2007 Calendar

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Owner Mike Leahy.
Rock Pile Resupply

Rock Pile Resupply painted by Mike Leahy in 2005. VHPA member John (J.R.) Aucella commissioned this painting because he flew this mission about thirty times in late 1967 while HMM-361 operated from the USS Iwo Jima in the waters off northern I Corps. J.R. often flew these missions with VHPA member Seppo Hurme. Mike Leahy, also a VHPA member, has allowed the VHPA to publish several pieces of his artwork over the years.

Owner Chip Decker.
A Camouflaged Cobra

AH-1G NETT Cobra at Bien Hoa - November 1967. This photo of AH-1G #66-1529 was taken by VHPA member Chip Decker. Chip flew for the 128th Assault Helicopter Company. While landing at Bien Hoa he saw this newly painted Cobra so he walked to the AH-1G New Equipment Training Team (NETT) area and took this photo. VHPA and NETT members Jerry Childers, Dick Jarrett, and Ken Rubin provided the following details: “In August 1967 Major Paul Anderson took the NETT to Vietnam on TDY (temporary duty) orders. We were attached to the 334th Aerial Weapons Company for maintenance and administrative support. We shared part of their flight line. Since the 334th was a TO&E (table of organization and equipment [in other words a permanent US Army unit versus a temporary unit]), they technically ‘owned’ our aircraft. Our six AH-1Gs arrived via USAF C-133s. By October, thanks to our First Sergeant Spears, all of them had this camo paint scheme courtesies of the USAF A-37 Squadron also based at Bien Hoa. 1SG Spears was very good at repairing beat up air conditioners, trading, and making friends.” While there were other helicopter gunship units in Vietnam that used the name Cobra and had snakes in their pocket patches prior to 1967, the AH-1G NETT’s patch would be liberally copied by most every unit that flew AH-1Gs from that time onward.

Owner Larry Winters.
Larry Winters provided the small photo of a camouflaged painted B/1/9th Cav near Song Be in 1970.

Owner Ron Richtsmeier.
Firewater Mission

A UH-1B from the Crocodile Platoon, 119th AHC - Early 1966. This photo was taken of VHPA member Ron Richtsmeier at Lane Army Heliport just west of Qui Nhon. The full details of Ron’s adventure appeared in the July/August 2003 VHPA Newsletter. Ron says: ‘To the best of my knowledge, this was the only B Model gunship to drop napalm during the war. While in Qui Nhon one day I met an USAF Master Sergeant who was in charge of the ammo dump. He gave me a tour of the facility and I became interested in the napalm bombs. I asked him to tell me exactly how they operated. The more I learned, the more intrigued I became. I ended up trading him a bottle of Scotch straight across for 4 napalm canisters, 4 igniters and an appropriate amount of powder to turn JP4 (standard helicopter jet fuel) into flaming jelly. My platoon leader, Captain Bob Wright, decided that he would fly the aircraft and I was to be in the left seat as the “bombardier.”’ Ron goes on to detail the events to the next two days when they dropped all four bombs. Interesting reading for sure!! He concludes with, ‘As it turns out, napalm dropped from a UH-1B at 80 knots really doesn’t do as well as if dropped from an F4 at 250 knots. It only spreads out about 50 feet or so. So we went back to our 2.75” rockets, 40mm grenades, and 7.62mm machine guns and let the AF have the firewater mission.’

Owner Barrie Turner.
Barrie Turner provided the small photo of the B/1/9th Cav UH-1B hog in western II Corps in 1965.

Owner Dean Lauerman.
Dean Lauerman provided the small photo of the 129th AHC UH-1B hog at Lane AAF in March 1969.

Owner Charles A. Lewie.
Resupplying ‘the Herd’

A UH-1H from A Company, 4th Aviation Battalion, 4th Infantry Division - March 1968. These Polaroid photos were taken by SGT E-5 Charles A. Lewie of B Company, 3/503rd Airborne, 173rd Airborne Brigade during Operation MacArthur in the mountains of Kontum Province. SGT Lewie’s company had cut a hole in the jungle at their night lager site to accommodate the resupply helicopter. These photos came to the VHPA via member Phil Lanphier. Officially the 173rd is known as the ‘Sky Soldiers’ but many American fighting men in Vietnam called them ‘the Herd’ because of their high esprit and close bond to each other (black and white). History shows they were more often than not Vietnam’s ‘fire brigade’ because they were shuttled from battle to battle. Thus it was when the 4th Infantry Division needed ‘more rifles’ during MacArthur that units from the 173rd were assigned to fight in Kontum Province. Many Army and Marine infantry units fought hard in Vietnam and covered themselves with honor and glory - but in the author’s opinion ‘the Herd’ stands at or near the top of the class. Thank you SGT Lewie and all your brothers in arms!!

Owner Charlie Ostick.
Charlie Ostick provided the small photo of the A/4th AVN 4th Inf Div UH-1H somewhere in II Corps in April 1967.

Owner Brian Wold.

UH-1H #67-17513 from B Company, 101st Assault Helicopter Battalion, 101st Airborne Division - 25 August 1968. VHPA member Brian Wold provided this photo of 513 just prior to its recovery from a ridgeline approximately five miles south of Camp Eagle. Brian flew for A Company, 101st AHB and brought additional men and equipment to this firebase. It is easy to see that the rigging crew (with their shirts off) have finished their work and are waiting for a Chinook to remove the Huey so the Artillery guys can complete the construction of their firebase. The accident record for this event states that 513 was the number two aircraft of four that landed the troops initially. Due to turbulence and center of gravity changes as the troops unloaded, 513’s tail moved into the main rotor disc area of the number three aircraft. Number three’s main rotor blade struck 513’s tail rotor knocking off the 90 degree gear box.

Owner Ross McCoy.
Ross McCoy provided the small photo of the C/7/1st Cav UH-1Hs somewhere in IV Corps in the Spring of 1971.

Owner Charlie Ostick.
First With Guns

UH-1As and UH-1Bs from the Utility Tactical Transport (UTT) Helicopter Company - December 1962. VHPA member Charlie Ostick provided these photos. The UTT arrived in Vietnam with A models in October 1962. The paint scheme for their A models was ‘toned down’ by re-spraying over their standard Army markings. The ship nearest the camera on the flight line at Tan Son Nhut is UH-1A #59-01683 (tail number 91683). Brand new B models started arriving in November 1962 with standard high visibility markings. The second ship on the flight line is UH-1B #62-0188(unable to read the right digit) with the standard Army markings. The upper left photo provides a closer view of an A model with the MA-2 2.75 inch rocket launcher plus the M-38, 30 cal machine gun. The upper right photo was taken in January 1963. The name of the SP6 walking away is not known but we see Charlie Ostick in front of a B model with XM-6 Quad MG system and a UTT installed 2.75 inch rocket kit.

Owner Don Joyce.
Don Joyce provided the small photo of the 57th Med Det UH-1B lifting off from Saigon in August 1965.

Owner Lloyd Newell.
Night Minigun Run

Cobras from the 235th Aerial Weapons Company - June 1970. SP5 Lloyd Newell took this photo while serving with the 345th Aviation Detachment from October 1969 through September 1971. This detachment was stationed at the Can Tho airfield to provide ATC (air traffic control) tower and GCA (ground control approach) functions. They were assigned to the 165th Combat Aviation Group. For some time Lloyd had been trying to take photos of nighttime fire missions flown by AH-1Gs from the 235th Aerial Weapons Company also based on Can Tho. He mounted his 35-mm camera on a tripod in the tower and used a cable release to control the shutter. Because the airfield was frequently the target of enemy attacks by fire, the area around it had been cleared of civilians and a free fire zone established. Since their official guard post position was the four-story ATC tower in case of attack, the two or three man crew in the tower were expected to stay put during an attack versus having to run to a bunker. The attacks by fire were so frequent that the 235th usually maintained a firefly or air cap over the airfield. The pilots who flew these missions were required to notify the Can Tho tower whenever they started firing and they soon learned of Lloyd's desire to photograph them. On the night this photo was taken, Lloyd believes the Cobras were from either the Viper or the Death Dealer platoon. The pilot radioed Lloyd that they had a fire mission, told him where it would go in, and asked if he wanted to take some pictures. Good quality photos of nighttime minigun fire missions are very rare. The VHPA is indebted to Lloyd for sharing these with us. There are several sets of small circular and diamond shaped red lights in the image. Lloyd explains that these were reflections from the camera lens and/or the glass in the tower. They were not part of the actual nighttime display in the sky.

Owner Lloyd Newell.
Lloyd Newell also provided the small photo of the Can Tho tower..

Owner Gary Roush.
A Muleskinner atop Nui Ba Den

A CH-47A from the 242nd Assault Support Helicopter Company - early 1969. VHPA member Gary Roush provided this photo. See the ‘thumbs-up’ hand on the left side pilot’s window? That’s Gary’s hand from the aircraft commander’s seat. He passed his camera to the radio operator who snapped the photo. The Black Virgin Mountain, as Nui Ba Den was also called, is a 3,000-foot high monolith rising out of the otherwise flat plain about 10 kilometers northeast of Tay Ninh in eastern III Corps near the Cambodian border. Other mountains in the area are named Nui Ba Ra and Chua Chan. All were sites of important radio relay stations.

Owner Robert Brackenhoff.
Robert Brackenhoff provided the small photo of the 196th ASHC CH-47A landing near Duc Pho in January 1970.

Owner Troy Wise.
Some Guys have all the Luck

UH-1Hs from C Company, 227th Assault Helicopter Battalion, 1st Air Cavalry Division - September 1967. VHPA member Troy Wise provided these photos from his first tour that was divided between being an infantryman with B/2/8th Cavalry and a doorgunner with C/227th AHB. The large photo shows a line of UH-1Ds some place near Bong Son getting ready to go pick up an infantry unit to insert them into the single ship LZ shown in the smaller photo. This LZ was in the mountains north and west of the famous LZ English. Troy was on the Command and Control Huey when an USAF C-130 dropped a ‘daisy cutter’ (10,000 pound bomb) that blew down the trees to form the LZ. He says, ‘It was like watching your own private B-52 strike but with just one bomb.’ After Troy’s first tour, he went to helicopter school and returned to Vietnam to fly with - you guessed it, the 227th again!! Some guys just seem to have all the luck!!

Owner Larry Winters.
Larry Winters provided the small photo of the 1st Cav Hueys from early 1970.

Owner Larry Winters.
Larry Winters provided the small photo of the 1st Cav Hueys from early 1970.

Owner Jim Oden.
Time to Refuel

An Assault Helicopter Company arrives at a 1st Cav Refuel Point - November 1965. VHPA member Jim Oden took this photo at a 1st Cav Div refuel point somewhere between Qui Nhon and the An Khe Pass along Highway 19. Jim was a CH-54A pilot with the 478th HHC and often flew #202 showed in the November photo in this calendar. The 478th deployed to Vietnam with a special communications section that contained an ADF (Automatic Direction Finding) radio station. The original idea was to allow their Sky Cranes to fly bad weather and night missions but still be able to use the ADF radio to get back to base. The 1st Cav Div posted this communications section near a refuel point along Highway 19 so their aircraft had a safe option rather than returning to An Khe all the time. Jim said the 478th rotated their pilots to be the OIC (Officer In Charge) of the communications section for about one week at a time.

Owner John 'Peg Leg' Givhan.
John 'Peg Leg' Givhan provided the small photo of the CH-21Cs from the 120th Aviation Company en route to Kien Hoa in January 1964.

Owner Jim Henthorn.
A Dust Devil over Laos

An Air Force CH-3E from the 21st Special Operations Squadron over Laos - December 1969. These photos were taken Bill Crawford of the 21st SOS and came to the VHPA via VHCMA member Jim Henthorn. Jim served with the 21st Helicopter Squadron from November 1967 to May 1969. The 21st HS was redesigned the 21st SOS on 1 Aug 1968. The large photo shows #66-13287. It crashed in Laos on 24 October 1970 killing two USAF crewmembers. The small photo shows an USAF CH-3C. Besides having internal vital component armor, the E model had a purpose-built external hoist with a 250-foot cable versus an internal hoist with a 135-foot cable in the C model. Notice the extension on the ends of the stub-wing on the E model - this allowed the helicopter to carry external fuel tanks that could be dropped if necessary. The 21st normally had twelve aircraft. They were stationed at Nakhon Phanom Royal Thai Air Force Base with the primary mission of SAR (Search and Rescue). The VHPA’s records show that twelve pilots and eleven crewmembers were killed serving with the 21st during the Vietnam War Era.

Owner Judy Porter.
A good friend of the VHPA, Judy Porter who served with Air America, provided the small photo taken at Udorn Thailand in 1973.

Owner Judy Porter.
A good friend of the VHPA, Judy Porter who served with Air America, provided the small photo taken at Udorn Thailand in 1973.

Owner Ed Lemp.
1st Cav Sky Cranes

CH-54As from the 478th Heavy Helicopter Company, 1st Air Cavalry Division - November 1965. These photos were taken by VHCMA member Ed Lemp when he was with E Battery, 82nd Artillery, 1st Cav from September 1965 to August 1966. The large photo was taken at the famous ‘Golf Course’ near An Khe and shows #64-14202 getting ready to lift part of a Huey. Notice the ‘Golf Course’ still has a fair amount of natural grass preserved to prevent the dust from becoming air borne in the helicopter rotor wash. The smaller photo was taken about February 1966 at the Bong Son Special Forces camp during Operation Masher. The Sky Crane carrying a pod is possibly #202. We believe there were only four pods in Vietnam and photos of them in the air are very rare. This pod was configured as a Command and Control Center. Sky Crane #202 was destroyed on 9 August 1966 near Da Nang.

Owner Michael Inlow.
Michael Inlow provided the small photo of a Sky Crane taken in 1970 in I Corps.

Owner Howie Belkin.
Doorgunner on the Nevada Gambler. VHCMA member Howie Belkin took these photos from September to December 1969 when he was the doorgunner on UH-1H #66-16642 with the ‘Ghostriders,’ C Company, 227th Assault Helicopter Battalion, 1st Air Cavalry Division based at Phuoc Vinh. Notice the Christmas stocking hanging on the instrument panel! Howie says, “I was from Long Island, NY but the crewchief was from Nevada. We were impressed with an AH-1G named "Arizona Gambler" so we agreed on the name. I snuck out one evening and painted the noseart. Our company ‘artist’ and my crewchief refused to help, fearing our Commanding Officer would throw the book at us since I was apparently breaking company policy with such a large and prominent piece of artwork. I assumed the C.O. wouldn't approve so figured, ‘why ask?’ After all, what could happen - they'd send me to 'Nam?! As it turned out they let it stay on and didn't discipline us.” Howie published an article in the International Plastic Model Society Journal in the early 1970s then built a model of Nevada Gambler. Monogram later released a large scale UH-1H model with Nevada Gambler markings. Recently, www.fireballmodels.info produced decals of Vietnam era Hueys and Cobras including Nevada Gambler.

Owner Howie Belkin.
Howie Belkin provided these Nevada Gambler decals for the Monogram model.

Owner Howie Belkin.
Howie Belkin provided this photo of his model of the Nevada Gambler.

Owner Dean Lauerman.
Lane Army Airfield

Lane Army Airfield near An Son - March 1969. This photo was taken by VHPA member Dean Lauerman during his tour in the 129th Assault Helicopter Company based at Lane. It was approximately 14 kilometers northwest of Qui Nhon. At various times Air Cavalry, Assault Helicopter, Assault Support, Headquarters, Medical Evacuation, Reconnaissance Airplane, and Transportation Corps aviation related units were stationed at Lane. It was located just a few miles north of the Republic of Korean (ROK) Army base camp. Korean Army units provided most of the perimeter security for Lane.

Owner Dave Althoff.
A Chatterbox on the Rock Pile

A CH-46 from HMM-262 resupplies the US Marines on the Rock Pile - Early 1967. These photos were taken by VHPA member Dave Althoff during his tour with HMM-262. The large photo appeared in the 2002 Calendar and Membership Directory and was presented again to compliment Mike Leahy’s artwork featured on the front cover. The small photo proves the Dave’s CH-46 was orbiting the Rock Pile as he waited his turn to land on the pad and provides a ‘side view’ of the top of the Rock Pile. Chatterbox was one of the squadron radio call signs for HMM-262 during its tour in Southeast Asia.