The 145th Combat Aviation Battalion Forward Command Post at Tay Ninh
(West) Airfield became operational at 111330 November 1966. The mission of
the 145th Combat Aviation Battalion was to provide command and control,
troop carriers, armed helicopters, pathfinders and rapid refueling support
to the 25th Infantry Division during "OPERATION ATTLEBORO II" from 11 to 24
November 1966. On 21 November the 145th Combat Aviation Battalion conducted
two combat assaults, two extractions and one repositioning, all of
battalion size. All of the operations utilized A Company, 25th Aviation
battalion and the 118th and 175th Assault Helicopter Companies. The first
operation was a combat assault from Fire Support Base #1(XT 275785) To XT
2757962. This lift of the 2nd Battalion, 14th Infantry was compleated by
0840 with 26 UH/1D's transporting 176 troops and flying 35 hours and 110
sorties. The second operation of the day was a combat assault of the 1st
Battalion of the 27th Infantry from Fire Support Base #2 (XT 272861) to
XT272938. A total of 342 troops were carried in 20 UH/1D which flew 15
hours and 162 sorties. The third operation was an extraction of the 2nd
Battalion, 14th Infantry from XT 272962 to Fire Support Base #2 (XT
272861). A total of 276 troops were transported in 110 sorties and 35 hours
by 25 UH/1D's. One helicopter from the 175th Assault Helicopter Company
received one hit at XT 225685 however there were no casualties. The fourth
operation of the day was the extraction of the 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry
from XT 272940 to Fire Support Base #2 (XT 272861). This lift saw a total
of 342 troops transported in 15 hours and 162 stories by 20 UH/1D's. The
final operation of the day involved repositioning the 2nd Battalion, 14th
Infantry from Fire Support Base #2 (XT 272861) to Tay Ninh (West) 20
UH/1D's moved 276 troops in 108 sorties and 54 flying hours. The 145 Combat
Aviation Battalion conducted two operations on 22 November utilizing A
Company, 25th Aviation Battalion and the 71st Assault Helicopter Company.
The first operation was a combat assault for the 2nd Battalion, 27th
Infantry from XT 270863 to XT 373854. 19 UH/1D's carried 330 troops in 158
sorties and 25 flying hours. In the afternoon the unit was extracted from
XT 375857 to XT 272865. 19 UH/1D's carried 330 troops in 160 sorties and 25
hours. On 23 November the 145th Combat Avaition Battalion conducted five
tactical operations to include two combat assaults, two extractions and one
repositioning. The following units were utilized on all operations: A and B
Companies, 25th Aviation Battalion and the 71st and 116th Assault
Helicopter Companies. The first operation was a repositioning of one
company of the 2nd Battalion, 14th Infantry from Tay Ninh (West) to Fire
Support Base #2 (XT 272861), with 26 UH/1D's transporting 120 troops in 20
sorties and 10 flying hours. The second operation of the day, a combat
assault for the 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry from XT 285869 into three LZ's
located at XT 198870, XT 193869 and XT 189869. A total of 360 troops were
transported by 26 UH/1D's flying 28 hours 132 sorties. Fire was recieved at
XT 195870 however no aircraft were hit. The thrid mission was a combat
assault conducted for the 2nd Battalion, 14th Infantry from Fire Support
Base #2 (XT 272861) to XT 198806. 26 UH/1D's carried 264 troops in 100
sorties and 20 flying hours. The forth mission of the day was an extraction
of the 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry from PZ's (XT 198870, XT 193869 and XT
189969) to Fire Support Base #2. A total of 26 UH/1D's carried 300 troops
and flew 132 sorties and 28 hours. The day's fifth operation was the
extraction of the 2nd Battalion, 14th Infantry from XT 198806 to Fire
Support Base #1 (XT 275785) and from there to Tay Ninh (West). 26
helicopters carried 400 troops in 150 sorties and flew 40 hours.
On the 24th of November the 145th Combat Avaition Battalion conducted
two tactical operations utilizing the 71st and 118th Assault Helicopter
Companies and A and B Companies, 25th Aviation Battalion. 26 UH/1D's were
utilized on both operations. The first mission was the repositioning of the
1st Battalion, 27th Infantry from Fire Support Base #2 to Tay Ninh (West).
A total of 408 troops were carried in 208 sorties and 100 flying hours. The
second operations of the day was the extractions of the 2nd Battalion, 27th
Infantry from Fire Support Base #2 to Fire Support Base #1 and from there
to Cu Chi. A total of 924 troops were transported in 1998 sorties and 128
hours flown. In Support of "OPERATION ATTLEBORO" elements controlled by the
145th Combat Aviation Battalion flew 1334 hours and 5857 combat sorties
with 9105 troops being lifted. 13 aircraft took hits, however none had to
be recovered.
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On 19 March 1967, the 145th Combat Avaition Battalion distinguished
itself by exceptionally valorous actions in the prelude of what was to
become known as the battle of Soui Tre- the most significant one/day battle
to date in the III Corps Tactical Area. The 145th Combat Aviation Battalion
was operating in direct support of 3rd Brigade, 4th infantry Division, with
the mission to conduct a combat assult into a landing zone located
approximately five miles north of Suoi Da, Republic of Vietnam. The initial
operational plans were made for the assult to take place on 18 March 1967,
several miles further north of the actual landing zone: however obstacles
prevented the 2nd Battalion, 22nd Infantry (Mech) and the 22nd Battalion,
34th Armor from securing the landing zone as planned. On the evening of 17
March, the assault was rescheduled for 19 March with the landing zone
changed to the new location. The armored and mechanized elements were
unable to meet this new schedule. It was then decided that the assault
would be conducted into an unsecured landing zone with the armored and
mechanized elements scheduled to reinforce the infantry at a later time.
The hazards of this unsecured landing zone were known to be many as there
were relatively few clearings in the dense jungle which were adequate for
airmobile operations. Past experience indicated that when there were few
clearings in the area, the Viet Cong either mine or establish ambushes on
or near the potential landing zones. Professionalism and esprit de corps
prevailed as the aviators of the 68th and 118th Assult Helicopter Companies
eagerly awaited the termination of the twenty minute artilly preparation
which would mark the beginning of the first lift. The assault was under the
control of the Commanding Officer, 145th Combat Aviation Battalion. The
lift units were supported by gunships of both assault helicopter companies
and those of the 334th Armed Helicopter Company. The first lift encountered
little resistence upon entering the landing zone, but received automatic
weapons fire upon departure. At the moment the aircraft of the second lift
touched down, a command detonated 155mm artillery round was exploded. Two
helicopters were completely destroyed and five others seriousy damaged from
sharpnel. More mines were detonated and the landing zone became a holocaust
of fire and flying steel. The Viet Cong were in well established bunkers
and had numeric superiority- it was later learned that major portions of
two Viet Cong regiments were engaged in the battle. Heroism became the norm
rather then the exception. Realizing the necessity for reinforcing the
ground units already in the landing zone, the decision was made to land
additional troops into a landing zone immediately adjacent to the initial
landing zone. The 118th Assault Helicopter Company "Thunderbirds" and the
68th Assault Helicopter Company "Top Tigers" wasted no time getting another
load of troops aboard and into the air. The tremendous urgency of the
situation was relized by all. The lift approched through sporadic ground
fire which culminated in the detonation of another mine which damaged the
lead aircraft. The next element approached through a withering hail of
automatic weapons fire and was met with another mine upon landing.
Initially suppresive fire from escort gunships was impossible due to
friendly elements scattered throughout the area. Showing the utmost in
determination and a remarkable tactical grasp of the situation the armed
helicopters located the emeny emplacements and supported the troop carrying
aircraft by delivering accurate and deadly fire on the enemy. The armed
helicopters were only able to accomplish the needed accuracy by flying
directly into the barrage of fire. Their actions were instrumental in
preventing the loss of additional lives and aircraft. Under the calm,
inspirational leadership of the battalion commander, the companies
preformed in a manner that was in the highest traditions of Army Aviation.
The courageous air crews flew eight lifts into the landing zone after the
initial holocaust with individual acts of heroism being numerous as
indicated by five indivduals being awarded the Silver Star, 19 the
Distinguished Flying Cross, 14 the Bronze Star for valor and 96 the Air
Medal for valor. Four enlisted crew members of the first helicopter downed
in the landing zone immediately began stripping the helicopters of radios,
weapons, and other valuable equipment. Realizing that the landing zone was
in imminent danger of being engulfed in flames, they secured fire
extinguishers and flack vests to fight the blaze. Failing the thwart the
fire, they ran through the inferno looking for the wounded. As the blaze
advanced, it set off hand grenades that had been dropped during the
confusion of the initial mine explosions. These men began giving medical
aid to wounded infantry soldiers and loading them onto helicopters which
came back on succesive lifts. They voluntarily remained in the
Page 15
landing zone under heavy fire throughout the morning and afternoon. Another
enlisted crew member braved the exploding mines and rescued his critically
injured pilot and mortally wounded door gunner from their burning
helicopter. Then he carried the pilot under intense automatic weapon fire
to an evacuation helicopter across the landing zone. He returned and
removed the radios and weapons from the helicopter prior to returning to
the evacuation helicopter where he preformed life saving first aid to the
wounded. A warrant officer's aircraft recieved extensive damage during the
initial blast; however he determined that the urgency of the situation
warranted the helicopter being flown and he made three successive lifts in
his damaged ship to deliver additional reinforcements to the beleagured
ground troops. These are only but a few examples of the many acts of
bravery which occured during this action. There were cases of downed
aviators taking machineguns and providing supressive fire in the landing
zone for sucessive lifts instead of being immedediaely evacuated. In
several instances, aircraft which were severely damaged were flown out of
the landing zone to more secure areas so that they could be air lifted
without incurring additional damage.
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Hi Jim, I am currently helping the Anthropology Dept at Buffalo State
College with an oral history project, "Folk songs of Americans in the
Vietnam War". I found some old copies of songs we used to sign in the 117th
Avn. Was lucky emough to get an audio tape from Abe Stice of these "Bawdy
Ballards" recorded in Qui Nhon back in 1964! I was also able to locate Bob
Kirkham, our lead guitarist, but am still searching for two other song
writer-pilots, Jack Choat and Bob Andree. Does anyone know where these guys
are? If so, please let me know. This oral history project has already
produced one audio tape, "IN COUNTRY", Flying Fish label #FF 90552. If
anyone recalls songs their unit made up or sang while in RVN, please let me
know. Proper acknowledgments will be made as to unit, writers, or
contributors. Here is another member of the 117th Avn Co- Kirkham, Robert
T., CWO 117th 1963-64, 94 Timberbrook Dr, St Peters, MO 63376. Keep up the
good work, Jim! Best Regards, Bill McGee, 7568 Florian Way, Liverpool, NY
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Units and their Detachments

HHC - 125th ATC, 145th Sec Plt, Path Finded Det, 87th QM Det, 391st QM Det
18th AVN Co - 163rd Med Det (OA), 256th Trans Det (KC)
25th AVN Co - ?
57th Med Det (HEL AMB)
68th AVN Co - 282nd Sig Det (RL), 391st Trans Det (Hel Maint) (KD), 430th Med
Det (OA)
A/501st-71st AVN Co - 94th Sig Det (RL), 151st Trans Det (Hel Maint) (KD)
74th AVN Co - 563rd Trans Det (KC),
8th Trans Co-117th AVN Co - 140th Trans Det (Hel Maint) (KD), 256th Sig Det
33rd Trans-118th Avn Co -198th Sig Det (RL), 573rd Trans Det (Hel Maint),
93rd Med Det (OA)
81st Trans-119th Avn Co -70th Sig Det (RL), 94th Med Det (OA), 545th Trans
Det (Hel Maint)
57th Trans-120th Avn Co -98th Trans Det (Hel Maint) (KD), 622nd Sig Det (RL),
129th Med Det
93rd Trans-121st AVN Co -41st Med Det (OA), 80th Trans Det (Hel Maint), 257th
Sig Det (RL)
135th AVN Co - 68th Sig Det (RL), 614th Trans Det (Hel Maint) (KD)
147th AVN Co - 171st Trans Det (AB)
184th AVN Co - 243rd Sig Det (RL)
190th AVN Co - 520th Med Det (OA), 605th Trans Det (Hel Maint) (KD)
UTT-68th-197th-334th AVN Co -320th Sig Det (RL), 571st Trans Det (Hel Maint),
774th Med Det
213th AVN Co - 329th Trans Det (AB)
242nd Avn Co - 621st Trans Det (AB)
A/82-335th AVN Co -25th Med Det (OA), 166th Trans Det (Hel Maint) (KD), 234th
Sig Det (RL)
339th Trans Co - ?
Cobra NETT
Please let me know if you have any addisions or corrections to this