281st AHC 

Two notes by Maj. Kevin Murphy who was assigned as CO of the 145th ALP that was the forerunner to the 281st AHC, on or about 6 July '65: 

Note 1:  “What sketchy records, email and memory I can summon indicates that Bob Laya had the 145th from Sept. 64 to March 65, Dan Smith from March 65 until July 65.  I took over at Nha Trang and with the exception of a pair of gun birds TDY to Vung Tau for a month we were flying VIPs from General Swede Larson’s new Field Force Victor.  After several years of VIP work at Davison and other AVN detachments this didn’t thrill me.  This is combat???  Apparently Bill McKeen  (Bulldog 6) CO. 5th SF got tired of my whimpering and complaining about what a job we could do for the SF if he would get us assigned Approximately 1 Dec 65 we were placed OPCON to the 5th SF.  Our main job was support of Project Delta but since I out ranked Charlie Beckwith we were OPCON to the 5th SF.”

Note 2.   “We were under the 52nd Avn Bn, Pleiku.  Approximately Nov '65 we were assigned to support Project Delta.  I believe the unit was transferred to 10th Avn. Bn. approximately Dec '65.

At the same time, 6th ALP was assigned to 10th Avn and also placed under my command.  If I recall correctly, the liaison officer from 10th (A most helpful major) rounded up all of the personnel and pay records from both platoons, and consolidated them at Bn. Hq, as the 2nd of the 171st.  He explained that this was a stopgap measure until a company HQ. Was shipped in or authority was provided to 10th Bn. to form a new company.

6th ALP was operating out of Bien Hoa and was scheduled to receive new C models to replace their old B’s.   They were just starting to transition their pilots into the C models.  6th was to stay at Bien Hoa until all the training and a/c swap was complete. In the interim, I was tagged to train them and accept missions from XO, 5th SF, for Project Horse.   In the midst of all this, word came down that the 281st was on the way, with Bill Griffin bringing the unit in as CO.  I’m guessing late Apr. ‘66.

I spent about 2 weeks running classes and briefings for the new 281st people, then 5th SF sent me to Bien Hoa to wrap up training of the old 6th Plt and take them on Project Horse missions.  I was on a mission with them (Ban Me Thout) when my DEROS went by, so I didn’t get out of country till last of July ‘66.

This is the best I can do from memory.  Hope it helps!!  Remember, prior to the 281st these were TA units, and actual positions / job descriptions were whatever the CO said.”

July 65- June 66.   Maj. Kevin Murphy CO of the 145, the 6th PLT and 2/171 before it became the 281st AHC. CPT. (P). Robert J. “ Pete: Frazier, XO.  Cpt. John W. Green III, Ops Officer Sept. – Nov. 65.  6th PLT commanders were:  Dale LeClerc in late '65 an unknown CPT for a short time, then John (Jack) Dahill who moved the PLT to Nha Trang.  CPT Lou Lerda, SVS PLT LDR March 66 - Nov 66.   CPT Joe B. Thurston, was the weapons PLT LDR and the first Wolfpack 36, 1965-1966.  Cpt Lou Sexauer was a Fang and moved to Nha Trang with 6th Plt.

October 1965 – June 66.  The 281st  AHC was activated at Fort Benning on 7 Oct. 1965.
The advance party of the unit arrived in Vietnam on 23 May 1966, and the main body closed at Nha Trang, RVN, on the USNS W.H. Gordon on 9 June 1966. Maj. Everdus H. Hackett commanded the unit.  Maj. Wilson was the XO.  Majors Hackett and  Wilson were promoted to LTC and transferred shortly after the unit arrived in Country.  1st SGT J.B. Cooley joined the unit on Jan. 4. 1966 as 1st SGT and remained with the unit until May of 1967. SSG Johnson was the OPS SGT and SFC Evans was the Mess Steward.

June 66- 11 Feb. 67.  Maj. William” Bill” P. Griffin CO,. June 66 Maj. Reino Oksa, operations officer Then XO until 15 Feb 67.  (Maj. Oksa left the 281 and completed his tour as the 10th BN ADJ). Maj. Jack Serig, 1st PLT LDR, 13-Oct 66-15 Feb. 67 then XO through May '67.  CPT. Lou Lerda, SVS PLT LDR March 66 - Nov 66. 1st SGT J.P. Cooley.  SFC Lewis Maint SGT (He came over from Benning)

11 Feb.  67- 9 Sept 67.  Maj. Allen L. Junko, CO. (0010 hrs.)*, Maj. Donald Zorro) Jutz, XO.  Maj. Pat Sheeley, Ops Officer 1st.SGT J.B.Cooley May 1967,  1st  SGT Cooley was replaced by 1st  SGT Shortman. Maj. Eldon Smith, OIC, Delta Project, Maj. Al Cartwright Wolfpack PLT LDR.  Upon Maj. Smith’s departure Maj. Moberg took over as OIC of Project Delta. Maj. Barc Boyd replaced Maj. Cartwright as Wolfpack PLT LDR and remained in the position until he was wounded in Aug. 67. Maj Boyd was replaced by Capt. Fred Mentzer.

*Note from All Junko. “ My predecessor as CO was William "Bill" Griffin.  We had an unrehearsed change of command ceremony at around 0010 hours, 11 Feb 67, the day I assumed command.  Sappers had penetrated the airfield perimeter and blew up four or five of our choppers.  Whether the event happened on his watch or on mine is quite immaterial.  The irony of the incident occurring at almost the precise moment of command change is almost too much to believe.  But it happened.  I did have a picture of Bill and me shaking hands in front of one of the helicopter hulks after I had just remarked, "Well, Bill, we had one hell of a change of command ceremony, didn't we?"  We're both were laughing as the lighter side of the occurrence was considered.”

9 Sept 67-8 Feb. 68.  Maj. John W. Mayhew, CO..  Maj. Robert Moberg, XO, 1st SGT Colley, SGT Cooley was replaced by 1st SGT Edward Shortman who served from Jan 68 to Jan 69, Maj. Pat Sheeley Ops Officer.  Capt. Fred Mentzer, Wolfpack PLT LDR, Capt. Ted Dolhoff replaced Cpt. Mentzer as Wolfpack leader in 68. SGT David Bittle, Wolfpack PLT SGT.

8 Feb. 68.  Maj. Donald Ruskauff, CO. Maj. Robert Moberg, XO. Maj. Bobby Sinclair, replaced Bob Moberg as XO.  Capt. Ted Dolhoff, Ops Officer. Cpt. Baine Black W/P PLT LDR. Capt. John Suber.  (Lift platoon commander during my tenure.)  

July-Aug 68-17 Feb. 69.  Maj.   Andrew J. Miller, Jr. CO.  Cpt. Ted Dolhoff, XO, Cpt. Robert E. Timmerman.  XO Ted Dolloff.  W/P PLT LDR Cpt. Baine Black, June 68- Jan. 69.  1st LT. Harry Wetmore was asst. W/P PLT LDR.  Ops. Officer, Baine Black Jan.69.  

17 Feb. 69- 2 Aug. 69. Maj. Ellie E. Lynn CO. Cpt. Michael S Goodman, XO.  Cpt. Baine Black Ops Officer Jan. 69- May 69.

2 Aug. 69-15 Jan. 70.  Maj. George W. Little. CO.

16 Jan. 70-7 Jul. 70.   Maj. Darryl M. Stevens, CO CPT. Roger Green, XO.
1SGT Vernon A Erickson E 389 14 6514.

8 JUL 70-14 DEC 70 Maj. Michael J. Wolfe,.  Maj. Wolfe stood the unit down and transferred the Guidon to the USAR. CPT. Roger Green served as XO under Maj. Wolfe until he DEROS'd in Sept of 70. Cpt. Nollie N. “Woody” Wagers replaced Roger as XO  

rd Maintenance Detachment

June 66 – May 67. Capt. Stanley J. (Rudy) Morud was the first CO of the Maintenance Det. Commander and took it to Vietnam.  Ruddy was a World War II fighter pilot and had a reputation for operating construction equipment with the best of them. He was responsible for a lot of the grading and prep for laterite for the maintenance area and initially setting the maintenance tent up on 55 gal drums in which some of the  heavy maintenance  work was done.  Rudy was medically evacuated to Japan and retired upon returning to the states. 1st SGT McClendon, the initial 1st SGT transferred to the 119th after the unit arrived in country. 1st SGT Osborne replaced him.

67. Maj. Richard D. McMillin, OF102360, Maj, TC. CO.  1st SGT Jack R Addis,  (Oct 66-Oct 67)

67-8 Feb. 68.  Maj. Donald Ruskauff, CO. 1st SGT Robert (Bob) Ohmes, July 67- July 68

Feb. 68, Maj. Stephen L. Smith, CO. 1st SGT Robert (Bob) Ohmes, July 67- July 68

The final Morning Report for the 483rd dated 26 Jan 69 reads: 


No Pers asg 0  atch 0
final M/R 26 Jan 69 rec
trf HQ DA Forscom

Signed by: 
L Paul Morsen
Admin Officer
WO1     Avn