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1997 Calendar, Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association (VHPA) - Widow Maker

Item Number: 20080204001
 Document
Language
English
Number of Pages
28
Digital Object Type
Document
Information removed from digital copy?
true
Physical Location
Box 02, Folder 04
Copyright Statement
This document is copyrighted
Item is Copyrighted - It is not available outside the VNCA building

Dates

  • 1997

General Note / OCR

Table of Contents Front Cover Photo – An Ah-1G Cobra from the Air Cavalry Troop, 11th Armored Cavalry. Late 1971. This photo belongs to VHCMA member Donivan Earhart. From 1970 to 1972, Donivan was at Pgu Loi and during his spare time setup a camera in POL (the refuel point). The name “Bill” is on the helmet of the pilot in the backseat and we think CPT Billy Johnson is the front seater because of the distinctive helmet. The white stenciling near the rear canopy reads AC CPT P.E. LE?? And CE SP4 ?HITCH???. The XM134 minigun nearest the camera in the turret, could fire 2,000 or 4,000 rounds per minute. Up to 4,000 rounds for this gun could be stored in the ammo compartment marked by the crossed sabers. The XM28 40mm grenade launcher or “chunker”, on the right in the turret, fired at 450 rounds per minute. Up to 300 rounds could be stored for this weapon. The M158 and M200 rocket launchers on the wing carried seven and 19 2.75” rockets. The exact date this picture was taken is not known. ACT/11th ACR was based at Phu Loi and pilots from that period believe “Widow Maker” stood down with the unit in early 1972.

January A Pink Team Taking a Day Off An AH-1G and an OH-6A from the Air Cavalry Troop, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment. During 1971. This photo belongs to VHCMA member Donivan Earhart who was at Phu Loi from 1970 until 1972. From about 1968 on, Air Cavalry tactics were based on a team of one or more Scouts in OH-6As and one or more Guns in AH-1Gs. The Scouts were called “Red Birds,” “6s,” “LOHs,” “Little Birds,” “Low Birds” and even “White Birds” by various troops. The Guns were called “White Birds,” “Snakes,” “Cobras,” “High Birds,” “Bad Birds,” and even “Red Birds.” The term “Pink Team” was very popular and meant some mix of Red and White Birds. A “Heavy Pink” had at least one extra Cobra.

February A UH-34D from HMM-163. Early 1964. This photo was donated by VHPA member Dan Ross, who flew with HMM-361 during the SHUFLY Era. SHUFLY was the code name of the USMC helicopter support operations in Vietnam that began in April 1962, when HMM-362 moved into Soc Trang. The exact date and location this picture was taken is not known and neither is the owner. This photo has been a favorite with Marine helicopter pilots for years and appeared on the cover of the 1991 VHPA Directory. The Sikorsky-built HUS was first delivered to the Marines in 1957 as a utility version of the Navy HSS developed for anti-submarine duties. In 1962 the Department of Defense changed the name to UH-34, but to Marines all over the world the slang word HUSS stood for the reliability, simplicity and capability of this legend. Before the last one was delivered in 1964, the Marine Corps had received over 540 of this type. At the height of the Vietnam War when its more-sophisticated cousins were grounded periodically for technical problems, or when a ground unit absolutely needed assistance, the radio would say: “Give me a HUSS!”

March Cheap Thrills An OH6A from the 11th Armored Cavalry. During 1971. This photo belongs to VHCMA member Donivan Earhart who was at Phu Loi from 1970 until 1972. “The Blackhorse Regiment” came to Vietnam in September 1966 with 51 tanks, 296 armored personnel carriers, 18 self-propelled 155mm howitzers, nine flame-throwers and 48 helicopter. There was an aviation platoon in the headquarters with 10 aircraft and each of the three cavalry squadrons had four more (two OH-6As and two Hueys). With the passenger seat installed in the aft compartment, “Cheap Thrills” most likely belonged to one of these units versus the Air Cavalry Troop. The OH-6As were used for courier, C&C (command and control) and scout missions. The passenger is not wearing a flight helmet in this picture, so this might be a courier mission. The names stenciled in white read AC Cpt H…tt and CE Sp 5 Fa…. In all the US Army lost 954 OH-6As during the war.

April Extracting the Apache Blues Hueys from A Troop, 1st Squadron, 9th Cavalry, landing in a pickup zone near Tay Ninh. April 1970. This photo was taken by Art Dockter from the fourth ship in the Aero Rifle Platoon and was donated by Kregg P.J. Jorgenson, author of Acceptable Loss, published by Ivy Books. Each of the 28 Air Cavalry Troops that served in Vietnam was a miniature self-contained, combined-arms team. Besides a maintenance platoon and the headquarters section, each troop had 10 Scouts and nine Gunships, plus five Lift helicopter for the 22 men in the Rifle platoon. Most Air Cav Troops called their Rifle platoon “The Blues” because that is the color of the Infantry Branch. Kregg served with the Blues and Art was a doorgunner in A/1/9th CAV, whose members called themselves the Apaches. Inserting and extracting Infantry units was Job One for many helicopter crews in Vietnam, but there are surprisingly few good pictures of these operations.

May One Red Dog An OH-58 from the 11th Combat Aviation Battalion. During 1971. This photo belongs to VHCMA member Donivan Earhart. From 1970 to 1972 he was at Phu Loi, and during his spare time set up a camera at the refuel point. The aviation detachments within the Signal, Engineer, and Field Artillery units were the first to receive the 58 during 1970. It replaced their OH-6As which were needed by Air Cavalry units. Because the 58 required only a one-man crew and comfortable carried four passengers, it soon bacem the aerial equivalent to the jeep. The 58 also replaced the Huey in the aviation sections of aviation battalions. This picture clearly shows the 1st Aviation Brigade shoulder patch on the pilot (wearing a flight helmet) and passenger (not wearing a helmet). The 11th CAB came to Vietnam in 1965 and supported the 1st Infantry Division plus other II FFV units. “Red Dog” was its radio callsign. Obviously someone within the 11th CAB had a sense of humor and could paint cartoon characters!

June This is DMZ Dustoff A UH-1H from the 237th Medical Detachment (Helicopter Ambulance). About June 1969. This photo was donated by VHPA member Phil Marshall, who was flying in this very aircraft, #66-17626, for the 237th Med the night he was wounded. This photo appeared in the 1993 VHPA Directory. The exact date and location this picture was taken are not known and the name of the professional photographer who took it is not known. MAJ Don Hull, the CO of the 237th, was the Aircraft Commander and the Crewchief was John D. Tyler. The co-pilot and medic are not known. The 237th used the radio callsign “DMZ Dustoff” because they were the northern-most Army medevac unit. Note the bomb just exploding on the left in the tree line and the blur of the “fast mover” (jet aircraft) climbing out of the valley. Note also the medic has left the ship and is helping the grunts with their wounded friends. This Huey does not have even one skid on the ground – just hanging there rock-solid for minute after tense minute. Not long after the picture was taken a machine gun opened up from the tree line but was silenced by some gunships. On 27 April 1970, this aircraft crashed into the sea near Da Nang and only the co-pilot survived. This photo is “classic DUSTOFF.”

July Comin’ Hot The Weapons System Sight Reticle as seen by the pilot in the back seat of an AH-1G. Late 1968. This photo belongs to VHPA member Jack Dale Jordan and was taken in 1968 near Happy Valley in northeastern II Corps. Jack flew with the 361st Aviation (Escort) Company from Pleiku. This gun sight was used to fire the weapon systems mounted on the stubby wings on each side of the Cobra. After pulling the trigger on the cyclic, the next thing you heard was “FROSSH” as the rockets left the tubes, or “GRRRRR” from the mini-guns. Almost instantaneously you saw the white exhaust trails from the rocket motors or what seemed like a red-golden rod formed by the tracers streaking towards the target. The hundreds of guys who flew and fought from the back seat of a Snake should remember this picture all too well!! Generally, “Comin’ Hot!” was a nice way to tell others on the radio that you were firing.

August A New Black Cat Super Hook A CH-47 “Super C” 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 Blackcats at Phu Loi and was asked by the company leadership to take this picture of a newly-new “Super C” they had just received. SGT ???, the Crewchief, is clearly visible wearing a headset at the front window. All C models had the distinctive square shape to the aft part of the rear pylon, plus bigger and longer blades than the earlier models. The “Super C” had more powerful engines than the “Small C.” Naturally, the pilots preferred the more powerful model because they could really get the work done, but had to be careful not to overstress the drive train with these engines. For a while, the #2 engine had a harmonic problem that caused the turbine blades to come apart, which severed hydraulics lines and caused a fire. There must have been great peace of mind for these crews – knowing that not only were the bad guys against you, but you could actually catch fire and die all by yourself!! Still, most everyone enjoyed flying the “Super C” because they were low-time machines.

September Refueling a Taipan ‘Hog’ A UH-1C from the 135th Aviation (Assault Helicopter) Company. About September 1970. This photo belongs to VHCMA member Donivan Earhart. From 1970 to 1972, Donivan was at Phu Loi, and during his spare time set up a camera at the refuel point. Traditionally, the 3d platoon in an AHC contained armed helicopters and used a different radio callsign from the transport helicopters in the 1st and 2d platoons. The 135th’s guns were Taipans and their slicks were Emus. The Charlie Model was an extremely popular gunship because of its power, speed, and its doorgunners. The distinctive features of the UH-1C are the cambered shaped of the tail rotor pylon and the “540” rotor head with a wider blade. Taipan 31 is armed with the XM200 launcher full of 2.75-inch rockets with 17 lb. high explosive warheads. To put this warhead in perspective, it had more destructive capability than a 105mm howitzer round! The rocket pod was big and heavy, hence the name “Hog.” The helicopter once had a “thumper” (a M-5 40mm grenade launcher) mounted in the nose. The small rectangular covers on the battery compartment door mark where that weapon system was. The names on the pilot doors read AC Smith and CE Jackson. It might be possible to date this picture because the 135th lived at Bear Cat (not far from Phu Loi) until about October 1970, when they moved to Dong Tam. The 135th was unique among all Army AHCs because about one-third of its personnel were Australian. The Australians’ hard-working, fun-loving attitude always was appreciated by the Americans.

October One Purple Fox A CH-46D Sea Knight from HMM-364 at Duc Pho. November 1970. This photo is owned by VHPA member Fred Thompson who took a lot of good pictures while flying for the Army in I Corps. This picture was taken at the refuel point at Duc Pho. The Marine Corps acquired the Boeing Vertol-built CH-46 as the turbine-powered replacement for the venerable UH-34. The A model was first delivered to operational squadrons in June 1964. HMM-164 brought 27 CH-46As to Marble Mountain, Vietnam, on 8 March 1966. On 28 October 1967, HMM-364, officially known as the PURPLE FOXes, was denoted by the white circle around the fox head on the rear pylon. This aircraft has the same emblem painted on the front pylon immediately over the windshields. The PURPLE FOXes stayed in Vietnam until March 1971.

November Another Seawolf Lift Off A Navy UH-1B Seawolf from Helicopter Attack (Light) Squadron Three. November 1967. This is official U.S. Navy photo number 1129035 and was donated by Philip Chinnery, a British aviation author and friend of the VHPA. This photo appeared in his book, Vietnam: The Helicopter War, published by the Naval Institute Press and in the 1993 VHPA Directory. HA(L)-3 was born during the summer of 1966 to provide armed helicopter support for the River Patrol Boats. The UH-1B Hueys came from the Army, which also provided some initial crew training and logistical support. Ultimately, nine detachments based on ships and air fields covered III and IV Corps. On a nice day without much ammo and fuel, flying off a ship in a B Model would be easy. Think about doing it at night or in some rotten weather, when you are armed to the teeth, to go help someone in real trouble….

December Chalk 2’s View Going to Work! A UH-1H from B Troop 7th Squadron 17th Cavalry. About December 1969. This photo belongs to VHPA member Doug Stenberg and was taken from the second ship during a morning flight from Ban Me Thuot to Bu Prang in southwestern II Corps. The traditional names for the positions within a formation flight of troop transport helicopters were “lead” for the first ship, “Chalk 2” for the second, “Chalk 3” for the third, and so on. Even though the war and sometimes the weather was ugly, you did not have to fly in Vietnam very long to see something beautiful. Listening to Armed Forces Vietnam on the AM radio, joking with the guys in your crew, flying with some great friends, sipping a little warm coffee, seeing the sun just coming up, looking at some pretty white clouds, marveling at the endless shades of green below, watching the seemingly-peaceful countryside go by – remember the good times? Luckily Doug has a picture of one of his!

Two Purple Foxes Two CH-46D Sea Knights from HMM-364 at LZ 401 Recon pad. 1971. This photo is owned by VHPA member Doug Orahood who flew for HMM-364. LZ 401 was the recon pad at Da Nang. Those who flew from Da Nang will certainly remember the hills in the immediate area, especially on bad weather days. The Sea Knights had 50 cal doorguns and their crewchiefs spent a lot of their time leaning out of the window. HMM-364 had three tours in Vietnam: with UH-34s from 1 Feb until 30 Jun 64 and from Sep 65 until Dec 66 for 578 days and with CH-46s from 28 Oct 67 until Mar 71 for 1221 days.

Pub Credit Line
20080204001, Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association (VHPA) Collection, The Vietnam Center and Archive, Texas Tech University

Added: 23 Apr 2018 [Updated: 23 Apr 2018]