On November 22, , President John F. Vice President Lyndon B. At the first landing zone, LZ X-Ray, they engaged a numerically superior force of North Vietnamese Army soldiers, which virtually surrounded the cavalrymen. On November 12, , U. Following a Communist attack on a Special Forces camp near Plei Me, intelligence indicated that a sizeable North Vietnamese regular force remained in the area, and that they were being Week of November 5. On November 4, , photojournalist Dickey Chapelle, one of the few woman journalists in Southeast Asia, accompanied a U.
Someone in the group inadvertently tripped an enemy landmine, and the resulting explosion of shrapnel wounded six of the Marines and Week of October On October 23, , after five months of intensive bombing, President Richard M. Foster deployed to Vietnam at the end of and eventually was assigned to the 2d Battalion, 4th Marines, as the artillery liaison operations chief. Week of October 8.
Week of October 1. On October 1, —exactly 50 years ago, this week—the U. The 1st Cavalry Division was the first airmobile unit in the Army, and represented an innovative new approach to infantry tactics. Composed of 16, personnel and equipped with helicopters such as the UH-1 Iroquois Week of September On September 21, , nearly U. Air Force fighter and fighter-bomber aircraft launched an airstrike against three gasoline storage facilities just south of Dong Hoi, North Vietnam.
Despite terrible weather, the strike was highly successful—U. Born in Oklahoma, Morris was one of the first U.
Kennedy ordered the establishment of the Army Special Forces. He also Over the following two months, North Vietnamese artillery brought down thousands of heavy explosive shells on the several Marine battalions Week of September 3. McNamara informed the service secretaries that he planned to establish a new command, under the Military Assistance Advisory Group, Vietnam, that would experiment with counterinsurgency and anti-guerrilla tactics in Southeast Asia. As part of this new command, John F. Kennedy ordered the air Week of August On August 23, , the U. The 1st Division had been in Vietnam for ten months and were part of the United States' campaign to stem the tide of Communist successes in Suddenly, they stumbled directly into a reinforced Viet Cong regiment of between 1, and 2, troops on its way to attack Between August 9 and 11, , U.
Army Sergeant Robert Woods and his team of "tunnel rats" from the 1st Infantry Division achieved one of the most important successes for tunnel rats during the war. In support of the 11th Armored Cavalry and the South Vietnamese 5th Division, Sergeant Woods and his specially trained men descended into dark, narrow Week of August 6.
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Army flight crews. Her crew was preparing a second strike of the day against enemy targets. The ship had more than 5, men aboard, and 27 aircraft were on the flight deck, fueled and loaded with ordnance, some starting their engines. A flight of four F-4C Phantoms provided air cover while and EB Destroyer provided electronic surveillance and support. One missile The area around Da Nang, especially military installations, was subject to rocket attacks since that February.
The area the rockets were fired from was called the "Rocket Belt". It wrapped around the base and city.
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The area was around square miles, and the mm rockets had a range of over 6 miles. The Rocket Belt was kept under surveillance from Week of July 9. DePuy gave Colonel Sidney B. Berry of the 1st Infantry Brigade a special assignment to trick the enemy into ambushing an American convoy that seemed to be vulnerable and destroy them. Berry decided that Week of July 2.
Operation Thor, the joint mission to attack and destroy North Vietnamese long-range artillery facing the Demilitarized Zone DMZ , coast artillery batteries, antiaircraft positions, and staging areas for infiltration, supplies and transport, took place July 1 - 7, The targets were in the Cap Mui Lay sector, the furthest southern coastal area Week of June S Air Force B Bombers. ARC LIGHT missions were distinguished from other missions by their need for a high degree of accuracy to hit well defined targets in support of the ground war. Using strategic bombers in a On June 9, at P.
The Defenders included eleven advisers of U. Special Forces Team A, 24 men of U. Seabee Team , and Week of June 4. It was a joint U. Army-Navy task force whose goal was to search out and eliminate Viet Cong elements in the waterways of the Mekong Delta.
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During operations, Navy gunboats and landing crafts offloaded Army infantry units for amphibious assaults against enemy Week of May They drove off the entrenched 3rd North Vietnamese Army Regiment who left behind dead. With the operation completed, the South Vietnamese Air America pilots flew piston-engine aircraft and helicopters for these and other covert operations throughout the Vietnam War.
Their first rescue attempt occurred on On May 10, , U. It was the setting for some of the most intense combat of With almost all U. On April 24, , President Harry S. On April 17, , three U. Army women nurses arrived in Saigon as part of a medical training team assigned to the U. Military Assistance and Advisory Group, Vietnam.
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They were the first U. Week of April 9. At the end of , with direct U. In less than five years, by the first weeks of April , America's commitment in Southeast Asia reached its highest level, with , U. Two months later, President Week of April 2. By the end of March , there were fewer than 70, U. Following President Richard Nixon's "Vietnamization" plan, which called for gradually withdrawing American forces and handing responsibility for the war over to the South Vietnamese, the defense of South Vietnam was largely in Thompson were conducting a reconnaissance mission aboard a small observation airplane near the Demilitarized Zone.
While making a low pass over a forested area, their aircraft was hit by Viet Cong small arms fire and crashed. Whitesides, the Bumping and scraping the skids along the pavement was a skill all students at Wolters learned, no matter which model they flew. For one, it was a simple but effective safety precaution at the crowded heliport. Because so many helicopters were parked on the apron, and because beginners find precise hovering so difficult, the school feared collisions during taxiing, so instructors had their novices skid down the traffic lanes on the way to takeoff, applying just enough power to be light on the landing gear but not so much as to rise off the ground.
Most of the concrete expanse, once home to helicopters, is covered by rusty fences and heaps of even rustier oilfield equipment. Thanks to a cadre of veterans and volunteers, though, a restored main entry looks as good as ever: Visitors to what is now an industrial park drive under a helicopter-theme archway.go
Warrant Officer Class 2 Keith Payne | The Australian War Memorial
On the left side of the orange, steel-frame archway sits a restored Hiller OHD. A similar version is still sold today by the Schweizer division of Sikorsky Aircraft. The third helicopter type used at Wolters was the H, the military version of the bubble-canopy Bell 47 civilian models made famous by old movies and television shows.
At the peak, the fort had swept up nearly 1, helicopters for its trainees. A tornado in April damaged of them. By the end of , the three heliports were handling at least 2, takeoffs and landings daily, five days a week. We set out with hopes of getting into the now-abandoned Dempsey Heliport on U. There was no sign of activity. The only suggestion of something valuable was a padlock on the gate and a sign reading Junco Inc. We need a helicopter to get in there. Fortunately, no helicopter was necessary to get a good look at remnants of the stagefield known as Bien Hoa, two miles north.
Like all the stagefields, it had a small control tower, paved strips and pads for landing practice, and a building for students to study in between flights. Brown pointed to remnants of an asphalt strip nearby, where helicopters pulled up for refueling. Other long strips and pads to the east were for practicing approaches and autorotations. The close attention to off-airport skills at Wolters, and later at Rucker, makes sense in light of what the new armada of gas-turbine helicopters offered to U.
They retrieved wounded soldiers and restocked ammunition. Larger helicopters hauled artillery tubes and bulldozers. But fully exploiting these virtues required extraordinary flying skills. Often success depended on the ability to hug the terrain in nap-of-earth fashion, then plunge into tiny clearings among the trees. Some of those clearings were barely bigger than the helicopter itself.
And taking off was even chancier. Given high air temperatures and heavy payloads—such as a load of rescued troopers—pilots had to know how to use every foot of the space available, and every pound of lift. In the confined areas around Wolters, which were marked by tires of different colors to note their difficulty, students learned how to get out of very tight spots.
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