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U.S. Army Helicopter Names in Vietnam

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The personal naming of military aircraft in the Vietnam War is not unique in American history. What is unique is the near total lack of documentation ... Show synopsis

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Reviews of U.S. Army Helicopter Names in Vietnam

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BernWei1aolcom

Army Chopper Names During The Vietnam War: A Clue

by BernWei1aolcom on Aug 9, 2011

Review Written By Bernie Weisz, Historian and Book Reviewer, Vietnam War August 8, 2011 Pembroke Pines, Florida USA Contact: BernWei1@oal.com Title of Review: "Army Chopper Names During The Vietnam War: A Clue Into The Crew's Mindset!" At the end of their tour, departing Vets always promised to keep in touch with the men staying, and good byes were emotional. Most Veterans going back to what they called "The World" had painful feelings of abandonment and separation issues, however their vows of communication disappeared upon leaving Vietnam. With new relationships, careers and responsibilities, the months after DEROS'ing back into society turned into years, which turned into decades. Many Vietnam Veterans that were in helicopter crews have lost touch with their buddies over the years. A former Gunship pilot might be wondering: "whatever happened to my door gunner," while the design or the motto on his old helicopter's nose is the only strong memory he is left to search with, Brennan's book might very well serve as the magical key. Another issue that this book can resolve is the fate of those still missing in action. What about the aviation enthusiast? Despite the fact that this book is about helicopter names, the reader learns about the different helicopters, and their role in the Vietnam War, the first real helicopter war. The number one helicopter workhorse of the Army was made by a company called "Bell" a manufacturer headquartered in Hurst, Texas. In March, 1960, the Army ordered into production an aircraft that was powered by a single, turboshaft engine, with a two-bladed main rotor and tail rotor. The designation of "HU-1" led to the helicopter's nickname of the Huey, and eventually the manufacturer modified the helicopter according to its use. Hueys used for ground attack or armed escort roles were outfitted with rocket launchers, grenade launchers, and machine guns, and promptly called "gunships." If they were for troop transport or medevac, they were called "slicks." In the course of the conflict. the UH-1 went through several modifications. The UH-1A, B, and C models had a short fuselage and a Bell 204 single-engine, capable of lifting a maximum weight of 8,500 lbs. or 10 passengers. The UH-1D and H models had a more stretched fuselage and a Bell 205 single engine, capable of lifting a maximum weight 9,500 pounds or 14 passengers. The UH-1B and C performed the gunship, and some of the transport duties in the early years of the Vietnam War. UH-1B and C gunships were replaced by the newer "AH-1 Cobra" attack helicopter after 1968, necessitated by the increased intensity and sophistication of NVA anti-aircraft defenses. AH-1 Cobras, and ever improving models of "H, D and finally G," Cobras provided fire support for ground forces, escorted transport helicopters and formed "hunter killer" teams by pairing with OH-6A scout helicopters. Another common helicopter was the "CH-47 Chinook." This was a twin-engine, tandem rotor heavy-lift helicopter made by the Boeing Corporation. Its primary roles included troop movement, artillery emplacement of batteries in perilous mountain positions that were inaccessible by any other means, as well battlefield resupply of food, water and ammunition. Finally, the "OH-6A" Light Observation Helicopter, or "Loach." was a single-engine light helicopter with a four-bladed main rotor made by the Hughes Corporation. It was used for personnel transport, escort and attack missions, as well as scout observation. Finally, another valuable use of Brennan's book is for those that go to helicopter "Boneyards." Currently, the "309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group" is the largest "Boneyard" in the U.S. Located on Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Arizona, the Air Force has its aircraft and missile storage and maintenance facility. This is where scrapped Chinooks, Hueys, etc. go for storage. In the event that an old helicopter needs to be identified, an insignificant item like a name or other artwork painted on it's body can go a long way in assisting identification. How did the author go about collecting all of this information? He undertook a meticulous study of Internet reference resources, unit history photo books, memoirs, and military association archives. Brennan took the burdensome task sending of innumerable e mails to Vietnam Veteran Army helicopter crews in a quest to identify and chart the personal names and artwork affixed to every helicopter model in Vietnam from JFK's adviser period of 1962 all the way to the Paris Peace Accord settlement of 1973. There were four areas called "Corps" that the U.S. delineated their forces in Vietnam. "I Corps" was the northernmost military region in South Vietnam, "II Corps" was the Central Highlands military region in South Vietnam. The densely populated, fertile military region between Saigon and the Highlands was called "III Corps" and finally, "IV Corps" military region was located in the southernmost marshy Mekong Delta. Brennan collected information equally from all four areas of Army Helicopter usage without prejudice. Out of the myriad of outgoing inquisitive e mails, he would try to garnish as much information as he could from what came back to him. . Eventually, he received back over 10,000 e mails with personal information, photos of artwork on helicopters, names of who drew the artwork, etc. If he received a photograph, of say, a Huey, the art work had to be placed with an assigned crew, the dates the helicopter was in service. Through incredible detective work, Brennan was able to break all the information down into an organized system, of which this book is the result. Seventy five percent of the information in his book came from the mass of e mail correspondence and photos attached. The other twenty five percent of data contained in this publication came from web sites, memoirs, reunions and interviews. The final result is over 3000 helicopter names correctly cross -referenced with the helicopter unit that it served with, the type of model the helicopter was (Huey "A,B,C,H or H"), etc. Furthermore, wherever possible Brennan was able to find the helicopter's serial number, it's function ("slick vs gunship") the crew member's names, the artist that drew the name on the helicopter, and the location of the name on the chopper, i.e., the nose, pilot door, etc. An additional bonus is that the book is attractively laced with 40 rare shots of different helicopters with their names clearly displayed. This is an incredible book, simple to understand that will appeal to many groups!

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