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1995 Calendar, Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association (VHPA) - The Long Green Line

Item Number: 20080202001
Number of Pages
Digital Object Type
Physical Location
Box 02, Folder 02
Copyright Statement
This document is copyrighted
Item is Copyrighted - It is not available outside the VNCA building


  • 1995

General Note / OCR

Table of Contents Front Cover Photo – “It’s dawn in the central highlands of Vietnam. The air is heavy with the smell of rain and moist vegetation. The thunder of a passing monsoon rumbles through the mist-shrouded valley as a scouting platoon arrives on a rocky outcropping. Soon, however, the tranquility of this seemingly pastoral setting is shattered by a new thunder – the sound of a long, green line of UH-1 Iroquois helicopters (Huey) winding down the valley to a landing zone. The “Huey” was the chosen vehicle for U.S. Army’s Air Cavalry. It served as a troop transport, provided armed support and was used for casualty evacuation.” William S. Phillips, himself a veteran, painted this as a tribute to the men who served in Vietnam and to the machines they flew.

January Medina Medevac A Ch-34D from HMM-361 (Flying Tigers). 13 Oct 1967. This drawing was recently rendered by VHPA member A. Michael Leahy from photos he took during this mission. C Co 1/1 Marines sustained 39 WIAs (wounded in action) in an encounter with the North Vietnamese Army during operation MEDINA. Here we see a crew from HMM-361 delivering C rations and ammunition prior to picking up the wounded in a zone in the Hai Lang forest about 15 kilometers south southwest of Quang Tri. Mike served as helicopter crew chief and pilot during the Korean and two tours in Vietnam as a helicopter pilot and combat artist. Mike has interviewed several pilots and airman that flew for HMM-361 on this day. One is VHPA member Roger Herman. In recent years Roger has worked tirelessly for the USMC Vietnam Helicopter Pilots and Aircrew Reunion organization which has had several extremely successful reunion. Mike is a faithful supporter of both the VHPA and USMC Vietnam Helicopter Pilots and Aircrew Reunion. Mike has a fine collection of USMC Vietnam Era helicopter drawings; some customized for every Marine Corps helicopter squadron that served in Vietnam.

February A Super Jolly Green Giant A CH-53C from the 37st Air Rescue and Recovery Squadron (ARRS). Late 1969. This photo belongs to VHPA member Bill Byrd and came to the VHPA via Philip Chinnery, the author VIETNAM, The Helicopter War, and a good friend of the VHPA. Besides flying CH-53s for the US Air Force, Bill was also one of the PIOs (public information officers) for the 37st ARRS. It comes as no surprise that Bill has a rather impressive collection of photos. The USAF CH-53B and later C models were close cousins to the US Navy and Marine Corps CH-53 Sea Stallion and shared many components with the US Army CH-54 Skycrane. The USAF CH-53Cs were powered by two 3,435 shp General Electric T64 engines. With the two auxiliary jettisonable 450 gallon fuel tanks and its internal tanks, the CH-53 could fly about 800 miles without refueling. It was well suited to leave bases in Thailand and Vietnam for missions over Laos and North Vietnam. Like the HH-3 it replaced the CH-53 had the air refueling capability as a standard feature. It is safe to say that those who flew other types of helicopters in Vietnam would have loved to have this feature! If you flew in a helicopter in Vietnam, you should remember the seemingly endless variety of greens in the landscape. Bill’s photo provides this statement!

March The Ride Back Two UH-1Hs from the 176th Aviation (Assault Helicopter) Company. May 1969. This painting was rendered by Sam Lyons, Jr. from several photos owned by VHPA member Ken Fritz. Ken was Minuteman 17 with the 176th AHC based at Chu Lai. He took the pictures while hauling some 11th Infantry Brigade troops back to LZ Fat City, their base camp. The 176th arrived in Vietnam on 20 Feb 1967 and served with the 14th Combat Aviation Battalion until standing down on 10 Nov 1971. The 176th was part of Task Force OREGON which became the 23d Infantry Division (AMERICAL). Sam’s painting was issued as a limited edition print in late 1993 and captures the feelings of many a dirty, hungry, exhausted grunt who gladly enjoyed an air conditioned ride back to the base camp. It also captures a moment in the lives of those who crewed a Huey. The Ride Back is copyrighted by Sam Lyons, Jr. and reproduced with his permission.

April Inserting the Infantry A squad from the Rifle Platoon, B Troop, 1st Squadron, 9th Air Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division dismount a UH-1D. 24 Apr 1967. This famous photo has graced book covers and appeared in many Vietnam publications. It is an official U.S. Army photo taken by SSG Howard C. Breedlove. It was taken on a hill top about three kilometers west of Duc Pho in Quang Ngai Province during Operation OREGON, a search and destroy mission. This picture “says it all” for many an infantryman and many an aircrew member. A pile of rocks on the spin of a ridge in I Corps. Naturally, the winds are always tricky during pinnacle operations and you are completely silhouetted for the enemy gunners. Single ship and don’t even think about putting a skid on the ground. Sounds like the ideal place to land a helicopter or roll down the slope in a ball of fire with a few of your closest friends.

May PEDRO A U.S. Air Force HH-43B from the Det 3, 40th ARRS at Ubon Royal Thai Air Base, Thailand. May 1974. This photo belongs to VHPA member Tuck Kemper. The HH-43 Husky was manufactured by Kaman Rotor Works. In Southeast Asia it was used almost exclusively for air rescue of downed aircrews. Its unique sombrero shaped rotor system was especially well suited for a local base rescue where they used the PEDRO radio call sign. With no tail rotor, and a main rotor system tilted aft 15 degrees and each pylon tilted laterally 7 ½ degrees, the Husky was able to hover into a downed, burning aircraft and blow the flames away from advancing rescue personnel. It could also be in the air in 45 seconds after the stand-by crew climbed in. Years before automatic flight stabilization systems were introduced, the Husky could sustain a very stable hover because it had no horizontal torque. It was a powerful aircraft for its size; indeed, it once held the world load/altitude record with 3,000 lbs. at 26,000 feet. It was developed before hydraulics were used in helicopters, so it had the unique characteristics of vibrating the cyclic about 1 to 2 inches fore and aft. A lot of guys are growing old naturally today because Charlie Kaman built one fine helicopter many years ago!!

June A Helping Crane An Army CH-54A recovers an Air Force HH-3. Date unknown. This photo belongs to VHPA member Bill Byrd and came to the VHPA via Philip Chinnery, the author of VIEtNAM, The Helicopter War, and a good friend of the VHPA. The CH-54A was powered by two Pratt and Whitney JFTD12A-1 turbine engines, each capable of producing 4,500 take-off horse power. With more powerful engines and without the large fuselage found on the USMC CH-53s and USAF HH-53s, the US Army CH-54A was correctly labeled the Sky Crane. The USAF HH-3, Jolly Green Giant, belonged to the 37th Air Rescue and Recovery Squadron (ARRS). This picture may have been taken in Laos because the makings on the crane do not match any of the three CH-54A companies that were based in Vietnam. However, the 478th Aviation Company, which covered I Corps, often sent a bird to Laos to provide heavy lift support. During these missions they were instructed to wear civilian clothes and act like a civilian contractor. Right!! To this day we are certain these instructions completely fooled the North Vietnamese.

July A Super C Chinook A CH-47C Chinook from the 213th Aviation (Assault Support Helicopter) Company. About 1971. This photo belongs to VHCMA member Donivan Earhart. From 1970 to 1972, Donivan was a crewchief for the Black Cats at Phu Loi. All C models had the distinctive flat back end to the aft part of the rear pylon plus bigger and longer blades than the earlier models. The CH-47C was developed in response to an Army requirement calling for a helicopter capable of transporting a 15,000 lb. sling load at 4,000 feet over 30 nm radius on a 95 degree day. The CH-47C had a usable gross weight of 46,000 lbs., could hover with a 22-981 lb. pay load at sea level or carry 15,775 lbs. at 4,000 feet on a 95 degree day. In Vietnam, the C model had twice the performance of the A model. VHPA’s aircraft databases show that aircraft 18515 did not have an easy tour. On 12 Dec 1969 one of aft blades struck a steel antenna tower and the aircraft landed on a row of concertina wire. The engineer stakes that held the wire punctured the aircraft’s belly but no one was hurt. On 10 March 1970, while setting down a sling load a sandbag went through the rotor system and damaged one forward blade. On 6 May 1970, while taking off from an LZ a mortar round exploded near the aircraft and one crew member was wounded. On 8 July 1970 it was involved in a minor accident but the details are not known. This aircraft may well have departed Vietnam with the 213th ASHC on 31 Mar 1972.

August Plantation Lightship A UH-1H from the 117th Aviation Company (Assault Helicopter). August 1970. This photo belongs to VHPA member Bob Hamilton who flew for the 117th AHC from May, 1970 until May, 1971. This Huey is on the stand-by pad at the Plantation airstrip, just outside of Bien Hoa as part of a “Night Hawk” team. It has a cluster of seven C-130 landing lights, a mini-gun mounted on one side and a 50 caliber machine-gun on the other. The 117th flew “Night Hawk” with the lightship flying lead and low level (about 100 foot AGL at about 70 knots) followed by a set of gunships. The light cluster could be focused to about a 100 foot square or to cover a large area. Anyone caught in the spot light usually died in the next few seconds. Almost everyone that served in Vietnam has memories of some marvelous incandescent sunsets; certainly Bob’s photo has to be ranked near the top!

September A Deuce in Action A CH-37C from MAG-16 recovers a UH-34D. Oct 1965. This is official U.S. Marine Corps photo A186125. This aircraft originally came to the Marines Corps in the early 1950s named the HR2S (Helicopter Transport #2 from Sikorsky). The “2” designation became the base for the nickname “Deuce” even when the Department of Defense officially named it the CH-37C “Mohave”. This huge helicopter’s five main rotor blades swept a 72 foot diameter and the fuselage was 55.5 feet long. It was powered by two Pratt & Whitney R-2800-54 piston engines that generated 2,100 bhp for take-off. The Marine CH-37Cs had special features for ship-borne operations (e.g. a rotor brake and a main rotor blade folding mechanism) that the Army CH-37Bs did not have. A Deuce detachment arrived in Vietnam about 1 Sep 1965 and on the 12th recovered their first UH-34D for HMM-263 eight miles southwest of Da Nang. The Deuce’s normal 6.673 lb. payload capability was reduced because it had to hover our of ground effect to lift a UH-34 from a zone or crash site. So one Deuce recovered the transmission and rotor head while a second retrieved the fuselage. The UH-34 squadrons had long since developed a QEC (Quick Engine Change) capability; so we can assume they pulled the engine from the fuselage first. In all about six to nine CH-37Cs served in Vietnam and all were assigned to H&MS-16 as part of MAG-16 based at Da Nang. The last operational “Deuce” flight in Vietnam was made on 14 May 1967 and by that June there were none listed in the active Marine Corps inventory.

October Goooooood Morning Vietnam! A full prep of mini gun fire and rockets from a UH-1C prior to an air assault. October 1967. This photo is owned by VHPA member Al DeMailo, Smiling Tiger 21, who was the aircraft commander of the UH-1C from the 2nd Platoon, D Company, 229th Assault Helicopter Battalion, 1st Air Cavalry Division (Airmobile). The dissipating gray smoke is from artillery and ARA (aerial rocket artillery). The white smoke is from a white phosphorous (also known as willie pete) artillery round, indicating that it is the last one fired for this mission. Note the C&C (command and control) ship near the top right of the smoke. The gray explosions on the right are Al’s impacting rockets. The tracers are from the mini guns, a 7.62 mm electrically fired gattling gun. It was not uncommon to do a full prep air assault four to eight times a day in the 1st Cav. This picture was taken prior to the first assault of the day as indicated by the rising fog and low clouds. Sometimes during the LZ preps a 229th pilot would come up on the UHF radio and announce to the flight “GOOOOOOOD MORNING VIETNAM!”

November This is Red 15 An OH-6A from C/7/17 Cav. November 1968. This photo is owned by VHPA member John Kawa who deployed to Camp Enari, Vietnam with C Troop in June, 1968 and flew Scouts until December when he joined the 170th AHC. During this period, C Troop flew “2 on 2” (two OH-6A LOHs (Light Observation Helicopter) as a low level Scout team covered by two AH-1G gunships). The Scouts used the radio call sign RED plus a number. The Scout leader’s aircraft was configured for a pilot and an observer/crewchief/gunner in the front and another observer/gunner in the rear compartment. The wingman’s ship mounted a mini-gun in lieu of the second observer/gunner. Many a great scout pilot preferred to fly wing because he had the mini-gun advantage during a shoot-out. Air Cavalry LOHs were war birds in the truest sense. If you could walk over and look inside this ship you’d find so much ammunition and smoke grenades that you’d swear it couldn’t fly! For sure there’d be a case of every type of grenade available at the time! The LOHs flew right on the trees and hovered down trails looking for the enemy. Many times they found enemy camps by smelling their cooking areas. Tear Gas and White Phosphorous grenades as well as their machine guns and the mini-gun were especially usefully when working a bunker complex.

December First in Vietnam Three CH-21C Shawnees from the 57th Transportation Company (Light Helicopter) Circa 1962. This photo is owned by Philip Chinnery the author of VIETNAM, The Helicopter War, and a good friend of the VHPA. The Army obtained 334 CH-21Cs from Piasecki Helicopter that became Vertol Aircraft and eventually a division of Boeing. Its piston engine was rated at 1,425 hp. The wooden blades swept a 44 foot diameter. With a gross weight of 14,700 lbs. and a useful load of 4,700 lbs., the Flying Banana was also known as the Workhorse. The 8th and 57th Transportation Companies (Light Helicopter) arrived in Vietnam on 11 Dec 1961 with 32 CH-21Cs. The 33rd, 81st, and 93rd Transportation Companies soon followed. These five companies were the only CH-21 units to serve in Vietnam. The only records the VHPA has for aircraft 62061 indicate it belonged to the 57th TC and later the 120th AVN Company. It was involved in a minor accident on 2 Dec 1963. During the summer of 1963 the CH-21 companies were redesignated Aviation Companies and started receiving Hueys to replace their CH-21s. The CH-21s were still flying combat missions as late as June 1964.

Heading Home An AH-1G from C/7/17 Cav. December 1968. This photo is owned by VHPA member Jim Cunningham who frequently flew in the Command and Control (C&C) Huey for C Troop during the last half of 1968. In early 1969 he joined the 155th AHC. While on he way home to Camp Enari one evening, Jim took this picture out the door of the Huey at the lead Cobra passing one of the mountains in the Kontum – Dak To area. Jim has been a faithful VHPA member for a number of years and some time back sent a copy of this picture to the VHPA. It is such a good picture that it really needed to be used. The Newsletter Editor sent it to the Directory Committee saying that it was just too beautiful to be included in a black and white Newsletter. Jim’s picture finally found a home in the VHPA Calendar.

Pub Credit Line
20080202001, Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association (VHPA) Collection, The Vietnam Center and Archive, Texas Tech University

Added: 20 Apr 2018 [Updated: 03 Apr 2019]