1 May 68 -31 July 1968 (condensed to fit newsletter)
DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY
HEADQUARTERS, 145TH COMBAT AVIATION BATTALION
APO San Francisco, 96227
AVGC-CC 12 Aug 1968
SUBJECT: Operational Report of 145th Combat Aviation Battalion for period
ending 31 July 1968 (RCS CSFOR-65) (RI) (U) (UCI;WCYNAA)
1. (C) Section 1. Operations: Significant Activities
a. The mission of this battalion has not changed during this reporting period.
(1) The 197th Medical Detachment was attached to the 135th Assault Helicopter Company 20 May 1968.
(2) The organization of the 145th Combat Aviation Battalion during the reporting period included the following units, located as indicated. (See Incl. 1)
c. Significant personnel changes during the reporting period were as follows :
(1) Commanding 0fficer, l45th Combat Aviation Battalion, 2 Jul 68
Outgoing: LTC Robert M. Deets 079250 Incoming: LTC Gerald L. Waldron 073002
(2) Battalion Executive Officer, 1 May 1968
Outgoing: LTC Robert W. Mills 096701 Incoming: Major Edmund L. Fuchs 01936032
(3) Battalion S-1/Adjutant, 1 May 1968
Outgoing: Maj Edmund L. Fuchs 01936032 Incoming: CPT William E. Bannister 05320641
(4) Battalion S-2, 8 July 1968
Outgoing: Maj John E. McCown 090263 Incoming: Maj Boyce C. McKinney 091928
(5) Battalion S-4, 1 May 1968
Outgoing: Major Donald C. VanPietersom Incoming: Maj Charles J. Mix 04005918
(6) Commanding Officer, 118th Assault Helicopter Company, 12 July 1968
Outgoing: Maj Henry C. Browning 0402487 Incoming: Maj Duane C. Ingram 074280
(7) Commanding Officer, 334th Armed Helicopter Company, 22 May 1968
Outgoing: LTC Echols L. Shedden Incoming: Major Joel J. Mikuta 074394
d. Unit Strengths as of 1 July 1968
( 1 ) Military:
Subordinate Officer WO EM Total
___Unit____ Auth O/H Auth O/H Auth O/H Auth O/H
68th AHC 18 15 53 46 239 204 310 256
118th AHC 17 16 53 43 231 195 301 254
135th AHC 17 14 54 43 246 194 317 251
190th AHC 17 18 53 48 230 196 300 262
334th AHC 31 13 26 36 219 190 276 239
HHD 22 29 2 0 115 158 139 187
145th CAB 122 105 241 216 1280 1159 1643 1480
Subordinate DAC VN 3rd Contractor
___Unit__ Auth O/H Auth O/H Auth O/H Auth O/H
68th AHC 0 0 30 26 0 0 0 0
118th AHC 0 0 30 22 0 0 2 2
135th AHC 0 0 4 4 0 0 2 2
190th AHC 0 0 16 1 0 0 2 2
334th AHC 0 0 13 20 0 0 2 2
HHD 0 0 10 10 0 0 0 0
145th CAB 0 0 103 83 0 0 8 8
e. Aircraft Status as of 31 July 1968 (Incl. 2)
f. Operational Results as of 31 July 1968 (Incl. 3)
g. Awards and Decorations: The following awards were received by members of the battalion during the period 1 May 1968 through 31 July 1968.
AWARDS NUMBER RECEIVED AWARDS NUMBER RECEIVED
SS 8 LM 0
DFC 36 SM 0
BS"V" 6 BS 23
AM"V" 68 AM 2502
ACM"V" 14 ACM 86
h. (C) Intelligence Situation
During the early days of May the enemy started the third phase of his general offensive. During the first 10 days of May there were 20 contacts made with VC/NVA units in and around the Bien Hoa/Saigon/Long Binh complexes, These contacts produced a confirmed body count of 1800, making a total of 5000 casualties in the III Corps area since the first of May, During the third week of May enemy, activity throughout the III Corps decreased and activity in the Saigon area was limited to occasional isolated attacks and minor terrorist activities. By the end of May the general decrease in enemy activity in the local area and the increased activity in outlying provinces indicated that the majority of the enemy forces had withdrawn to base areas.
During the period 1 June to 31 July 1968 enemy activity remained light. Captured documents and POW's reports give indication that the enemy had moved to and are still in base areas receiving replacements, supplies, and preparing for another offensive, It is apparent, from the changing troop dispositions, shifting of units, and the adjustment of enemy Order of Battle, that the enemy is going through a very definite period of realignment. This activity is on a greater scale than the previous quiet periods between offensives or phases of offensives. While there is little firm evidence to support it, it would appear that the enemy may, in fact, be changing strategy, Considering the enemy current strength, condition, and disposition, the possibility that the enemy will initiate a major offensive at this time continues to be remote.
(1) Combat Operation:
(a) This battalion was committed daily to tasks varying from combat support missions to reinforced battalion size combat assault operations. Battalion daily requirements of aircraft per lift company have been 10 UH-1D lift helicopters, one command and control helicopter, one maintenance helicopter, and four armed helicopters. The 334th Armed helicopter Company has provided four fire teams and two fireflys. Additionally, each Assault company normally employs a UH-1D aircraft equipped with a smoke dispenser during each combat assault operation. A total of 366 smoke missions were flown. During this reporting period, the 145th Combat Aviation Battalion has been involved in general support of III Corps ARVN and FWMAF operating in the III Corps Tactical Zone. These missions have been primarily limited to company size elements which have been reinforced by additional armed support as necessary.
(b) The Bien Hoa Air Base was subject to enemy rocket attacks on six occasions during this reporting period. These attacks occurred as shown below,
DATE NUMBER OF ROUNDS DAMAGE TO BATTALION AREA
7 May 68 4 3 Buildings minor damage
10 May 68 UNK 0
14 May 68 7-9 0
26 May 68 14 0
29 May 68 UNK 0
15 Jun 68 45 0
(c) During this reporting period the 145th Combat Aviation Battalion retained the responsibility of primary command and control of all armed helicopter light fire teams utilized in support of OPLAN Checkmate. A Command and Control helicopter has been flown by members of this battalion from 2300 - 0400 hours on a nightly basis in support of this plan.
(1) Mandatory Training.
(a) Mandatory training as outlined in USARV Regulation 350-1 and 12th Combat Aviation Group Regulation 350-1 is being conducted between breaks in daily missions and at night by all units of this battalion. Continual emphasis is being placed on familiarization and zeroing of individual weapons. To date, all personnel of this battalion have participated in this training.
(b) This battalion is continually emphasizing first aid for air crew members and aviator training to include aerial gunnery.
(2) Assigned Training Tasks:
(a) One VNAF aviator received a certificate of graduation at a ceremony conducted at 12th Group Headquarters during this reporting period. This individual was the only aviator that completed the 90 day training program with this battalion. Other members of his class were transitioned in UH-1D aircraft and released or were transferred to the 214th Cbt Avn Bn to attend training designed to qualify them as instructor pilots, On 8 July six VNAF Aviators joined the battalion for transition training. Three of these personnel completed training on 30 July 1968 and were released to rejoin their respective units. The remaining three Aviators are scheduled to complete transition training and then fly operational missions with this battalion for a period of ninety days.
(b) This battalion is receiving a limited number of quotas for attendance at the Naval Survival School in the Philippines. All assigned quotas have been filled.
(c) This battalion continues to receive newly assigned senior officers for in-country orientation and training. The duration of their stay is normally two or three days. Emphasis is placed on the procedures used in planning and conducting airmobile operations and armed helicopter assaults. Individuals are afforded the opportunity to fly on each of the various missions performed by the battalion. Seven such officers received training during this reporting period,
(d) During this reporting period the 334th Armed Helicopter Company conducted a test utilizing, the AH-1G Cobra on Firefly missions. The test is continuing and training is being conducted in order to continue the utilization of this aircraft for this highly specialized mission.
(3) Physical Security
The physical security plan has been revised due to the move of the battalion headquarters and three companies during the month of May. Rehearsals and practice alerts have been conducted to insure a rapid response from reactionary forces. Additionally, all bunkers have been repaired or replaced to insure complete protection. A separate telephone communications system has been installed in the battalion operation center with separate lines to each bunker and outpost, Since some posts are manned 24 hours a day, this has greatly improved the security of the battalion.
(1) During this reporting period the battalion signal section moved all of the command communications for the battalion headquarters from Cong Ly street to the new headquarters location at Bien Hoa Air Base.
(2) One of the primary points resultant of this move was the improvement of the battalion communications center. The center was moved from a AN/MGC-9 van to a location within the battalion headquarters building. The building is constructed of steel reinforced concrete. This provides better security for the unit's CRYPTO equipment; less failure of All sensitive equipment due to heat; and fewer "down times"; and outages due to inadequate circuits to higher HQ.
(3) The section installed a 90 foot telephone pole, rigged with cross arms as an antenna mast, This mast is arranged to facilitate a high frequency radio (AN/TRC-146) 30 foot whip antenna and coupler. Below the top platform on the first set of cross arms are four AT-292's for FM; and below them on the second set of cross arms are two UHF antennas.
(4) Communications within the battalion operations center were increased and remote sets were eliminated by locating the radio room adjacent to the BOC, In addition to this the battalion FM control Net radio was also mounted through the wall so that the BOC duty officer could change channels whenever necessary. This system was further augmented by the installation of an SB-22 switchboard with hot lines to appropriate HQ (operations sections).
(5) The battalion switchboard (ROTOR) has been replaced by an SB-68 with additional line packs to facilitate 90 lines. The former switchboard, an AN/TCC-10, had been declared non-repairable and was returned to the 36th Signal Battalion. To further improve customer service, all numbers were assigned to the company in block form. At the present time all unnecessary phone lines in the battalion area are being removed, and all others are being formed into cables, and wherever possible buried.
(6) Supporting Spartan Tower since our move to Bien Hoa has resulted in several projects being accomplished. They are as follows:
(a) Installation of commercial power by PA&E. The organic generators are now used for emergency power if commercial power fails. The system, as it exists presently, may be supplied by either commercial or generator power through the use of a double-pull/double throw switch box which was installed just below the tower platform.
(b) Due to damage incurred when the tower was struck by lightning in May, it was necessary to re-wire the inside of tower shelter. Avionics systems which were damaged were repaired by the 320th Signal Detachment and by personnel in the Air Force electronics shop here at Bien Hoa. During this major repair activity the tower continued to operate utilizing tactical radios organic to this battalion (AN/PRC-25 and AN/PRC-41).
(c) During this reporting period three pairs of obstruction lights were installed on Spartan Tower to provide warning to aircraft utilizing the heliport during the hours of darkness. In addition, a floodlight was installed which illuminates the stairs leading from the ground to the top of the tower, This light will aid in preventing accidents during the changing of operators. This light does not interfere with the landing or departing aircraft.
(1) POL: The fuel consumption rate of the AAIA refueling point at HAM TAN increased from 3000 gallons to 4000 gallons of JP-4 per week during this reporting period. This 25% increase is due to the increase in the number of airmobile operations being conducted in the HAM TAN area. A weekly flight has been coordinated with the 528th Quartermaster Company to supply fuel to the AAIA as necessary. An operational load of 10,000 gallons of JP-4 currently is being maintained at this location.
(2) Ammunition: New guide-line figures have been received from Headquarters, 12th Combat Aviation Group to be used in computing the battalion basic load and storage levels are being maintained accordingly. This change incorporates the basic load of each unit with the currently authorized operational load and allows for better management of the amount of ammunition at the battalion ammunition point.
(a) The new warheads XM-229 (17.5 lbs) and the proximity fuse (XM-429) are now authorized for operational use and are being stocked at the ammunition point. Beginning next quarter, ammunition will be requisitioned and distributed on the basis of 40% XM-229, and 60% M-151. It is anticipated that 10 to 15% of the M-151's will be equipped with the XM-429 proximity fuse.
(3) Construction: New vertical construction completed during this reporting period consisted of two wood buildings 20' by 60'. These buildings will be used as offices for a portion of the headquarters staff and the unit personnel section.
(a ) At the present time engineers are replacing revetments which were originally built on the battalion heliport utilizing self help and CBU containers, with the Army standard revetments. The estimated completion of this project is unknown. Additionally, two technical supply buildings 20' by 90' are being Constructed adjacent to the flight line. Estimated completion date of these builds is unknown.
(b) In the battalion contonement area, units are currently constructing day rooms under the self help program. The day rooms are expected to be completed during the next reporting period.
(4) Supply: On 3 July 1968, the battalion received the NOMEX flight suits which had been requisitioned through the 1st logistical Command. These flight suits have been issued to the aviators of this command on a two per man basis.
(5) Movement: During this reporting period the battalion completed the move of the battalion headquarters element, the 118th Assault Helicopter Company and the 334th Armed helicopter Company from its location on Cong Ly street in the city of Bien Hoa to the area on the airbase known as Woodson Compound, This move resulted in All units of the battalion located at Bien Hoa to be quartered in the same location. The name of the battalion compound, Honour Smith Compound, Was transferred to the new battalion area from Cong Ly street.
(1) During the period 1 May 1968 through 31 July 1968, the 145th Combat Aviation Battalion experienced 5 major accidents and 1 incident resulting in one fatality and six injuries.
(2) In May 1968, the battalion safety office published the first issue of the monthly Aircraft Accident Prevention Bulletin. The present plan is to continue to publish the bulletin on a monthly basis and distribute it to each aviator in the battalion.
(3) During this reporting period the 145th Combat Aviation Battalion has continued to stress it's new safety program which was initiated during the previous reporting period. This program places emphasis on pilot standardization and education, and improved operational procedures. Since the program was inaugurated, the overall aircraft accident rate has been decreased by 200% compared to the past three year period.
(4) The hover check performed prior to each flight has proven to be an invaluable aid in the reduction of aircraft accidents caused by low RPM on take-off. This pre-take-off check which is used throughout the battalion has proved to be an extremely effective and reliable method of determining available take-off power.
(TO BE CONTINUED)