15 - 21 APRIL 1966
Commander's Combat Note # 19 23 April 1966
SUMMARY OF OPERATIONS 15 APRIL THROUGH 21 APRIL 1966
Long in need of praise have been a number of aviation activities which
are not necessarily glamorous or receive much recognition but which are
all important to the mission accomplishment of the 145th Aviation
The first of these is the support provided to us during each airmobile
operation by Captain Thurman, Operations Officer, 56th Transportation
Company, and his aircraft recovery crews. During this month alone he has
recovered three downed UH-1D aircraft out of hostile territory. Each
recovery has been performed under duress but with such efficiency that in
no instance did it interfere or detract from the airmobile mission. Our
highest praises to this unit.
Another unsung activity is the constant cover we receive from the 57th
Medical Detachment (Air Ambulance) during airmobile operations. They are
always overhead when needed. In a recent Battalion operation, one
helicopter ambulance received eight hits while evacuating wounded U.S.
Forces. They always come back for more.
Our own 74th Aviation Company is constantly aloft to provide radio
relay service, weather advisory, visual reconnaissance and air artillery
adjustments during airmobile operations. These aircraft spend many long
hours over the objective area. They are the first aircraft over the
objective area and usually the last to leave after the operation is
The next activity is that of our Battalion Pathfinder Detachment.
This Detachment is commanded by Lieutenant Grover D Westfall. It precedes
the troop carrier aircraft into the pick up site to organize and control
troop loading and aircraft landing for pickup. During an extraction, these
personnel depart the extraction zone after the last ground elements are
The 145th Aviation Battalion supports the III (ARVN) Corps with
helicopters on a daily basis. Every company in the Battalion receives a
turn at this duty. In the performance of this duty aircraft are dispatched
throughout the III Corps area, and engage in a variety of missions.
Locally we brand these as "Pigs and Rice" missions, the name being derived
from the requirement to frequently haul these commodities. These missions
are administrative and tactical in nature. An example of some
administrative support: This Sunday a helicopter was used to lift Post
Exchange supplies and operate as an airmobile PX to fourteen extremely
isolated post which are inaccessible by road in the III Corps area.
Religious service are conducted in this manner to isolated posts. Daily
mail and courier flights are made to all posts in the three division
tactical areas. Helicopters are used to resupply the ARVN forces located
on a number of high pinnacles in the Corps area. These outposts exist only
by helicopter resupply. Popular forces personnel and occasionally their
dependents and belongings are transported to new locations. A helicopter
pilot flying these missions cannot allow himself to become shook about
what he may see being loaded in his aircraft. Other administrative tasks
are to transport advisors to these remote outposts, the only contact they
have with the forces at these locations.
The tactical mission for the Corps consist of providing armed
helicopter fire teams daily to each of the three ARVN divisions. These
teams are used to conduct strikes against Viet Cong locations, provide
escort for road convoys and aerial reconnaissance. Psychological warfare
loudspeaker missions are flown by troop carrier helicopters, supported by
a fire team. These missions can always be counted on to prompt a reaction
by fire from the Viet Cong. Another tactical mission is the delivery by
helicopter of Recondo Teams. This week, three Recondo Teams were employed
by this Battalion into Viet Cong suspect areas. Gunships cover these
Daylight and night reconnaissance is made around the Bien Hoa Air Base
complex by a fire team. The senior advisor of the Dong Nai area credits
this continuous surveillance as a major contributing factor to the
security from Viet Cong attack that the Air Base has enjoyed.
Now for the airmobile operations conducted this week.
On 15 April, Company A/501st Aviation Battalion supported the 173rd
Airborne Brigade by conducting two airmobile assaults and four
extractions. A total of 425 troops were lifted in twelve lifts. Enemy
ground fire was received in the landing zone.
On 16 April, the 68th Aviation Company, supported the 2d Brigade, 25th
(US) Division by airlifting 126 troops in two airmobile assaults,
northwest of Cu Chi.
Company A/501st, continued to, support the 173rd Airborne Brigade, by
conducting six airmobile assaults with 333 troops of the First Royal
Australian Regiment in the vicinity of Song Be.
On 17 April, A/501st supported the 173d Airborne Brigade by conducting
five airmobile assaults and one extraction in the vicinity of Song Be. A
total of 367 troops were lifted.
The 145th Aviation Battalion conducted an airmobile operation on 18
April for the 25th (ARVN) Division, ten kilometers Northwest of Tan An.
This operation demonstrated some problems in coordination and control when
an unscheduled, unannounced and uncontrolled air strike with White
Phospherous ordnance struck the landing zone immediately prior to the time
of the troop landing. Aircraft were diverted for forty-five minutes until
the smoke in the landing zone dissipated. A total of 510 troops than
assaulted four landing zones. During this operation, armed helicopters of
the 68th Aviation Company engaged a squad of Viet Cong with a result of
three kills estimated.
Company A/501st again supported the 173d Airborne Brigade on 18 April,
by conducting ten combat assaults with 563 troops in the Song Be area.
On 20 April, the 145th Aviation Battalion Supported III (ARVN) Corps
CIDG Forces by airlifting 570 troops in four air assaults out of Song Be
to two landing zone thirty kilometers east of Song Be. One highlight of
the assault was the first employment of the XM-31 20mm cannon sub-system
in a combat operation. The System is currently being tested by the 197th
Aviation Company (Armed). It consists of 2 - 20mm cannons which are
flexible in elevation, mounted on each side of the UH-1B helicopter. This
weapon system was used for the helicopter prestrike of the wooded areas
surrounding the landing zone. The assault was uncontested.
Also on 20 April 1966, the 118th Aviation Company supported the
Capitol Military Region by conducting an airmobile assault with 100 troops
ten miles southwest of Saigon. Later in the day this force was extracted.
On 21 April, the 68th Action company departed for Vinh Long to
reinforce the 13th Aviation Battalion in support of the IV Corps (ARVN)
for a three day period.
The activities of the 197th Aviation Company while operating on
separate gunship missions account for seven Viet Cong estimated KIA, four
Sampans sunk and two damaged, seven structures destroyed.
The 74th Aviation Company (FW) performed the following tasks during
Visual Reconnaissance 102
Escort Missions 76
Photo Missions 2
Operation Sea Wolf moved into Phase II this week by assembling armed
helicopters and additional crew and support personnel to outfit another
naval vessel. Personnel are undergoing training to land on LST decks at
this time. Also the U.S.S. Belle Grove is being replaced with another LSD.
This Battalion received a message this week from Commander and Captain of
the U.S.S. Belle Grove Naval Task Force 116 which praised the Sea Wolf
Operation. An extract follows:..." In addition we must take off our hats
to the highly capable Army helo pilots who so rapidly integrated into
their fire support role and who so admirably carried out their
assignments. Their quick adjustment without any hitch to night and day
flying from our helo and super decks was testimony to their outstanding
professional competence. Shipmated in every sense of the word their
presence will be sorely missed. However we depart secure in the knowledge
that fire team support of the river forces will be in the best of hands.
Please convey to USMACV and the Commanding Officer 145th Aviation
Battalion our "well done" to Captain Brofer and his fine crews for a truly
Operational statistics for the week are as follows:
Rotary Wing :
Total Sorties 4332
Total Flying Hours 1480
Personnel Lifted 5803
Total Sorties 402
Total Flying Hours 538
Personnel of the 25th Aviation Battalion continued with their
in-country flight training.
Awards received by the Battalion this week:
Distinguished Flying Cross 1
Bronze Star "Valor" 1
Air Medal "Valor 8
Air Medal 166
Army Commendation MS 4
Purple Heart 1
At a brief ceremony on 19 April 1966, in Bien Hoa, Honour-Smith
Compound was dedicated in memory of Lt. Colonel Charles M. Honour Jr.,
formerly Battalion Commander of the 145th Aviation Battalion, and Captain
Albert M. Smith Jr, formerly Battalion Assistant Adjutant.
After Chaplain (Major) Hugh N. Barnes conducted a short memorial
service, Brigadier General Robert T. Knowles, Chief of Staff II Field
Forces V, and Lt. Colonel Horst K. Joost, Commanding Officer of the 145th
Aviation Battalion, unveiled a large sign at the gate of Honour-Smith
Compound. Honour-Smith Compound, previously known as Cong-Ly Complex,
Houses parts of three separate units, II Field Forces V, the 145th
Aviation Battalion, and 232d Signal Company.
SUMMARY OF CIVIC ACTIONS (15 April - 21 April
The Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment donated soap to the
nearby Refugee Village School.
The 68th Aviation Company re-located 12 refugees, 23 ARVN dependents,
and 2600 pounds of personal belongings. A company delegation was sent to
the fishing village of Can Gio. The party took along a donation of soap,
toothpaste, clothes, toilet articles, school supplies, and miscellaneous
items which were obtained by Captain Gore from the American Legion in his
home town. Four enlisted members have volunteered to teach English classes
and a medical aid program is being planned.
The 74th Aviation Company continued its activities started last week.
English classes were taught to children in Phu Cuong. Volunteers aided a
Regional Forces Platoon in construction of new living quarters in Phu
Cuong. Officers and men donated more condensed milk, fresh milk, canned
hams, and orange juice to local school to supplement the children's diet.
The 118th Aviation Company was active in many areas of civil affairs.
Fifty pounds of clothing was gathered and donated by the Officers and
Enlisted men of the 118th Aviation Company and distributed to the refugee
center at Binh Vinh. Captain Glen R. Weber donated Vietnamese ice cream
cones to the local children at Hung Trung Province while on a joint
service operation on 19 April 66. These children were combat refugees and
were greatly taken by this act. Sp/4 Amisano conducted conversational
English classes for the eight straight week on Cong-Ly Street. His classes
now range to 25 students or more counting the Bien Hoa National Police
attending. The Officers of the 118th Aviation Company, contributed
donations to the Bien Hoa Orphanage of the following items: Blankets,
towels, infant playsuits, toys, soap, tooth paste, talcum powder, tooth
brushes, hair brushes, combs, boxes of clothes, adhesive tape, childrens
shampoo, boxes of crayons, coloring books, surgical soap, infant shoes,
and assorted childrens clothing and a good supply of food stuff. The
Company also made donations of food stuffs and clothing to the Tu Duc
Orphanage. Doctor Altomonte made his weekly visit to the Tan Uyen Leper
Colony and treated twenty patients and local civilians.
THe 197th Aviation Company provided additional support to the An Loc
Orphanage in Saigon by donating 1000 pounds of rice and a case of
A/501st Aviation Battalion's Officers donated 6,785$VN piasters to
purchase school furniture for a self help project at Bui Vinh Refugee
Center. Three volunteers conducted a two hour conversational English class
for forty residents of Tam Hiep. This was followed by another class on 21
April 66 for approximately fifty residents. Six bags of cement and several
types of school supplies were donated to Tam Hiep. A USAF Lieutenant was
transported to Due Tu for coordination with the District Chief in making a
short film about refugees. A new project was begun by making initial
contact with Due Tu Sub-Sector Chief and Tam Hiep Hamlet Chief.
Horst K. Joost Lt. Colonel,