281st AHC History
[This unit history document was copied for the web by Steve Matthews (then Warrant Officer), unit member from June 1968 to June 1969, from his personal copy of the 281st AHC Unit History official report. See orders.]
I would like to make additions to the 281 unit awards list in the enlisted personnel section as follows: Mike Hargis,54663446, Rat Pack 3-67 to 5-69. During this period I was awarded the Air Medal, Air medal/2 thru 10 Oak Leaf Cluster, Air Medal with "V",and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Bronze Star. Pilots Brent Gourly and Jerome Beck also received the Cross and the "V" device when we were shot down at Tam Ky on 25 July 1967. Have paper work to back up all this info. if needed.
Stephen A. Matthews
"Rat Pack 15" 6/68-6/69
"I do remember the fake insertion tactics with Project Delta operations (again now that someone jogs my memory). But, as I recall, we would fly over several areas and ships would go down and back up, maybe two or three times (?) before we made the actual insertion. I seem to recall not trying to be sneaky about any of the attempts, but expecting that the multiple insertion possibilities would fool the VC as to the real insertion location.
I couldn't comment much on the organizational aspects of the Delta operations, and it seems now that most of the time we went out during FOB operations west of An Hoa or Danang, I was just playing "follow the leader" (and praying like hell that HE knew what was what!!!). I can remember when I got back to the states between tours, and especially after my second tour I wondered how anybody ever survived using the naive tactics we used sometimes. Did we really think we were fooling the VC with "up from Jack Benny" type code????? MAN, what were we thinking????? I guess we just didn't know any better!!!
Remembering brings alot of that stuff back, although I have to say, I'm beginning to think maybe some things were better left forgotten. Some of the stuff we did was down right DANGEROUS!!!!!! HOLY COW!!!!!! But, what a ride!! I remember at one point feeling like that Huey was a part of me and we were one machine. All I had to do was think about what I wanted it to do and it was done. I may have been fooling myself, but it seemed after about 7-800 hours that it was all thought and instinct, not much effort anymore, MOST of the time. And then there were the times that you KNEW deep down you were just plain-ass LUCKY!!!!"