The Helicopter War in Vietnam

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  • Please note, at this time the focus of this page is on the U.S. Army Helicopter war and the 1st Aviation Brigade. Helicopters were also employed by the other branches of the U.S. Military, some are briefly mentioned below.

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The Helicopter War in Vietnam


December 1961


early years helicopters.

October 1961, President Kennedy sent a letter to President Diem pledging "the United States is determined to help Vietnam preserve its independence..." The United States then sent additional military advisors as well as the first American helicopter units to help transport and assist South Vietnamese troops. The 45th Transportation Battalion was deployed to provide command, control, staff planning and administration supervision over the CH-21 light helicopter companies and one aviation company made up of U-1A Otter aircraft sent to Vietnam. It also oversaw maintenance, logistical and medical services for its assigned and attached units.

USS Core 1967.

In December 1961 the USS Core, arrived in Saigon carrying the first American helicopter units consisting of 33 CH-21 Shawnee helicopters (nicknamed the "Flying Bannana") and 400 air and ground crewmen to operate and maintain them. The first two of the 45th Transportation Battalion's Companies, the 8th Transportation Company and the 57th Transportation Company, arrived in December 1961. The rest of the Battalion's Companies arrived in Vietnam from January 1962 through September 1962.

The first troop lift was dubbed Operation Chopper and it took place 12 days after the helicopter companies first arrived. Over 1,000 ARVN who were accompanied by US Advisors were successfully airlifted into a suspected enemy base.

Right after the 8th and 57th Transportation companies arrived in Vietnam the, 57th Medical Detachment (also known as "The Original Dust Off") arrived, bringing with it some of the first Huey UH-1 helicopters to be used in Vietnam.

Sikorsky HUS-1 (UH-34D) Seahorse, HMM-362 in Vietnam, 1962.

But the US Army was not the only American Military Service to send helicopters to Vietnam. April 1962 saw the arrival of the first Marine helicopter squadron equipped with the Sikorski H-34 helicopter. The Marine squadron was initially stationed at Soc Trang, but after only two months it was relocated to Da Nang to trade places with one of the Army helicopter companies there. The Army's CH-21 Shawnee was not suited to the higher altitudes in the northern parts of Vietnam so the Army's CH-21 companies were relocated to the lower elevations of the Mekong Delta.

1962 also saw the arrival of the new Utility Tactical Transport Helicopter Company (UTTCO or UTT). This new Company was made up of 15 Huey UH-1As, each armed with two .30 caliber machine guns and 16 2.75 inch rockets. It served as an armed escort to the 33rd, 57th and 93rd Transportation Companies at Tan Son Nhut. In November UTTCO received 11 of the first new Huey UH-1B helicopters. The new Huey UH-1B model boasted a more powerful engine, 4 M-60 machine guns and a new mount for 16 2.75 inch rockets. The new armored helicopter company proved to be effective enough in the role of armored escort that US Marine H-34 crews at Da Nang even began to request Army armored helicopter escorts.

The Battle of Ap Bac
Huey UH-1 Wreck at Ap Bac January 1963.

On January 2, 1963 the first real disaster occurred at the Battle of Ap Bac. It was deemed a win, but many would probably consider it a defeat. The incident underscored the fact that armed helicopter escorts simply were not an adequate substitute for a fixed wing escort when facing a determined entrenched enemy. The fact that the CH-21 Shawnee helicopter was only a single engine, tandem rotor helicopter that was under powered for its size and not easily maneuvered didn't help the situation at Ap Bac. The CH-21 was armed with a .30 caliber machine gun, but the design of the helicopter greatly limited the effectiveness of the .30 cal gun's use against the enemy. The events at Ap Bac were the first sign that the VC had been planning and were now losing their fear of the helicopters as they devised ways to fight back. It was time to rethink the way troop lifts and armed escorts were being conducted.

To read about the Battle of Ap Bac from the perspective of helicopter company personnel involved you can read "A STORY OF AP BAC: January 2, 1963" by Charlie Ostick available here at the Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association website.

Downed CH-21 Shawnee Helicopters at Ap Bac January 1963.
Date of Death Rank Name Place of Residence Notes
1/2/1963 Specialist 4th Class Donald L. Braman Mystic, Connecticut 93rd Trans Co
1/2/1963 Sergeant William Leander Deal Mays Landing, New Jersey 334th UTT
1/2/1963 Captain Kenneth Newlon Good San Marino, California Infantry Unit Commander, MAAG, Vietnam

In May of 1963 the 45th Transportation Battalion received an addition to its ranks in the form of the 114th Aviation Company which was the US Army's first UH-1 airmobile company to be deployed from the USA directly to Vietnam.

Command quickly began to realize the need for a better command structure among its helicopter and aviation companies and battalions. In 1963 the 45th Transportation Battalion was reorganized and nearly all of its companies were redesignated by September 24, 1963 and the Delta Aviation Battalion (provisional) was formed.

Ca_Lu combat Base chopper
Flying Banana helicopters, '62-66
Original Companies that made up the 45th Transportation Battalion and their new designations:
8th Transportation Company (Light Helicopter) Dec 61 – Jun 63 - Became the 117th Aviation Company
18th Aviation Company (Fixed Wing Light Transport) Jul 62 - Sep 63 - Transferred to 145th Combat Aviation Battalion
33rd Transportation Company (Light Helicopter) Sep 62 – Jun 63 - Became the 118th Aviation Company
57th Transportation Company (Light Helicopter) Dec 61 – Jun 63 - Became the 120th Aviation Company
81st Transportation Company (Light Helicopter) Sep 62 – Jun 63 - Became 119th Aviation Company
93rd Transportation Company (Light Helicopter) Jan 62 – Jun 63 - Became the 121st Aviation Company


Date of Death Rank Name Place of Residence Notes
1/2/1963 Specialist 4th Class Donald L. Braman Mystic, Connecticut 93rd Trans Co
1/11/1963 1st Lieutenant Charles Milton Fitts San Angelo, Texas 93rd Trans Co (Lt Hel)
1/11/1963 1st Lieutenant Lewis Lynn Stone Alexandria, Virginia 93rd Trans Co (Lt Hel)
1/11/1963 Captain Donald Bonney Toth Pen Argyl, Pennsylvania 93rd Trans Co (Lt Hel)
1/11/1963 Chief Warrant Officer Lawrence Clair Hammond Columbus, Ohio 57th Trans Co (Lt Hel)
1/11/1963 Chief Warrant Officer Raymond Charles Wilde St. Paul, Minnesota 57th Trans Co (Lt Hel)
1/11/1963 Specialist Fifth Class James Delmas McAndrew Reno, Nevada 57th Trans Co (Lt Hel)
1/11/1963 Private First Class Boyce Eugene Lawson Wise, Virginia 57th Trans Co (Lt Hel)
02/24/1963 Private Charles Wayman McCary Leighton, Alabama 81st Trans Co (Lt Hel)
5/10/1963 Private E-2 John Carnul Myatt Nederland, Texas 33rd Trans Co (Lt Hel)


  • This section is under construction as of 5/16/2021

Most of these units were formed in 1963 , 1964. 1965. After June 1966 only known active unit was the 46th. Or also known as the 7th flight platoon.These units were not assigned to a specific Company or Battalion. They were located and operated hundreds of miles away from their main unit. These units often found it difficult to get support and had to improvise in order to stay operational. - These Units operated outside of any main Unit and are difficult to find official information for, the following information is contributed by those who served with these Bastard Units.

1st Flight Platoon

2nd Flight Platoon

3rd Flight Platoon

4th Flight Platoon

5th Flight Platoon

Area of operation - Da Nang

Mission - Provide support to the Marines; Gunship support/assistance; Support the Special Forces camps in the I Corp area.
They got fed where ever they were. One day the Marines, the next the SF camps or a Navy base. The Unit obtained some equipment from the Marines, but they got their supplies as a bastard unit would, or they had a very good supply source, "I give you a bottle of Scotch for ?????."

6th Flight Platoon

Areas of operation - Vung Tau and Saigon

Mission - Support for Special Operations
The 6th had it better then the rest of the independent flight platoons. It had all of Saigon in which to look for and acquire whatever they wanted. They also had a place to repair the A/C and a place to eat. However, they had all of the war zones around Saigon to get into trouble. Their main job was to move SF inserted teams where needed. However, aviation units in the area did not like the 6th as they could not use them but maintained units had to help with the 6th's maintenance.

46th Flight Platoon also known as 7th Flight Platoon

Areas of operation - Vietnam then Thailand

Mission - Support for Special Operations
The 46th Flight Platoon was actually the 7th Flight Platoon but has been referred to as the 46th Flight Platoon because the 46th was a company of Special Forces in Thailand. The 7th Flight Platoon was sent to I Corp in Vietnam in its early days to support of SF camps before being transferred to Thailand to support the 46th SF Company.
The 46th Flight Platoon was made up of all Special Forces personnel. Its main base was in Okinawa before being ordered to Thailand. Their mission was to help the Thailand Army patrol their border. The 46th engaged forces from Laos and Cambodia trying to attack the military bases flying from Thailand to Vietnam. They also had to stop the Thailand Army and other tribes from the North from fighting each other, which was a constant problem. This one company had to patrol all of Thailand and fighting was constantly along the border.

145th Flight Platoon

Areas of Operaton: Sterile - No rank/no name tag
Mission - Support for Special Forces/Delta Force
The 145th Aviation Platoon Airlift was formed from The 145th Aviation Battalion in Saigon in October 1964 and sent to the coastal area of Vung Tau. It was to start training to provide support to the Special Forces for Operations Leaping Leana, a top secret operation to provide support to drop off secret agents in North Vietnam. Captain Bob Layla was the commanding officer. Before training was to begin it was discovered that half the the secret agents were North Vietnamese agents who had infiltrated the operation and Leaping Leana was cancelled.
Colonel Strange wanted to keep the flight platoon and General Westmoreland agreed. The SF did not have aviation support with the exception of the South Vietnamese King Bees who flew CH-34s. Also, after giving support to the 5th SF the lending unit would pull the choppers in the middle of a mission and leaving a team stranded in the Jungle.
In January 1965 Captain Laya wrote a letter to Colonel Strange stating that if the platoon was to be assigned fully to the 5th Special Forces then they should be moved to Nha Trang. However, the 145th Battalion complained that if the platoon was moved 200 miles away then they would no longer support the platoon. So orders were written separating the platoon from the 145th Battalion to the 52nd Aviation Battalion. It was the same problem, a helicopter platoon 200 miles away from its Battalion and the Battalion would not support it. The Battalions could not use the choppers because they were for the exlusive use of the 5th SF. Therefore, it became a bastardized unit, not wanted by a Battalion and receiving no support.
The food came from the 14th Aviation, maintaining the A/C happened wherever the choppers were when they went down. The airfield unit would help to it back in the air, however, the platoon had very few tools, so as the crew was helping to fix the A/C the Crew Chief would put a tool in his pocket. For example, A/C 884 would say there was a problem. The pilot would then land at the 118th Aviation Company saying that the chopper need fixing. A production Officer would order a maintenance person to help repair, as he was looking at a bolt he would ask for a 1/4 wrench, the Crew Chief would hand him a 1/4 and at the same time put a 1/2 in his pocket. The most needed items were safety wire pliers and a truck to get from the barracks to the airfield. In Saigon, a Sargent knew a pilot of a C-123:loaded with a 3/4 ton truck from the Air Force flying to Nha Trang. They painted the truck to OD as:soon as it landed, costing the Platoon maybe 5 bottles of bourbon. This is how a bastard outfit got its supplies. By the time Project Delta took the Platoon over for covert operations the Platoon had 2 Jeeps,:1 VW truck, 2 3/4 ton trucks, and one extra UH-1B chopper. The UH-1B, even I don’t know where it came from. When Project Delta took over we were supplied by the 5Th Special Forces with Major Charlie Beckwith as our commander. Some men were down to two pairs of clothes, one sock, and boots with no heels or the front of the boot sole was flapping when you walked.
The 145th Aviation Platoon airlift was the only aviation platoon inbedded into the Special Forces in Vietnam. They built the Delta Hilton together, sleep next to each other, built the mess hall, and flew the SF to Saigon for rations. Major Beckwith wanted the Aviation crews and the Road Runner teams to work together knowing one would help the other. It proved to be a success and it lead to a full company of choppers, the 281st AHC, in May 1966, and years later the 160th Aviation Battalion.
The 145th airlift platoon was a top secret unit from October 1964 to May 1966 and will not be seen in a lot of lists of aviation units in Viet Nam . A lot of the people putting the lists together never knew of 145th Aviation Platoon, there were no ranks and no name tags or unit marking on uniforms or A/C. A General Larson stopped some men for not saluting and asked who they were. Their answer was "It’s classified." One man went to sick call at the 1st Infantry Division and the medic asked for his name. "It’s classified." A Medical Sargent called the man and said you're getting a shot, the man asked what do I have, and the medical Sargent said "It’s classified."

2nd platoon 171 Aviation Company The second platoon was not a different platoon but a way for the 145 airlift platoon to try to receive supply and equipment from support unit. Problem #1 a platoon stops at a parts and supplies group. (IE). Platoon Sargent stops at 34th support group, he needs a oil cooler for a UH-1B. The group supply tells him that they are not on his list. Then tells the 145 to see his company to requisition thru them in order to get one. The 145th tell group supply they do not have a company and are only a platoon. Group support says platoons can not request supply’s and must be thru a company, 145 say we do not have a company, group says every platoon has a company. So the 145th Sargent says I need the oil cooler bad how many bottles of scotch will it take? Now in Vietnam you can only get hard liquor if you have a ration card. Every man in the platoon goes to the class vi buys the liquor and gives it the the one doing the trading. However if you have a problem flying over a support unit you land and have your chopper repaired as a guess. But if your choppers are down and can not fly you have to trade. And the 145th changing it name did not improve. The name change was from January 66 to May 66. And as I remember I got a case of stakes for 2 bottles of bourbon in cam Ron bay. When Charlie Beckwith took over and we became part of B-52 project Delta, Except for Aviation parts Special Forces treatment was the greatest we vowed to fly into hell for them. In November 65 we looked like a bunch of hobos.


formerly known as the DELTA AVIATION BATTALION (Prov)
164th Aviation Group
"Shield (Guardian) of the Mekong"


The 13th Combat Aviation (Delta Battalion) Regiment was formed on July 4, 1963 at Can Tho, Republic of South Vietnam. Its purpose was to provide airmobility to the IV Vietnamese Corps. It was originally called the Delta Aviation Battalion. The provisional headquarters assumed command over the 114th (Vinh Long Airfield) and 121st Aviation Companies (Soc Trang).

About a year later the 13th Aviation Battalion was activated at Fort Bragg, North Carolina (Third U.S. Army General Order 215, August 5, 1964) and in September 1964 the 13th Combat Aviation Battalion replaced the Delta Aviation Battalion at Can Tho. It became known as the “Shield of the Mekong”. In December 1967, the 13th was assigned to the 164th Aviation Group. It supported combat operations for 3 ARVN divisions in the Mekong River Delta. In October 1968, the unit was moved to Soc Trang where it remained until 1972.

The following were assigned to the 13th Aviation Battalion during all or part of course of the conflict:

  • 13th Security Platoon
  • 53rd Quartermaster Detachment
  • 62nd Quartermaster Detachment
  • 5th Quartermaster Detachment
  • 73rd Aviation Company (Surveillance Aircraft) / Reconnaissance Airplane Company - Bird Dogs
  • Company A, 101st Aviation Battalion (Airmobile) - the 336th AC Thunderbirds & Warriors (prior to redesignation)
  • 114th Aviation Company (Airmobile Light) - Knights of the Air
  • 121st Aviation Company (Airmobile Light / Assault Helicopter Company) - Soc Trang Tigers
  • 134th Aviation Company (Fixed Winged Transport)
  • 147th Aviation Company (Assault Helicopter Company) - Hillclimbers - stationed at Vung Tau
  • 162nd Aviation Company (Assault Helicopter Company) - Vultures and Copperheads - stationed at Dong Tam
  • 175th Aviation Company (Airmobile Light) - Outlaws - stationed at Vinh Long
  • 191st Aviation Company (Assault Helicopter Company) - Boomerangs - stationed at Can Tho
  • 199th Aviation Company (Surveillance Light) - Swamp Foxes - stationed at Vinh Long
  • 221st Aviation Company (Surveillance Light) / Reconnaissance Airplane Company - Shotguns - stationed at Soc Trang
  • 221st Aviation Company (Surveillance Light)
  • 235th Aviation Company (Aerial Weapons Company) - Delta Devils - stationed at Can Tho
  • 244th Aviation Company (Surveillance Aircraft) - Delta Hawks - stationed at Can Tho
  • 271st Aviation Company (Medium Helicopter)
  • 271st Aviation Company (Assault Helicopter Company) -Innkeeper - stationed at Can Tho
  • 336th Aviation Company (Airmobile Light / Assault Helicopter Company) - Thunderbirds & Warriors - stationed at Soc Trang
  • Company A, 502nd Aviation Battalion (Airmobile) - the175th AC Outlaws (prior to redesignation) - stationed at Vinh Long
  • Troop C, 16th Cav (Air Cav)
502nd aviation Btn


Award Action Start Date Action End Date DAGO Notes
Presidential Unit Citation August 27, 1965 August 28, 1965
Valorous Unit Award

formerly known as the USA Aviation Brigade (Provisional) and the 12th Aviation Group

Vinh Long

By 1965 the existing Combat Aviation Battalions were consolidated under the command of the newly activated USA Aviation Brigade (Provisional), which in March 1966 became the 1st Aviation Brigade. It initially oversaw the 13th, 14th, 52nd and 145th Aviation Battalions. It provided and maintained tactical and administrative control over divisional and non-divisional aviation assets. In August 1965 the USA Aviation Brigade (Provisional) was redesignated the 12th Aviation Group which then, in March 1966, became the basis for the formation of the 1st Aviation Brigade.

Headquartered at Long Binh, the Brigade supported all United States (US), Army of Vietnam (ARVN), and Free World Military Assistance Forces (FWMAF) operating in the IV Corps area. The Brigade provided command, staff planning, and administrative supervision to its assigned aviation groups and battalions. It was the Army’s largest operational aviation command made up of over 50 combat aviation companies assigned in Vietnam from the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) to the Mekong Delta. In September 1967 it was composed of two combat aviation groups (the 12th and the 17th) and two combat aviation battalions (the 13th and the 210th).

At its peak the 1st Aviation Brigade oversaw 4,000 rotary and fixed wing aircraft and 24,000 soldiers. It was responsible for 40% of the Army’s helicopter assets (including 441 AH-1G, 311 CH-47, 2,202 Huey UH-1 and 635 OH-6A observation helicopters) and 100% of its fixed wing assets (641 fixed wing aircraft) and oversaw 7 Aviation Groups, 20 Aviation Battalions and 4 Air Cavalry Squadrons. In 1969, the 1st Aviation Brigade transported more than 6.5 million troops in over 4 million sorties, accumulating 1.5 million hours of flying time.

The 1st Aviation Brigade and its predecessors were instrumental in developing and perfecting the art of helicopter warfare.

Headquaters Locations
Tan Son Nhut Air Base - May 1966-December 1967
Long Binh - December 1967-December 1972
Tan Son Nhut Air Base - December 1972-March 1973

Brigadier General George P. Seneff - May 1966-November 1967
Major General Robert R. Williams - November 1967-April 1969
Brigadier General Allen M. Burdett, Jr. - April 1969-January 1970
Brigadier General George W. Putnam, Jr. - January 1970-August 1970
Colonel Samuel G. Cockerham - Acting commander - August 1970
Brigadier General Jack W. Hemingway - August 1970-September 1971
Brigadier General Robert N. Mackinnon - September 1971-September 1972
Brigadier General Jack V. Mackmull - September 1972-March 1973

The following were assigned to the 1st Aviation Brigade during all or part of course of the conflict:
Rescue-Hoist, helicopter
11th AVIATION GROUP (1971-1973)
212th Combat Aviation Battalion - Road Runner
223rd Combat Aviation Battalion
12th AVIATION GROUP - Black Jack
In September 1967 it was headquartered at Long Binh and provided aviation support to II Field Force.
Group Commander - Black Jack 6
3rd Squadron /17th Air Cavalry - Red Horse
11th Combat Aviation Battalion (Pathfinder) - Buccaneers
11th Combat Aviation Battalion - Red Dog
145th Combat Aviation Battalion - Old Warrior
145th Combat Aviation Battalion (Pathfinder) - Cricket
210th Combat Aviation Battalion - Captial - Supported the Capital Military District, the Military Assistance Command Vietnam (MACV) and US Army Vietnam (USARV) headquarters.
222nd Combat Aviation Battalion - Skymaster
222nd Combat Aviation Battalion (Pathfinder) - Lazy Boy
222nd Combat Support Aviation Battalion - Rebel
222nd Combat Support Aviation Battalion Retrans - Rebel Retrans
269th Combat Aviation Battalion - Black Baron
269th Combat Aviation Battalion (Pathfinder) - Cavalier
308th (1966) Combat Aviation Battalion - Black Antler
16th AVIATION GROUP - Falcon (1967-1968)
14th Combat Aviation Battalion - Arab - Headquarters arrived in Vietnam on 14 October 1965
212th Combat Aviation Battalion
In September 1967 it was headquartered at Nha Trang and supported I Field Force.
7th Squadron /17th Air Cavalry - Ruthless Rider
10th Combat Aviation Battalion - Vagabond - Headquarters arrived in Vietnam on 28 October 1965
52nd Combat Aviation Battalion - Dragons - Headquartered in Pleiku
223rd Combat Support Aviation Battalion - Griffen
268th Combat Aviation Battalion - Black Lightning
268th Combat Aviation Battalion HHC - Thunderbolt
34th AVIATION GROUP (1971-1972)
34th General Support Group (Aircraft Maintenance and Supply) stationed at Vung Tau
164th AVIATION GROUP - Delta
C Troop, CMB - Janopiper
Headquarter Aviation Platoon - King Bird
Air Traffic Control - Oxfoot
7th Squadron/1st Air Cavalry
13th Combat Aviation Battalion - Guardian- Provided direct aviation support to the ARVN IV Corp in the Mekong Delta.
214th Combat Aviation Battalion - Cougar
214th Combat Aviation Battalion (Pathfinder) - Leopard
307th Combat Aviation Battalion - Phantom
125th Bn
312th - 366th ASD’s
UH1D helicopters, Tet offensive


Assault Helicopter and Aviation Companies
17th Assault Helicopter Company
25th Aviation Company
Red Carpet
48th Assault Helicopter Company
Blue Star
57th Assault Helicopter Company
61st Assault Helicopter Company
Lucky Star
Star Blazer
68th Assault Helicopter Company
Top Tiger
71st Assault Helicopter Company
92nd Assault Helicopter Company
Side Kick
114th Aviation Company – Knights of the Air
White Knights
Red Knights
Blue Knights
Gold Knights
116th Assault Helicopter Company - Arrived in Vietnam on 20 October 1965
8th Transportation Company/117th Assault Helicopter Company
Side Winder
33rd Transportation Company/118th Aviation Company
81st Transportation Company/119th Aviation Company
57th Transportation Company/120th Aviation Company
93rd Transportation Company/121st Aviation Company
Soc Trang Tigers
128th Assault Helicopter Company - Arrived in Vietnam on 20 October 1965
129th Assault Helicopter Company
Bull Dogs
King Cobra
134th Assault Helicopter Company
135th Assault Helicopter Company
155th Assault Helicopter Company
Stage Coach
161st Assault Helicopter Company
162nd Aviation Company
170th Aviation Company
173rd Assault Helicopter Company
Robin Hood
174th Assault Helicopter Company - activated 1 October 1965
Company A, 502nd Aviation Battalion/175th Aviation Company
176th Assault Helicopter Company
Minute Men
187th Assault Helicopter Company
Rat Pack
188th Assault Helicopter Company
Black Widows
189th Aviation Company
Ghost Riders
Silver Flight
Scarlet Flight
190th Assault Helicopter Company
191st Assault Helicopter Company
Bounty Hunters
192nd Assault Helicopter Company
Lonesome Polecat
Tiger Shark
195th Assault Helicopter Company
Sky Chief
Thunder Chicken
196th Assault Helicopter Company
235th Aviation Company
Delta Devils
240th Assault Helicopter Company
Grey Hound
Mad Dog
243rd Assault Helicopter Company
Freight Train
272nd Assault Helicopter Company
281st Aviation Company - Activated 7 October 1965
Intruders - Army's first Special Operations Helicopter Company
Mardi Gras
Wolf Pack
282nd Assault Helicopter Company
Black Cats
Alley Cats
UTT/68th Aviation Company/197th Armed Helicopter Company/334th Armed Helicopter Company
335th Assault Helicopter Company
Company A, 101st Aviation Battalion/336th Aviation Company
355th HHC
Work Horse
361st Assault Helicopter Company
Pink Panther

Assault Support Helicopter Companies (CH-47)
147th Assault Support Helicopter Company (CH-47
Hill Climber
178th Assault Support Helicopter Company (CH-47)
Box Car
179th Assault Support Helicopter Company (CH-47)
Shrimp Boat
180th Assault Support Helicopter Company (CH-47) - Arrived in Vietnam on 17 October 1966
Big Windy
200th Assault Support Helicopter Company (CH-47
205th Assault Support Helicopter Company (CH-47)
213th Assault Support Helicopter Company (CH-47)
Phu Loi Black Cats
222nd Assault Support Helicopter Company (Pathfinder) (CH-47)
Lazy Boy
242nd Assault Support Helicopter Company (CH-47
Mule Skinners
271st Assault Support Helicopter Company (CH-47
273rd Assault Support Helicopter Company (CH-47
Super Hook
Super Hook Retrans

Surveillance and Reconnaissance Fixed Wing Companies
18th Utility Airplane Company (U-1A)
Low, Slow, Reliable
21st RAC (O-1)
Black Age
225th Surveillance Airplane Company (OV-1)
Black Hawk
54th Utility Airplane Company (U-1A)
Big Daddy
73rd Aviation Company – RAC (O-1)
The Warriors
74th RAC (O-1)
131st Surveillance Airplane Company - arrived in Vietnam on 1 October 1965
Iron Spud
199th RAC (O-1)
Swamp Foxes
183rd RAC (O-1)
Sea Horse
184th RAC (O-1)
185th RAC (O-1)
203rd RAC (O-1)
Hawk Eye
219th RAC (O-1)
Head Hunter
220th RAC (O-1)
Cat Killer
221st RAC (O-1)
244th Surveillance Airplane Company (OV-1)
Delta Hawks
245th Surveillance Airplane Company (OV-1)
Red Eye

Air Cavalry
7th Squadron/1st Air Cavalry
HHT - Blackhawk / King Bird
A Troop - Apache
B Troop - Dutchmaster
C Troop - Sandpiper / Comanche
D Troop - Powder Valley
3rd Squadron/17th Air Cavalry
Afld Control - Dragon Fly
A Troop - Silver Spur
B Troop - Burning Stogie
C Troop - Charlie Horse
D Troop - Blue Tiger
F/4 - Saber
7th Squadron/17th Air Cavalry
B Troop - Undertakers, Pall Bearers and Scalp Hunters

MedEvac / Dustoff Companies
1st Helicopter Ambulance Company
45th Medical Company (AA)
50th Medical Detachment
54th Medical Detachment (Helicopter Ambulance)
57th Medical Detachment - The Original Dust Off
68th Medical Detachment
82nd Medical Detachment (AH) – Delta Dustoff
101st Airborne Division, Air Assault Medical Company (AA) – Eagle Dustoff
130th Medical Detachment
159th Medical Detachment (HA)
236th Medical Company - “Strive to Save Lives”
237th Medical Detachment – DMZ Dustoff
247th Medical Detachment (RA)
254th Medical Detachment (HA)
283rd Medical Detachment (HA)
326th Medical Company
498th Medical Company (AA)
571st Medical Detachment [RA]
15th Medical Battalion, Air ambulance platoon, 1st Cavalry Division
326th Medical Battalion

Other Companies
Command Airplane Company (Provisional) - Long Trip
Cobra Nett) - Striker
201st Corps Aviation Company – Red Baron
345th – Cagey Tiger
346th – Cagey Tiger
347th – Cagey Tiger

  • The following sections are under construction 8/21/2020
Crew Chief – Described as a mechanic, gunner, and general handyman. Each helicopter has a crew chief assigned to it responsible for the general mechanical well-being of his assigned helicopter. In the morning he checks the head and stabilizing bar, the oil gauges, hydraulic system, electrical systems, and fuel intake. He also supervises loading to ensure a safe center of gravity. In flight, he listens for abnormal engine or transmission sounds, clears the tail rotor in tight landing zones, and inspects the aircraft whenever it is shut down. When in the air he is also responsible for manning the M-60 machine gun. At the end of the day, he cleans and greases the head, cleans the air filters, checks for loose or worn fuel and oil lines, and greases the tail rotor. He examines the entire engine for loose or worn parts. Before finishing his day, he checks the oil gauges, hydraulic and electrical systems, and the stabilizing bar, cleans and washes the helicopter and performs a reinspection. [1] [2]
Door Gunner – Responsible for protecting his helicopter on a mission, in the event the helicopter is forced down, the door gunner is responsible for setting up defense and guarding the helicopter until assistance arrives. He is responsible for cleaning, maintaining, and repairing his M-60 machine gun. The door gunner also assists the crew chief in maintaining the helicopter to keep it in top flying condition. [3]
Flight Engineer – (Chinook, CH-54 Flying Crane) - Responsible for seeing that cargo is picked up safely and efficiently, monitoring the sling during flight, and giving the pilot placement directions to insure the cargo is released as accurately as possible. The flight engineer is also in charge of the crew chief and gunner, ensuring that all maintenance is performed on the helicopter and all records and forms are kept up to date. During the Vietnam era flight engineers usually started out as crew chiefs and worked up to flight engineer as they gained experience and skill. [4]



Eagle Flights

Hunter Killer

Night Operations - Firefly
In 1965, 334th AHC, 145th Combat Aviation Battalion, was charged with developing technics for utilizing armed helicopters for night combat operations to counter to nighttime VC activities. The team, directed by a mission commander, consisted of a helicopter armed with a .50 caliber machine gun (the “high” ship), a “light” ship and a “low” gunship. The “high” ship served as mission command and cover for the other two ships. The “light” ship was mounted with a cluster of seven C-130 landing lights and was responsible for searching for targets. The “low” gunship was mounted with a combination of miniguns and rockets, flew without marking lights and at an altitude ranging from the deck to a few hundred feet. Once a target was sighted by the “light” ship, the “low” gunship moved in to destroy the target (ie. sampans moving VC and supplies). [5]



CH-21 Shawnee aka Flying Banana
CH-47 Chinook
CH-54A Skycrane aka Sweet Thing
CH-37B Mojave
Sikorsky CH-53 Sea Stallion -1967
AH-56A Cheyenne
Hughes OH-6 Cayuse (Loach), 1965
Sikorsky H-34/CH-34 Choctaw
Huey UH-1
Huey UH-1B
Huey UH-1D -Bulldog
Bell AH-1 Huey Cobra
Bell AH-1J SeaCobra
Bell H013 Sioux
Bell Model 206 (JetRanger/LongRanger)
Bell OH-58 Kiowa
Bell UH-1 Huey Iroquois
Bell UH-1B/C Huey Cobra/Frog
Boeing Vertol CH-46 Sea Knight
Gyrodyne QH-50 DASH
Hiller OH-23 Raven (Model UH-12)
Kaman HH-43 Huskie
Kaman SH-2 Seasprite/Super Seasprite
Piasecki H-21 Workhorse (Shawnee)
Sikorsky H-19 Chickasaw
Sikorsky HH-3E Jolly Green Giant


U-1A Otter
O-1 Birddog
OV-1 Mohawk

Helicopter Nose Art

To see a wider selection of helicopter nose art photographs, please visit the following collections:

Comancheria nose art
Heli1 Nose Art
Little Annie Fate
1st Platoon Hueys
JC3 Nose Art
Peg O’my Heart Nose art.
Canned Heat

Every man a tiger, 1st Platoon Huey.



  • "114th AHC "Cobras" Vinh Long Vietnam War home movies",, "Caviness's Cobras". Home movies filmed by PFC Victor Caviness, doorgunner with the 114th AHC "Cobras" at Vinh Long during 1966.
  • "Soc Trang Tigers" Huey Gunships in Vietnam (1968)", By sobchakvideos, Published on Sep 13, 2011, 121st Aviation Company UH-1 Gunships with M60, M200, M5 and M6 Subsystems.
  • "Soc Trang, Vietnam 1966 to 1968 Parts 1-7", By: TeeMackKC, Published Aug 2008,
Part 1: ;
Part 2: ;
Part 3: ;
Part 4: ;
Part 5: ;
Part 6: ; and
Part 7:


  • “Airmobile: The Helicopter War in Vietnam”, by Jim Mesko, 1984, Squadron/Signal Publications, Inc, Carrollton, Texas
  • “History of the 114th Assault Helicopter Company and Attached Units (1 January 1966 – 31 December 1966”, Prepared by: Captain Frank H. Bosworth, 114th Assault Helicopter Company, Approved by: Robert I. Stoverink, LTC, Armor, Commanding, 13th Combat Aviation (Delta) Battalion, 1st Aviation Brigade, United States Army, Vietnam, United States Army, Pacific
  • "Year of the Snake: One helicopter pilot's story of a year in Vietnam's Mekong Delta", by Lt Col Warren B. Jones Sr., Shade Tree Publishers, 2nd edition (1999)
  • "Knights Over the Delta: An Oral History of the 114th Aviation Company in Vietnam, 1963-72", Edited By Steve Stibbens; Introduction By Horst Faas and Joseph L. Galloway, Published by 114th Aviation Company Association (2002).
  • "Outlaws in Vietnam: 1966-67 in the Delta" by David Eastman, Publisher, Peter E. Randall Publisher, 2006.
  • “Seawolves: First Choice”, by Daniel E. Kelly, Publisher: IVY Books, 1998.
  • “U.S. Navy Seawolves: The Elite HAL-3 Helicopter Squadron in Vietnam”, By Daniel E. Kelly, Publisher: Ballantine Books, 2002.
  • "Five Years to Freedom: The True Story of a Vietnam POW", By James N. Rowe, Publisher: Presidio Press; First Ballantine Books Edition: June 1984 edition (May 12, 1984). (The 114th Aviation Company was part of the flight of helicopters that rescued James Rowe.)


  1. “MOS Spotlight: The Crew Chief”, Hawk, Vol 1, No. 1, September 1967
  2. “Indispensable Man: Crew Chief” Hawk, Vol. II, No. 5, January 1969, pp 16-17
  3. “Door Gunner”, Hawk, Vol. 1, No.3, November 1967, p 13
  4. “MOS Spotlight: Flight Engineer”, Hawk, Vol 1, No. 5, January 1968, p 13
  5. “Hunting Charlie by Night: Fire Fly”, Story by CWO Jay G. Goldsberry, Hawk, Vol. II, No 4, pp 4-5
  • “Airmobile: The Helicopter War in Vietnam”, by Jim Mesko, 1984, Squadron/Signal Publications, Inc, Carrollton, Texas
  • "Knights Over the Delta: An Oral History of the 114th Aviation Company in Vietnam, 1963-72", Edited By Steve Stibbens; Introduction By Horst Faas and Joseph L. Galloway, Published by 114th Aviation Company Association (2002)
  • "Outlaws in Vietnam: 1966-67 in the Delta" by David Eastman
  • “History of the 114th Assault Helicopter Company and Attached Units (1 January 1966 – 31 December 1966”, Prepared by: Captain Frank H. Bosworth, 114th Assault Helicopter Company, Approved by: Robert I. Stoverink, LTC, Armor, Commanding, 13th Combat Aviation (Delta) Battalion, 1st Aviation Brigade, United States Army, Vietnam, United States Army, Pacific
  • 1st Aviation Brigade Hawk, September 1967, Volume 1, Number 1 through Winter, 1972, Volume 6, No. 2


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Sorry for spelling. Let my I pad go down had to charge. We let me know. Al
posted by Alfred Smith
Well I back. The mission given to these platoon was different as to where they were assigned.. the 5th flight platoon was up around. Da. Nang giving support to the Marines and gun ship assistant. But they were on there own. The 6. Flight platoon worked around Vung tow. And. Saigon, working for Special operations, the 145 flight Platoon work For. Special Forces and future. Delta. Force.. Same with the rest, scattered thru. Out the county. Plus working with Special operation we were our own boss. On down time we went looking for trouble. We also escorted VIP S and work with the Navy, marines,. The 145 flight platoon. (. Not related with. 145th. Battalion in Saigon. ) we were what you call sterile. No rank, no name tag, and if anyone including a General. Asked who are what are. We,? we answered. It’s. Classified. And boy Did they get mad because we never saluted them. If the NVA found out we were in the area they knew something was going on. Let me tell you a good one, we were in Ze onh. Working with the 1st Division.. one of the men came back from a overnight pass to Saigon. Had to go the the medical Tent. Reported to the clerk for what we needed. Some os just wanted some. APC. We this one soldier said he need help. ( he caught the clap). Well the clerk asked for name and. Unit, we told him it’s classified. He called his Sargent over and said we would give our names. Well the Sargent heard a little about us. He told the soldier to go with him. He came back and sat down. Sargent came back and told the soldier that he was going to get a shot in the but,, the soldier then asked the Sargent what do Have, the Sargent turned a said. It’s classified. Back later,
posted by Alfred Smith
There was. The. 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 145, 46th, they are all. Platoons. Most were formed in 1963 , 1964. 1965. After June 1966 that I know of only the 46th. Was left. They were units that were not assigned to any particular Company. Are. Battalion, or they were located hundreds of miles away from there main unit that rare support was given and had to improvise in order to stay operational. Need for repair, food, parts, clothing, . My own boots were falling apart. Soles were off, down to 1 pair of socks, tools, unit never sent anything. We had to steal almost every thing. We were so far away units never wanted to support us because we were to far for them they could not have control every minute, like the ones on the main base. We stole two jeeps, two 3/4 ton trucks a old 1960 ears VW truck. They were needed just to get the crews and pilots to the airfield and to meals at nearby mesh hall. Yes I will help. if you need me. I was in Nam in 65. - 66. And. 68–69. But 63. To. 66 is when they were most active. We join a fight if units needed help. Sometimes just flying around looking for a fight, . Tell you more latter. Al Smith. I a lot about the. 114th even stole some tools from them, it was the only way we could get. what needEd to repair our air craft . When we were deactivated in 66 we even had a extra helicopter . I’m. Smith-203576
posted by Alfred Smith
You share left a lot out. You for got the small bastards units.
posted by Alfred Smith
Hi Alfred!

Thanks! :) This is a massive work in progress. :)

I also must admit my ignorance here (my father was the Vietnam Veteran, he died in 2014) what is a bastard unit and how do they fit in?

I'm always looking for help in developing this project, let me know if you would be interested in helping out! :)

posted by Sondra Marshall