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2001 Calendar, Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association (VHPA) - Nails and HEAT

Item Number: 20080207001
Number of Pages
Digital Object Type
Information removed from digital copy?
Physical Location
Box 02, Folder 07
Copyright Statement
This document is copyrighted
Item is Copyrighted - It is not available outside the VNCA building


  • 2001

General Note / OCR

Table of Contents Front Cover Photo – An F Troop, 9th Cavalry AH-1G – April 1972. This photo was taken by VHPA member Ron Timberlake at Lai Khe during the famous Easter Offensive documented in the history section of the 1999 VHPA Directory. The warheads on the tall pile of rockets contain anti-personnel flechettes or “Nails.” The smaller stack contains High Explosive Anti-Tank or HEAT warheads, Sadly, Ron died during 1999 in a vehicle accident.

January Silver Scouts A 2nd Brigade, 1st Air Cavalry Division OH-13 – early 1967. These photos were taken by VHPA member WO Steve Rockett at LZ English. As a general rule, the aviation section for an Army Brigade had five Hueys that serves as Command and Control ships for the Brigade and Battalion Commanders plus at least five observation helicopters for lots of other jobs. The Hueys used the radio call sign of the commander, for example Thunder Ball 6, for the Brigade Commander. Initially the Army believed the brigade observation helicopters would be used primarily for courier missions or to carry a Forward Observer that adjusted artillery fire. Quickly, however, the Infantry started asking the OH-13 pilots to “look down the trail” (their direction of travel) and “tell us what you see.” To no one’s surprise, they started receiving fire! The machine guns and an armed observer were added to give a little back in return. Scouting became their primary mission and Silver was the radio call sign for the 2nd Brigade’s Scouts.

February Showing Teeth VHPA member Tom Dooling took the upper left photo of Wretched Mildred while serving with the D Troop, 3rd Squadron, 4th Cavalry in 1969 at Cu Chi. He said that during this period all their Cobras were painted with teeth as the “Killer” part of the 3/4th Cav’s Hunter/Killer Teams. VHCMA member Bill Moeller owns the photo in the upper right of a Dashing Cavalier Cobra from C Troop, 1st Squadron, 9th Cavalry just leaving Tay Ninh and heading for a mission in the Fish Hook area of Vietnam near the Cambodian Border in late May 1970. The photo was taken by a door gunner on a C Troop Huey named Smitty. He and Bill traded negatives from time to time. Bill was in the avionics maintenance team and often flew as a door gunner. VHPA member Fred Thompson owns the lower right photo of the Dutchmasters of B Troop, 1st Squadron, 7th Cavalry going to work in late 1969.

March One Bad Purple Fox An HMM-364 CH-46D – June 1970. This photo was taken by VHPA and USMC/Vietnam Helicopter Association member Walt Wise at Marble Mountain. YK-21 was the Squadron’s special aircraft at this time. Not only did it have the standard compliment of two 50-cal machineguns, but it had a mini-gun in the right front door. It was very popular for those recon inserts or extracts when you knew where all the friendlies were and you wanted to keep the bad guys quiet. The squadron had only one black crew chief at the time named Sgt. “Buzz” Sawyer. He was proud of being black and proud of YK-21. Notice his “Jungle Bunny” sign aft of the pilot’s window! Major Frank Gulledge provides some more YK-21 history. “The first such unauthorized gun was installed by a Sgt. Joe V. “J.J.” Johnson. It was some electronic headache to make it work, but it finally did as indicated by confirmed kills in red in Walt’s photo.” Frank has another photo of YK-21 showing “Buzz” Sawyer and his sign but with two M-60 machineguns instead of the mini-gun. Maybe the electronic headache of the mini-gun became even more than Sawyer wanted to handle.

April Log Bird A 158th Assault Helicopter Battalion, 101st Airborne Division (Airmobile) UH-1H – 1969. This photo was taken by VHPA member Dan Bresnahan during his first tour when he was an Infantry Platoon Leader and Company Commander of Company A, 3rd Battalion, 187th Infantry, which was part of the 3rd Brigade of the 101st Airborne Division (Airmobile) in 1969. The LZ was in Northern I Corps, south of Fire Support Base Veghel and east of the A Shau Valley. Don’t think that this photo is washed out or faded. What you are seeing is the effect of fog and smoke in the early morning in some I Corps jungle.

May Birth Control from Guns A-Go-Go These photos of AH-47A #64-13145, named Birth Control by her crew, were taken by WO Steve Rockett at LZ Uplift in April 1967. Guns A-Go-Go was the radio call sign for the 53rd Aviation Detachment, Field Evaluation (Provisional), which deployed to Vietnam with four armed Chinooks in May 1966. In September it was attached to the 1st Air Cavalry Division with support being provided by the 228th Assault Support Helicopter Battalion. Later they were redesignated the 1st Aviation Detachment and placed under the operational control of the 2/20th Aerial Rocket Artillery Battalion. Each AH-47 had a 40-mm grenade launcher in the nose, two 20-mm cannons and two pods for 17 2.75-inch rockets, and five 50-caliber heavy machineguns. Birth Control was making a gun run on 5 May 1967 when one of the pins on the left 20-mm gun mount fell out. The gun pivoted up and fired into the front rotor system. The Chinook crashed inverted, exploded and burned; killing all eight men on board. Steve was flying for the 2nd Brigade, 1st Air Cavalry Division that day and was one of the first to land at the crash site. In May 2000 Guns A-Go-Go held a reunion and dedication ceremony at Redstone Arsenal for the restored AH-47 Easy Money memorial.

June One of a Kind Porthole Shot An HMM-265 CH-46C – June 1968. This photo was taken by VHPA and USMC/Vietnam Helicopter Association member Bruce Lake at Marble Mountain. “I was standing on the ground and looking through two windows of the H-46 on the ground beside me and I saw an aircraft fly by. I waited patiently and got this picture of the H-46.”

July It’s a Blade Changing Party!! A 2nd Brigade, 101st Airborne Division UH-1H – October 1968. This photo was taken by VHPA member Curt Knapp at LZ Sally. “This is what happens after you clip a tree at 60 knots running low level down Highway 1 near Hue.” One might think that Huey blades are light because they are filled with a honey-comb material and have only one main steel spare. Wrong! Notice 13 men are ‘enjoying’ this party! The Huey is “Ol’ 055” (tail number 66-01055) which was used as the Brigade Commander’s C and C ship until the night of 11 December 1968. It was returning home after taking the Brigade Commander to Camp Eagle when it had an engine failure. Everyone loves doing those night autorotations, right? The hard landing produced so much damaged that the aircraft was declared a total loss.

August A 1st Cav Sky Crane with Pod A 478th Heavy Helicopter Company CH-54A – January 1966. This photo was taken by VHPA member Jim Oden somewhere in II Corps. This Skycrane, tail number 64-14202, was the first CH-54A purchased by the Army. See the September/October 1999 VHPA Newsletter for the story of how it was destroyed in an aircraft accident on the night of 9 August 1966 while carrying a load of fused 105mm ammunition in marginal weather southwest of Pleiku. The 478th had four ‘People pods,’ one for each crane they took to Vietnam in 1965 as part of the 1st Cavalry Division. The pods were configured as an emergency hospital, a communications center, and operations headquarters, and a resupply point.

September Holes in a Chinook A Hillclimber CH_47A – December 1965. This photo was taken by VHPA member Tom Elliston soon after the 147th Aviation Company (Medium Helicopter)), later redesignated as Assault Support Helicopter Company, arrived at Vung Tau. The ship made a precautionary landing after taking a large number of hits (like 37 or 47). Tom cannot remember the exact number of hits and the VHPA’s helicopter battle damage database has no record of this event. No one was injured and the damage was ventilation holes to the fuselage and blades. As per the field expedient Standard Operating Procedure, the blades received some green ‘100 mph speed tape’ and the ship flown back to Vung Tau. The two lucky pilots are the guys on the left; ‘Beetle’ Bailey and Charlie Davis. The guys near the center wearing flack jackets are from the 116th Aviation Company’s gun platoon who were supporting the Hillclimbers that day. VHPA Member Gary Harrel is on the left. Major Sims, the maintenance detachment commander for the 147th, is standing on the far right.

October Artillery’s Best Friend A Freight Train CH-47A – August 1968. This photo was taken by VHPA member Bill Robie at a fire support base east of Bao Loc. This Chinook, tail number 66-19053, belonged to the 243rd Assault Support Helicopter Company based at Dong Ba Thin in II Corps. Bill flew Hueys for the 92nd AHC, which was based at Dong Ba Thin. Tragically, just a few weeks later, on October 20th, 053 departed Dong Ba Thin on a resupply flight to Ban Me Thout with a crew of five. It was last heard from about 9 AM and then disappeared without a trace. See CW4 Charles Deitsch and CW2 Henry Knight.

November An Air Cavalry Team Refueling An OH-6A and an AH-1G – October 1968. This photo was taken by VHPA member Bill Robie at the Bao Loc refuel point. These aircraft are most likely from B Troop, 7th Squadron, 17th Cavalry, which was based at Phan Thiet during late 1968 and the first half of 1969. The paint on the Cobra appears to be almost factory fresh. B Troop replaced its UH-1C gunships with AH-1Gs in August and September. B Troop usually conducted reconnaissance operations around Bao Loc about once a week. Their base near LZ Betty at Phan Thiet was called The Morgue, because it was basically part of a Vietnamese graveyard. B Troop’s Scout (OH-6A) Platoon used Scalphunter as their radio call sign, the Weapons (AH-1G) Platoon used Undertaker, and the Lift (UH-1H) Platoon were the Pallbearers. Some Troop Commanders used Embalmer 6. Interesting names indeed.

December Air America External Loads These photos were taken by Judy Porter in 1973 and 1974 at Air America’s maintenance facility at Udorn, Thailand as part of a project to illustrate the facilities and capabilities of Air America. Permission to use these photos resulted from some research done by VHPA member John Konek. The upper left photo shows UH-34D number H-45 lifting 2,965 lbs. The lower left photo shows S-58T number XW-PHD lifting 3,325 lbs. The S-58T fleet was manufactured at Udorn from UH-34 airframes utilizing Sikorsky-provided Pratt and Whitney Twin-Pack turboshaft powerplants and gearbox conversion kits. The upper right shows Bell 205 number XW-PFJ lifting 2,685. The lower right photo shows a CH-47C lifting 10,000 lbs. Air America’s CH-47Cs came from US Army bailment.

More Air America Helicopters These photos were taken by Judy Porter in 1973 and 1974 at Air America’s maintenance facility at Udorn, Thailand as part of a project to illustrate the facilities and capabilities of Air America. Permission to use these photos resulted from some research done by VHPA member John Konek. The upper left photo shows Bell 205 number XW-PFJ with its crew of two and some Air America staff. The pilot is Captain Tom Grady, who died in a helicopter accident in Los Angeles in 1977. The Bell 205 is remarkable similar to the US Army UH-1D and was equipped with a Lycoming T5313A engine. The upper right photo shows Bell 204B number N8513F with its crew. The Bell 204B is remarkable similar to the US Army UH-1B and was equipped with a Lycoming T5311A engine. The lower left photo shows Hughes 500 number N354X with its pilot, three passengers plus some cargo. The lower right photo shows CH-47C number 019 with its crew of four and a large group of Air America staff plus some cargo.

Language of Materials


Pub Credit Line
20080207001, Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association (VHPA) Collection, The Vietnam Center and Sam Johnson Vietnam Archive, Texas Tech University

Added: 25 Apr 2018 [Updated: 25 Apr 2018]