JUNE 1966 TO NOVEMBER 1967
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 assault 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
participating 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 assault. 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
assault, 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
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 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.
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.