of
the people to the government. We are thankful for the generous assistance
that we have received from a number of wives, families, and organizations
in the United States in the form of contributions. I am certain that their
efforts are well rewarded by observing the expression of gratitude in the
face of a bare-cheeked-behind, Vietnamese youngster receiving a good set of
clothes.
On 26 April the Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 145th
Aviation Battalion donated 2715$VN piasters to purchase school furniture
for the self help construction project at Bui Vinh. In addition, a water
truck with driver supported the school construction project for three days.
Thirty pounds of clothing received from supporters in the United States
were distributed to sixty refugee families in Bui Vinh. Chaplin Barnes
distributed approximately 400 pounds of foodstuffs and sanitation items at
the Don Bosco school in Saigon.
The 68th Aviation Company was active in the area of transportation.
During the week, airmobile elements evacuated and relocated 86 refugees and
ARVN dependents and 5000 pounds of foodstuff and household goods.
The Officers and men of the 74th Aviation Company donated approximately
300 pounds of foodstuffs to the 5th ARVN Division dependents. In addition,
the officers donated 3 cases of soap to the children at Thu Dan Mot through
the local GVN official. Members of the 4th Platoon accomplished an
emergency medical evacuation of a refugee mother and daughter to the Phu
Cuong Hospital.
The 118th Aviation Company donated foodstuff, clothing and sanitation
items to the orphanage, evacuated refugees at Song Ben and was active in
the Health & Sanitation, and Education fields. The officers and men donated
2000 pounds of foodstuffs, and 200 pounds of clothing, cleaning products
and medical supplies to the Bien Hoa Orphanage. Sp-4 Amisano conducted
conversational English classes for residents of Cong Ly Street. Airmobile
elements evacuated 37 refugees on two separate occasions from search and
destroy areas to refugee centers at Song Be and Duc Hoa. Doctor Altomonte
treated approximately 25 patients on his weekly visit to the Tan Uyen Leper
Colony.
The 197th Aviation Company continued its support to the An Loc
Orphanage. Thirty pounds of clothing received from supporters in the United
States, and two cases of soap were donated to the orphanage. Sp-5 Geary, a
medic, gave on the spot medical aid to include a tetanus shot to a
Vietnamese National who had stepped on a nail. The officers assisted the
orphanage in obtaining water during this critical period by providing a
pump and an operator to fill the water reservoir at the orphanage.
A/501st Aviation Battalion accomplished a variety of task in their
support of Bui Heip refugee center. At the request of the Chief, a truck
was provided to transport building material for the self-help school
project. Conversational English classes were conducted on the 25th and 28th
and as a result of the interest generated, classes will be given four days
per week starting 2 May. In addition, airmobile elements evacuated a total
of 50 refugees from a search and destroy area west of Tay Ninh.
Horst K. Joost Lt. Col Inf
Commanding

Commander's Combat Note #22 8 May 1966
SUMMARY OF OPERATIONS 29 APRIL THROUGH 5 MAY 1966
This week the 145th Aviation Battalion provided combat aviation
support to every major U.S. and ARVN unit located in the III Corps area.
On 29 April, the 118th Aviation Company supported the 1st Infantry
Division by airlifting 460 troops in seven combat assaults in the vicinity
of Tay Ninh.
The 68th Aviation Company supported the 25th (ARVN) Division by
airlifting 210 troops and 15 tons of cargo.
On 30 April, the 145th Aviation Battalion supported III (ARVN) Corps
with one airmobile company, the 25th (US) Division with three airmobile
companies, and MACV with fifteen armed helicopters. During the operation of
these armed helicopters in the Rung Sat Special Zone, a light fire team
received enemy fire and retaliated with a strike which resulted in
destroying five sampans and damaging one, and killing two Viet Cong. Cargo
on sampans destroyed was observed to be web equipment and steel helmets.
On 1 May, the 118th Aviation Company again supported the 1st U.S.
Division by extracting 190 troops from a location 30 kilometers north of
Tay Ninh. The extraction was contested by the enemy.
In the same general area, the 68th Aviation Company supported the 25th
(ARVN) Division by repositioning troops and supplies.
The 197th Aviation Company, performing a mission in the Rung Sat
Special Zone, sank two sampans, destroyed one Viet Cong structure and
damaged four others. Operating for the 5th (ARVN) Division, another light
fire team of the company destroyed 25 Viet Cong structures which resulted
in achieving large secondary explosions. During this strike the fire team
leader overheard a radio transmission from Special Forces troops operating
in the vicinity, stating that their supply of food, water and ammunition
was exhausted. The team leader having finished his assigned mission,
diverted his gunship to haul 3000 pounds of supplies to this force.
Results: Another aviation mission accomplished, and a ground combat element
rendered combat effective. On 2 May 66, the 118th Aviation Company again
operated in the Tay Ninh area in support of the 1st (US) Infantry Division
by extracting 390 troops in six lifts. Enemy small arms fire was
encountered during the extraction.
The 68th Aviation Company supported the 25th (ARVN) Division in the Tay
Minh area, by repositioning 164 Troops and 23 tons of cargo.
On 3 May, the 145th Aviation Battalion employed one aviation company in
support of the III (ARVN) Corps administrative and supply missions, one
company in support of the 25th (ARVN) Division, and one company in support
of the 25th (US) Division.
The largest operation of the week was conducted on 4 May, when the
Battalion, reinforced by Company A/82 Aviation Battalion supported the
173rd Airborne Brigade in the conduct of an airmobile assault in the War
Zone D, northwest of Tan Uyen. Two airborne infantry battalions of 1382
troops assaulted three landing zones in seven lifts. Although all three
LZ's were heavily prepared by artillery, tactical air and armed helicopters
prior to the landing, enemy small arms fire was received during the assault
landing.
On 5 May, two airmobile companies supported III (ARVN) Corps missions,
and one company remained on alert to support the tactical needs of the 173d
Airborne Brigade.
The 197th Aviation Company had a full day by providing five light fire
teams and one heavy fire to support MACV requirements, and one light fire
team in support of the 10th (ARVN) Division.
During the week, Company A/501st Aviation Battalion provided the bulk
of the III (ARVN) Corps administrative and supply support.
The scoreboard of damage inflicted on the enemy this week by the 197th
Aviation Company shows: fourteen sampans destroyed and three damaged;
twenty six structures destroyed and four damaged; and five Viet Cong killed
by air.
Certain damage was inflicted on the enemy from the gunship of other
companies and from the offensive fire technique during assault landings,
however, the extent of this damage cannot be verified.
The 74th Aviation Company (fixed wing) missions performed during the
week were:
Visual Reconnaissance 38
Escort 23
Radio Relay 3
Artillery Adjustment 43
Forward Air Control 2
Command Support Liaison 3
Command Liaison 45
Combat Observation 20

OPERATION SEA WOLF
Captain Charles R. Williams has replaced Captain Brofer as Commander of
Task Force Sea Wolf. Captain Brofer will be leaving soon on rotation. I
wish to commend him for his outstanding effort in organizing the Task Force
and creating an effective combat aviation unit that is providing aerial
fire support for the U.S. Navy.
The operations of the Task Force this week in the Rung Sat Special Zone
consisted of providing aerial reconnaissance, medical evacuation, overhead
cover for naval swift boats, strikes against Viet Cong concentrations,
sampans and installations.
The scoreboard for the week is:
Possible Viet Cong KIA 18
Sampans Destroyed 2
Structures Destroyed 2
Structures Damaged 2
The operational statistics for aircraft performance for the Battalion
this week are as follows:
Rotary Wing
Total Sorties 3705
Total Flying Hours 1128
Total Passengers 3896
Fixed Wing
Total Sorties 193
Total Flying Hours 280
Training
Training in the firing of the 20mm weapons system continues. the 197th
Aviation Company is training in conjunction with Air Force forward air
controllers in the use of night vision devices for detecting targets and
developing techniques and procedures for engaging targets at night. The
Battalion Pathfinder Detachment is training with the glide slope device to
develop techniques aimed at improving the Battalion's capabilities to
conduct night airmobile assaults.
The total flying hours for the units of this Battalion for the month of
April are as follows:
68th Aviation Company 1948
118th Aviation Company 2167
197th Aviation Company 1573
A/501st Aviation Battalion 1595
74th Aviation Company 2540
-----
9823
It is of interest to note this total represents 2153 hours flown over
the program.
Awards and Decorations:
The highlights of the awards and decorations received this week were
sixteen Vietnamese Crosses of Gallantry which were presented by Major
General Lulan, Commanding General of the 10th (ARVN) Division, to members
of the 197th Aviation Company. Eight of the medals were with Silver Star,
and eight with Bronze Star devices. The awards were presented for the
actions of two light fire teams on 22 February 1966, conducting repeated
strikes against the enemy in support of ARVN ground operations near
Tanh-Linh, Bin-Tuy Province.
Special recognition is given this week to all the signal detachments of
this Battalion. Communications are the life blood of airmobile operations
and all aviation activity. The avionics maintenance personnel are a vital
cog in ability for each unit to function effectively. Each of these units
has performed with exceptional distinction:
282nd Signal Detachment
320th Signal Detachment
198th Signal Detachment
94th Signal Detachment
Keep up the good work.

CIVIC ACTION (29 April - 5 May 1966)
On 5 May the Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 145th Aviation
Battalion donated 2,000$VN piasters to provide elementary school fees for
approximately sixty (60) refugee children for the month of May. In
addition, transportation was provided for the Duc Tu District Vietnamese
Information Service Representative who visited an outlying area for the
purpose of psychological warfare activities and to deliver 400 pounds of
relief supplies.
The officers and men of the 68th Aviation Company donated clothing,
soap, and school supplies to Can Gio. Airmobile elements of the company
evacuated 40 refugees and ARVN dependents, and airlifted 1500 pounds of
personal belongings and foodstuffs on two separate operations. The 74th
Aviation Company gave two baskets of flowers for a memorial service to the
Phu Cuong hospital. The officers and men donated 220 pounds of foodstuffs
to the widows of the 5th ARVN Division Dependents and 500 pounds to the Phu
Cuong Orphanage.
The officers and men of the 118th Aviation Company donated 600 pounds
of foodstuff and a variety of childrens' clothing (200) pounds to the Bien
Hoa Orphanage. While on an operational mission with the 1st Infantry
Division, the company mess fed 100 children A rations for a two day period.
The children had been displaced as a result of search and destroy
operations and were waiting relocating assistance. Doctor Altomonte treated
25 patients at the Tan Uyen Leper Colony. In addition, two officers
accompanied Doctor Altomonte on his visit and distributed food and clothing
to the patients. Ap/4 Amisano initiated another class of conversational
English for the residents of Cong-Ly Street. Airmobile elements evacuated
25 refugees and 2100 pounds of personal belongings from an outlying area to
Xuan Loc. USOM Relief were also airlifted from Duc Hoa to the Cu Chi area
for refugee assistance.
The 197th Aviation Company continued their support of the An Lac
Orphanage in Saigon and expanded their program to include the An Lac
Orphanage Farm in Bien Hoa Province. 700 pounds of foodstuff were donated
to the farm, and 4500$VN piasters were donated to the orphanage in Saigon.
A water pump and operator were provided to the An Lac farm which pumped
over 3000 gallons of water to allow showers and other hygiene measures, the
first in several months. Doctor Balette initiated medical program
assistance for 583 Nationals. Accompanied by two Air Force doctors he drove
to Vinh Long, where they explained and treated over 200 Vietnamese of all
ages. On 1 May Doctor Balette examined each child at the An Lac farm. On 3
May he returned with two nurses from the 93rd Evacuation Hospital and
treated 183 children. On 4 May Doctor Balette spent the afternoon at An Lac
orphanage in Saigon where he treated over 200 children.
A/501st Aviation Battalion conducted four (4) two (2) hour
conversational English classes for the residents of Bui Hiep. The class
consisted of approximately fifty (50) students each. Airmobile elements
evacuated 28 refugees from operational areas.

Horst K. Joost Lt. Colonel, Infantry
Commanding

Commander's Combat Note # 23 15 May 1966
SUMMARY OF OPERATIONS 6 MAY THROUGH 12 MAY 1966
Operations
The largest scale airmobile operation conducted by the 145 Aviation
Battalion this week occurred on 6 May, when 1350 troops of the 173d
Airborne Brigade were extracted from War Zone D. Four airmobile companies
were employed in seven lifts to extract the ground elements. Moderate small
arms was received during the first and second lifts resulting in several
aircraft being hit. Suppressive fire by armed helicopters on enemy fire,
prior to the third lift, significantly decreased enemy activity and no
further hits were sustained.
For the remainder of the week, Company A/501st Aviation Battalion
provided support to the 1st (US) Infantry Division for three days, and the
68th Aviation Company for two days.The 118th Aviation Company supported the
25th (US) Infantry Division on 12 May, By airlifting 238 troops in two
combat assaults and two extractions, southwest of Trang Bang. All companies
of the Battalion provided aviation support for the units of III (ARVN)
Corps during the week. The 118th Aviation Company provided the largest
share of this support.
The 118th Aviation Company was called upon to fly loud speaker
psychological warfare missions. This mission involves the use of a UH-1D
equipped with a battery of loudspeakers externally mounted. Controlled by a
member of the advisory team of the Psywar Section III Corps (ARVN),
prerecorded tapes or in some instances a captured Viet Cong will broadcast
appeals to surrender. Often leaflets are dropped to supplement the
information broadcast over the loud speakers.
A light team accompanies this mission as escort as a matter of standard
operating procedures. Quite often the recipient of the propaganda
broadcasts are inclined to answer with bullets.
The 197th Aviation Company scored one sampan sunk and one Viet Cong
killed during the period. Other activities of the company consisted of
effectively suppressing enemy automatic weapons fire directed against a
Psy-war aircraft, and other armed helicopter strikes at the request of
ground elements. Two light teams of the company performed a dramatic rescue
of eleven survivors of a CH-47 crash 22 miles southeast of Saigon. This act
required that rockets be jettisoned in order to lighten the load, landing
in an extremely confined and non-secured area, which demanded the utmost in
pilot skills.
The 74th Aviation Company performed the following tasks:
Visual Reconnaissance 97
Forward Air Control 4
Escort Missions 56
Flare Missions 2
Task Force Sea Wolf continued to operate from naval vessels in support
of the U.S.Navy in the Rung Sat Special Zone. They provided overhead cover
for the extraction of a SEAL team which came under enemy fire. Two firing
passes suppressed the enemy fire. One fire team reacted to providing aerial
weapons fire on an estimated Viet Cong squad attacking a hamlet. The attack
was stopped and an estimated six Viet Cong were killed by the aerial fire
support. In another action a fire team struck a preplanned target and
located a Viet Cong campsite which was struck. The results, 10 possible
Viet Cong killed by air.
The U.S. Tortuga steamed out of Vung Tau and operated to the south
during the period. A "first" was achieved by Lieutenant Reed, when he
landed his helicopter while the ship was underway at night during marginal
weather after returning from a mission. The vessel had to be located by Lt.
Reed by use of the low frequency homer. Task Force Sea Wolf also provided
overhead cover for the evacuation of personnel from the crashed CH-47
mentioned above. On one occasion a fire team provided overhead cover for an
ARVN ground operation west of Con Gio. For the period, Task Force Sea Wolf
estimates 20 Viet Cong killed as a result of their air action.
The operational statistics for the week are as follows:
Rotary Wing
Total Sorties Flown 4155
Total Flying Hours 1549
Total Passengers 4512
Fixed Wing
Total Sorties Flown 338
Total Flying Hours 481
Training
The 20mm system is being rotated among the companies of the Battalion
in order that all armed helicopter personnel receive instruction in the
system. The personnel of the Pathfinder Detachments are training with a
Portable Non-Directional beacon, and Glide Slope receiver equipment for
night operations. The 68th Aviation Company is preparing to train the 5th
Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, in the conduct of airmobile
operations, which will commence 14 May 1966.
Aviation Safety
I am pleased to note that so far this month the Battalion has not
experienced a single recordable aircraft accident. This I feel reflects
highly on the attitude and professionalism of all the aviators in the
Battalion. Keep up the good work and we shall continue to remain "First in
Vietnam".
On the 11th of May 1966 while preforming armed convoy escort a UH-1B
piloted by WO's Reeves and Nisson of the 197th Avn Co. received damage from
enemy automatic weapons. Displaying the utmost in professionalism and
calmness Wo's Reeves and Nisson piloted their crippled aircraft, which was
on fire to a friendly position and executed a force landing sustaining no
further damage to their aircraft. This outstanding achievment by WO's
Reeves and Nisson saved a UH-1B from total destruction. Well Done!
Awards and Decorations
The following awards were received by members of this Battalion, during
the week:
Bronze Star"Meritorious Service" 6
Air Medal "Valor" 1
Air Medal 323
Army Commendation "Meritorious Service" 4
Purple Heart 2
The following promotions were received during the week:
Captain to Major 1
Lt to Capt 3
E-6 to E-7 1
E-3 to E-4 14
E-2 to E-3 12
This week I want to commend the men of the Medical Section of the 145th
Aviation Battalion. They perform daily in caring for routine sick call. In
life and limb. We now have a new Battalion Surgeon, Capt Quinnon R. Purvis.
The three supporting medical detachments and their commanders are:
93rd Med Det, Bien Hoa, Capt Joe Altomonte
430th Med Det, Vung Tau, Capt John Quakenbush
774th Med Det, Bien Hoa, Capt Julio Balette
SUMMARY OF CIVIC ACTIONS (6 May - 12 May 1966)
On 10 May the officers and men of Headquarters and Headquarters
Detachment 145th Aviation Battalion donated 2500$VN piasters to Bui Vinh
for the purchase of additional school furniture for the self-help
construction projects. Five hundred and fifty school kits were obtained
from USAID to be distributed on 14 May at the dedication ceremony. Fifty
kits were made up from Battalion resources making a total of six hundred
kits, one for each child enrolled. Chaplain Barnes distributed seven
hundred pounds of foodstuff to the Don Bosco Boys School and fifty pounds
of school supplies were donated to the Bui Vinh Elementary School.
Airmobile elements of the 68th Aviation Company evacuated and
relocated a total of 77 refugees and ARVN dependents during the week, along
with airlifting 3500 pounds of personal belongings. Sp/5 Gibbs conducted
three Conversational English classes for 35 nationals at the Vietnamese -
American Cultural Center in Vung Tau. The officers and men of the 68th
Aviation Company and members of the Sea Wolf project donated 2 cases of
soap, toothpaste and candy on a visit to the refugee village of Can Gio.
The 74th Aviation Company distributed 1000 pounds of foodstuffs to the
5th ARVN Division widows and orphans. The Phu Cuong elementary school
construction fund received a donation of 2500$VN piasters from the officers
and men of the 74th Aviation Company.
The officers and men of the 118th Aviation Company donated
approximately 1700 pounds of foodstuffs to the Bien Hoa orphanage and the
Bui Vinh Refugee Center. In addition, assorted clothing, toys and items for
personal hygiene were donated to both locations. two hundred pounds of
school supplies including a dozen mechanical pencil sharpeners, paper and
pencils were donated to the orphanage elementary school. Doctor Altomonte
treated twenty patients on his weekly visit to the Leper Colony and
Sergeant Summers from the 93rd Medical Detachment gave emergency treatment,
including immunization, to two Vietnamese Nationals with severe cuts.
Airmobile elements evacuated and relocated 15 refugees from Ham Tam to Xuan
Loc and airlifted approximately two hundred pounds of personal belongings.
The officers and men of the 197th Aviation Company provided 5000
gallons of water to the An Lac Orphanage farm where water continues to be
in critical supply. Sp/5 Willingham organized Conversational English
classes two nights a week for the children and staff at the orphanage in
Saigon. Fifty pounds of clothing received by Captain Brofer from the V.F.W.
in his home town were donated to the orphanage. Doctor Balette held sick
call at the orphanage in Saigon and the farm and treated 198 children. In
addition, 213 children at the farm received piperazine treatment (worm
treatment). SFC Jones, the unit mess sergeant, prepared four cakes and Sp/4
Tillis donated 100 packs of gum in an effort to make the operation a
success. Doctor Balette's efforts at the farm are already influencing the
surrounding community. Local villagers are also attending sick call.
The officers and men of A/501st Aviation Battalion initiated a school
fees program for orphans, refugee children and children whose parents are
unable to work in Bui Hiep. 3000$VN piasters were donated to provide school
fees for 100 children for the month of May. For Conversational English
classes with approximately 40 in attendance were conducted for residents of
Bui Hiep. Air elements evacuated twenty-five refugees and personal
belongings from a search and destroy area near Ba Ria. Transportation was
provided for the Bien Hoa Province Chief and five members of the Provincial
Staff for the purpose of coordination visits to the sub-sectors.
Horst K Joost, Lt. Col. Inf.
Commanding

Commander's Combat Note # 24 21 May 1966
SUMMARY OF OPERATIONS 13 MAY THROUGH 19 MAY 1966
Anyone who is not intimately familiar with the functions of an Army
Aviation Battalion is always awed when he learns of the diversified
activity of such a unit. The various missions that were accomplished by the
Battalion during the week are excellent examples of this unique capability.
It is a tribute to all members of this Battalion that they accept each new
task as a personal challenge. This attitude seeks to accomplish each
mission better than before. The high professional reputation that this
Battalion enjoys can be attributed to this enthusiasm.
This week found the 145th Aviation Battalion conducting nine separate
airmobile operations in support of the 1st (US) Infantry Division, the 25th
(US) Infantry Division, and the 173d Airborne Brigade. Each day, III (ARVN)
Corps units were supported with at least one airmobile company and armed
helicopter fire teams.
The highlights of activities began on 13 May, with Company A/501st
Aviation Battalion, airlifting 613 troops of the 1st (US) Infantry
Division, in 11 combat assaults from Dau Tieng to a landing zone to the
southwest. This company remained to provide aviation support for the
Division, and conducted another air assault on 15 May, with 394 troops in
an area northwest of Ben Cat.
The Battalion conducted an airmobile assault with elements of the 25th
(US) Division.
The 145th Aviation Battalion controlled the conduct of an airmobile
operation on 16 May, when five airmobile companies were assembled to
support the 2d Brigade 25th (US) Infantry Division. After a two hour
weather delay, 812 troops assaulted two landing zones 15 kilometers of Cu
Chi. Three aircraft were hit by ground fire. The few hits received can be
attributed to the excellent pre-strikes by tactical air, artillery and
gunships of the 197th Aviation Company. The high volume of accurate
suppressive fires laid down on final approach by the assault helicopters
and accompanying gunships, and the offensive fires conducted by all
elements on departing the landing zones undoubtedly contributed to
discouraging the enemy fire. On completion of the assault, the 118th
Aviation Company remained to support the Brigade by airlifting Engineer
supplies into the objective area and on the return trip evacuating large
quantities of captured enemy materiel.
On 17 May, after having participated in an airmobile operation with the
Battalion, the 118th Aviation Company returned in the afternoon to support
the 25th (US) Infantry Division, by lifting 133 troops. For the next two
days the company conducted three more airmobile assaults for the 25th (US)
Infantry Division by lifting a total of 400 troops and 14 tons of cargo.
All the missions of the 118th Aviation Company were not combat in nature.
This can be attested to by the Thunderbird crew which flew a USO show from
Saigon to Tay Ninh. Two talented young ladies were members of the troupe.
On the morning of 17 May, this Battalion controlled the combat assault
of a battalion of the 173d Airborne Brigade north of Baria. Participating
aviation elements were 197th Aviation Company, A/82nd Aviation Battalion
and the 118th Aviation Company. A total of 737 troops were lifted in 5
assaults. In order to achieve mass in the objective area, the initial lifts
were positioned in a secure area north of Baria. A road was as the landing
area. The first assault of the objective area was performed by the last
lift from Bien Hoa, and subsequent lifts picked up the personnel previous
positioned near the objective area. In this manner the entire battalion was
in the objective area in a short time employing the minimum number of
aircraft to do the job.
On 19 May, This Battalion responded to a quick reaction mission to
support the 1st (US) Infantry Division. Aircraft of the Battalion were
recalled from other missions and assembled at Lai Khe where they lifted 485
troops in a combat assault south of Loc Ninh. Time for assembly of all
forces at Lai Khe was one hour and thirty minutes. The lack of adequate
refueling facilities avialable at Lai Khe required units to fly to Bien
Hoa, Phuc Vinh, Cu Chi and Phu Loi to refuel between lifts. Consequently,
valuable time was lost in getting the entire ground unit assembled and
additional flying time was put on the aircraft.
The 68th Aviation Company conducted airmobile training for the newly
arrived 5th Battalion, Royal Australians which culminated in a practice
airmobile assault. Some progress was made also in the understanding between
Free World Forces. Major Cook, Commanding Officer, 68th Aviation Company
has learned some Australian, and Lt. Colonel Warr, Commanding Officer 5th
Royal Australian Regiment, has a better grasp of the American language.
The 197th Aviation Company, in addition to supporting the Battalion
airmobile operations by prestriking and marking landing zones, achieved a
high toll of the enemy. A light fire team in support of the 5th (ARVN)
Division, on 14 May, destroyed 10 enemy structures and damaged 25. A body
count of four Viet Cong was confirmed and a possible 12 more estimated.
Other activity by the company during the week destroyed three enemy
structures, sank five sampans and damaged twenty others.
The Firebirds of Company A/501st Aviation Battalion conducted a strike
on a suspected enemy location while on patrol of the Dong Nai sensitive
area. Two days later a report was received from the Senior Advisor of the
area that this strike resulted in 24 Viet Cong killed by count and 3
wounded.
The 74th Aviation company's role as weather advisory to the air mission
commander is becoming increasingly more important for making decisions on
the conduct of airmobile operations. In two instances this week the fixed
wing pilot's observations were the basic for go or no go on operations. The
tasks performed by the company for the week were as follows:
Type Tasks Number
Visual Reconnaissance 117
Radio Relay 3
Artillery Adjustment 32
Combat Observation 31
Combat Support liaison 9
Command and Liaison 50
Route Surveillance 40
Task Force Sea Wolf operations this week varied from providing overhead
cover for three visiting U.S. Senators aboard a patrol boat, to conducting
strikes to relieve the enemy pressure on an ARVN force in contact. The fire
teams continued to operate from the two naval vessels. On 17 May, a fire
team was called to place a strike on a Viet Cong element that was in
contact with a Regional Force Unit. After the strike, contact was broken
and the Viet Cong withdrew. A fire team provided over head cover while
salvage crews removed Viet Cong material and equipment from nine Viet Cong
sampans.On 18 May, a fire team reacted to a call to strike a Viet Cong
element attacking a friendly outpost. The fire team was on target in twelve
minutes from notification and was instrumental in breaking off the attack.
The toll inflicted on the enemy by Sea Wolf was 15 Viet Cong killed and
five sampans destroyed.
The operational statistics for the week are as follows:
Rotary Wing:
Total Sorties 5308
Total Flying Hours 1625
Total Passengers 4512
Fixed Wing:
Total Sorties 328
Total Flying Hours 432
Training:
The airmobile training with the Australians conducted by the 68th
Aviation Company has been mentioned previously. This company also conducted
a class for its aviators on aerial artillery adjustment. A Pathfinder
element of the 1st Cavalry Division visited the Battalion to relate their
experiences of airmobile operations with emphasis on night operations.
DECCA training for the Battalion Staff was initiated.
Awards and Decorations:
The following awards and decorations were received by members of the
Battalion this week:
Distinguished Flying Cross 1
Air Medal 229
Army Commendation Medal 1
The following promotions were announced:
1st Lieutenant to CAptain 3
WO1 to WO2 1
E-2 to E-3 30
Recognition for a job well done goes to the Security Platoon of the
Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 145th Aviation Battalion. The men
of this platoon have the important job of providing security for all
companies of the Battalion. Their task requires constant alertness,
knowledge of infantry weapons and tactics, and that they be model soldiers
in appearance and actions. These men protect and safeguard our
installations. They have demanding jobs and I am justly proud of their
contribution to enable the 145th Aviation Battalion to successfully
accomplish its mission.

CIVIC ACTIONS (13 May - 19 May 1966)
This week the officers and men of Headquarters and Detachment, 145
Aviation Battalion donated 50 pounds of clothing to the Bui Vinh Refugee
Center. Four water trucks supported the new school construction project and
support was provided to renovate the old school.
The enlisted men of the 68th Aviation Company donated one case of soap
to the village of Can Gio and Sp/5 Gibbs instructed three Conversational
English Classes at the Vung Tau Vietnamese-American Cultural Center for
approximately thirty-five students each class.
The officers and men of the 74th Aviation Company donated seven hundred
pounds of food stuffs to the widows and orphans of the 5th ARVN Division
and three cases of soap to the dependents.
The officers and men of the 118th Aviation Company donated 1100 pounds
of foodstuff and 100 pounds of clothing to the Bien Hoa Orphanage and the
Bui Vinh Refugee Center. In the health and sanitation area, four cases of
soap, assorted sanitation items and nursery equipment were donated to the
Bien Hoa Orphanage Nursery. Sp/4 Amisano conducted a Conversational English
Class for fifteen residents of Cong Ly Street. The 118th supported the Tan
Uyon Leper Colony in the construction field in addition to its normal
medical support. Doctor Altomonte treated 28 patients during his weekly
visit. Airmobile elements also evacuated twenty-five refugees from an
operation area to Cu Chi and airlifted 2400 pounds of Viet Cong captured
rice.
The officers and men of the 197th Aviation Company donated thirty
pounds of clothing and health and sanitation items including two cases of
soap, insect repellent and detergents to the An Lac Orphanage farm.
Approximately 5000 gallons of water were provided for the basic sanitation
needs of 200 children. Captain Balette continued to expand his medical
support to both the farm and the orphanage in Saigon where medical
attention has been virtually non-existent. He treated 250 children during
normal sick call and administered the tuberculine test to 173 children at
the farm. In addition, Doctor Balette gave 38 smallpox and 202 tetnus shot
and treated fifteen adults from community surrounding the farm.
Airmobile elements of A Company, 501st Aviation Battalion conducted
emergency medical evacuations for five Vietnamese Nationals on two separate
occasions. Transportation was provided for the Province Chief on three
occasions for the purpose of coordinating with village leaders, Hamlet
meetings, and to attend civic action functions. The officers and men
donated 5000$vn piasters worth of school supplies to the Bui Hiep school
system. Motor Pool personnel of A/501st Aviation Battalion, working in
conjunction with members 7th ARVN Airborne Battalion and residents of Bui
Hiep, rebuilt the bridge at the main entrance to Bui Hiep, and replaced the
drainage system under the bridge. A/501st Aviation Battalion provided the
materials for this project which is an excellent illustration of a common
project with US personnel, ARVN and civilians working together. Four
two-hour English classes were conducted this week for the residents of Bui
Hiep.
Horst K. Joost, Lt. Col.
Infantry
Commanding

Commander's Combat Note #25 28 May 1966
SUMMARY OF OPERATIONS 20 MAY THROUGH 26 MAY 1966
The 145th Aviation Battalion conducted three battalion controlled
airmobile operations this week. The major share of the Battalion airlift
was employed to support the operations of the 25th (US) Infantry Division,
northeast of Trung Lap. Daily, airlift and armed helicopter were employed
to support the III (ARVN) Corp tactical and administrative missions. In
addition to Task Force Sea Wolf, all companies of the Battalion furnished
armed helicopter support to protect shipping in the Rung Sat Special Zone.
The period open on 20 May with the 145th Aviation Battalion,
reinforced by Company A/25th Aviation Battalion and the 116th Aviation
Company, conducting an extraction of an infantry battalion (25th (US)
Division) and re-employing them in an airmobile assault in another area.
This type of operation demands precision timing, since the new landing zone
is being prepared by artillery and tactical air and armed helicopters,
while the troops are being extracted. Gro;u;nd fire was received during the
extraction and the assault of the new landing zone. Although 14 aircraft
were hit during the operation, it was executed with flawless precision.
During this operation two O-1 aircraft of the 74th Aviation Company
(Aloft 44 and 99) spotted and reported Viet Cong in the open, moving away
from the assault LZ. Gunships of the 197th Aviation Company took up the
pursuit and scored two known Viet Cong kills.
Following this operation, the 118th Aviation Company provided daily
aviation support to the 2nd Brigade, 25th (US) Infantry Division, and
Company A/501 Aviation Battalion provided daily support to the 1st Brigade,
25th (US) Infantry Division. This situation enabled us to evaluate the
amount of work that is performed by Army Aviation to support two Infantry
brigades when employed in combat. At the end of a week's support of the
Brigade, the 118th Aviation Company submitted the following data:
Week (20-26 May) Entire Support period
(16-27 May)
Troops Lifted 1785 3328
Cargo Lifted 307 Tons 413 Tons
Hours flown 518 921
Troop Aircraft (339) (628)
Armed Aircraft (179) (293)
Total Sorties 2367 3202
Ammunition Expended:
7.62 rounds 121,000 143,960
40MM rounds 330 2,350
2.75MM Rockets 412 755
Scoreboard:
Sampans destroyed 25 33
structures destroyed 5 30
Viet Cong Killed (Confirmed) 21 50
Viet Cong Killed (Estimated) 27 30
Aircraft hit 16 21
Number of hits received 22 27
It is of further interest to note that at the end of this period, of
the 40 Aviators present in the company, 6 achieved over 120 flying hours
since the beginning of the mouth, 19 achieved over 100 flying hours, and 25
over 90 flying hours. Also by the end of this period, this company had
flown 689 hours over program.
Company A/501st Aviation Battalion's support of the 1st Brigade for
the same period consisted of:
Troop lifted 900
Cargo lifted 146 tons
Hours flown 356
total sorties 1200
Viet Cong killed 4 confirmed
One afternoon during the period, the 68th Aviation Company also
provided support to the 25th (US) Infantry Division by lifting 43 troops
and 48 tons of cargo.
It must be recognized that in addition to the aviation support
provided by this Battalion, the organic aviation of the 25th Division also
provided support to the two Brigades. These figures are significant
indicators of the degree to which Army Aviation is inextricably a part of
ground combat operations in Vietnam.
On the morning of 22 May, the 145th Aviation Battalion, airlifted an
infantry battalion of the 173rd Airborne Brigade from Bien Hoa to a landing
zone north of Baria. Company A/501st which participated in this operation
reverted to support the 25th (US) Infantry Division in the afternoon.
The 68th Aviation Company conducted an independent airmobile operation
on 23 May, in support of the 25th (ARVN) Division. A total of 245 troops
and four tons of cargo were lifted to an LZ, 35 kilometers northwest of
Saigon. In the afternoon, this company supported the 25th (US) Infantry
Division by lifting 43 troops and 48 tons of cargo. On 25 May, this company
again supported the 25th (ARVN) Division with four troop carriers and two
armed helicopters. Two combat assaults were conducted with an infantry
company, west-northwest of Duc Hoa.
The 5th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, was airlifted into its
first combat assault since arriving in country on 24 May. Under the control
of the 145th Aviation Battalion, the 68th Aviation Company, Company A/82nd
Aviation Battalion and the 116th Aviation Company participated in the
operation by conducting five lifts from Vung Tau to an LZ, north of Baria.
The 197th Aviation Company provided the landing zone pre-strike,
marking, and over head cover, for the assault of the 25th (US) Infantry
Division on 20 May 1966. The company also flew armed helicopter support in
the Rung Sat Special Zone and 62 Lighting Bug sorties. The results of the
company's action this week accounts for four Viet Cong killed confirmed and
four probables, eight sampans destroyed, and eight structures destroyed. a
late report from advisor channels revealed that the armed helicopter strike
conducted by the company on 18 May, resulted in four Viet Cong killed and
three wounded. Secondary explosions were also observed.
The 74th Aviation Company continued to provide valuable weather
advisory, visual reconnaissance, radio relay, artillery adjustment and
escort missions.
Task Force Sea Wolf was credited with saving another village which was
under attack by the Viet Cong. Eighteen minutes after being alerted, fire
team conducted a strike against the attacking Viet Cong, forcing them to
withdraw. Other activities of the force consisted of flying overhead cover
for patrol boats and conducting strikes on enemy sampans. The score board
for the Task Force this week was 12 Viet Cong killed, Two sampans damaged
and two structures destroyed.
The operational statistics for the 145th Aviation Battalion for the
week are as follows:
Rotary Wing:
Total hours flown 2167
Total passengers 4423
Total Sorties 7450
Fixed Wing:
Total hours flown 452
Total Sorties 436
The Scoreboard
Sampans
Structures
V.C. KIA (B.C.) V.C. KIA (EST) Destroyed
Destroyed
118th Avn Co 20 30 18 -
197th Avn Co 4 4 8 8
68th Avn Co 1 - - 4
A/501st Avn Bn 5 3 - 4
Sea Wolf 12 - 2 2
----- ----- ----- -----
Total 42 37 28 18
The following story was related after a "routine" flight from Cu Chi to
Trung Lap, a distance of some seven kilometers, that took one hour and 15
minutes to accomplish!
A UH-1D manned by a Company Commander, as Aircraft Commander, his
Operations Officer as pilot, the Battalion Aircraft Maintenance Technician
as gunner and the regularly assigned Crew Chief, departed Cu Chi for a
flight to Trung Lap. The only passenger was an Aviation Liaison Officer.
The clouds were formed into a solid overcast at about 600 feet so the
Aircraft Commander elected to fly "on the deck" to his destination. After
having traveled only about 1/2 mile the pilot spotted a group of VC
directly in front of the helicopter diving into trenches, and yelled "VC,
Shoot'em". The aircraft was placed in a tight left orbit over the trenches,
at a very low altitude, and the crewchief began pouring machine gun fire
into the trenches. Almost immediately the gun jammed. The aircraft was
rolled over into a right orbit to give the other gunner a chance to fire.
He was to get off one burst and his gun jammed. The Liaison Officer was
sitting in the middle pointing out the location of the VC and shouting
orders to fire. The Aircraft Commander was calling for armed helicopters
while the pilot was calling for artillery. The gunners were alternating
shouts of "jammed" and "Permission to fire, sir?", as the Aircraft
Commander rolled the chopper back and forth attempting to allow the gunner,
whose gun was working at the time, to place fire on the enemy. The VC had
recovered enough by this time that they were putting up quite a volume of
fire at the pitching and rolling, very low, helicopter.
The Liaison Officer continued to point out the location of the
VC--announced to all that the VC were shooting at them and encouraged the
gunners to keep up the fire by giving them short jabs with his fist as he
shouted "Fire!, Fire!, Fire!," The Liaison Officer suddenly realizing that
he had little protection from the VC bullets, seized a chest protector and
began placing it over his chest. On second thought he placed it on his seat
and went back to his shouting of encouragements.
Two armed helicopters arrived on the scene and started their firing
runs. The flight leader called, in an over increasingly high pitched
voice,--"Im receiving fire--I'm receiving intense fire--I'm being hit." The
artillery began to fall and the pilot attempted to adjust. Each time he
received an "On the way" the pilot would turn the aircraft to avoid another
aircraft or allow a gunner to fire. After several frustrating attempts to
sense the rounds, effective fire was finally placed on the VC positions.
Following the artillery concentration, an airstrike of napalm was
called and marked by the dodging and weaving chopper. After one hour of
circling and shooting, the chopper continued on its administrative way,
hardly the worse for wear except for the one bullet hole and a lot of sore
throats and hands, but behind them the forces of the Viet Cong had 25 fewer
in its ranks.
Training:
A three day USARV training and standardization on conference was
conducted in Saigon during the period 23-25 May 1966.
The primary objectives were to establish standardized in-country
orientation, pre-flight procedures and starting procedures in both the
UH-1D and the UB-1B and the revision of USARV Regulation on 95-1 and 95-6.
All aviation elements of company size and larger thought out South Vietnam
were represented. The three day conference pointed out the definite lack of
present standardization; proper corrective action is now underway. All
information pertinent to the company standardization instructor pilots and
instructor pilots will be disseminated at the next standardization board
meeting.
Awards and decorations received by members of this Battalion during the
week are:
Distinguished Flying Cross 5
Air Medal "Valor" 1
Air Medal 620
Purple Heart 6
Promotions received during the week:
Lt. to Captain 1
E-7 to E-8 2
E-6 to E-7 2
E-5 to E-6 1
E-4 to E-5 1
E-3 to E-4 14
E-2 to E-3 1
CIVIC ACTIONS
Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment continued to supply needed
water to the Don Bosco Orphanage and worked continuously on community
relations at Bui Vinh. The 12,500 $VN donated on 12 May 1966 has been
utilized by the orphanage to purchase lumber and ready-made school
furniture.
The 68th Aviation Company continued support of the refugee village of
Can Gio with a donation of a case of soap by the enlisted men. Sp/5 Gibbs
conducted Conversational English Classes for Vietnamese Nationals at the
Vietnamese-American Cultural Center in Vung Tau. Captain Quakenbush, Flight
Surgeon, visited the village with two of his corpsmen to coordinate a sick
call program.
The 74th Aviation Company donated milk, candy and soap to the orphanage
at Lai Thieu. A good supply of foodstuffs was also donated to the widows
and orphans of 5th ARVN Division through the Division G-5. The company also
provided foodstuff to the refugees in Binh Duong province through the 5th
ARVN Division Civic Actions Platoon.
The 118th Aviation Company donated food, Clothing, sanitation items and
baby items to the Bien Hoa Orphanage. Two hundred yards of black material
for clothing was donated to the Tan Uyen Leper Colony. Doctor Altomone made
his weekly visit to the leper Colony and treated thirty patients. Airmobile
elements of the company supplied the local Vietnamese civilians with 80
tons of captured white rice and one ton of captured material from Viet Cong
caches. Captured food, clothing, material and tools were transported from
the 25th Infantry Division area to Cu Chi for distribution to needy
families.
Officers and men of the 197th Aviation Company fire teams evacuated
three critically injured Vietnamese Nationals from the Run Sat Special
Zone. Support was provided the An Lac Orphanage by members of the "Raider"
Platoon, donating candy and gum for the children and repairing plumbing.
Thirty-six hundred gallons of potable water provided the An Lac Orphanage
for sanitation purposes. Sp/5 Willingham held his weekly English class for
the staff and children of the an Lac Farm. In the absence of Doctor
Balette, Sp/5 Willingham held sick call on Monday 23 May, and gave
immunizations to include 160 typhoid shots; he also treated 15 children
with ear infections. On 25 May, he again conducted sick call and checked
the progress of his earlier treatments.
Airmobile elements of Company A/ 501st Aviation Battalion made an
emergency medical evacuation of a Vietnamese National women and child from
Cu Chi to Saigon. Both had been wounded by the Viet Cong. Civil affairs
representatives of the company made their weekly coordination visit with
the Hamlet Chief of Bui Hiep. A 3/4 ton truck was provided Bui Hiep to
transport building materials for the self-help school construction project.
Captain Haan and first Sergeant Howell donated a large quantity of
clothing, soap, tooth brushes, tooth paste and candy to Bien Hiep. A two
hour Conversational English class was conducted for 35 residents of Bui
Hiep. The company also conducted an emergency medical evacuation from the
village.
Horst K. Joost Lt. Colonel
Infantry
Commanding

Commander's Combat Note # 26 4 June 1966
SUMMARY OF CIVIC ACTIONS FOR THE PERIOD 27 MAY THROUGH 2 JUNE 1966
The 145TH Aviation Battalion put its full weight behind a fund-raising
campaign for the proposed III Corps Orphanage which is under construction
near the Dong Nai River at Bien Hoa. The project is the largest joint civic
action endeavor conducted by Free World and Vietnamese military forces.
Final tabulation has not been completed, but all companies and detachments
of the 145th Aviation Battalion reported 100% participation in the
campaign.
The battalion's civic action mission continued to expand as units took
on new projects and accelerated old ones.
Sergeant Ishikawa of Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment visited
the Bui Vinh school to assist in supervision and asses further needs of the
school's renovation program. Plans have been formulated to double the
detachment's continual water resupply project at Bui Vinh Refugee Center.
Some 40 pounds of clothing and bath supplies were donated to the Bien Hoa
Orphanage.
The 68th Aviation Company initiated its MEDCAP II program at the
village of Can Gio. Captain Quakenbush and two of his corpsmen, plus two
nurses of the 36th Evacuation Hospital treated 80 villagers at the first
weekly sick call. Captain Richard Ragland and his gun ship crew performed a
daring but heartbreaking mission when they hovered over a mine field to
recover the body of a 13-year-old Vietnamese boy. Sp/4 Richard Bone got out
of the helicopter to pick up the boy's mangled body. The company donated
more than 100 pounds of clothing and items of personal hygiene to the
refugees of Can Gio. Sp/5 Gibbs taught English to 35 students at the
Vietnamese-American Cultural Center in Vung Tau.
The 74th Aviation Company joined forces with the 5th ARVN Division G-5
and the division's Civil Affairs Platoon in three separate projects.
Officers and men of the company donated and distributed nearly a ton of
powdered milk, eggs, dried and canned foods to the Lai Thieu Orphanage, to
widows and orphans of the 5th Division, and to the village of Ben Cat and
Can Dinh. Sp/5 Daw supervised a team which distributed food and
refreshments to 3000 people at a 1st Division sponsored party in Vinh
Tuong. Other members of the unit took time to help in the 1st Division's
pacification and civic action project southwest of Phu Loi.
The 118th Aviation Company continued its almost daily support of the
Bien Hoa Orphanage by donating 600 pounds of captured rice, 200 pounds of
other foodstuffs, as well as toys, clothing, school supplies, candy and
cloth. The unit gave 25 gallons of ice cream for a party at the orphanage.
Dr Altomonte took 200 meters of cloth to Tan Uyen, treated 18 patients at
the leper colony there, and also treated 10 local civilians.
Results of the 197th Aviation Company's all-encompassing program in
support of the An Lac Orphanage Farm are vivid. Captain Balette vaccinated
37 children to achieve 100% protection against small pox. He also reports
that all ear and head infections have been cured. And he began a weekly
series of classes on personal hygiene for workers at the An Lac Farm. Sp/5
Willingham finds that many of his students are learning to speak English
rapidly. In one of his semi-weekly classes last week he taught 90 children.
Other members of the unit supplied the farm with 3,600 gallons of potable
water and continued normal donations of food and clothing.
A helicopter crew from Company A,501st Aviation BAttalion, flew an
expectant mother from Hiep Hoa to Cong Hoa, arriving at the hospital only
moments before the woman delivered. The unit conducted a nightly classes in
English for 35 residents of Bui Hiep. It donated 3,000$VN, which will allow
100 students to attend school during the month of june. Four volunteers
helped renovate a school classroom at Bui Hiep. The Civic Action Officer
met with a parish priest and teaches to organize and plan expansion of the
unit's efforts in Bui Hiep.
Horst K. Joost Lt. Colonel,
Infantry
Commanding

Commander's Combat Note #27 6 June 1966
SUMMARY OF ACCOMPLISHMENTS
In these Commander's Notes I have attempted to show the members of
this Battalion what they are contributing toward winning the conflict in
Vietnam. It has been evident that an aviation Battalion is in fact a combat
unit. The toll inflicted on the enemy as a result of actions by this
Battalion each week, attest to this fact. In this regard it is worthy to
note that the destruction inflicted on the enemy by this aviation battalion
has at times exceeded that of the infantry brigades for the same period.
The scoreboard of damage inflicted on the enemy by the 145 Aviation
Battalion for an eleven month period is phenomenal. While it is difficult
to quantify success by numbers, numbers themselves are meaningless unless
they are compared. I will attempt to quantify this Battalion's
accomplishments into meaningful comparisons.
For the eleven month period, the Battalion achieved in Viet Cong kill
of 1,378. These are confirmed by count and do not include estimated kills
witch would increase the figure at least fourfold. Equated to Viet Cong
units, the figure of confirmed kills represents the destruction of from the
three to six battalions.
For the same eleven month period, 1807 Viet Cong structures were
destroyed, and 625 sampans sunk. The high for monthly sampan destruction
was achieved last month when 85 were destroyed. Suffice it to say that this
had placed a heavy demand on Viet Cong boat building and certainly has
resulted in many supplies and personnel lost.
The total passengers lifed during the eleven month period was 259,103.
To make this figure meaningful it was determined that the average number of
personnel lifted each month during the period was 23,555. Assuming an
infantry battalion strength of 450 for an airmobile assault, approximately
53 infantry battalions, or an equivalent of 6 infantry divisions are lifted
each month by this battalion.
The cargo lifted was 4,752 tons for the eleven month period. This
represents an equivalent of approximately 105 additional infantry
battalions that could have been lifted in combat assaults.
The total number of hours flown for the eleven month period by the
units of the battalions was 110,766. To make this figure meaningful,
consider that it would take 14 aircraft flying for 24 hours a day for
eleven months to achieve that total. It is also worthy to note that the
total hours flown each month by the current five companies of the Battalion
are equal to or exceed that of the total flown when the Battalion had two
additional airmobile companies and one airmobile platoon.
The conclusion reached after examining these figures can only
demonstrate that this Battalion is making a significant contribution to the
Vietnamese conflict.
These achievements have however, not gone unrewarded. The members of
the 145 Aviation Battalion are proud to wear the twice awarded Vietnamese
Cross of Gallantry with Palms. A tally of individual awards since January
1965 attests to the bravery and service of the Battalion members.
Distinguished Service Cross 2
Silver Star 16
Legion of Merit 3
Distinguished Flying Cross 131
Soldier's Medal 19
Bronze Star"Valor" 27
Bronze Star"Meritorious Service" 102
Air Medal "Valor" 308
Air Medal 11,527
Army Commendation "Valor" 52
Army Commendation Meritorious Service 307
Purple Heart 203
In the desire to build a lasting influence on the Vietnamese people,
and perhaps due to the implacable urge to balance killing from some
rational purpose, the members of the 145th Aviation Battalion had developed
an extensive Civic Action program. It is a planned program witch is
realistic, widely diversified, and all important it involves all members of
the command as contributors.
The achievements and activities of this Battalion for the past four
months in the area of civic actions are summarized below:
Contributions of money, food, clothing, medical assistance, time, and
labor had touched directly the lives of some 16,000 needy Vietnamese
citizens on a continuing basis. Units in the battalion supports four
orphanages and four refugee villages with weekly donations and assistance.
This past month the battalion responded to a call of assistance for
donations to be used for the construction of the Dong Hai Orphanage. This
project is under the sponsorship of the Commanding General III Corps, Major
General Nguyen Bao Tri, and Mrs. Tri. In spite of all the other civic
action donations conducted to support various company projects, the members
of this Battalion participated 100%, and a check of $1,427 is being
presented for this worthy cause.
In addition, aviation crews evacuate sick and injured civilians,
relocate refugees, deliver food and supplies, and transport civic action
workers in all parts of the III Corps area in conjunction with daily
missions.
Many of the benefits of these civic actions are intangible. Feelings
of gratitude, mutual respect, and confidence cannot be measured in
statistics.
But benefits which lend themselves to the statistics show that the
impact of the battalion's programs is enormous.
The men of the 145th Aviation Battalion had donated 100,000 pounds of
food, enough to provide a basic diet for 3,000 refugees for a 30-day
re-adjustment period. Enough clothing had been distributed to outfit more
then a thousand persons whose belongings were destroyed by the ravages of
war.
More then $5,000 in cash has been given directly to impoverished
peoples. Some $3,600 of this, which was ear marked for education, provided
enough tuition fees and school supplies for 1,200 children to attend
classes for a year.
Battalion surgeons have treated 1,800 Vietnamese patients and
administered vaccine and anti-biotics to 800 more. Units had donated 1,200
pounds of soap, detergents and other supplies to improve health and
sanitation in widespread areas. Two orphanages and two villages depend
entirely upon the battalion's resources for professional medical
assistance.
Soldiers had used after-duty hours to present some 2,500 student hours
of instruction in English, personal hygiene and basic construction methods.
Others assisted in construction of two school houses built under the
self-help program.
Helicopter crews had evacuated 1,800 refugees and 65,000 pounds of
house-hold goods from war-torn areas. Additionally they had transported
more then 85 tons of food and other items captured by friendly ground
forces.
The program has snowballed since the creation of Special Staff section
(S-5, civil Affairs) three months ago. Enthusiasm generated by competition
among units is even felt in the United States where numerous civic,
fraternal and religious organizations, and even entire communities have
drives in progress to collect donations for distribution through the 145th
Aviation Battalion.
Every individual in the battalion has asserted his willingness to
assist the Vietnamese people in their war against poverty, hunger,
suffering and insurgent aggression. Most important, by dealing through
Province representatives on all projects, these actions are helping to
crystallize the allegiance of the people to the Government of Vietnam.
Driven by this spirit, the Civic Actions program continues to expand.
The summary and analysis of these achievements by members of this
Battalion speak for themselves. It is not without loss of members of our
ranks that these achievements were possible. For them, I urge that each
member of this command examine himself to insure that he has the sense of
urgency and mission accomplishment that was fundamental in setting this
splendid record. Our goal is to strive for even greater accomplishments in
the future.
It is with great pride that I congratulate each member of this command
for his efforts and achievements.
First in Vietnam
Horst K. Joost, Lt. Colonel, Infantry
Commanding

On the 21st of April 1966 Nowell N. Estes, Jr., General, USAF
Commander sent a letter to General William C Westmoreland, Commander US
Military Asst Command, Vietnam. The subject of the letter was Search and
Rescue Operations in Southeast Asia, and resulted in many members of the
145th C.A.B. receiving Letters of Commendation. This series of letters
serves as an example of the letters.

SUBJECT: Search and Rescue Task Force Operation in S.E.A.
TO: General W.C. Westmoreland Date, 21 April 1966
1. During the past eighteen (18) months, search and rescue task forces
have saved over 240 lives in the course of combat aircrew members who have
been forced to eject from their damaged aircraft. Frequently, the spotlight
of national interest has been focused on these activities, and our units
have received recognition from the highest level.
2. In reviewing many detailed mission reports, I have been especially
impressed by the exceptional professionalism and dedication displayed by
the members of the USAF 602nd Tactical Fighter Wing, Navy pilots from the
Carrier Task Groups, and Army aviators from the armed helicopter units.
Flying in all kinds of weather and over some of the most hazardous terrain
in the world, the pilots from units of all three Services have repeatedly
exposed themselves to hostile air and ground fire. Time and again they have
provided the vital low-level fire support which has enabled our helicopters
and HU-16's to effect survivor pick-up. They have all established a truly
remarkable record.
3. Translating the present figures into meaningful terms, the aircrew
recovery record alone now stands at something approaching the equivalent of
five squadrons of fighter pilots who have been returned to fight another
day. It is significant to note that this includes US Navy, US Air Force,
and VNAF pilots engaged in a wide range of combat action. This represents a
most significant amount of combat capability, and the additive morale
factor is beyond measure. Simply stated, the degree of success that our
ARRS units have achieved has been possible only because of the untiring
support, exceptional courage, and outstanding technical competence
displayed by the Air Force, Navy, and Army pilots who have played such a
vital role in this life saving operation.
4. Without reservation, our "Jolly Green" and "Crown" crew members are
proud to fly in combined operations with such gallant and dedicated
professionals. Their contribution to the accomplishment of a mission
dedicated to the basic philosophy "That Others May Live" is a source of the
deepest pride and gratitude.
Nowell N. Estes,Jr., General, USAF
Commander

SUBJECT: Search and Rescue Task Force Operations in S.E.A.
TO: Commanding General, United States Army Vietnam 28 Apr 66
It is indeed a pleasure to forward the attached letter from General
Nowell N. Estes, Jr., Commander Military Aircraft Command, commending the
outstanding accomplishments by the Army aviators of your command. To
General Estes' praise I wish to add my own expression of appreciation and
to congratulate the pilots and crewmen for a job well done.
W. C. Westmoreland
General, United States Army
Commanding

SUBJECT: Search and Rescue Task Force Operations in S.E.A.
TO: Commanding General, United States Army Aviation brigade 28 Apr 1966
It is with real pleasure that I forward the attached letter of
commendation. The splendid record compiled by Army aviators in rescue and
low level fire support missions point up their significant contribution to
the successful accomplishment of numerous ground operations. Their
demonstrated daring, aggressiveness and professionalism have resulted in
the saving of countless American lives. Their efforts have been in keeping
with the highest traditions of the United States Army.
Jean E. Engler
Lieutenant General, US Army
Deputy Commanding General

SUBJECT: Search and Rescue Task Operations in S.E.A.
TO: All Personnel, USA Aviation Brigade 21 Apr 66
1. It is with great pride that the attached testimony is received and
passed on to you who have made the reason for such plaudits a reality.
2. Each of you is to be congratulated not only for this specific
accomplishment, but for your continued outstanding performance in all
facets of Army Aviation.
G.P. Senneff, Jr.
Brigadier General, USA
Commanding

SUBJECT: Commendation
TO: Commanding Officer, 145th Aviation Battalion 21 Apr 66
1. Your resourcefulness, dedication, and high degree of professionalism
is indeed evident, not only to those connected with Army Aviation, but
obviously to the sister services.
2. My sincere congratulations to each of you. I am confident you will
continue to display these high standards of performance on future
operations.
Raymond F. Campbell, Jr.
Colonel, Armor
Commanding

SUBJECT: Letter of Commendation
TO: CO,A/501st Aslt Hel Co. 6 June 66
It is always a pleasure to receive and pass on correspondence of this
nature. I add my commendation to that of Colonel Raymond F. Campbell, Jr.
Performances of this nature reflect well on Army Aviation and serve to
maintain the 145th Aviation Battalion as "First in Vietnam".
Horst K. Joost
Lt. Colonel, Inf
Commanding

SUBJECT: Letter of Commendation 20 June 1966
TO: 1/Lt. John R. Mateyko, 05406512
A/501st Aslt Hel Co (UH-1) (A)
This correspondence, indorsed by General Westmoreland, is a fitting
testimonial to your personal efforts in numerous search missions and
several actual rescue operations. The professionalism displayed by you in
the discharge of your duties has made this team effort effective and
meaningful in saving several crews of downed aircraft. You are to be
commended for a job well done.
Gordon T. Carey
Major, Armor
Commanding
(Editorial Note) This series of Commendation serves as an example of what
we accomplished as a team, regardless of dates or unit, every man in each
unit played a part in accomplishing the mission.

Under LTC Joost command the 118th Assault Helicopter Company received
the Meritorious Unit Commendation for the period June 1963 to June 1966.
And the 117th and the 135th Assault Helicopter Companies were awarded the
Valorous Unit Award for the period 1-20 June 1966 while serving with other
battalions in Operation Hawthorne/Dan Tang in Kontum Province.
LTC Walter F Jones replaced LTC Joost on June 17, 1966. Under LTC
Jones the 118th Aviation Co. (AML) was awarded the Valorous Unit Award for
their actions on 19 July 1966. Movement of the 68th Combat Avn Co (AML)
from Vung Tau to Bien Hoa during the period 10 through 17 July 1966,
resulted in this unit being more centrally located in the III Corps
Tactical Zone and in a better position to support operations, by
elimination of a significant amount of daily dead-head flying time. The
planned movement of the 147th Medium Helicopter Company from Vung Tau to
Phu Loi will locate it more centrally within the III CTZ and again reduce
dead-head time to and from daily operations. It is also essential to reduce
aircraft crowding at Vung Tau, thus improving safety of operations there.
The 335th AHC was awarded the Meritorious Unit Commendation for Achievement
in the performance of outstanding service in RVN from May 1965 to July
1966. The 120th A.H.C. was transferred to Capital Avn Bn on 1 July of 1966.
A special project was under taken and all Airmobile Light Companies are
being augmented with an additional airlift platoon (seven aircraft), this
brought the average number of UH-1D aircraft assigned to each unit to 21.
The requirement existed for each airmobile company to be capable of
airlifting the assualt element of one rifle company.
Training of four VNAF pilots commenced on 8 August and completed on 7
November 1966. The training included transition in UH-1 aircraft and 90
days tactical training with the 145th C.A.B. The 184th Avn Co (Surv Light)
arrived in Vietnam and was assigned to the 145th on 13 August 1966. While
serving with 10th C.A.B. the 117th Assault Hel. Co. was awarded the
Meritorious Unit Commendation service for the period of December 1965 to
September 1966. The 1st of September 1966 brought a name change for A Co,
501st Avn Bn to the 71st A.H.C..
On 13 September 1966 during a night combat assault mission, a flight
of seven aircraft from the 68th Avn Co encountered extremely bad weather
and were forced to divert from their route of flight. One aircraft, it fuel
presumably gone, was seen descending into the trees, apparently in a
controlled maneuver. Neither the aircraft nor the four crew members were
found as of 31 October 1966.
From the 14th of September 1966 to the 24th of November 1966 the 145th
was involved in Operation Attleboro, the largest U.S. operation to date in
Vietnam. On 19 October 1966 a sizable enemy base area was uncovered in War
Zone C (Tay Ninh Province).
During September the Armed Helicopter Standardization Training tested
the gunship platoons of 12th Avn Gp, 1st place was the 118th Bandits, 2nd
place was the 68th Mustangs, 3rd place was the 116th Stingers, with the
197th in 5th, and 71st in 8th.
1 October 1966 brought another name change for the 197th A.H.C., they
became the 334th Armed Helicopter Company, this was the fourth and would be
the last name change for them. The 334th A.H.C. retained their fine history
earned under the names UTT, 68th A.H.C., 197th A.H.C., and continued with
many more first and unit awards. Co A, 82nd Avn Bn name was changed to the
335th Avn Co on 1 October 1966.
The 145th was the first Aviation Battalion to fly "Smoke Ship" combat
operations in Vietnam. During October 1966 the 334th AHC added a new
project to its bag of tricks. Gober's Gasser, a gas-laying helicopter
designed for use during airmobile assaults, made its debut.
Air Cavalry Task Force: To counter the roadside tax collection efforts
of the Viet Cong and to conduct other small raids type operations, an air
cavalry task force was organized within the 334th Aviation Company (AML)
(Armed). The company was augmented by one platoon of UH-1D helicopter to
provide a troop lift capability. The basic organization of the task force
included one armed platoon of five helicopters, a slick platoon, a command
and control ship, and a psy-war ship with a loudspeaker system mounted.
Attached to this force was a TOE infantry platoon, an ALO, a forward
observer, an interpreter and two national policemen to assist in
identification of friendly civilians.
Also during the 1 August to 31 October 1966 time period steel matting
was installed in the 334th Avn Co parking ramp and all 145th units
completed construction of aircraft revetment for passive defense of
aircraft against enemy attack. USAF bomb containers and sandbags were the
materials used. "L" shaped revetments (on the front and one side of
helicopters) were adopted as standard. The 145th constructed six two-story
tropical barracks at Bien Hoa to billet two Aviation Companies which were
directed to vacate VNAF buildings. Construction began for a fifty
helicopter parking ramp and aircraft maintenance facilities for two
Aviation Companies at Bien Hoa. The Consolidated 145th Battalion Dispensary
at Bien Hoa had one of its proposed two building completed in October and
is now operational.
For heroism while engaged in aerial flight in connection with military
operations against a hostile force: The men of the 71st AHC distinguished
themselves by heroic actions on 14 October 1966, in the Republic of
Vietnam, while serving as crew members of aircraft which were paticipating
in a hazardous combat assault in support of the 30th ARVN Ranger Battalion.
Five minutes prior to the arrival of the lift helicopters, a team of armed
helicopters performed a reconnaissance of the proposed landing site and
discovered that the tree lines adjacent to the landing zone were heavily
infested with anti-aircraft weapons positions. The armed aircraft received
an intense volume of hostile fire on their initial pass. Determined to
accomplish the mission and to overpower the Viet Cong in that area, the
lift helicopters continued their approach and landed the Rangers one
hundred and fifty meters from the enemy stronghold. The company was the
target of an intense volume of enemy fire on the first wave of the assualt.
Ten helicopters were struck by hostile fire. Because the Rangers were
helplessly pinned down in the landing zone, the 71st AHC voluntarily
undertook the mission of returning to the same landing site with a
supporting element of the Rangers. During the second wave of the assualt,
the enemy fire became even more intense than before. The armed escort
continually placed devastating defensive fire on the enemy positions.
Through the combined efforts of the armed helicopters and the door gunners
of the lift helicopters, effective fire was placed into the enemy positions
and caused many Viet Cong casualties and prevented the enemy from utilizing
all of his available firepower. Even though the aircraft were subjected to
continuous small arms and automatic weapons fire, the flights into and out
of the area were successfully completed and only light casualties were
sustained. Their actions were in keeping with the highest traditions of the
military service and reflect great credit upon themselves, their unit and
the United States Army. WO Robert L Pruhs and Sp4 Louis Turchi were Killed
In Action that day.
During the month of November 1966 the 145th C.A.B. established a
forward command post at Tay Ninh West Airfield in support of Operation
"Attleboro". During this period the battalion controlled elements of the
11th, 13th, 25th, and 52nd Aviation Battalions as well as its organic
components.
OPERATION ATTLEBORO
The 145th Combat Aviation Battalion Forward Command Post at Tay Ninh
(West) Airfield became operational at 111330 November 1966. The mission of
the 145th Combat Aviation Battalion was to provide command and control,
troop carriers, armed helicopters, pathfinders and rapid refueling support
to the 25th Infantry Division during "OPERATION ATTLEBORO II" from 11 to 24
November 1966. On 21 November the 145th Combat Aviation Battalion conducted
two combat assaults, two extractions and one repositioning, all of
battalion size. All of the operations utilized A Company, 25th Aviation
battalion and the 118th and 175th Assault Helicopter Companies. The first
operation was a combat assault from Fire Support Base #1(XT 275785) To XT
2757962.This lift of the 2nd Battalion, 14th Infantry was compleated by
0840 with 26 UH/1D's transporting 176 troops and flying 35 hours and 110
sorties. The second operation of the day was a combat assault of the 1st
Battalion of the 27th Infantry from Fire Support Base #2 (XT 272861) to
XT272938. A total of 342 troops were carried in 20 UH/1D which flew 15
hours and 162 sorties. The thrid operation was an extraction of the 2nd
Battalion, 14th Infantry from XT 272962 to Fire Support Base #2 (XT
272861) A total of 276 troops were transported in 110 sorties and 35 hours
by 25 UH/1D's. One helicopter from the 175th Assault Helicopter Company
received one hit at XT 225685 however there were no casualties. The fourth
operation of the day was the extraction of the 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry
from XT 272940 to Fire Support Base #2 (XT 272861). This lift saw a total
of 342 troops transported in 15 hours and 162 stories by 20 UH/1D's.The
final operation of the day involved repositioning the 2nd Battalion, 14th
Infantry from Fire Support Base #2 (XT 272861) to Tay Ninh (West) 20
UH/1D's moved 276 troops in 108 sorties and 54 flying hours. The 145 Combat
Aviation Battalion conducted two operations on 22 November utilizing A
Company, 25th Aviation Battalion and the 71st Assault Helicopter Company.
The first operation was a combat assault for the 2nd Battalion, 27th
Infantry from XT 270863 to XT 373854. 19 UH/1D's carried 330 troops in 158
sorties and 25 flying hours. In the afternoon the unit was extracted from
XT 375857 to XT 272865. 19 UH/1D's carried 330 troops in 160 sorties and 25
hours. On 23 November the 145th Combat Avaition Battalion conducted five
tactical operations to include two combat assaults, two extractions and one
repositioning. The following units were utilized on all operations:A and B
Companies, 25th Aviation Battalion and the 71st and 116th Assault
Helicopter Companies. The first operation was a repositioning of one
company of the 2nd Battalion, 14th Infantry from Tay Ninh (West) to Fire
Support Base #2 (XT 272861), with 26 UH/1D's transporting 120 troops in 20
sorties and 10 flying hours. The second operation of the day, a combat
assault for the 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry from XT 285869 into three LZ's
located at XT 198870, XT 193869 and XT 189869. A total of 360 troops were
transported by 26 UH/1D's flying 28 hours 132 sorties. Fire was recieved at
XT 195870 however no aircraft were hit. The thrid mission was a combat
assault conducted for the 2nd Battalion, 14th Infantry from Fire Support
Base #2 (XT 272861) to XT 198806. 26 UH/1D's carried 264 troops in 100
sorties and 20 flying hours. The forth mission of the day was an extraction
of the 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry from PZ's (XT 198870, XT 193869 and XT
189969) to Fire Support Base #2. A total of 26 UH/1D's carried 300 troops
and flew 132 sorties and 28 hours. The day's fifth operation was the
extraction of the 2nd Battalion, 14th Infantry from XT 198806 to Fire
Support Base #1 (XT 275785) and from there to Tay Ninh (West). 26
helicopters carried 400 troops in 150 sorties and flew 40 hours. On the
24th of November the 145th Combat Avaition Battalion conducted two tactical
operations utilizing the 71st and 118th Assault Helicopter Companies and A
and B Companies, 25th Aviation Battalion. 26 UH/1D's were utilized on both
operations. The first mission was the repositioning of the 1st Battalion,
27th Infantry from Fire Support Base #2 to Tay Ninh (West). A total of 408
troops were carried in 208 sorties and 100 flying hours. The second
operations of the day was the extractions of the 2nd Battalion, 27th
Infantry from Fire Support Base #2 to Fire Support Base #1 and from there
to Cu Chi. A total of 924 troops were transported in 1998 sorties and 128
hours flown. In Support of "OPERATION ATTLEBORO" elements controlled by the
145th Combat Aviation Battalion flew 1334 hours and 5857 combat sorties
with 9105 troops being lifted. 13 aircraft took hits, however none had to
be recovered.
On 1 December 1966 LTC Howard M Moore replaced LTC Jones. And the
135th was awarded the Meritorious Unit Commendation for the period January
1966 to December 1966 while serving with the 10th C.A.B.
The following is the History Newsletter of 71st Assault Helicopter
Company for 1 January 1967 to 31 January 1967. COMBAT HIGHLIGHTS for the
71st AHC: 2 Jan 67: This month began in support of the 25th Inf Division in
location around Binh Chanh. Moderate fire was received on the first lift
with two aircraft being hit and one pilot wounded. Seven more lifts were
made with no fire being received until the last. During the afternoon
extractions were made with no reported VC activity. The Firebirds provided
a heavy fire team in support of the operation. The Rattlers flew a total of
70.6 hours and made 258 sorties. 4 Jan 67: The Rattlers returned to Binh
Chanh again in sopport of the Tropic Lightening Division and preformed two
lifts with no enemy activity. The second mission was at Rach Kien where
lifts were made. Light sniper fire was received but Charlie proved to be a
bad shot. Later in the afternoon, the Rattlers played checkers by lifting
and extracting the 3rd Battalion a total of 12 times. Some light fire was
reported. Total time was 77.4 hours and 453 sorties. 5 Jan 67: The 25th
Division obtained the aid of the Rattlers in the Nha Be area for six lifts
into pacified areas. Upon completion, the flight moved to Rach Kien for
three lifts. Automatic weapons fire was received on approach, landing, and
takeoff. The firebirds suppressed the area and destroyed five structures.
Six aircraft took hits, but there were no casualties. Administration and
logistic support was provided preceeding the extraction which required five
lifts. The flight was released after racking up 92.5 hours and flying 402
sorties. 8 Jan 67: Eagle flights were conducted for the 25th Division with
extractions preformed later in the day. Light sniper fire was acted upon by
the Firebirds resulting in one VC KIA and one structure destroyed. Flight
task took a total of 42 hours and 164 sorties. 10 Jan 67: The Rattlers were
assisted by the Little Bears (A/25 25INF) for insertion of U.S. and R.V.N.
troops northeast of Binh Chanh. The Rattlers provided the reaction force,
logistical flights and extractions after the insertion was made. Smoke
ships were utilized for screening the canal lines. Several rounds of
harassing fire was heard, but had no effect. A total of 42 sorties were
extracted. Flight hours were 69.7 and total sorties were 271. 11 Jan 67: A
rapid reaction was performed in support of the 9th Infantry Division to
assure the Rattlers were on their toes. Three lifts were made with fire
being received on all approaches and take-offs from the LZ. The flight time
was 21.3 and 110 sorties. 14 Jan 67: Artillery fire and an air strike
delayed the first lift in support of the old standby, 25th. Upon completion
of the mission, resupply was begun followed by an extraction during the
afternoon. 17 Jan 67: The Rattlers were placed on alert while the 25th
Division made plans for the conduct of an eagle flight. After being called
out just before lunch, the flight was made and extraction and reinsertion
was preformed two hours later. An extraction for for late afternoon was
cancelled due to a difficult tactical situation. Flight hours logged were
57.5 and 167 sorties were completed. 18 Jan 67: The flight journeyed to
Binh Chanh for eagle flights planned by the 25th Division. Two LZ's and
PZ's were utilized for the insertion and extraction. Automatic weapons fire
was received, but no damage to aircraft or crews resulted. The Firebirds,
assisted by tracked vehicles, destroyed one structure. Resupply missions
ended the day. A tally of 172 sorties and 65.2 hours recorded. 19 Jan 67: A
change of scenery was experienced by the Rattlers who supported the 3rd
ARVN Airbourne Battalion for eagle flights and the 4 U.S. Division for an
extraction. The flights were made into friendly areas because no fire was
reported. Extractions were made in an area southeast of Dau Tieng. The
flights made 196 sorties during the day and a total of 75.7 flight hours.
23-27 Jan 67: The Rattlers sent 4 UH-1D and 2 UH-1C aircraft to Song Be for
the conduct of Recondo operations for II FFV. Missions were also conducted
for the subsector advisor and Special Forces in the area. The Firebirds
provided reconnaissance support on the recondo missions and engaged targets
of oppurtunity under the direction of the local FAC in the Song Be area.
The Recondo Teams consisted of four men who were lowered into selected
areas and removed at later times and their purpose was to provide
intelligence information about the enemy. Several accidents occured in
which ships were damaged. Total hours flown during this time were 82.5 and
148 sorties were flown. The Firebirds destroyed 58 structures and damaged
3. A total of 9 secondary explosions were reported and ammo used on the
mission was 390 2.75 rockets and 90,000 rounds of 7.62 machinegun ammo. The
Rattlers hauled 4.2 tons of cargo and carried 119 passengers. 29 Jan 67:
The Rattlers provided support to the 199th Infantry Bde in areas around Cat
Loi and Nha Be. Four lifts were made into various LZ's. The U.S. Navy used
four slicks and a heavy fire team for a classified SEAL mission. Total
hours were 51.7 with 175 sorties. Some automatic weapons fire was received,
but no damage was reported. Support was provided the 173rd Airborne Bde for
insertion of a long range patrol at 1730 hours. Three six man patrols were
inserted in various LZ's in War Zone D. The flight remained airborne until
after dark. No fire was received during the operation. Total hours were
10.7 and 41 sorties. 31 Jan 67: The 71st made an extration for the 9th
Infantry Division in an area around Bear Cat. The assistance of a CH-47 was
utilized to cut the time of lifting the 600 man force. The LZ was extremely
small and allowed only four aircraft to enter at a time. Total flight time
for the day was 53.3 and sorties totaled 198.
Civic actions for the 71st AHC during the month of January 1967 was
the Rattlers done an excellent job of donating money to be used for
purchasing food, closing, and toys for the people at Bui Hung. Work is
still continuing at the church with many materials being supplied by the
71st. The 71st's civic action program under the direction of Captain Keller
has aided many people and brought many friends to the Rattlers.
Moments To Remember; The day Captain Mangum flew with the Firebirds in
order to test the weapons system. The AC said, "Arm the system", so Captain
Mangum flipped the switch. A pop was heard, then the crew chief said,
"They're gone, - he jettisoned my rocket pods." All that was seen for the
rest of the flight was a red glow coming from the copilot's seat. Well done
Jettison 6!
The following is the History Newsletter of 71st Assault Helicopter
Company for 1 February 1967 to 28 February 1967. COMBAT HIGHLIGHTS for the
71st AHC: 5 Feb 67: The Rattler flight accompanied by a light fire team
from the Firebirds, departed Bien Hoa and arrived over Phuoc Vinh at 1630
hours. The operation was in support of the 1st Bn, 26th Inf, 1st US Inf
Division. Four lifts were made into 3 LZ's around a village three
kilometers northeast of Phoc Vinh. Small arms fire was reported on take off
from LZ #1 with no aircraft reporting hits. The area was worked over by
the Firebirds and an artillery strike. No further fire was recieved. Total
flight time was 31.9 hours and 107 sorties were logged. 8 Feb 67: Tay Ninh
was the destination and suport of the 190th LT Inf Brigade was the mission.
Resupply, command and control, and administrative flights comprised the
day's operations. Automatic weapons fire was reported throughout the day
with one aircraft recieving damage due to hostile fire. The Rattlers logged
72.6 hours and 279 sorties during the day. 12 Feb 67: Today's flight was in
support of the 199th Inf Brigade. The Rattlers preformed six combat assults
and five extractions. Two aircraft were damaged by enemy fire and one
crewmember recieved minor injuries from sharpnel. Operations consisted of
hualing a combination of United States and ARV troops.The days flight time
was 110.2 hours and 338 sorties were flown. 13 Feb 67: Support was again
given to the 199th for insertions and extractions southeast of Saigon. The
Firebirds made preparations of the LZ's and artillery was fired also.
Automatic weapons fire was recieved by the Rattlers and also by the troops.
Gunship support was provided continuously and an air strike was called in
upon completion of the mission. Flight hours were 98.7 and sorties totaled
319. 15 Feb 67: The Rattlers journeyed to Tay Ninh and arrived at 0730 to
begin resupply and personnel moves. One company was inserted at a
battalion extracted during the days operations. Artillery and gunships
prepared the areas and some small arms fire was recieved after the lift.
The Rattlers flew 111 hours and preformed 301 sorties with 11 slicks and 4
gunships. No aircraft damage was reported. 26 Feb 67: The Rattlers moved to
Tay Ninh to provide support to operation "Junction City". Many resupply
missions were carried out and several combat assaults were made. The
Firebirds provided support to the company as well as standby for the
operation. Enemy fire was recived during our stay, but damage to aircraft
was light.
The 335th A.H.C. (formerly Co A, 82nd Avn Bn.) earned the Meritorious
Unit Commendation for the period 1 August 1966 to 31 January 1967. The
Valorous Unit Award was earned by the 145th C.A.B., 68th A.H.C., 118th
A.H.C., and 334th A.H.C. for their actions on the 19th of March 1967 under
the command of LTC Howard Moore in the Battle of Soui Tre. The Vietnamese
Cross of Gallantry with Palm was awarded to the 145th C.A.B., 68th, 118th,
120th, 147th, 213th, 334th, 335th Aviation Companies for the period 1 March
1966 to 26 March 1967. These last two awards were earned during Operation
Junction City in Tay Ninh Province, 2,728 known enemy casualties. The 117th
was awarded the Meritorious Unit Commendation for the period 5 September
1966 to 31 March 1967. In March of 1967 the 184th Avn Co was transferred to
the 11th Avn Bn and in April of 67 the 71st A.H.C. was transferred to the
14th Avn Bn.
THE BATTLE OF SOUI TRE
On 19 March 1967, the 145th Combat Avaition Battalion distinguished
itself by exceptionally valorous actions in the prelude of what was to
become known as the battle of Suoi Tre- the most significant one/day battle
to date in the III Corps Tactical Area. The 145th Combat Aviation Battalion
was operating in direct support of 3rd Brigade, 4th infantry Division, with
the mission to conduct a combat assult into a landing zone located
approximately five miles north of Suoi Da, Republic of Vietnam. The initial
operational plans were made for the assult to take place on 18 March 1967,
several miles further north of the actual landing zone: however obstacles
prevented the 2nd Battalion, 22nd Infantry (Mech) and the 22nd Battalion,
34th Armor from securing the landing zone as planned. On the evening of 17
March, the assult was rescheduled for 19 March with the landing zone
changed to the new location. The armored and mechanized elements were
unable to meet this new schedule. It was then decided that the assult would
be conducted into an unsecured landing zone with the armored and mechanized
elements scheduled to reinforce the infantry at a later time. The hazards
of this unsecured landing zone were known to be many as there were
relatively few clearings in the dense jungle which were adequate for
airmobile operations. Past experience indicated that when there were few
clearings in the area, the Viet Cong either mine or establish ambushes on
or near the potential landing zones. Professionalism and esprit de corps
prevailed as the aviators of the 68th and 118th Assult Helicopter Companies
eagerly awaited the termination of the twenty minute artilly preparation
which would mark the beginning of the first lift. The assault was under the
control of the Commanding Officer, 145th Combat Aviation Battalion. The
lift units were supported by gunships of both assault helicopter companies
and those of the 334th Armed Helicopter Company. The first lift encountered
little resistence upon entering the landing zone, but received automatic
weapons fire upon departure. At the moment the aircraft of the second lift
touched down, a command detonated 155mm artillery round was exploded. Two
helicopters were completely destroyed and five others seriousy damaged from
sharpnel. More mines were detonated and the landing zone became a holocaust
of fire and flying steel. The Viet Cong were in well established bunkers
and had numeric superiority- it was later learned that major portions of
two Viet Cong regiments were engaged in the battle. Heroism became the norm
rather then the exception. Realizing the necessity for reinforcing the
ground units already in the landing zone, the decision was made to land
additional troops into a landing zone immediately adjacent to the initial
landing zone. The 118th Assault Helicopter Company "Thunderbirds" and the
68th Assault Helicopter Company "Top Tigers" wasted no time getting another
load of troops aboard and into the air. The tremendous urgency of the
situation was relized by all. The lift approched through sporadic ground
fire which culminated in the detonation of another mine which damaged the
lead aircraft. The next element approached through a withering hail of
automatic weapons fire and was met with another mine upon landing.
Initially suppresive fire from escort gunships was impossible due to
friendly elements scattered throughout the area. Showing the utmost in
determination and a remarkable tactical grasp of the situation the armed
helicopters located the emeny emplacements and supported the troop carrying
aircraft by delivering accurate and deadly fire on the enemy. The armed
helicopters were only able to accomplish the needed accuracy by flying
directly into the barrage of fire. Their actions were instrumental in
preventing the loss of additional lives and aircraft. Under the calm,
inspirational leadership of the battalion commander, the companies
preformed in a manner that was in the highest traditions of Army Aviation.
The courageous air crews flew eight lifts into the landing zone after the
initial holocaust with individual acts of heroism being numerous as
indicated by five indivduals being awarded the Silver Star, 19 the
Distinguished Flying Cross, 14 the Bronze Star for valor and 96 the Air
Medal for valor. Four enlisted crew members of the first helicopter downed
in the landing zone immediately began stripping the helicopters of radios,
weapons, and other valuable equipment. Realizing that the landing zone was
in imminent danger of being engulfed in flames, they secured fire
extinguishers and flack vests to fight the blaze. Failing the thwart the
fire, they ran through the inferno looking for the wounded. As the blaze
advanced, it set off hand grenades that had been dropped during the
confusion of the initial mine explosions. These men began giving medical
aid to wounded infantry soldiers and loading them onto helicopters which
came back on succesive lifts. They voluntarily remained in the landing zone
under heavy fire throughout the morning and afternoon. Another enlisted
crew member braved the exploding mines and rescued his critically injured
pilot and mortally wounded door gunner from their burning helicopter. Then
he carried the pilot under intence automatic weapon fire to an evacuation
helicopter across the landing zone. He returned and removed the radios and
weapons from the helicopter prior to returning to the evacuation helicopter
where he preformed life saving first aid to the wounded. A warrant
officer's aircraft recieved extensive damage during the initial blast;
however he determined that the urgency of the situation warranted the
helicopter being flown and he made three successive lifts in his damaged
ship to deliver additional reinforcements to the beleagured ground troops.
These are only but a few examples of the many acts of bravery which occured
during this action. There were cases of downed aviators taking machineguns
and providing supressive fires in the landing zone for sucessive lifts
instead of being immedediaely evacuated. In several instances, aircraft
which were severely damaged were flown out of the landing zone to more
secure areas so that they could be air lifted without incurring additional
damage.
LTC John A Todd replaced LTC Moore on the 7th of August 1967. The
190th A.H.C. arrived in Vietnam and was assigned to the 145th on 2
September 1967, shortly there after to be sent on temporary duty to I Corp
with the Marines and returned to Bien Hoa on the 16th of November 1967. The
213th Assault Support Helicopter Company was awarded the Meritorious Unit
Commendation for the period 13 February 1967 to 15 October 1967.
On 22 October 1967, the Cobra flew its first combat mission. On that
day two Cobras from the Playboy Platoon of the 334th Armed Helicopter
Company were flown by Major Donald Becker and Warrant Officer Welch from
Bien Hoa to Nui Dat in support of the Australian Tack Force.
Under the Command of LTC Todd the Presidential Unit Citation was
awarded for the period of 6 to 23 November 1967 by the Commander-in-Chief
of the Armed Forces of the United States to the 335th Assault Helicopter
Company. The award to the "Cowboys" was for extraordinary heroism during
Operation Mac Arthur in Kontum Province in November 1967.
The 335th Assault Helicopter Company, prior to being transferred out
of the 145th CAB, was assigned the mission of supporting the 173rd Airborne
Brigade, they conducted airmobile assaults with the 2/503d on 11 November
1967 in the area south-west of Dak To. The landing zone was to be hewn out
of the dense jungle and bamboo by B-52 strikes and numerous other
airstrikes. Close examination of the intended landing zone by the command
and control party revealed an area sufficient for only one aircraft at a
time. The first troops on the ground immediately initiated clearing
operations to enlarge the landing zone, while additional troops were being
inserted. This landing zone soon became Fire Support Base 16. At
Approximately 1200 hours, 11 November 1967, the 1/503d made strong contact
with an estimated battalion sized force.
The 335th AHC was called upon to reinforce the beleaguered unit with C
4/503d. The nearest landing zone to the area would accommodate only one
aircraft at a time. During this operation enemy fire was received going
into and coming out of the landing zone. The armed helicopters immediately
placed suppressive fires on the enemy, however, this did not deter the
enemy from firing at all of the helicopters. Fortunately no aircraft were
hit on this part of the operation. The armed helicopters demonstrated
remarkable skill according to the commander of the ground forces. They
placed rocket and machine gun fire scant meters from the friendly lines,
and escorting the troop carrying helicopters into the landing zone.
During the time this action was in progress, a single ship was
resupplying C 1/503d with badly needed ammunition. In order to complete the
mission the pilot had to fly dangerously near the enemy position. On each
trip into the area he experienced heavy enemy rifle and automatic weapons
fire. Realizing he had received numerous hits, the pilot landed to inspect
the aircraft and found it no longer airworthy. He immediately procured
another aircraft and continued the mission. Again he received numerous hits
and was barely able to return to a secure area before being forced to land.
The timely arrival of reinforcements and ammunition turned the tide of
battle and most assuredly saved C 1/503d from being overrun and
annihilated.
The 335th AHC provided general support to the 173rd Airborne Brigade
with resupply missions and insertion of Long Range Reconnaissance Patrols
(LRRP).
Many times the only mean for landing a LRRP was by using a rope
dropped from the hovering helicopter allowing the team members to repel to
the ground. The pilots demonstrated outstanding airmanship, and courage
while hovering in one spot, above 100 foot trees, under enemy fire, to
place the team in the correct location.
Numerous times the team would make contact with a superior enemy
force, necessitating immediate extraction. Without hesitation the pilots of
the 335th AHC came to their rescue, again hovering above the trees,
offering a perfect target for the enemy.
On 19 November 1967 the 2/503d started to move up the northern slope
of Hill 875. As they neared the crest of the hill they met with extremely
heavy resistance, resulting in heavy casualties. The 335th AHC was again
called upon to deliver critical supplies. The landing zone was not large
enough to accommodate even one helicopter, so it was necessary to employ
the kick-out method. The enemy controlled the crest of the hill, which
provided unlimited fields of fire at aircraft approaching to points below
the crest. Also, pin point accuracy in dropping the supplies was an
absolute must, for to miss the target area by even a few meters on the side
of the hill increased the difficulty in retrieving them by one hundred
fold. To obtain this accuracy an extremely low airspeed was required,
making the helicopters a virtual "sitting duck" for enemy gunners.
On each sortie into this area, the helicopters met extremely heavy
fire. Realizing the urgency of their mission, the crews never faltered in
providing the ground unit with the life sustaining supplies. Although
numerous aircraft were hit and aircrew members wounded, the men of the
335th AHC could not be deterred and continued their mission, even though
their very lives were at stake. One aircraft attempted a sling load
delivery of a landing zone clearing kit. He encountered murderous fire and
was forced to jettison the load, returning to a secure area where
inspection of the aircraft revealed sufficient damage to preclude further
flight. Without immediate assistance the 2/503d could not hope to hold
their position. Three companies of the 4/503d were dispatched to reinforce.
The 4/503d also met with sharp resistance, sustaining heavy casualties.
When the 4/503d join up with the 2/503d there remained approximately one
hundred effective fighting men. These two units were able to fight their
way to a position approximately one hundred meters down the slope where a
landing zone clearing kit was successfully dropped. After a landing zone
was cut out of the jungle, the 335th AHC aircraft again braved the intense
enemy fire in order to evacuate two hundred twenty-two wounded to distant
medical facilities. Without this timely evacuation, many of these wounded
would have surely died.
On 22 November 1967, the 335th AHC assisted by elements of the 52nd
Combat Aviation Battalion conducted an airmobile operation with the 1/12th
Infantry, 4th US Inf. Div. southeast of Hill 875.
On 23 November 1967 the remnants of the 2d and 4th Battalions, 503d
Inf., mounted an attack on the crest of Hill 875. The attack commenced at
1100 hours and the hill was secured at 1120 hours. The enemy had retreated,
leaving their dead, numerous large bunkers with up to twenty feet of
overhead cover, and numerous items of equipment. During the battle the
335th AHC participated in all phases, experiencing the most hazardous of
combat conditions.
The 335th AHC had ten wounded in action, while the 173d Abn Bde had
118 killed in action, 271 wounded in action and three missing in action.
The NVA losses were 298 by body count. Nine of the 335th AHC helicopters
received extensive combat damage. Three were evacuated by CH-47, four were
repaired for a one time flight to home station, and two continued to fly.
The support provided to the 173d Abn Bde by the 335th AHC during this
operation was truly outstanding and on repeated occasions necessitated the
air crews performing above and beyond the call of duty. Without their
efforts, the tide of battle would have most probably been turned in favor
of the enemy.
Part of the 334th A.H.C. was transferred to Thailand the 24th of
November 1967 on temporary duty to fly escort duty over the Ho Chi Minh
Trail. They were to fly gunship cover for troops placing and picking up
listening devices all along the Ho Chi Minh Trail. Their refuel point was
to be Khe Sanh which went under seize shortly there after, the mission was
called off the 3rd of March 1968.
LTC Robert M Deets assumed command of the 145th Combat Aviation
Battalion on 1 December 1967. LTC Deets started his military career as a
Navy Seabee in 1943. He was a member of an underwater demolition team and
earned the Bronze Star for Valor. He began his career as an Army officer
through a direct commission in November of 1951. Prior to being assigned to
the 145th he was assigned to S-3 at 12th Group. Thanks to LTC Deets we have
this very fine detailed report on the Battalion's History.
On 7 December 1967 the 190th Assault Helicopter Company conducted
airmobile operations with the 4th Bn, 7th Regt, 5th Inf Div (ARVN). The
unit was to receive an ATT in conjunction with a search and destroy
operation. The landing zone was prepared for the assault by artillery and
airstrikes under the command of an aircraft from the 74th Reconnaissance
Airplane Company. The first assault went as planned with negative fire
received. The second assault into LZ#2 met with heavy automatic weapons
fire from the right front. Chalk 10 was shot down in the landing zone and
chalk 9 made an emergency landing eight hundred meters north of the LZ.
This aircraft had received sixteen hits. The troops in LZ #2 were pinned
down under voluminous enemy fire and without the planned, subsequent lift,
were in danger of annihilation. On the next lift into the LZ the lead
aircraft was engulfed by intense enemy fire that wounded or killed all of
the ARVN troops on board. Several other aircraft in flight were hit causing
two to make forced landings in the pickup zone and another at Cu Chi.
The FAC from the 74th Recon Airplane Company continued to direct
artillery and airstrikes on the entrenched enemy. To provide cover for the
remaining lifts, the smoke aircraft was employed. Braving the murderous
enemy fire, he repeatedly provided smoke cover for the remaining lifts. A
heavy fire team from the 334th Armed Helicopter Company was scrambled to
assist in the operation. They attacked the enemy fortifications with
determination and tenacity, disregarding their personal safety in order to
place their fires to the best advantage. The remaining aircraft were
utilized to airlift a reserve company into the area. The aircrews did not
hesitate in continuing their mission even in the face of devastating enemy
fire. The smoke ship was hit and forced to return to Bien Hoa for repairs.
Numerous medical evacuation flights were attempted; however, each time the
aircraft met with murderous enemy fire. A second smoke ship was called out
to assist in the operation. After two passes through the area, providing a
smoke screen for medical evacuation flights, he too was hit and forced to
land in the landing zone. realizing the precarious position the crew of the
smoke ship was in, an armed helicopter from the 190th AHC braved the
intense, enemy, automatic weapons fire to land and extract them.
As nightfall approached, the ground troops ran low on ammunition.
Again a crew from the 190th AHC volunteered to deliver the desperately
required ammunition and at the same time extract the remaining wounded.
Although the enemy was literally filling the sky with bullets, the mission
received light to heavy combat damage. Three medical evacuation helicopters
were damaged, one making a forced landing five miles east of Cu Chi,
another making a forced landing just inside the perimeter at Cu Chi and the
third taking numerous hits and wounding the gunner.
Two smoke aircraft were hit, one making a forced landing in the
landing zone and the other being grounded after returning to the station.
Of the aircraft that received the combat damage six required evacuation by
CH-47, four were repaired and released for a one time flight to home
station, two were repaired and returned to the flight, and seven were hit
but continued to fly.
On 8 December 1967 the 68th Assault Helicopter Company supported the
30th and 38th Ranger Battalions in combat assaults for search and destroy
operations southeast of Phu Cong. The initial phases of the operation
progressed as planned with negative resistance. Prior to the combat assault
into LZ #3 the armed helicopters discovered occupied enemy bunkers on the
north side. Although the area was hit by artillery, a decision was made to
disregard LZ #3 and insert the troops into LZ 12.
The element moving west encountered steady resistance after moving
about four hundred meters west along the small north-south stream line.
Additional forces were inserted into LZ #4. The flight reported enemy fire
on takeoff. The ground unit moved south and immediately made contact. Two
medical evacuation missions were requested for eleven wounded in action and
one killed in action. The two aircraft attempted to land at the position by
flying low level but the enemy fire was so heavy that they had to abort the
mission. Both aircraft were hit and one crew chief owes his life to his
chest protector. While providing cover for medical evacuation, the armed
helicopter fire team were taken under heavy fire. One armed helicopter was
hit, necessitating his return to home station for repairs.
An aerial observer from the 74th Reconnaissance Airplane Company
directed numerous artillery and airstrikes upon the enemy positions. While
the artillery concentration distracted the enemy, a medical evacuation was
successfully completed. However, on his second trip in for wounded he came
under heavy enemy fire and received numerous hits. Another call for medical
evacuation was received. Since no other aircraft were immediately
available, the 68th AHC command and control aircraft accepted the mission.
Although enemy fire laced the area, three wounded in action and one killed
in action were successfully evacuated. Again the requirement for a medical
evacuation came forth and again the mission was completed in spite of the
extremely heavy automatic weapons fire.
Artillery, tactical air and armed helicopters continued to strike the
area. An AH-1G Cobra light fire team from the 334th Armed Helicopter
Company arrived and joined in the attempt to neutralize the enemy automatic
weapons positions. On one rocket pass the sky seemed to be filled with
enemy fire, hitting one armed helicopter and seriously wounding the pilot.
Although an extraction had been planned, the tactical situation and
approaching darkness necessitated implementation of the alternate plan
which called for withdrawal by boat. The 68th AHC sustained two wounded in
action, while the ground units had three killed in action and twenty-two
wounded in action. Enemy losses were not known. Six helicopters were hit,
one requiring evacuation by CH-47, two repaired for a one time flight to
home station and three continued to fly.
On 14 December 1967 the 190th Assault Helicopter Company was diverted
from the assigned mission to support Company A, 5th Special Forces Group
(CIDG), in airmobile operations in th area west of Hiep Hoa, RVN. On final
approach to LZ #L the flight received light automatic weapons fire. One
armed helicopter was hit damaging the hydraulic system and wounding the
crew chief. Two subsequent lifts were made into the same landing zone.
Sporadic M-79 fire hit in the landing zone while the aircraft were on the
ground, however, no aircraft were damaged. About one hour after the
insertions, the ground troops made contact with an estimated regimental
sized force. Tactical air and two light fire teams provided immediate
support. The enemy was well entrenched and possessed a minimum of six fifty
caliber machine guns.
The fire from these weapons plus countless small and automatic weapons
was devastation and deadly. Yet fire support to assist the ARVN's in
breaking contact was a dire necessity. A Cobra light fire team proved its
worth time and time again as they challenged the fifty caliber positions,
never once faltering in the attack. The efforts of these armed helicopters
bore fruit and the unit was able to break contact and withdraw.
This success was not without cost as three armed helicopters were
hit, one of which made an emergency landing with the aircraft on fire.
Although the sky was filled with enemy fire, the downed aircraft's wingman
threaded his way down through the hail of bullets to pull the crew
practically out of the enemy's hands. The action of the armed helicopters
in the face of vastly superior enemy fire power, was the factor that made
the difference between annihilation and successful withdrawal of the
outnumbered ground units. The 190th Assault Helicopter Company had two crew
members wounded, one armed helicopter totally destroyed and three other
aircraft hit.
On 17 December 1967 the 118th Assault Helicopter Company was diverted
from its schedule for a tactical emergency in support of the 604th CIDG,
25th Infantry Division (ARVN) in the area southwest of Bao Tri. A unit of
the 604th CIDG was in heavy contact and in dire need of immediate
reinforcements. The emergency standby, light fire teams from the 68th AHC
had been scramble to support the ground unit in contact. Even though the
area had been struck repeatedly by tactical airstrikes and armed
helicopter, the enemy continued to offer strong resistance. On each pass
the armed helicopters drew heavy automatic weapons fire, resulting in one
aircraft hit and forced to make and emergency landing. The landing was
effected in a secure area. After several airstrikes on the enemy positions,
the flight departed the pickup zone with a company to reinforce the unit in
contact.
Although a smoke screen was employed, the flight encountered an
intense volume of fire during the approach to the landing zone, on the
ground in the landing zone, and during takeoff. Two aircraft were hit by
enemy fire during take off and made emergency landings three kilometers
east of the landing zone. Two other aircraft in the flight followed then to
the ground and extracted all members and weapons. These aircraft also
received fire while on the ground near the downed aircraft. While
reconnoitering the area, an armed helicopter from the 68th Assault
Helicopter Company was hit by automatic weapons fire, wounding the crew
chief. Whenever a helicopter got near the area, the ground seemed to be
covered with white flashes as the enemy automatic weapons opened fire. No
area in the vicinity of the doomed aircraft seemed to be free of the enemy
and making an insertion of a security force by air was impractical. For
this reason, elements of the 25th ARVN Division stationed in Bao Trai were
directed to proceed over land to the area to provide security until an
extraction of the aircraft could be effected. One element mounted in APC's
moved west from Boa Trai while a second element moved to the southwest to
act as a blocking force. The element to the north encountered resistance
about four hundred meters north on the downed aircraft and halted. A
Diamondhead armed helicopter, was shot down and made an emergency landing
while supporting this element. The crew was extracted by his wingman,
however all armament, including XM-21 system, remained with the aircraft.
Also, an armed helicopter from the 190th AHC flown by a crew from the
118th AHC was shot down. This aircraft crashed and burned.The crew was
picked up by the alternate C & C aircraft, quite shaken, but otherwise
unhurt. The ARVN troops were making no progress and it is becoming
increasingly apparent that they did not intend to reach the aircraft. With
the prospect of these aircraft remaining in an insecure area over night,
recovery of the XM-21 system became a major concern.
While a Cobra light fire team from the 334th Armed Helicopter Company
and a light fire team from the 25th Infantry Division (US) placed
continuous fires on the area of heaviest VC fire, a UH-1C from the 118th
AHC with a volunteer crew, approached the downed aircraft low level from
the east. Upon landing, two men jumped out and removed the two guns. The
intense fire placed on the enemy positions couple with the fading light,
permitted successful recovery of the guns. The professionalism displayed by
the aircrew members involved in this operation was outstanding. Regardless
of the situation, mission accomplishment was foremost in their minds. In
this operation there were six crew members wounded, two hospitalized, and
four treated and released. One armed helicopter was destroyed and seven
armed and nine troop carrier helicopters received combat damage.
On 18 December 1967 the 68th Assault Helicopter Company supported
the 1/27th Infantry, 25th Infantry Division (US) on airmobile operations
southwest of Bao Tri, RVN. The mission of the ground unit was to secure the
area around three helicopter that had been shot down in order so extraction
by CH 47 helicopters could be affected. The three helicopters had been shot
down on 17 December and had remained without security. After intensive
artillery and tactical air preparation, air assaults were made into LZ 1
and LZ 2 with only light resistance. The ground unit initially encountered
no resistance and soon advanced to the first downed aircraft. The armed
helicopters of the 68th AHC, while covering the advance of the ground unit
in the direction of the other two aircraft, received heavy automatic
weapons fire from the same area where the enemy had been entrenched the
previous day. The aerial observer, from the 74th Reconnaissance Company,
flying above the area continued to direct airstrikes and artillery against
the enemy positions. Movement by the ground troops was impeded because of
heavy fire from the tree lines and canals. A second element moved west and
then north to circumnavigate the enemy position.
Meanwhile the light fire teams were assisting the ground unit in
contact with the enemy. On each firing pass the armed helicopters received
heavy fire from the numerous heavily fortified positions. Two aircraft were
hit and one crew chief was wounded. More artillery and tactical airstrikes
were employed, allowing the ground unit to advance very slow. However,
their movement was continually hampered by sporadic sniper fire. Time was
growing short for a daylight extraction of the downed aircraft. The
decision was made to attempt an extraction, utilizing the smoke aircraft,
even though the enemy fields of fire covered the area.
After the aircraft was rigged, the smoke ship put down a ring of smoke
around the downed aircraft while the light fire teams suppressed the area,
enabling the CH-47 to make the extraction. The ground unit continued to
have heavy contact and at this point were running dangerously low on
ammunition. Oblivious to the heavy enemy automatic weapons fire, an
aircraft from the 68th AHC accomplished the ammunition resupply mission.
Armed helicopters provided escort for the resupply aircraft, many times
literally looking down the barrels of the enemy weapons. Two flare equipped
aircraft from the 118th AHC were scrambled to provide battlefield
illumination. A Cobra light fire team, from the NETT Team, was diverted
from another mission to augment the light fire teams on station.
Extraction of the two remaining helicopters was of prime importance.
As the armed helicopters placed suppressive fire on the enemy positions,
the aircraft with the rigging crews made a low level approach and landed
beside the aircraft. By this time the only light on the scene was that
provided by the flare aircraft, and determining the location of the downed
aircraft was extremely difficult. To aid in fixing the exact location, the
rigging aircraft remained on the ground turning on his rotating beacon on
call. This signal enabled the CH-47 crews to locate the downed aircraft.
Without this signal, determining a location that would permit a
landing would have been extremely difficult if not impossible. The first
aircraft was extracted without incident. However, as the CH-47 departed the
area with the UH-1, it received heavy automatic weapons fire, wounding the
gunner. The armed helicopters placed immediate fire on the enemy positions,
curtailing further enemy fire. The ground troops had not planned to remain
in the field overnight, therefore, receipt of the night kit, rations and
ammunition was imperative. Although the area contained many enemy
positions, and location of the landing zone in the dim light of the aerial
flares was extremely difficult, the 68th AHC made seven sorties into the
landing zone. It was necessary to utilize aircraft landing lights to locate
the land zone, thus making them an even better target for enemy gunners.
Despite these hazards, the aircrews pressed forward with the mission,
providing the ground unit with life sustaining items. The 68th AHC had one
wounded in action and five aircraft received combat damage. Four aircraft
required evacuation by CH-47 helicopters, however, three were from the
previous days operation.
Three other helicopters were repaired on the spot and cleared for a
one time flight to Bien Hoa. Another was damaged but continued to fly. At
approximately 0200 hours, 19 December 1967, the ground unit was attacked
with mortars, RPG and automatic weapons fire. If the two aircraft had not
been extracted prior to this time, they would have been destroyed or badly
damaged.
On 25 December 1967, Christmas Day, the 145th C.A.B. invited 120
children from Bui Vinh Orphanage to have dinner at the 334th AHC Mess Hall,
they were served turkey with all the trimmings.
On 28 December 1967, the 118th Assault Helicopter Company supported
the 1st Battalion, 25th Infantry Division (ARVN) on airmobile operations
near Bao Trai, RVN. After a weather delay until 1100 hours, the operation
proceeded without undue difficulty. At approximately 1600 hours the
decision was made to extract the southern element and a light fire team was
instructed to perform a reconnaissance of the area. They received heavy
automatic weapons and small arms fire, sustaining numerous aircraft hits
and one door gunner wounded in action.
The ground unit was directed to move further to the north and prepare
for extraction. In the meantime the element located at LZ #2 was extracted
without incident. The southern element had moved into a new position but
was still receiving fire from the east and south. Artillery was called in
to provide cover for the unit while it moved farther to the north. The
standby smoke aircraft from the 334th Armed Helicopter Company was
scrambled to assist in the extraction. The ground unit secured another
landing zone, reporting only sniper fire from the north.
The armed helicopter made a reconnaissance of the area and drew very
light fire, so the decision was made to proceed with the extraction. As the
smoke aircraft started its pass, it encountered extremely heavy automatic
fire along the north flank. The smoke aircraft was hit and three crewmen
were wounded but they remained on station to provide the desperately needed
smokescreen.
The flight started receiving heavy fire just short of the landing
zone, while on the ground, and after take off. The fire was coming from all
sides while the flight was in the landing zone. Continuous suppression from
all the armed helicopters and the door gunners on the troop carrying
helicopters failed to diminish the rate of enemy fire. The first two
aircraft received numerous hits and both crew chiefs were wounded. Four of
the enemy were killed by the door gunners while the flight was on the
ground. On take off two aircraft were crippled by fire, necessitating
emergency landings approximately two thousand meters from the landing zone.
The first aircraft was on fire as it landed. All crews, radios and
weapons were evacuated. The ground troops that were aboard the downed
aircraft provided security. The remaining aircraft proceeded directly to
the hospital at Cu Chi to drop off the wounded ground troops and aircrew
members. Two of these aircraft returned to the AO while the other two
remained at Cu Chi, not flyable due to combat damage. The emergency standby
fire team and the flare aircraft were scrambled. Sufficient troops to
secure the area until a company size force could move to the area by foot
were to be inserted by the flyable aircraft.
By this time the area was in total darkness, the only light being
that provided by the aerial flares. The remaining lifts were made under
extremely hazardous conditions, without further incident. There were eight
aircrew members wounded in action. A total of ten aircraft were damaged by
enemy ground fire. Of these, two remained on the ground in the AO overnight
and were extracted the following morning. One remained overnight at Cu chi
and was extracted the following morning, while the remaining damaged
aircraft were repaired and flown back to Bien Hoa Airbase.
During this time period the 334th AHC became the first aviation
company to fly combat operations in AH-1G Huey Cobra Gunships in Vietnam.
On 31 December 1967 the Meritorious Unit Commendation was awarded to
the 68th AHC, 118th AHC, and 334th AHC for the period 1 January 1967 to 31
December 1967. The 335th AHC was awarded the Meritorious Unit Commendation
for the period 1 February 1967 to 31 December 1967.
January 1968 brought the return of the 117th AHC to the 145th CAB from
the 10th CAB, and the loss of the 335th AHC to the 268th CAB.

BATTLE OF BIEN HOA
TET OFFENSIVE 1968
On the morning of 31 January 1968, the Bien Hoa Air Base, III Corps
Headquarters, the Prisoner of War Compound, and other key installations
around the Bien Hoa - Long Binh area received enemy mortar and rocket fire.
The Communists were starting to carry out a plan that they had studied for
a considerable period of time. The attacking forces, elements of the 274th
and 275th Viet Cong Regiments, along with the 68th Regiment, 9th VC
Division, had been recruiting and training their leaders for a substantial
length of time. It was instilled in the minds of their soldiers that this
ultimate plan could not fail, and that victory would surely be theirs. A
prisoner later captured stated that he was told by commanders that Bien Hoa
would "drop into their hands like a ripe apple". "Charlie" felt that such
an offensive, one that involved ground attacks on major military complexes,
would be completely unexpected. He was right but he completely
underestimated the retaliatory firepower of the allied forces, and most of
all, the devastating assaults of the armed helicopter.
Approximately 1600 hours, 30 January, Lt. Col. Robert M. Deets'
secretary reported to the 145th Battalion Operations Office that her home
was taken over by the Viet Cong and was to be used for the operational
headquarters within the city of Bien Hoa.
While a silent Bien Hoa Air Base slept, Colonel Nick Psaki and LTC
Deets set up their Operational Plan Charlie - Charlie, knowing the enemy
forces would unleash a devastating attack. Beginning at 3 O'clock in the
morning of 31 January 1968, they launched their surprisingly
well-coordinated assaults at major installations throughout the
countryside. The assaults came within minutes of each other. Throughout
Vietnam, Americans awakened to a new phase in the war. The Bien Hoa Air
Base received approximately 150 rounds of enemy rocket and mortar fire.
Almost simultaneously the Viet Cong ground forces made their move to
overrun the base. Formed into four companies of 52 men each, his soldiers
penetrated the perimeter between bunkers in the 101st Airborne Division
cantonment area and the III Corps Headquarters, gradually making their way
to the approach end of runway 27. It was there they were met by the
gunships led by Captain Kenneth Rubin, 334th Gunship Company, assigned by
the Command and Control of Checkmate Charlie-Charlie.
Captain Rubin and his "Firefly" team had just returned from a mission
near Duc Hoa when they were told to engage the enemy on the east side of
the airbase. They spotted the Viet Cong off the eastern end of the runway
and awaited clearance to fire. An emergency standby fire team from the
118th Assault Helicopter Company was soon airborne and on station. Captain
Rubin was then given permission to engage the enemy. After approximately 30
minutes his team needed to refuel and the mission was given to the 118th
Gunship Team. Captain Rubin and his Australian Co-pilot were both wounded
and their helicopter shot-up so bad it was rendered non-flyable. Captain
Rubin was given another helicopter and then formed another "Firefly Team"
and later returned for further action. Lt. Col. Anderson and Major Jarrett
requested and were given permission to insert their Cobra "NETT" Team into
the action. Their flying was outstanding and was a major factor in winning
the Battle of Bien Hoa. Contact with the Viet Cong lasted until late in the
morning. By that time almost every helicopter fire team in the battalion
had participated in the effort to destroy the firmly emplaced enemy in this
action.
All night long personnel had received sporadic small arms fire from
the water tower near the entrance to the air base. The 12th Combat Aviation
Group Commander, Colonel Nick Psaki and elements of the 68th Combat
Aviation Company, personally eliminated the enemy while men on the ground
observed the battle only 100 meters away. By noon the tower was under
control and the enemy guerillas were dead, but they were hard to beat in
their well-fortified positions.
III Corps Headquarters, adjacent to the air base came under mortar
attack at 0545 hours. By 0700 hours the VC had begun to move from his
vulnerable position off the end of the runway to the buildings across the
street from the headquarters. The occupants of the compound received
automatic weapons and RPG rocket fire from the new enemy emplacements.
Gunships and armored vehicles from the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment
engaged the enemy forces in house to house fighting and drove them from
their positions. The Viet Cong casualties were extremely heavy during this
encounter.
Elements of the 145th Combat Aviation Battalion supported other
hard-hit installations during the widespread Tet Truce Offensive. At the
same time Bien Hoa Air Base received its first incoming rounds, the nearby
Long Binh Complex, Headquarters 11 Field Force, received rocket mortar
fire. Elements of the 274th and 275th Viet Cong Regiments launched a heavy
ground attack around that area. Twenty-four hours earlier the most
elaborate military headquarters in Vietnam had enjoyed an uneventful duty
day, but suddenly it was fighting for its life. Attacking from across
highway 1A from Khu Gia Vien Village, commonly known as "windows village,"
the heavily armed enemy assaulted the defensive perimeter. The "Mustang"
fire teams from the 68th Assault Helicopter Company, and "Striker" AH-1G
"Cobra" helicopters from the NETT Team proceeded immediately to the area to
give fire support to the embattled friendly forces. Continuous air assaults
were provided by these ships to repel the enemy attacks. It was later
learned that beneath "Widows Village", "Charlie" had built an elaborate
tunnel complex, complete with ammunition and supplies, making himself well
prepared for an assault on the 12th CAG and the Long Binh complex.
The Viet Cong also launched a major effort in the Saigon-Cholon area.
The "Bandits", gunships of the 118th Assault Helicopter Company launched
combat assaults against Viet Cong firmly emplaced in the Phu Tho Race
Track. Elements of the 68th Assault Helicopter Company were in heavy
contact with enemy forces occupying the Cholon district of Saigon. Cobra
aircraft from the 334th Armed Helicopter Company and Cobra NETT Team were
also dispatched to Saigon to add their devastating firepower on the enemy.
Helicopters of the 190th Assault Helicopter Company were called upon to
evacuate the besieged defenders of the American Embassy, who were hard hit
by the daring enemy.
Since the American New Year, there had been strong indications the
enemy was planning such a major offensive. Since January 20th United
States military along with our own Vietnamese intelligence sources had
suspected the enemy's intentions. The 274th and 275th Viet Cong Regiments
were located as far north as Bu Dop in early January. Their north to south
cross-country movement placed them in the vicinity of the Dong Nai River by
the end of the month. The 68th Regiment of the 9th Viet Cong Division moved
from a position near Tay Ninh in early January to Bien Hoa in time for the
attack on January 31. As early as the 2nd of December, a warning order had
been given to the residents of Bien Hoa City that they had better stop
cooperating with the U.S. Forces or face annihilation. At seven o'clock in
the evening of 30 January 1968, seven Viet Cong rode by the main gate of
the 145th Combat Aviation Battalion and shouted, "Yankee--tonight you die".
These VC were armed with pistols, automatic weapons, and one grenade
launcher.
Minutes before the first rocket round impacted on the air base the
enemy forces had penetrated the perimeter and were poised for the attack.
The attacks of the Viet Cong caught almost everyone by surprise except
Colonel Psaki and Lt. Col. Deets. Those who were accustomed to the
unimpeded everyday routine of "rear area" living suddenly found themselves
thrust into action against a determined enemy force. In place of an
uneventful night's rest, the American and Allied Force on the air base were
shaken from their beds by the blinding flash and deafening explosion of
impacting Chinese Communist 122mm rockets. Suddenly the Bien Hoa Air Base
wasn't secure as it was thought to be. Immediately following the initial
rocket attack the sky was lined with tracers and one was faced with the
stark realization that this was no ordinary mortar attack. The action
seemed painfully close, and immediate reaction to the harrowing enemy
threat was paramount. Crew Chiefs quickly readied their aircraft for
action. Maintenance personnel prepared themselves to keep all aircraft
flyable. Aircraft commanders gave last minute briefings to their crews and
were soon airborne in an all-out effort to repulse the Communist intruders.
In order to continue to give the ground commander the maximum effort he had
learned to expect from the 145th, all personnel worked longer hours under
more strenuous conditions; "Charlies" presence was keenly felt. Maintenance
personnel worked virtually around the clock in order to put damaged
aircraft back in flying conditions. Ground crews refueled and reloaded
their helicopters in record time. Company clerks and cooks learned how to
be door gunners, and basic infantry training was put to use. For the first
time in many months there was no mail, it was backlogged in Ton Son Nhut
Air Base or stacked up in San Francisco. Everybody became accustomed to "C"
rations, and meals in the mess halls were few.
The effort put forth by the members of the 145th Combat Aviation
Battalion resulted in the successful defense Bien Hoa, while Air Force
fighter aircraft were initially forced to remain on the ground, Army
helicopters were quickly aloft and defending the perimeter of the air base.
The men of the 145th Combat Aviation Battalion kept the enemy in place
until the job was done.

Operational Data
145th CAB
31 January 1968 to 29 February 1968
Passengers Transported . . . . . . . . . . .24,069
Sorties Flown . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14,673
Tons of Cargo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7,199
Hours Flown . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13,380
Passengers Medevac . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 201
Confirmed Viet Soldiers Killed . . . . . . . . 407
Estimated Viet Soldiers Killed . . . . . . . . 513
Structures Destroyed . . . . . . . . . . . . . 676
Structures Damaged . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 168
Sampans Destroyed . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70

By the 1st of May 1968 things had just about gotten back to normal in
Vietnam. The 145th C.A.B. had the units of HHC, 68th, 118th, 135th, 190th,
and the 334th assigned to it at the time.
On 1 July 1968 LTC Robert M. Deets turned over command of the 145th
CAB to LTC Gerald L Waldron. Under LTC Waldron's command the Meritorious
Unit Commendation was awarded to the 190th AHC for the period 9 August 1967
to 27 July 1968.
On the 24th of December 1968, LTC Carl H McNair, Jr assumed command of
the 145th CAB, taking over for LTC Gerald L Waldron.
This is from the first edition of the 145th Combat Aviation Battalion
Monthly News (dated 10 February 1969). The purpose of the "News" is to
establish a battalion informed on "What's Happening" at the local level.
FROM THE TIGER'S DEN
The 68th "Top Tigers" recently initiated a new program within their
company. The program is designed to honor members of the unit who perform
their normal duties in an outstanding manner. The program will consist of
having a Crewchief, Gunner, Mechanic, Driver and Soldier of the Month.
Individuals in the grade of E5 and below will be selected from each duty
section. The platoon leaders and platoon sergeants will determine those
individuals who performed their duties in an outstanding manner and who
displayed outstanding military appearance and bearing during the month. The
individuals who are selected will receive three days off from their duties
and will be presented a plaque with their name and award engraved on it.
Also the names of the individuals will be placed on the new "Top Tiger of
the Month" sign that has recently been constructed in front of the company
orderly room.
The "Top Tigers of the Month" for this month have already been
selected and they are: Soldier- Sp4 Oliver W Watson, Crewchief- Sp4 John E
Green, Gunner- Sp4 Patrick H Corder, Mechanic- Sp4 Robert D Marrs, Driver-
Sp4 Merle A Larson
FROM THE EAGLE'S NEST
The "Thunderbirds" of the 118th would like to take this opportunity to
introduce Major John A Britton, the new Thunderbird 6. Major Britton
completed his civilian education at Iowa State University in 1956 with a
B.S. in Industrial Administration, but his schooling did not stop there.
Since then he has been to a dozen Army schools and training programs, the
most unusual being the Deep Sea Survival School. It was at this school that
he was required to spend hours in a one man life raft, and was thrown out
and dragged by parachute harness from a speed boat. When Major Britton was
asked about the training, he said, "There was no final exam and everyone
was continually tested for a week - if you didn't drown you passed the
course"
Another interesting assignment Major Britton had was with the Army
International Olympic Rifle Team. In 1959, while participating with the
team, he won the National Championship in the International Smallbore Free
Rifle Shooting match at Camp Perry, Ohio.
Major Britton served one previous tour in RVN between 29 June 1963 and
29 April 1964. Upon his return from RVN, he held the positions of Battalion
Executive Officer for the 53rd Aviation Battalion and Company Commander of
the 1st Aviation Company. Thunderbird "6" then attended a Counterinsurgency
course for a year before his return to RVN, and he worked as Assistant G-1
at the 1st Aviation Brigade prior to arriving at the 118th.
The new Company Commander has many ratings and awards to his credit.
They include Ranger, Parachutist, and Army Aviator badges, plus two Army
Commendation Medals, a Distinguished Flying Cross, and the Vietnamese Cross
of Gallantry with Palm. Thunderbird "6" is also qualified in seven types of
aircraft, is both Fixed and Rotor Wing rated, and has a standard Instrument
ticket.
All the officers and men of the Thunderbirds welcome our new "6" and
hope his tour with us will be as successful as his past assignments.
FROM THE COLISEUM
The Gladiators of the 190th Assault Helicopter Company, 145th Combat
Aviation Battalion, have been selected to train two highly skilled
Vietnamese Aviators in the employment of the armed helicopter. The
Gladiators will be the first unit in Vietnam to introduce the Vietnamese
Air Force to the UH-1C gunship. This Gun Platoon has garnered an unrivaled
record of safety and achievement during their tactical assault operations.
The Gladiators appreciate this opportunity to forward their gunnery
techniques.
The two history making Vietnamese Air Force Aviators are CPT Buu Ngo
of the 217th Squadron, and 1Lt Vo Van Minh of the 211th Squadron, both from
the 74th Wing at Can Tho Air Base. Cpt Ngo has flown the UH-1A, B, D, H,
and a majority in the CH-34 for a collective total of 2000 hours. 1LT Minh
has flown the UH-1D and H models for 100 hours while collecting an amazing
2450 hours in a CH-34. A very adept, aviator with 2550 total flying hours,
he is also an Instructor Pilot in the CH-34. Their training was initiated
on 14 January and will continue for 30 days through 13 February 1969.
The Skipper of the Gladiators, 1LT Robert Goivannoni, reported that
his Aircraft Commanders will qualify both pilots in M-3, the M-5, and the
M-21 gunnery systems. Upon completion of their tour with the Gladiators,
they will return to their units to possess others with the invaluable
instruction.
FROM THE SNAKE PIT:
Charlie Cong is suffering from Excedrin Headache No. 334. In the last
ten days the Communists have lost over 94 men and 66 sampans to the blazing
guns of the Saber Company Cobras.
Eighteen miles southwest of Saigon and barely two miles from the vital
Ben Iuc bridge, the Raider Platoon made heavy contact with a VC force in a
staging area. When the smoke cleared, the VC had withdrawn leaving 41 of
their comrades behind.
A similar action took place Friday night just six miles northwest of
Bien Hoa on the Dong Nai River. Sixty communists were caught in the Firefly
spotlight and brought under intense fire. The enemy attempted to rally and
return the gunship fire, but lost 21 killed in the effort.
These incidents have seriously hampered the Communists attempt mass
men and material for assaults on key villages in their attempt to cut the
link between the capital and the rice-rich Mekong Delta.
WELL DONE
1LT Bryant, Johnny L., 334th Aerial Wpns Co- While flying over as
enemy position, 1LT Bryant's aircraft received ground fire with the
hydraulic and electrical systems being shot out. 1LT Bryant successfully
landed the aircraft with no further damage.
1LT FRIGA, George W., 118th Aslt Hel Co- While picking up to hover,
the 90 degree drive shaft to the tail rotor gear box failed. 1LT Friga
executed emergency procedures, landing the aircraft with light damage to
the skids.
SALUTE:
A well deserved salute is extended to the following individuals
with-in the Battalion who were decorated during the month of January for
their valorous actions and meritorious service.
BURNS, David A.-WO1-190TH-DFC, WEBSTER, Geoffrey-CPT-68TH-DFC, DAVIDTER,
John A.-SP4-68TH-DFC, WALKER, Wayne T.-WO1-118TH-BS, DAY, James
A.-SP4-190TH-AM "V", BROWN, Frank E.-SP4-190TH-AM "V", DENT, Rudolf
L.-SP4-190TH-AM "V", HALL, Charles E.-SP4-68TH-AM "V", MURPHY, Micheal
T.-WO1-68TH-AM "V", DAWKIMS, Glenn R.-SP4-68TH-AM "V", PRESTON, Thurman
R.-SP4-68TH-AM "V" OLC, WIESCHOWSKI, Ronald L.-SP4-190TH-AM "V", AIGLER,
Kenneth T. Jr-SP4-190TH-AM "V", CALIENDO, Stephen N-SP4-190TH-AM "V",
CHRISTY, Larry D-SP5-190TH-AM "V", KENNEDY, Terry B-PFC-68TH-AM "V",
YOUSEY, James L.-SP4-68TH-AM "V", DUNN, James D.-SP4-68TH-AM "V", NEGLIA,
Salvatore C.-1LT-190TH-AM "V", SMITH, Andrew H.-SP4-68TH-AM "V", BIRELY,
Richard E-CW2-118TH-AM "V", ALEXANDER, Nicholas B-WO1-118TH-AM "V", ALLEN,
Ronald T.-WO1-190TH-AM "V", FAIRFIELD, Kenneth R-SP4-118TH-AM "V",
STICKLEY, Dennis W-WO1-68TH-AM "V", JAMES, John W.-SP5-118TH-ACM "V",
KARVONEN, Robert E.-SSG-118TH-ACM "V", MYERS, David O.-SP4-68TH-ACM "V",
TAYLOR, Gerald E.-SP4-68TH-ACM "V", GURNSEY, Earl F.-SP4-118TH-ACM "V",
CUNNINGHAM, Robert J.-WO1-68TH-ACM, ZIEGLER, Russell W.-SP4-190TH-ACM,
WILLOUGHBY, Raymond-SP5-190TH-ACM, WILMS Robert H. Jr.-CW2-68TH-ACM

LTC John J Top assumed command of the 145th CAB on the 31st of May
1969, continuing the traditions passed on to him by LTC Carl H McNair and
all the other former Commanders of the 145th CAB.
LTC John J Top turned over command to LTC Jack Seliskar on the 23rd of
November 1969.
The 334th Aviation Company (Attack Helicopter), commanded by Maj. John
R. McQuestion, on April 29th, 1970, was the first Aviation Company to fly
into Cambodia, (officially). And just to keep the record straight, those of
us who were there know we flew into Cambodia years before that. The 334th
AHC mission was in support of the official 60 day, 20 mile clean out
operation into Cambodia in May and June 1970, that all units of the 145th
CAB participated in.
LTC Jack Seliskar turned over command of the 145th CAB on the 19th of
May 1970 to LTC Calvin G Dodd.
On 13 June 1970, 1Lt Scott R Alwin, 68th AHC, 145th CAB, was awarded
his 102nd through 108th Air Medal which set the record for the most Air
Medals held by an Army Aviator.
On the 15th August 1970, LTC William H Dillard assumed the command of
the 145th CAB from LTC Calvin G Dodd.
In September of 1970 the 190th AHC entered into joint training with
the South Vietnamese Air Force.
LTC Richard D Kenyon took over for LTC William H Dillard on 1 December
1970. The 190th Avn Co left Vietnam on the 10th of December 1970.
In February 1971 the 68th Avn Co (AHC) entered into joint training
with the South Vietnamese Air Force. And on the 1st of April 1971 the 68th
AHC left Vietnam.
In April of 1971 the 242d Avn Co (ASHC) joined the 145th CAB. And in
May of 1971 the 145th Combat Aviation Battalion was relocated to Long Binh.
Command of the 145th CAB was turned over to LTC William J Lumpkins on
the 19th of July 1971 by LTC Richard D Kenyon. Also in July of 1971 the 25th Avn Co and the 213th Avn Co joined the 145th CAB. The 334th Avn Co (Armed Escort) was transferred to the 12th Combat Aviation Group in July
1971.
On the 31st of August 1971 the 118th Avn Co (AHC) left Vietnam.
On 1 October 1971 the 242d Avn Co departed Vietnam.
The 117th Avn Co (AHC) joined the 145th CAB for the third time in December 1971. And on the 26th of March 1972 the 117th AHC and the 25th Avn Co (CAC) left Vietnam.
On 31 March 1972 the 213th Avn Co was deactivated.
LTC William J Lumpkins turned over command of the 145th Combat Aviation Battalion to LTC Neal C Petree on the 1st of April 1972. On the 2nd of April 1972 the 145th Combat Aviation Battalion left Vietnam.

At the curent time I have very little information on the 145th C.A.B. after it left Vietnam. I beleive it was stationed at Hunter Army Airfield, Georgia until 30 Sept 1982 when deactivated. And then reactivated at Fort Rucker, Alabama as the 1st Bn., 145th Aviation Regiment on 20 November 1987. Here is a list of 145th C.A.B. commanders after it left Vietnam:

LTC Earnest W. Rhyan, Jr. 3 June 1972 - 19 Dec 1972

LTC Lawrence A. Bell 15 May 1973 - 29 May 1974
LTC Duane C. Ingram 30 May 1974 - 26 Nov 1975
LTC Paul J. Wenzel 26 Nov 1975 - 7 June 1977
LTC Harold E. Culley 8 June 1977 - 8 Jan 1976
LTC Phillip W. Gaskins 9 Jan 1979 - 25 June 1981
LTC John M. Kilkenny 26 Jun 1981 - 30 Sep 1982

Reactivated as 1st Battalion, 145th Aviation Regiment 20 November 1987

LTC Michael S. Byington 20 Nov 1987 - July 1989
LTC James Diamond July 1989 - July 1991