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11 November 2019


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Don't worry about answering any of my questions. In case I added another one. E.g. whatever caused "Buttons" to be called "Buttons". ;)

Guess I first have to look into the traces of "victor 241 airfied":

Yes that puzzled me too, since you started out with locating the later battlefield ground.


Anyway, just in case someone is interested in who I was referring to concerning war war correspondents (images).

Requiem: By the Photographers Who Died in Vietnam and Indochina

RIP Horst Faas, it sure was a pleasure to meet you:

Does this count as a contribution that should be deleted or banned?



Rumor was that it had to do with the woman's anatomy. I don't know. I didn't know her. At Dien Bien Phu the French strongpoints were all named for De Castries' mistresses. Isabelle, etc. V- 241 was a Japanese built airfield from WW2. pl

Patrick Bahzad

desperate ? Think you're living in a parallel universe ... Maybe it's a consolation to you and It does something for your ego, but not sure it's of any help when analyzing why that war was lost.

Patrick Bahzad

My oldest uncle was at Dien Bien Phu with "8e bataillon parachutiste de choc". He was one of the few men in his unit to have survived the battle. I flew back with him to DBP in 2004 and we visited the battlefield with an former viet Minh vet as a tour guide.
my uncle and him had fought against each other some 50 years earlier, in muddy trenches, using grenades, flame throwers and bayonets and there they were, two old men, talking to each other in broken french and broken Vietnamese, remembering those who had not been worn down by age.
The Vietnamese were very gracious hosts to us, and my uncle had no hard feelings against them. However, he never forgave the French army generals who had designed the battle plan, totally underestimating the viet Minh. It is something he has passed onto me and its been quite useful a reminder sometimes.
Thx for this piece PL !


WO1 = Warrant Officer grade 1. After grade 1 they are called Chief Warrant officers, or CW-2,3,and 4. 4 is the highest grade. About half the U.S. Army helicopter pilots were warrant officers, and half commissioned officers. The warrants flew pretty much full time with no other command duties, other than flight related command duties.

You can fly the Cobra from either seat, but the primary duty of the front seat is to man the turret weapons. The back seat primary duty is to fly the aircraft and shoot the wing store weapons which shoot in the same direction that the aircraft is pointing. The wing store weapons are rockets and/or 20mm gatling gun. The turret weapons are the 6.62 gatling gun and the 40mm grenade gun. You can shoot any of the weapons from either seat and fly the aircraft from either seat, but those are the primary duties. The back seat cannot move the turret but only fire it in the direction of the aircraft.

Its klicks, not kicks. Sorry for the typo. Its just slang for a kilometer.

When flying a few yards above the ground, tree tops, or buildings, it is more difficult for a heat seeker to lock on to the heat. Of course then one is more vulnerable to small arms, but they are the lesser of two evils. Our company commander and his crew were lost to an SA-7 a few weeks prior to that particular mission.


They also put what we called toilet bowles on the engine exhaust to direct the exhaust up to the rotors so that the heat would be dispersed, but I don't think it worked that well.


The SA-7s were indeed deadly. We would rather take our chances flying ground level. The guy whose helicopter took the tank round is very lucky. I'm glad he and the others made it.


That's 7.62, not 6.62.


Thanks FND, I realized at one point I may have read this not carefully enough: You really made it quite clear with your "because of the FA-7 heat-seekers" - BECAUSE

In other words the Jolly Greens in your story above while higher where a good target for the heat-seekers, while your mission partly was to ideally find and destroy them before they could hit them. ...

The problem with trying to understand this as a layman is that there is a high chance you misunderstand details in context.


Re: 'Jolly Green Giant'


The bigger CH-53 then was the 'Super Jolly Green Giant'


As for the name:


thanks Pat, appreciated.

Patrick's comment reminds me of my limits not only concerning the military but also suggested by Patrick's comment below: the larger historical context during and after WWII in which Viet Minh via Ho Chi Ming mutated into Viet Cong. ;)


Yes, thanks, now I see something FND mentioned above. Although it leaves me at an odd as to why it makes sense to be able to fly the type of helicopters he flew from both the front and back-seat. Supposing the design was somewhat meant to help the crew.

Apparently, when I saw some photos years ago my attention was somewhere else. Or it wasn't the focus of the image. And I cannot ask Horst anymore. Seems bigger then the one I had in mind, anyway.

William R. Cumming

William Corson a very interesting person and I met him long after RVN days.

I had a 10 week course at Ft.Bliss on the REDEYE MANPAD after completing OCS and all my classmates could do was think about these in the context of AirCav units.

William R. Cumming

P.L. and ALL: It has taken sometime for me to formulate a comment to this post and thread. Why? First because it gives important insights that anyone in the US Army today of any rank might learn from. Second, while I never served in RVN by spring summer 1968 Artillery OCS at Ft. Sill was totally dedicated to furnishing officers for the war in RVN. 8 of the 110 in my graduating class did not serve in RVN. I was one of the eight.

But two things stick in my mind from OCS. The first how to help create a firebase for an artillery unit. And second how to defend an artillery firebase from ground assault.
Yes, realism had cretp into artillery by summer 1968 and no more emphasis on stopping Soviet tank armies in northern Europe. 3 members of my OCS class were in firing batteries overrun by NVA. I believe the two that survived both recieved Silver Stars. One of the survivors after spiking guns survived by E&E. The other succeeded in defending his battery.

Receiving my draft notice on June 12th, having been married June 10th [and graduated from Law School June 7th] I realized that despite two years of AFROTC and with rejections from both the Navy and Air Force in hand over winter 1966-67 for reasons of vision I realized that not being a Kennedy Father I was destined for RVN in one form or another. So I started reading: first any Bernard Fall book or article I could get my hands on. Second, because the Combat Arms were open to me through OCS [Army JAG was giving priority to those who signed up for the longest service --often up to 10 years (and they almost all served in RVN] it seemed wise to be in shape and learn how to survive. So before reporting on September 10th, 1967, to Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri for Basic I read all of S.L.A Marshall's studies of combat in Viet Nam. Reading some French I stumbled through the travails of the PARA against the Viet Minh. I also read some biographies of Uncle HO!


More later!

BTW there is a move on to ban flechette arty rounds under International Law!


Almost right, except the Jolly Green Giants had to fly ground level with us. They would be dead meat at altitude.

Peter Brownlee

Sergeant-Major Money

By Robert Graves

It wasn't our battalion, but we lay alongside it,
So the story is as true as the telling is frank.
They hadn't one Line-officer left, after Arras,
Except a batty major and the Colonel, who drank.

'B' Company Commander was fresh from the Depot,
An expert on gas drill, otherwise a dud;
So Sergeant-Major Money carried on, as instructed,
And that's where the swaddies began to sweat blood.

His Old Army humour was so well-spiced and hearty
That one poor sod shot himself, and one lost his wits;
But discipline's maintained, and back in rest-billets
The Colonel congratulates 'B' Company on their kits.

The subalterns went easy, as was only natural
With a terror like Money driving the machine,
Till finally two Welshmen, butties from the Rhondda,
Bayoneted their bugbear in a field-canteen.

Well, we couldn't blame the officers, they relied on Money;
We couldn't blame the pitboys, their courage was grand;
Or, least of all, blame Money, an old stiff surviving
In a New (bloody) Army he couldn't understand.


BTW (and apologies for pedantry) "Ode for the Fallen" is not Housman but (Robert) Laurence Binyon -- http://allpoetry.com/For-The-Fallen


And now here in Bien Hoa it's all about iPhones and looking flash.
Sukhois from the San Bay an occasional treat.


Many thanks.

Account Deleted

Col. Lang,

Thank you for sharing this riveting excerpt from your memoir. Is this body of work to be published by any chance? I for one would be grateful for the opportunity to read more of such a fascinating life.


Brings back a lot of memories. In 1968 I was a senior in high school reading about the marines at Khe Sahn. In 70-71 I was up on the DMZ with the 1st Bde, 5th Mech that had replaced the 3rd Marine Division. Spent the first six months at Con Thien, Charlie 4, Dong Ha, Quang Tri, patrols in the DMZ. Then got promoted to the General's security platoon just in time to go west when the Vietnamese went into Laos. Got to visit Lang Vei, Khe Sanh, Camp Carrol, all those places I had read about in high School.

Back in the states in 1972 in college reading again about Vietnam. How the PVA (I think they prefer that to NVA) had come across the DMZ and captured the provincial capital of Quang Tri. Went to visit the Traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall today. Didn't last 3 minutes.

This is how the Iraq vets must feel when they read about Ramadi, Fallujah, etc. Shades of Manstein- Lost Victories?


Barbara Ann

I have an editor and literary executor for my various scribbling. It is up to him what gets published or produced pl


We had a butter bar who continuously violated procedure by going out on the road before it was swept in the morning. One day he took off with his driver and another EM, they hit a mine and all died. Years later the Lt's brother found me via an internet site. His brother's college fraternity was going to do a memorial tribute and he wanted to know what I knew. I saw no value in telling him what really happened so I didn't. Nothing like this account but it sticks with you.



Like you I can never forget this or the rest. I can still see the burning Slicks on the LZ at Ap Bu Nho. pl


I hope you continue to post these memoirs, so that they will not be forgotten.

Internet chapters probably more immortal than print (but please do both).

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