281st AHC History


[ From the 10th Combat Aviation Battalion Unit History Report, 1970 ]

1 JAN 1970 - 31 DEC 1970

    During the past year the 10th Combat Aviation Battalion has flown 133,702 hours and carried over 44,595 tons of cargo and 566,908 passengers. The battalion set a new USARV flight safety record of 161 days without an aircraft accident and has recorded an excellent aircraft availability rate of 84%. The battalion has restructured and modernized outdated SOP's and introduced major innovations in the safety program such as the estab1ishment of a battalion level accident investigation and prevention school.

    The officers and soldiers of the battalion have provided aviation support to regimental or larger sized combat assaults, including the assault Operation Do Kae Bi 19. Tactical Operation Procedures have been revised and improved to make combat missions less hazardous and more effective. Furthermore, the battalion has supported extended combat operations of Korean and Vietnamese troops with outstanding effectiveness.

    The Battalion has operated smoothly despite several organizational changes. Two companies have made major moves and two have inactivated. In addition, the Battalion has acquired two companies during the past year. Despite these potentially disruptive changes, the Battalion has, through thoughtful planning and foresight, kept running cohesively and at peek efficiency.

    10th Battalion helicopters have provided security for the Vietnamese villages in the II Corp area and have flown numerous rescue and mercy missions. The Battalion Medcap Program is one of the finest in the Republic of Vietnam. Over the past year, the 130th Medical Detachment has treated over 5,489 Vietnamese patients. The Tenth Battalion has also provided

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LTC SAMUEL W. PATELLOS      1 January 1970 - 15 June 1970
LTC JACK A. WALKER      15 June 1970 - 31 December 1970


    The mission of the 10th Combat Aviation Battalion is to provide aviation support as directed by the Commanding Officer, 17th Combat Aviation Group in support of airmobile operations designed to search out and destroy the insurgent enemy and to extend Government of Vietnam (GVN) control of the population; to provide general support aviation as directed by Commanding Officer, 17th Combat Aviation Group to First Field Force, Vietnam (IFFV), Deputy Senior Advisor (DSA) Military Region 2, 5th Special Forces Group (SFG); to provide command and control of assigned and attached units as directed by Commanding Officer, 17th Combat Aviation Group.


    As of 1 June 1965, the 10th Combat Aviation Battalion was composed of the following units and their supporting detachments: Headquarters and Headquarters Company at Dong Ba Thin, the 48th Assault Helicopter Company at Ninh Hoa, the 92nd Assault Helicopter Company at Dong Ba Thin, the 155th Assault Helicopter Company at Ban Me Thout, the 192nd Assault Helicopter Company at Phan Thiet, the 281st Assault Helicopter Company at Nha Trang, and the 243rd Assault Support Helicopter Company at Dong Ba Thin.

    With the composition of the 10th Combat Aviation Battalion experiencing no changes during the remainder of 1968 and all of 1969, things began to change in the latter half of 1970. On 13 August, the 192nd Assault Helicopter Company moved from LZ Betty at Phan Thiet to Phan Rang AB, Phan Rang, RVN. On 15 October, the 183rd Reconnaissance Airplane Company located at Dong Ba Thin was welcomed back to the 10th Combat Aviation Battalion from the 223rd. Combat Aviation Battalion. At the end of October


the 281st Assault Helicopter Company at Nha Trang closed out combat operations in RVN in preparation for deactivation. Deactivation ceremonies were held on 14 December 1970 at Headquarters, 10th Combat Aviation Battalion thus bringing to a close the "Intruder" service in RVN.



    During 1970, the 10th Combat Aviation Battalion provided continuous aviation support to the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) and the Free World Allied Forces (FWAF) in Military Region 2 (MR 2). This summary of the major operations and activities during the year is, of necessity, a concise and condensed presentation. While providing aircraft for many missions which do not constitute a significant activity, these missions were an integral part of the 10th Combat Aviation Battalion's mission in the Republic of Vietnam.


    Major aviation support for January was provided to the White Horse ROK Infantry Division, 23rd ARVN Division, Deputy Senior Advisor for Military Region 2 (DSA MR2) and 4th infantry Division.

    The 48th Assault Helicopter Company, continuing to provide support to the White Horse ROK Infantry Division (WHRID), airlifted 1300 troops of the 30th Regiment into the Dong Bo Mountains north of Dong Ba Thin on the 12th. When the operation concluded on the 28th over 4500 troops had been inserted-with the following results reported by G-2.. WHRID: Seven (7) enemy KIA's. seventy-two (72) POW's and nine (9) captured weapons. On the 23rd, the 48th reinforced provided aviation assets for an airmobile assault for the 29th ROK Regiment for an operation in the mountains north of Ninh Hoa. This action resulted in thirty (30) enemy KIA's and fifteen (15) weapons captured. Thirteen (13) enemy KIA's and nine (9) weapons captured were the results of an operation conducted on the 28th by the 28th ROK Regiment which were airlifted by the Blue Stars reinforced into an area north of Tuy Hoa


with one aircraft being stationed at Ban Me Thuot and one at Phan Thiet in efforts to provide better support to the units in those areas.

    The 281st Assault Helicopter Company provided support for units in central- Military Region 2. During the month aircraft were furnished for a division combat assault and for regimental combat assaults for the White Horse ROK Infantry Division. Aviation assets of the 281st continued supporting the Recondo School.

    The 10th Combat Aviation Battalion in its continuing support of Military Region 2 compiled the following statistics for January: 11,669 hours flown, 29,274 sorties, 59,275 troops airlifted and 4157 tons of cargo hauled.



    The 281st AHC (Intruders) was placed opcon to the 268th CAB. While working for the 268th CAB, Intruder aircraft flew in support of Qui Nhon Support Command and MACV. On the 2nd, the 281st completed support for a class of the MACV Recondo School and provided support for another class from 17 through 25 February. Ten sniffer missions were flown for the Installation Defense Command (IDC) at Nha Trang with frequent enemy contact encountered in the mountains west of Nha Trang.



    The White Horse ROK Infantry Division commenced a two week operation on the 1st and the 281st was given the responsibility of supporting the 29th Regiment for the insertion and resupply. In support of the 23rd ARVN Division, the Intruders flew eight regimental combat assaults throughout the month as well as combat assaults for Mike Strike Company, 5th SFG.


    On the 15th, a new class of the MACV Recondo School commenced with the 281st providing air support until the class ended on 19 March.


    Efforts continued in the improvement of the defensive perimeter by the units located at Dong Ba Thin as new perimeter wire, new claymore mines, and new guard towers were installed during April. On the 1st, Camp Coryell was hit by mortars resulting in damage to three UH-1C's and five UH_1H's belonging to 155th. LZ Betty, home of the 192nd, came under attack on the 4th as five 60mm mortars impacted within the compound. The 192nd had negative damages or casualties as a result of the attack. Enemy


activity remained at a high level when on the 6th the military installation at Nha Trang received eight 107mm rockets. The 281st AHC had negative damage or causalities. On the 8th the enemy hit Dong Ba Thin compound with 25 mortar rounds and one 122mm rocket damaging one building in HHC wounding three. The 92nd AHC mess hall was destroyed in the same attack. The attacks were wide-spread as the 48th AHC received two rounds of mortar fire on the 10th with negative damage and casualties. Again on the 11th Dong Ba Thin received four rockets of unknown size with negative damage.


    May was destined to be one of the busiest months of the year for the 10th Combat Aviation Battalion. Increased support was required in the Pleiku-Kontum-Dak Seang area as the Cambodian operation began on the lst. Support was continued for the units in southern Military Region 2, but the priority of support went to units fighting in Cambodia.

    Operation Binh Tay I lasted from the 4th to the l7th. The 10th CAB's most significant contribution to this effort was made by the 281st AHC which moved all of its operational assets to Pleiku. The 281st AHC suffered personnel losses in this operation as five fatalities were sustained plus two aircraft destroyed during a rocket attack. On the 20th the



    On the 20th, the 281st AHC, supported by the 155th AHC and the 243rd ASHC, participated in the second phase of Operation Binh Tay III. Using Ban Don Special Forces Camp as a staging area, two battalions from each of the 44th and 45th Regiments, 23rd ARVN Division and two fire support bases (FSB's) were inserted 12 kilometers inside Cambodia. The 281st Intruders provided the air mission commander (AMC) and also supervised the rearming point plus assisting on POL, PZ control and recovery operations. Due to the distance separating the staging area and the 10th CAB, the POL capabilities were severely tested; however, the S-4 celled upon his


resources and provided the necessary forward POL and rearming points. Again Cambodian operations proved successful as caches of weapons, ammunition and medical supplies were captured.



    On 17 August, the 155th AHC, supported by the 281st AHC and the 243rd ASHC, utilizing Buon Ea Yang as a staging area., inserted the 45th Regiment, 23rd ARVN Division into "Happy Valley" approximately 40 kilometers southeast of Ban Me Thuot.



    Intelligence revealed an enemy building in an area west of Nha Trang. On 8 September, the 22nd ARVN Ranger Battalion from Pleiku and "C" Company 75th Ranger Battalion were inserted into the mountains west of Nha Trang. The 281st provided the Air Mission Commander for this operation and selected Trung Dung, located west of Nha Trang, as the staging area. Twenty-eight combat assaults were flown in support of these troops with primary support coming from the 281st AHC.


    Airmobile operations began to feel thc effects of the winter monsoon in the latter part of October. Coastal regions experienced early morning low ceilings with occasional clearing around mid-day. This occasional clearing proved to be temporary as the weather started to deteriorate at approximately 1400 hours every afternoon. As a result of the weather, many missions were aborted. while others were never started at all.

    Preparations were begun for the inactivation of the 281st AHC. The 10th Combat Aviation Battalion at the end of October was still composed of seven companies; however, the airmobile capabilities were reduced with the loss of one assault helicopter company. During the month Vagabond aircraft compiled the following statistics: 9,929 hours flown, 23,474 sorties, 34,042 troops transported and 2867 tons of cargo airlifted.


    The month of November saw a decrease in activity for the 10th Combat Aviation Battalion due to the winter monsoons. Battalion aircraft again were required for missions in Pleiku Province along with the daily missions in southern Military Region 2.



    On 14 December, in a ceremony held at 10th CAB Headquarters, the 281st Assault Helicopter Company was officially inactivated and taken from the rolls of the United States Army. [This statement was not correct. The 281st was subsequently assigned to the US Army Reserve.] Intruders had served in the Republic of Vietnam for four and a half years and compiled an impressive lineage of honors and awards.

  54 HONOR ROLL 1970

    "In memory's eye I can see them now - forming grimly for the attack, blue lipped, covered with sludge and mud, chilled by the wind and rain of the foxhole, driving home to their objective, and to the judgment seat of God. I do not know the dignity of their birth, but I do know the glory of their death." Those words by GENERAL OF THE ARMY DOUGLAS MACARTHUR, spoken on 14 July 1935, ring true today. Three decades later and in another strange part of the world, Americans answer the call. The methods of warfare have changed, but the sacrifices, hardships and the many faces of death remain the same.

    It is with humility that we honor our fallen comrades. In our future endeavors, let us be ever mindful of those men, and the principles for which they gave their all.

WO1 Tarry T. O'Reilly 281 006-56-7458 6 February 1970
SGT Alan H. Johnson 281 069-38-2751 6 February 1970
SP4 Frank M. Kaiser 281 475-56-0714 6 February 1970
WO1 Thomas Guenther 281 144-40-3221 14 February 1970
WO1 Eldon R. Payne 281 446-36-2663 14 February 1970
SSG Bobbie H. Brewer 281 416-56-7258 14 February 1970
SP5 Michael A. Hughey 281 267-84-7265 14 February 1970
WO1 Paul E. Dolik 155 318-44-4339 23 February 1970
WO1 Joseph F. Erickson 155 384-50-1178 23 February 1970
SP5 David Nachtigall 155 505-58-8390 23 February 1970
SP4 Calvin Sorian 155 576-52-6986 23 February 1970
CPT Richard S. Bovio 281 460-66-7988 27 February 1970


WO1 Larry D. Leitch 48 376-46-0147 1 March 1970
1LT Jacob L. Kinser 155 454-64-7939 8 March 1970
WO1 David R. Erensteft 155 064-38-7279 8 March 1970
SP5 William R. Rogne 155 530-34-9325 8 March 1970
SP4 Wm. Goagee (?) 155 562-82-4068 8 March 1970
WO1 William J. Mitton 92 264-84-6315 5 April 1970
WO1 Marlin J. Johnson 155 330-38-7047 20 April 1970
WO1 Darek Richardson 155 408-76-2507 20 April 1970
CWO Robert W. Gardner 281 219-48-3080 27 April 1970
WO1 Stanley J. Miller 281 152-40-1127 27 April 1970
SP5 George W. Tom 281 464-28-3183 27 April 1970
SP5 Joseph W. Cunningham, Jr. 281 556-760-9422 11 May 1970
SP5 Scott E. Sutherland 281 535-48-7153 11 May 1970
SP5 Daniel J. Vaughan 281 266-80-8973 11 May 1970
SP4 Danny J. Taulbee 281 297-48-9112 11 May 1970
SP4 Paul H. Kreigal 92 277-46-3879 13 May 1970
1LT Ned R. Heintz 281 280-44-3609 16 May 1970
SP5 Paul B. Lambertson 281 572-76-1242 20 May 1970
SP4 Arthur G. Qualis 281 415-80-1004 20 May 1970
PFC Thomas Kelso 192 405-74-9623 20 May 1970
WO1 Thomas S. Rogers 48 136-36-5835 14 July 1970
WO1 Shawn G. Cannon 92 064-38-1556 9 August 1970
1LT Harry C. Inman III 48 403-68-7931 31August 1970


Ron Turner
"Bandit 36"  7/70-12/70
"281st was a very strange outfit living inside the 5th SF Groups compound.  I can't ever remember eating as well anywhere in Nam.  Hell, I think I even remember a slot machine in our bar.

If you look around, there aren't many of us Bandits on line (or anywhere else for that matter).  Wonder why that is?  I will totally agree that if you ask an SF guy that was with the 5th, they knew us."