JANUARY THRU MARCH 1966
1 January 1966 started off with LTC Charles M Honour commanding
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
"FIRST IN VIETNAM"
HORST K. JOOST, Lt. Colonel, Inf