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2010 Calendar, Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association (VHPA) - Flying Into Hell

Item Number: 20080216001
Number of Pages
Digital Object Type
Information removed from digital copy?
Physical Location
Box 02, Folder 16
Copyright Statement
This document is copyrighted
Item is Copyrighted - It is not available outside the VNCA building


  • 2010

General Note / OCR

Table of Contents Font-Cover-Photo – Flying into hell. Dan Fox took this picture during an A/229th AHB 1st Cav combat assault into An Loc in July 1972.

January Remembering the Battle of An Loc A/229th AHB 1st Cav UH-1Hs in July 1972. VHPA member Dan Fox took these photos. Day after day during June and July 1972, five-ship flights from A and B Companies, 229th Assault Helicopter Battalion, 1st Cavalry Division, plus at least one VNAF (Viet Nam Air Force) Huey squadron from Bien Hoa, lifted more than 1,000 ARVN soldiers into the city of An Loc, which had been occupied by the NVA for some time. Their gunship escorts came from the famous Blue Max (F/79th Arty) and D/229th AHB. The wonderful Web site … provides lots of details. The lower right photo shows the troops and Hueys waiting to launch early in the morning. The lower left shows the Lai Khe refuel area. The upper left is similar to the cover photo and shows their approach to An Loc at altitude. The upper right is a low-level approach over what is left of the city. VHPA member Mike Sloniker provided the small photo of destroy NVA tanks in An Loc.

February This is the White Hat Airlines A US Navy UH-34D at Tan Son Nhut, 1970. VHPA member Ed Hintz provided these photos from his tour as a CH-46 pilot with NAF Cam Rang Bat Det Tan Son Nhut (the detachment based at Tan Son Nhut [Saigon] from the Naval Air Facility at Cam Rang Bay). This unit supported all of the US naval personnel in central and southern Vietnam with scheduled air service for mail, emergency spare parts, general supplies, and transportation. The nickname “white Hat Airlines” came from the famous white hat worn by the US Navy enlisted personnel. The insert photo shows the nose art on a CH-46, with the white hat in the center of Navy wings. Until sometime in 1970 the detachment had at least five UH-34s, but switched to CH-46s after a tragic accident on 26 February 1970 in which nine men died. The small photos show their maintenance people working on their CH-46s.

March C/229th AHB LZ English OA Map VHPA Member Dave Rittman provided this photo of the map that the Bong Son Plains area of operation (AO) made for the Company C,229th Assault Helicopter Battalion operations tent at LZ English about March 1967. He wrote: “It showed the location of all the Landing Zones, the area number designations, a code system for calling in your location that changed daily, or at least very often. You can see the crosshairs and the code names written next to them. Some of the hit spots where hostile fire had been reported in the previous few hours or the last day or two were also marked. This map was posted and kept current by me in my assignment as unit Operations Officer.” Dave also provided the small photo of a UH-1D dropping off troops.

April These Were the Old Days! Were They Good Old Days? 93rd Transportation Company CH-21Cs and Utility Transport Test (UTT) Company UH-1B, late 1962. VHPA Member Ramon Williams took these photos during his tour with the 93rd TC Company. At the lower left we see CH-21C “N” #52-08624 parked near the A Shau Special Forces camp in western I Corps in August 1962. In September 1962 the 93rd TC switched locations with USMC HMM-163, relocating from Da Nang to Soc Trang. The other photos were taken during a combat assault operation near Rach Gia in late 1962. The yellow glow beneath the UTT gunship in the top photo is from its weapons systems. Black-and-white photos of CH-21Cs are rather common, so Ramon’s color shots are especially wonderful. The small photo shows a joint VNAF and 93rd TC Company operation in III Corps.

May Miraculously No One Was Killed! Company D, 229th Assault Helicopter Battalion UH-1C #64-14183, September 1967, LZ English. These photos were taken by VHCMA member Danny Zimmerman on 28 September in the maintenance area of what was left of Smiling Tiger 183. His Maintenance Officer, VHPA member Glenn Salger, took similar photos and provided the famous Smiling Tiger logo. The crew of 183 were: WO Charles F. Curry (now deceased) as Aircraft Commander, CPT Dave R. Hocket (VHPA member) as pilot, SP4 John Seymour as crew chief, and SP4 Bruce Gardner as gunner. VHPA member Bobby Bradley was Curry’s wingman. While they were at low level on a night mission hunting boats and sampans along the coast in the Bong Son area, a large-caliber weapon round severed the tail boom at the synchronizer elevator. As luck would have it, Curry crashed on a beach slope and slid into the ocean. They were able to get back on the beach where Bradley rescued them. Dave Rittman provided the small photos.

June A Blackcat Firebucket Mission VHCMA member Donivan Earhart took these photos of the famous Saigon-Cholon firebucket mission in early 1971. The spring 1971 issue of the 1st Aviation Brigade’s Hawk magazine carried an article about this mission. As best we can determine, VHPA members Larry Snyder and Chuck Foist from the Phu Loi-based 213th Assault Support Helicopter Company flew this mission in Blackcat 546 (CH-47C #67-18546). According to the article, the fire, described as Saigon’s largest since the Tet Offensive of 1968, burned out of control for nearly two hours before the 213th was given the firebucket mission. It took about 15 seconds to refill the two 350-gallon fiberglass buckets. They made 30 trips from the river to the fire. The article states that while the US Forest Service developed the idea of having helicopters drop water on fires in the Pacific Northwest in 1967, the Blackcats may have been the first to use larger buckets with a Chinook. They flew about six firebucket missions a month and helped put out grass fires in minefields, fires in POL points, fires in ammunition bunkers, and fires that threatened injury to people or extensive property damage. From the top left we see two aerial views of the fire, then Blackcat 546 coming to the rescue, lowering the buckets into the Saigon River, lifting out with the filled buckets, three different shots of them dropping the water on the fire, and returning to fill up again.

July Chickenman Flight – Land to the Green Smoke UH-1Hs from A Company, 227h Assault Helicopter Battalion, 1st Air Cavalry Division landing in a Pickup Zone (PZ) in July 1969. VHPA member Bill Stegemann took this photo from the right seat while his UH-1H was landing to pick up troops someplace in the Quan Loi/An Loc area of III Corps in July 1969. He wrote: “There was nothing really significant about taking the picture. This tight of a formation was not unusual going into a cold PZ. While I was flying right seat at this time, we passed the picture-taking duties around when the circumstances allowed. We didn’t take pictures all that often and never in a hot LZ/PZ.” A/227th often used Chickenman as their radio call sign from 1967 until 1972.

August Recovering a Winged Warrior VHPA member Barrie Turner took this photo in February 1966 of a 478th Heavy Helicopter Company CH-54A returning a CH-47A from the 228th Assault Support Helicopter Battalion, 1st Air Cavalry Division to their base area at An Khe in the Central Highlands. You can see that the drag parachute used to stabilize the Chinook fuselage en route is collapsing toward the ground, so the Skycrane has slowed down considerably. The 228th ASHB called themselves the Winged Warriors.

September Turtle Wax on a Croc Gun! 119th Assault Helicopter Company UH-1C #66-15225 at An Khe, September 1970. These photos were taken by VHCMA member Lance Hopkins. Lance was the crew chief and Charlie Waters the doorgunner. Together they dreamed up the paint scheme. Charlie’s parents shipped him some Turtle Wax. This was one clean and good-looking gunship! UH-1C 225 served with several units in Vietnam. In min-1971 it was converted to a Mike Model and even served with the US Navy’s famous HA (L)-3 Sea Wolves. It survived Vietnam, so maybe you will see it as one of the Heuy monuments.

October VNAF UH-1H #186, July 1972. VHPA member Dan Fox took this picture at Song Be. If the VNAF (Viet Nam Air Force) tradition of painting the last three digits of the full US Army serial number on the tail boom applies to this aircraft, we could be looking at #67-17186 or #68-16186. According to the wonderful Web site … , the five UH-1 VNAF squadrons based at Bien Hoa in 1972 were: 221st, 223rd, 231st, 245th, and 251st. At least one of these squadrons flew with Dan’s company, A/229th AHB, in July to retake An Loc. VHPA member Mike Sloniker provided the nose art photo.

November Welcome to the Plei Trap Valley A Troop, 7th Squadron, 17th Air Cavalry, early 1969. VHPA member Mark Holbrook contributed these photos from his time as an OH-6A LOH (Light Observation Helicopter) Scout pilot. The small photos show Scout Observer SSG Bob Evander conferring with some friendlies on the left, and Mark smiling from his LOH on the right. During March 1969, A/7/17th Cav was under the operational control of the 1st Brigade, 4th Infantry Division as it conducted Operation Wayne Grey to reoccupy the Plei Trap Valley, a long and remote area of western II Corps that paralleled the Cambodian border. A Troop was screening around the abandoned LZ Swinger when the 4th Division started a combat assault to reopen it, not knowing the NVA had set up defensive positions there. The Cobra is firing on that position. Mark and Bob arrived and silenced the NVA positions to the delight of the landing infantry and their Huey transports. For their actions, Mark was awarded a Distinguished Service Cross and Bob a Silver Star.

December Yankee Whiskey 21, Cleared for Takeoff VHPA and Pop A Smoke member Steve Swaim contributed this photo of an HMM-165 CH-53D ready to depart the USS Tripoli in early 1972 off the coast of Vietnam near Da Nang. At this time HMM-165, normally equipped with only CH-46s, was reinforced with four CH-53Ds, two UH-1Es, and two AH-1Gs to form a composite squadron and was based on the USS Tripoli as part of the 31st Marine Amphibious Unit (MAU). They supported the South Vietnamese Marine Division (VNMC) as it moved north to retake the Quang Tri and Thua Thien provinces lost to the North Vietnamese Army during the famous Easter Offensive. HMM-165’s two-character squadron identifier was “YW” (Yankee Whiskey on the radio). They were also known as the “White Knights.” You can clearly see the White Knight icon above the 21 on the nose of this CH-53D.

Above: VHPA members Hal Bergdahl and Ramon Williams flew CH-21Cs for the 93rd Transportation Company on 30 August 1962 in Operation Lam Son II, which involved inserting ARVN troops into a remote landing zone a few kilometers from Quang Nhai in southern I Corps. Ramon took several color 35-mm pictures during this operation. Hal was flying with VHPA member Bert Leach that day. Their aircraft sustained some battle damage during the first lift and took several hours to repair at Quang Nhai, but then participated in the extraction that afternoon. Since leaving the Army, Hal has continually developed his artist skills. At the VHPA’s request and based on his memory of the events of that day plus a detailed review of Ramon’s photos, Hal painted this piece as a tribute to all those involved in this battle. About 20 CH-21Cs from the 93rd and 8th Transportation Companies, plus 10 CH-34Ds from the VNAF’s HS-1 Squadron, an Air Force B-26 and a UH-1A from the MACV detachment participated at some time during this battle. Below: VHPA Member Ramon Williams took these photos during Lam Son II. The lower left shows the VC-installed “anti-aircraft poles” that Hal also includes in his painting. The upper left was taken during the insert, and the upper right during the extraction. The lower right shows one of the first helicopter doorgunners to serve in Vietnam.

Pub Credit Line
20080216001, Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association (VHPA) Collection, The Vietnam Center and Archive, Texas Tech University

Added: 04 May 2018 [Updated: 04 May 2018]