2004 Calendar

This is the eleventh calendar produced by the VHPA. Turner Publishing of Paducah, KY printed, marketed, and distributed this issue. This issue, as did many previous issues, commemorated the 2,194 helicopter pilots who died or were declared MIA (missing in action) in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam Era (1961 through 1975). Please note that this number varies slightly as we learn more. This issue is dedicated to the memory of VHPA member Fred Thompson who passed away in Nov 2002. His smile and faithful contributions to many VHPA publications over many years set a high standard for all of us to follow.

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Owner Fred Thompson. Copyright owner the VHPA.
UH-1C Easy Money from the 176th AHC in late 1970.

VHPA member Fred Thompson took this photo from the wing aircraft while flying low level somewhere in Southern I Corps.

Owner Brian Wold. Copyright owner the VHPA.
Tet of 68, A village near Binh Hoa - Early 1968

These photos were taken by VHPA member Brian Wold while flying over a village near Binh Hoa air base when he flew with Company A, 101st Aviation Battalion, 101st Airborne Division. During Tet of 68 (the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong offensive that lasted from 31 January until early February in most areas of the country), he had a front row seat for much of the action. The before picture was taken in late January 1968, the after picture in mid-February. Note the white-sided building in the lower right corner of the ‘after’ photo. This same building is left center in the ‘before’ photo.

Owner Fred Thompson. Copyright owner the VHPA.
Lam Son 719, A U.S. Marine Corps CH-53”March 1971.

VHPA member Fred Thompson took this photo while serving with the US Army 176th Assault Helicopter Company during the famous Lam Son 719 operation in the Khe Sanh area. This Sea Stallion is most likely from HMH-463 since that squadron provided the majority of the USMC heavy left support for this operation. HMH-463 lost one complete crew and had two CH-53s destroyed while supporting Lam Son 719. This aircraft is delivering fuel blevets to the aircraft refuel point.

Owner Lanny Julian. Copyright owner the VHPA.
A 1st Cav PZ, UH-1Ds from the 229th Aviation Battalion, 1st Air Cav Division - April 1967.

These photos were taken by VHPA member Lanny Julian who served with Company A, 229th Aviation Battalion, 1st Air Cavalry Division from December 1966 through December 1967. The troops are loading the Hueys in preparation for a combat assault into the An Lao Valley.

Owner Ross McCoy. Copyright owner the VHPA.
The Flying Circus on Standby, Four UH-1Hs from C Troop, 7th Squadron, 1st Air Cavalry”Spring 1971.

This photo was taken by VHPA member CWO Ross McCoy after he had shut down his Cobra in this staging area somewhere in IV Corps. Each Air Cavalry Troop had an Aerial Rifle Platoon with five UH-1Hs to provide transport for their infantry platoon. By 1971, the 7/1st Cav was not allowed to use the American GIs but were assigned ARVN soldiers, called ‘troopies,’ on a mission by mission basis. C Troop’s Aerial Rifle Platoon called themselves the Flying Circus. The crews of these Hueys in the staging area monitored a radio to communicate with the Command and Control (C&C) aircraft. On order from the C&C, they would fly off to pick-up, insert or extract troops, detainees, equipment, etc. They would also perform medical evacuations, downed crew rescues and even sling out downed Scout helicopters.

Owner Ron Petrovich. Copyright owner the VHPA.
Slowmotion Jean, OH-6A from the Aviation Platoon, 198th Light Infantry Brigade, Americal Division - 1971.

VHPA member Ron Petrovich took this photo of #66-7930 flown by CW2 Doug Lackey, Slowmotion 4, some time prior to October 1971. Slowmotion was the radio call sign of the Brigade’s Aviation Platoon. All the Brigade’s OH-6As were given female nicknames, this aircraft is “Jean.” Ron stayed with the 198th until October when they started preparations to depart Vietnam. Dutch DeGroot, who served with a Military Police platoon attached to the 198th and flew door gunner on a volunteer basis whenever he could, provided the Slowmotion art work. The VHPA thanks Ken Bigelow, brother of helicopter pilot Ralph Bigelow who was killed while flying for the 198th, for bringing Ron and Dutch’s work forward.

Owner Steve Bosan. Copyright owner the VHPA.
Assembling a new Sky Crane, The 14th Transportation Battalion assembles a new CH-54A at Nha Trang”June 1967.

These photos were taken by VHPA member Steve Bosan when he commanded the 14th TC Battalion. He recalls that his battalion assembled three CH-54As during the summer of 1967. He believes all the pieces for one CH-54A arrived in a single Military Airlift Command C-133 aircraft. They had a team of between twenty and twenty-five specialists who worked about four days to assemble the Sky Crane. They borrowed a mobile crane from an Engineer unit and the mobile air conditioning unit from the Air Force.

Owner Curt Knapp. Copyright owner the VHPA.
Aircraft from the Aviation Section, 2nd Brigade, 101st Airborne Division - 1968.

VHPA member Curt Knapp, TADPOLE 795, provided these photos taken at LZ Sally in late 1968. The OH-6A is #66-17795. It was the Brigade’s first OH-6A and is still flying today with the Army Aviation Heritage Foundation. The two photos on the right are of UH-1H #66-01055. It was the first Huey Command and Control (C&C) for the Brigade and was lost due to damage received after an engine failure and night autorotation on 11 December. UH-1H #67-17554, shown in the lower left, was the C&C ship for MG Zais, the Division’s Commanding General. It was called “Lucky Eagle.” Curt says, ‘554 had nicely padded and upholstered seats plus a good stateside-manufactured radio console in the back.’

Owner Rich Johnson. Copyright owner the VHPA.
Wicked Escort, The 540th Transportation Company Chinook revetments and maintenance area at Qui Nhon”May 1968.

VHPA member CWO Rich Johnson provided these photos of their CH-47s. The 540th TC’s radio call sign was ‘Wicked Escort.’ While other Chinook units did aircraft recoveries, the 540th TC was the only dedicated aircraft recovery unit in the 14th Transportation Battalion. During his tour, Rich made recoveries all over II Corps and most of I Corps for the US Army. The ‘door frame art’ chronicles their recoveries.

Owner Bruce Carlson. Copyright owner the VHPA.
The LZ is Marked with the Burning LOH, The death of C/7/17th Cav OH-6A #66-7875 on the Bong Song Plain”28 September 1969.

These photos were taken SP4 Jim Yaminitz and were given to VHPA member Bruce Carlson a few days later. Jim had previously flown with Bruce but at this time was serving with C Troops’ Blues, their infantry platoon. These pictures were taken soon after they stepped off the Hueys that had transported them to start the rescue mission. Since the Blues were often inserted on very short notice, the Huey crews were always asking the Command and Control aircraft”‘Where is the Landing Zone (LZ)?’ Air Cavalry Troops had a lot of LOHs (Light Observation Helicopter) shot down and soon invented the macabre expression: ‘The LZ is marked with the burning LOH.’ Bruce was still strapped in the burning LOH when it exploded. He and the two enlisted crewmen, SP4 Floyd Hansen and SP5 Rocky Conklin, managed to get out of the LOH, avoid being captured or killed by the local North Vietnamese who were living in caves on the side of the hill, and were rescued by the Blues. Bruce’s book “Red Bird Down!” includes two chapters that novelize this event.

Owner Lanny Julian. Copyright owner the VHPA.
Cam Ranh Bay Pedro, A U.S. Air Force HH-43 at Cam Ranh Bay”April 1967.

VHPA member Lanny Julian took this photo during one of his visits to Cam Ranh Bay Airbase while serving with the 229th Aviation Battalion, 1st Air Cavalry Division in 1966 and 1967. The 7th Air Force’s Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Service (ARRS) had several two helicopter detachments equipped with Kaamen Husky HH-43s at its bases throughout Southeast Asia. The Husky was ideally suited for local base rescue operations.

Owner Steve Matthews. Copyright owner the VHPA.
Left Base to a Zero Five Approach at Nha Trang Airbase, An Intruder UH-1H from the 281st AHC landing at Nha Trang Airbase - Early 1969.

This photo was taken by VHPA member Steve Matthews who was "Rat Pack 15," the gun platoon of the 281st Assault Helicopter Company, and is now the Intruder Webmaster. "Intruder" was the radio call sign for the 281st’s transport Hueys. This Huey is on the left base to zero five approach at Nha Trang Airbase.

Owner Lanny Julian, Mike Law, Bill Robie, and Brian Wold. Copyright owner the VHPA.
Vietnamese Children.

Almost every Vietnam veteran has pictures of Vietnamese and Montagnard kids. A parked helicopter was a sure ‘kid magnet.’ The upper left photo was taken by VHPA member Brian Wold with his A/101st AHB Huey north of Phu Loi about March 1968. The upper right photo was taken by VHPA member Lanny Julian near his A/229th AHB Huey in March 1967 at LZ English. The lower right photo was taken by VHPA member Bill Robie in March 1969 through the left front chin bubble of his 92nd AHC Huey at the Phan Rang MACV pad. The lower left photo shows VHPA member Mike Law with his B/7/17th Cav AH-1G at the Phan Rang MACV pad in June 1969.

Owner Don Joyce. Copyright owner the VHPA.
Shawnee Maintenance, CH-21C maintenance area at Nha Trang”November 1962.

This photo was taken by VHPA member Don Joyce during his first tour in Southeast Asia. At this time he was flying CV-2 Caribou for the Army’s 1st Aviation Company. Don’s company would send aircraft all over Southeast Asia hauling people and supplies for the American units, mostly aviation units at that time. Don took lots of pictures and has generously shared them with the VHPA. Anyone who can provide details about the aircraft in this picture is encouraged to contact the VHPA Calendar Editor. Don states that the aircraft being moved was eventually repaired and returned to flying status.