Danny,It just came about as chatter on the radio during Combat assaults. I kept sayin Golden, when inserts an liftoffs were synchronous, and generally as they should be. The term apparently stuck. No big history. The Silver flight was a natural second step and the rest is history. Kinda droll huh? The Troops made it official with their artistry. Joe Cancellare
Period: 29 December 1967 - 26 January 1968
The notes recorded in this log were written upon completion of combat
assault missions by members of the platoon at the direction of the
platoon leader partly as the result of the loss of one of our finest
aircraft commanders, Charlie Wilcox who was killed in action in a combat
assault against elements of the Phu Loi Regiment on the 7th of December
29 DEC 67Mission CA Time 02 + 30 26 sorties Insert and Extract.
2nd Plt had the lead. We went back to the LZ of Dec 7, Near Phu Cong
XT748166. There was a 45 minute arty prep, 8" and l05mm. There was also
an air strike and finally three minute gunship prep. Full suppression
on the north side with the slicks on short final. The north side of (he
LZ was smoked. Approach heading was 120. Trees bordered the north and
south sides of the LZ. The zone was open and wet. The slicks were
airborne for the end of the TAC Air Prep and were able to roll in with
the gun prep. The smoke ship, compensating for wind flew parallel and
slightly ahead of the slick lead on final blocking the tree line to the
north from view of the flight.
On lift - off Chalk 8 received fire and marked with smoke. The direction
and distance of fire was estimated and the area was engaged by the
Gladiators (Gun platoon). Four ships, 1 Stby and 3 lift made the second lift. The rest of the flight went to Cu Chi to refuel. On the second lift no suppression. On lift off Chalk 2 got a clip detector light. He was going to put it down on the spot but received AW fire and he moved to a more secure area. He dropped out of the flight and the maintenance officer flew the ship to Bien Hoa. Confusion resulted later in the day about the position of the ships in the formation.
The AC's have been instructed to take their physical number by counting
in the formation and to use that. All formations are to be by SOP unless
directed so by flight lead.
Whenever possible move the aircraft from the LZ site when in difficulty
if the site is not positively secure. The extraction was made in an open
area to the south - relatively secure area and on a road.
The 100 man element was inserted to probe suspected main force positions
in the area west of the Saigon River north of Phu Cong.
Only superficial damage was sustained by chalk 2 - J. A. Cancellare
31 December 67 CA 06 + 30 23 sorties Insert and Extract 1st PLT had lead
1 LZ, tall trees V of 5 No prep, only suitable LZ in the area -
extremely hazardous received AW fire lst lift into LZ 2nd lift received
sniper fire on approach to PZ in Vo Xu. Received the AW fire from left
side of 2nd LZ. Arty and air prep prior. Timing not bad. Smoke ship was
used, timing poor. Ships were on the ground and smoke was still above
them. 3rd LZ received AW fire from the right on long final. Smoke too
high again. The timing of all prep and inbound leg of final approach
should be very closely coordinated. Artillery in final prep was shut off
before lift ships were all cranked. The gap could have been significant.
One ship had one hit in LZ 2. 2nd LZ staggered trail lst time. 2nd
sortie trail around northern edge of LZ along tree line with full
suppression on left side. Guns worked well all day. Troops were fast to
exit aircraft. 4th LZ to prepared strip. Went in cold in conjunction
with other AHC (Boomerangs) simultaneous insertions from opposite
directions (Ys470928) Simultaneous landings excellent use of airmobile
concept. Radio discipline is breaking down in the unit. - J. A.Cancellare
LZ I 2 lifts YT546180 LZ2 YT818307 LZ4 YT875296
l. Smoke plays an important part in any operation. It greatly reduces
the amount of accurate fire received from enemy.
2. The smoke ship must be as low as possible and must have sufficient
lead on slicks to have its cover at ground level when slicks are on
3. Smoke ship received brass form gunship in windshield. Must be careful
and coordinate all movement of all aircraft.
4. Slicks are not reporting fire rapidly - not using smoke and reporting
is not accurate- J. A. Cancellare
2 JAN 68 CA Night TAC E 04 + 35 7 sorties Class V & Med Evac 0130HRS
XT550809 1/2 Hour Stby 0200 man HELOS Brief - freqs and coordinates from OPNS 2 separate flights of 5 Golden to Dau Tieng Silver to Katum Golden flt off at 0230 hrs, Radar vector to PZ from Paris Control. Arty FSB
under attack Picked up ammo and headed north. Broke flt into 2-2-1 and
contacted ground element. They got a hold on ARTY couldnt accurately
advise on Arty. Checked w/C&C and ground. People not making much sense.
Decided to go in. Landed to 2 strobe lights. Almost crashed aircraft.
Spatial disorientation. Dust- went IFR & lost all sense of direction.
Did many unusual attitudes close to the ground. Mortars incoming. AW
fire all around Air strikes in area. Miraculous nobody killed completed 3
sorties - med evacked 10 people. Total 40 - 50 med evacked by flight
Entire platoon did outstanding job. - Much confusion.
1. Too many helicopters in the area. Two AHC's were called in. One would
have been sufficient- as a result congestion in the later stages was a
problem. Aircraft became low on fuel and some were forced to return to
PZ with loads.
2. No common uniform Freq for participating AHCs
3. Guns were employed correctly. Engaged targets of opportunity and
stood by to render aid to slicks.
4. Round jammed in gunner's M-60 - took barrel off & round cooked off,
grazing individual, lodging in wallet.
Other unit lost 2 UHIDs in landing accident- cause dust & darkness.
Landed on top of other running UHlD. One CE killed - J.A. Cancellare
PS: 374 NVA KIA 135USWIA 27USKIA
No pathfinders used Wrong PZ emphasized 35 aircraft Katum 9 aircraft Dau
Tieng Dau Tieng had lighting and area suited to this type of operation.
4 JAN 68CA 6 miles SW Phu Cong RVN
Originally conceived as a search and destroy operation. Troops were put
in to search canal lines and destroy bunkers. Briefing at 0730 with
0830 crank. Opns Officer made jokes about the gravity of the situation
and possibility of strong enemy forces in the area. Remarked, "Should be
a lot of incident bullet damage." No one appreciated these flippant
remarks. 2 LZs and 1 PZ originally set up for 90 sorties only 77
LZ 1 was prepped and flight went in. Auto wpns fire on
second lift from left side. Smoke ship used with good results however
made five (5) lifts into the LZ- all same heading - could have been a
massacre if they had been waiting. Second LZ not worth mentioning. PZ is
a different story.
Troops were lined up 360o. Flight landed and took off
270o. 1st lift (White Flight) sat in the PZ for 5 minutes. PZ
supposedly organized by pathfinders - not the first time they have
screwed up royally. Second lift we had 5 ships and landed staggered
trail. Had a group of troops in the middle of the LZ. One ran into the
tail rotor of chalk 8 with a Bangalore torpedo, knocked the tail rotor
and 90o gear box off which struck a man running behind him. Chalk 7
evacuated man to Saigon. Badly injured - head wounds with brain exposed.
Better off if he dies. Curious thing about this is that it doesn't
happen more often - ground troops always keep their heads down when
running or walking near an aircraft. Have watched numerous incidents of
troops and children run under tail rotors. No way in hell that crew can
keep them clear. Day ended uneventfully as far as enemy contact is
concerned. Always 60 - 70 N @ 500 - 1000'. This is extremely dangerous.
Also shallow under arched approaches continue to be SOP. This is going
to cost us dearly someday. Thomas A. Connelly
5 JAN 68 CA 32 sorties Insert and extract 08 + 45 The object of the
day's mission was to insert search and destroy elements in two locations
and a search and destroy and blocking force in a third location. LZ 1
and LZ 3 were proximal to each other. LZ2 was not connected with the
other two insertions.
T O was at 0715 with a full fuel load. Time enroute was 50 minutes,
reducing the ability of all elements to remain on station. The refuel
facilities at Blackhorse - the nearest to TAOR (30 minutes) were so slow
that a 160 lb difference resulted among aircraft in the flight. Later in
the day aircraft refueling first were shut down so the other aircraft in
the flight would be at equal levels after refueling.
LZ l, 3 flts from Vo Xu 1 f1t from Vo Dat
There was an exceptionally good air and arty prep in this LZ, 1 Hr
duration total. The LZ was slated as a 10 ship LZ but after the first
lift subsequent lifts were 5 ship. Elephant grass 8 - 10 ft high was
throughout the area and 60 - 80 foot trees were interspersed throughout
the LZ with 60 - 80 ft barriers surrounding the LZ. On the second
insertion lead aircraft had a main rotor blade strike. Suppression was
full on the first sortie and rules thereafter. Sporadic small arms fire
was encountered on the first lift. Smoke was used to good advantage and
gun cover was adequate and accurate. Weapons in the slicks were
performing well. Troops offloaded rapidly YT830264
LZ 2 had 20 to 30 foot obstacles but was suitable for 10 ships. Smoke
was used and the flight went in staggered trail left.
1/2 Hr of arty was used but it was shut off prior to the slicks reaching
the PZ. No time was set for pickup and sufficient time was not allowed
for the slicks to take the safest route to the PZ. 1 lift here. 80 men.
LZ 3 YT825452 was a burned out village very dusty and full of ash and
dead tall trees. It was for the following reason. Obstacles 80 to 100
feet high man - made partially destroyed structures. Not adequate room
for 10 aircraft after they cleared the barriers with loads. Some ships
made a go around on final. Smoke was used and gun coverage was adequate.
The flight refueled once during the previous sequence of events and once
after. The flight stood by at Vo Dat, a very poorly secured and exposed
runway which is extremely dusty.
Extractions were commenced at 1500 hours with one refuel stop after the
first 4 extractions. l hour was lost for each refuel action, time en
route and 30 minutes for each at POL. The first extraction bordered a
treeline. Troops were lined up in trail and had traveled 4000 meters in
6 hours with light contact. After all were loaded a 7 man group waded
through 4 - 5 ft grass and chalk 7 was forced to hover up to the group.
This caused the flight to spend 4 minutes on the ground in a unsecured
area. The treeline on the right was smoked and the troops boarded from
the left. The slicks fired into the wood line while waiting for loading
to be completed. Stray rounds ricocheted near the guns that were covering
above the tree line. There were no barriers in the PZ and it went
smoothly except for the time spent in the PZ.
The second extraction was at location YT815423. The area was also
suitable for extraction. Winds were favorable and the 30 ft barriers
were of little consequence. Full suppression was used in departing the
PZ. Minimal time was spent on the ground.
The last PZ was totally unsuitable. It was slightly north of the
morning's 3rd LZ. Dust and ash caused 4 aircraft to go around because of
the obstacles and the IFR conditions produced by the approach of the
first five ships.
The pickup was made down wind and with the existing obstacles was very
difficult for all of the aircraft to negotiate. The flight refueled and
the C&C asked the ground commander to move the troops 200 meters
southwest to a much more suitable PZ. An hour and a half elapsed while
the aircraft were refueled and the troops were not moved. Subsequent
lifts were made into the wind. Dust and ash continued to plague the
flight. On the first extraction in this PZ one aircraft got a tree
strike and had to return to Bien Hoa. Another aircraft had a hot start
900o and had to return to Bien Hoa. Obstacles natural and artificial 8-
m- 100 ft tall had to be threaded through to land to the troops. The
flight returned to Bien Hoa at 1845.
l. The unit was not consulted for the coordination. The coordination
instructions were passed through a disinterested 3rd party. There was no
recon of the LZ in advance to forecast difficulties which could have been
avoided. 2. The results were that 2 of the LZ's and one of the PZs were
unacceptable for the number of aircraft involved or the use in an
airmobile operation. 3. This was borne out by the fact that two aircraft
received blade damage in both insertions and extractions and numerous go
a rounds were caused by the obstacles and ground conditions in the LZs
and PZs. 4. Refuel facilities are too far distant for efficient and
expeditious completion of the mission. 50% of the time on the aircraft
was spent in transit to or from POL and in POL. - J. A. Cancellare
2l JAN 68 MissionCA time 00 + 50 5 sorties Insertion Ist PLT had the
lead. PZ was Lamsan. LZ 1 was XT818101. LZ2 was XT812098. Two lifts ACL
8 & 9 were made shortly after arrival at the PZ. The Gladiators and the
Playboys provided gun support which was outstanding. The LZs were
capable of handling 5 ships at best so the flight was split. The
insertions were made without incident. l. The barriers in the LZs were
close and on 4 sides. They were approximately 30 ft high. There was no
room to play in the event of an aircraft malfunction or an enemy held
LZ. It would have been better to use 3 ship lifts. J. A. Cancellare
25 JAN 1968, 05 + 30
CA 10 miles south of Phouc Vinh. Insertions.
Worked with the 101st Abn Div again! Cranked at 0720, T/O at 0730.
Briefing consisted of a few lines scratched on a piece of paper lying in
operations (really thorough!) All lifts went uneventful, received
negative fire all day. While enroute to lone LZ, UHF was blocked out by
a hot mike. An alternate radio was not used by C&C and lead or between
the flight. Consequently the flight over flew the LZ. If the enemy had
been in the area, it would have given him plenty of time to set up for
the flight. There was even smoke! Approaches were between 55 - 60 K,
1000 FPM descents, more like autorotation! This is going to cause some
serious results, one of these days.
At FSB Dave which was one of our PZs, the troops were supposed to be
picked up in a staggered trail. The PZ also had many stumps, fences and
large pieces of wood and ponchos which could easily take off a tail
Troops still insist on departing the aircraft from one side. I
guess they'll learn when they get a whole squad shot in an LZ. We sat
anywhere from 30 - 40 minutes at Phouc Vinh at flight idle. This
happened twice! Very poor planning! In fact, thats the impression I get
in all their association with aircraft. - Raul L. Regalado
26 JAN 68CA area approximately 10 miles South & West of My Tho. Crank at 0630, Take Off at 0640.
First hazard of the day became evident on take off. Crew had wiped the
windshield but done so inadequately, result was impaired vision becoming
much more apparent during hover and take off. A dirty windshield makes
the predawn hours much more precarious than they have to he, A smear job
is no better than not having the windshield wiped at all.
The second hazard manifested itself later in the day while refueling.
Not all POL. facilities have standard or excessive separation for POL
points. A 180o or 90o turn could put your tail into the following
aircraft even though you remain over the area marked for your skids. As
the day wears your judgment can be impaired by habit. Always ascertain
you have adequate room before entering a POL point and make your turn
slow enough to allow the crew ample time to clear your tail. The next
incident occurred in PZ #2 and wasn't an isolated incident without
precedent- it has happened before. After receiving fire on final and
short final we touched down. Chalk 8 had a weak ship and was unable to
carry a full load, he kicked one man off. Just a poor grunt with no FM
or UHF receiver, unable to discern what was happening, didn't know what
to do. Finally realizing predicament he went through the usual
procedure of trying; to get on every aircraft but the right one. During
the course of events chalk 9's troops decided to unload and at this
point nobody knew what was happening. We spent five minutes plus in this
PZ which seems like an eternity with the enemy near. The lesson learned
here is that before kicking a grunt off ascertain you have a place for
him to go. Next and last was just a simple thing I learned through
seeing its application. I often envision the ground forces as being
somewhat inflexible and thought that asking for a change would be
tantamount to asking for confusion. There were numerous times however
which they were requested to realign their troops on different azimuths
in the PZs and did so with little difficulty. This enabled us to vary
approach paths and stay clear of more intense fire. Every operation has
its inherent hazards and moments of terror. The preceding points are
those which remain foremost in my mind on this particular operation.
Steven O. Stillman.
From Battalion History: 145thCAB - Thanks Jim Bodkin!
The 190th A.H.C. arrived in Vietnam and was assigned to the 145th on 2
September 1967, shortly there after to be sent on temporary duty to I Corp
with the Marines and returned to Bien Hoa onthe 16th of November 1967.
On 7 December 1967the 190th Assault Helicopter Company conducted
airmobile operations with the 4th Bn, 7th Regt, 5th Inf Div (ARVN). The
unit was to receive an ATT in conjunction with a search and destroy
operation. The landing zone was prepared for the assault by artillery and
air strikes under the command of an aircraft from the 74th Reconnaissance
Airplane Company. The first assault went as planned with negative fire
received. The second assault into LZ#2 met with heavy automatic weapons
fire from the right front. Chalk 10 was shot down in the landing zone and
chalk 9 made an emergency landing eight hundred meters north of the LZ.
This aircraft had received sixteen hits. The troops in LZ #2 were pinned
down under voluminous enemy fire and without the planned, subsequent lift,
were in danger of annihilation. On the next lift into the LZ the lead
aircraft was engulfed by intense enemy fire that wounded or killed all of
the ARVN troops on board. Several other aircraft in flight were hit causing
two to make forced landings in the pickup zone and another at Cu Chi.
The FAC from the 74th Recon Airplane Company continued to direct
artillery and air strikes on the entrenched enemy. To provide cover for the
remaining lifts, the smoke aircraft was employed. Braving the murderous
enemy fire, he repeatedly provided smoke cover for the remaining lifts. A
heavy fire team from the 334th Armed Helicopter Company was scrambled to assist in the operation. They attacked the enemy fortifications with
determination and tenacity, disregarding their personal safety in order to
place their fires to the best advantage. The remaining aircraft were
utilized to airlift a reserve company into the area. The aircrews did not
hesitate in continuing their mission even in the face of devastating enemy
fire. The smoke ship was hit and forced to return to Bien Hoa for repairs.
Numerous medical evacuation flights were attempted; however, each time the aircraft met with murderous enemy fire. A second smoke ship was called out to assist in the operation. After two passes through the area, providing a
smoke screen for medical evacuation flights, he too was hit and forced to
land in the landing zone. realizing the precarious position the crew of the
smoke ship was in, an armed helicopter from the 190th AHC braved the
intense, enemy, automatic weapons fire to land and extract them.
As nightfall approached, the ground troops ran low on ammunition.
Again a crew from the 190th AHC volunteered to deliver the desperately
required ammunition and at the same time extract the remaining wounded.
Although the enemy was literally filling the sky with bullets, the mission
received light to heavy combat damage. Three medical evacuation helicopters were damaged, one making a forced landing five miles east of Cu Chi, another making a forced landing just inside the perimeter at Cu Chi and the third taking numerous hits and wounding the gunner.
Two smoke aircraft were hit, one making a forced landing in the
landing zone and the other being grounded after returning to the station.
Of the aircraft that received the combat damage six required evacuation by
CH-47, four were repaired and released for a one time flight to home
station, two were repaired and returned to the flight, and seven were hit
but continued to fly.
On 14 December 1967the 190th Assault Helicopter Company was diverted
from the assigned mission to support Company A, 5th Special Forces Group (CIDG), in airmobile operations in th area west of Hiep Hoa, RVN. On final approach to LZ #L the flight received light automatic weapons fire. One armed helicopter was hit damaging the hydraulic system and wounding the crew chief. Two subsequent lifts were made into the same landing zone.
Sporadic M-79 fire hit in the landing zone while the aircraft were on the
ground, however, no aircraft were damaged. About one hour after the
insertions, the ground troops made contact with an estimated regimental
sized force. Tactical air and two light fire teams provided immediate
support. The enemy was well entrenched and possessed a minimum of six fifty caliber machine guns.
The fire from these weapons plus countless small and automatic weapons
was devastation and deadly. Yet fire support to assist the ARVN's in
breaking contact was a dire necessity. A Cobra light fire team proved its
worth time and time again as they challenged the fifty caliber positions,
never once faltering in the attack. The efforts of these armed helicopters
bore fruit and the unit was able to break contact and withdraw.
This success was not without cost as three armed helicopters were
hit, one of which made an emergency landing with the aircraft on fire.
Although the sky was filled with enemy fire, the downed aircraft's wingman
threaded his way down through the hail of bullets to pull the crew
practically out of the enemy's hands. The action of the armed helicopters
in the face of vastly superior enemy fire power, was the factor that made
the difference between annihilation and successful withdrawal of the
outnumbered ground units. The 190th Assault Helicopter Company had two crew members wounded, one armed helicopter totally destroyed and three other aircraft hit.
BATTLE OF BIEN HOA
TET OFFENSIVE 1968
On the morning of 31 January 1968, the Bien Hoa Air Base, III Corps
Headquarters, the Prisoner of War Compound, and other key installations
around the Bien Hoa - Long Binh area received enemy mortar and rocket fire.
Helicopters of the 190th Assault Helicopter Company were called upon to
evacuate the besieged defenders of the American Embassy, who were hard hit by the daring enemy.
By the 1st of May 1968 things had just about gotten back to normal in
Vietnam. The 145th C.A.B. had the units of HHC, 68th, 118th, 135th, 190th,
and the 334th assigned to it at the time.
FROM THE COLISEUM
The Gladiators of the 190th Assault Helicopter Company, 145th Combat
Aviation Battalion, have been selected to train two highly skilled
Vietnamese Aviators in the employment of the armed helicopter. The
Gladiators will be the first unit in Vietnam to introduce the Vietnamese
Air Force to the UH-1C gunship. This Gun Platoon has garnered an unrivaled record of safety and achievement during their tactical assault operations.
The Gladiators appreciate this opportunity to forward their gunnery
The two history making Vietnamese Air Force Aviators are CPT Buu Ngo
of the 217th Squadron, and 1Lt Vo Van Minh of the 211th Squadron, both from the 74th Wing at Can Tho Air Base. Cpt Ngo has flown the UH-1A, B, D, H, and a majority in the CH-34 for a collective total of 2000 hours. 1LT Minh has flown the UH-1D and H models for 100 hours while collecting an amazing 2450 hours in a CH-34. A very adept, aviator with 2550 total flying hours, he is also an Instructor Pilot in the CH-34. Their training was initiated
on 14 January and will continue for 30 days through 13 February 1969.
The Skipper of the Gladiators, 1LT Robert Goivannoni, reported that
his Aircraft Commanders will qualify both pilots in M-3, the M-5, and the
M-21 gunnery systems. Upon completion of their tour with the Gladiators,
they will return to their units to possess others with the invaluable
A well deserved salute is extended to the following individuals
with-in the Battalion who were decorated during the month of January for
their valorous actions and meritorious service.
BURNS, David A.-WO1-190TH-DFC, James A.-SP4-190TH-AM "V", BROWN, Frank E.-SP4-190TH-AM "V", DENT, Rudolf L.-SP4-190TH-AM "V", WIESCHOWSKI, Ronald L.-SP4-190TH-AM "V", AIGLER, Kenneth T. Jr-SP4-190TH-AM "V", CALIENDO, Stephen N-SP4-190TH-AM "V",CHRISTY, Larry D-SP5-190TH-AM "V", NEGLIA, Salvatore C.-1LT-190TH-AM "V", Ronald T.-WO1-190TH-AM "V", Russell W.-SP4-190TH-ACM, WILLOUGHBY, Raymond-SP5-190TH-ACM,
In September of 1970 the 190th AHC entered into joint training with
the South Vietnamese Air Force.
LTC Richard D Kenyon took over for LTC William H Dillard on 1 December
1970. The 190th Avn Co leftVietnam onthe 10th of December 1970.
On the morning of 31 January 1968, the Bien Hoa Air Base, III Corps HQ, the Prisoner of War Compound, and other key installations around Bien Hoa--Long Binh area received enemy mortar and rocket fire. The Communists were starting to carry out a plan that they had studied for a considerable period. The attacking forces, elements of the 274th and 275th Rgmt, 9th VC Div. had been recruiting and training their leaders for a substantial length of time. It was instilled in the minds of their soldiers that this ultimate plan could not fail, and that victory would surely be theirs. A prisoner captured later stated that he was told by his commanders that Bien Hoa would "drop into their hands like a ripe apple." "Charlie" felt that such an offensive, one that involved ground attacks on major military complexes, would be completely unexpected. He was right, but he completely underestimated the retaliatory firepower of the allied forces and most of all, THE DEVASTATING ASSAULTS OF THE ARMED HELICOPTER.
While a silent Bien Hoa Air Base slept, the enemy forces unleashed their attack. Beginning at 03:00, they launched their surprisingly well-coordinated assaults at major installations throughout the countryside. The assaults came within minutes of each other. The Bien Hoa Air Base received approximately 150 rounds of enemy rocket and mortar fire. Almost simultaneously, the VC ground forces made their move to overrun the base. Formed into four companies of 52 men each, the soldiers penetrated the perimeter between bunkers in the 101st Airborne Div. cantonment area and the III Corps HQ, gradually making their way to the approach end of runway 27. It was there they were met by the gun ships of the 145th CAB!
A night "Firefly" team of the 334th Armed Helicopter Company had been covering enemy troop movements near Duc Hoa, SW of Saigon. Upon notification of enemy movement prior to the attack, the "Firefly" team was diverted to Bien Hoa. They spotted the VC off the eastern end of the runway and awaited clearance to engage him. An emergency standby fire team from the 118th Assault Helicopter Company "Bandits" was soon airborne and on station. Contact with the VC began shortly thereafter and lasted until late in the morning. By that time almost every helicopter fire team in the 145th CAB had participated in the effort to destroy the firmly emplaced enemy insurgents. Approximately 200 of the Communists were killed in this action.
All night long, personnel had received sporadic small arms fire from the water tower near the entrance to the air base. The 12th CAG Commander and the 68th AHC "Top Tiger" elements became airborne and returned fire at the water tower, while men on the ground observed the battle only 100 meters away. By noon the tower was under control and three enemy guerrillas were dead, but they were hard to beat in their well-fortified positions.
Personal remembrance of WO/2LT Lonnie G. Schmidt
III Corps HQ, adjacent to the Air Base came under mortar attack at 0545. By 0700, "Charlie" had begun to move from his vulnerable position of the end of the runway to the buildings across the street from the HQ. The occupants of the III Corps HQ compound received automatic weapons and RPG rocket fire from the new enemy emplacements gun ships and armored vehicles from the 11th ACR engaged the enemy forces in house to house fighting and drove them from their positions. The Viet Cong casualties were extremely heavy during this encounter.
The Viet Cong also launched a major effort in the Saigon-Cholon area. The "Bandits" of the 118th AHC launched combat assaults against the VC firmly emplaced in the Phu Tho Race track. Elements of the 68th AHC were in heavy contact with enemy forces occupying the Cholon District of Saigon. Cobra aircraft from the 334th Armed Helicopter Company land Cobra NETT were also dispatched to Saigon to add their firepower. Helicopters of the 190th AHC were called upon to evacuate the besieged defenders of the American Embassy.
Since the American New Year, there had been strong indications that the enemy was planning a major offensive. In one month the 274th and 275th VC Rgmts had moved from Bu Dop, to the north, to the Bien Hoa area. And during the same month, the 68th Rgmt of the 9th VC Div. had moved from near Tay Ninh to the Bien Hoa area. The VC had even warned the residents of Bien Hoa City to stop cooperating with the U.S. Forces or face annihilation. Amazingly, at 1900 on 30 January, seven VC had ridden by the main gate of Honour-Smith Compound and shouting , "Yankee--tonight you die."
The attack and "Charlies" presence was keenly felt by all U.S. personnel of the 145th CAB. Maintenance personnel worked virtually around the clock in order to put damaged aircraft back in flying condition. Ground crews refueled and rearmed helicopters in minimal time. Company clerks and cooks learned how to be door gunners and basic infantry training was put to use. For the first time in many months, there was no mail--it was backlogged in Ton Son Nhut or stacked up in San Francisco. Everybody became accustomed to "C" rations, and hot meals in the mess halls were few.I set the selector at single shot and moved over to the opening and proceeded to empty my AR, as fast as I could pull the trigger. Interesting to see tracers zipping around in the dark in a round enclosure! I emptied the first clip, and pulled a second from my left jacket pocket, reloaded and emptied it. 60 rounds inside. No sound from inside. Pulled the second clip from my left jacket pocket, reloaded and emptied that clip. 90 rounds were fired and still, no sound from inside. I'd been using my right hand to pull the clips and load the weapon, while cradling it in my left arm. Now with having to change hands to get at the clips in my right flack jacket pocket, it was awkward, and so for the first time, shifting the weapon to my right arm, I stepped back from the edge of the opening. As I did, an automatic weapon opened up from inside, knocking concrete from the lip of the opening. Had I remained where I was while changing clips, probably wouldn't be writing this now. Now I'm mad! I reloaded, moved to the narrow side between the hatch and the edge of the tower, and proceeded to pump two more clips down inside, expending all my AR ammo. Pulled one .38 and fired all five rounds.
Personal remembrance of 1SGT Tillman Davis
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g7IX0lRRGCc AirBoyd TV - CHOPPER PILOT
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qH2vbYs6ebc Man In The Door
http://www.118ahc.org/Tet of 1968.htm Tet '68 145th CAB 118thAHC
http://www.bing.com/videos/watch/video/vietnam-traffic-time-lapse/20c8bhq3?src=v5:share:email:&from=email Vietnam Traffic - Time Lapse. Where did Old Saigon Go?
What Really Happened with Viet Nam. The speaker (Bruce Herschensohn) has written a book "An American Amnesia"
If you are a Vietnam vet, you will appreciate and understand Gen. Zinni’s presentation. If not, you will never understand us, what we went through and how we lived our lives since. But watching this short video might give you some insight—and appreciation—to who we really are or were. There’s only 1/3 of us left now
Vietnam War Resources...excellent!