117TH AHC - UNIT HISTORY

8th Transportation Company 11 December 1961 thru 25 June 1963 ... became 117th Airmobile  Light

117th Airmobile Light ... 25 June 1963 thru August 1965 ... to 52nd C.A.B.


117th Assault Helicopter Company ... January 1968 thru March 1968 ... to 214th C.A.B.

117th Assault Helicopter Company ... January 1971 thru 26 March 1972 ... left Vietnam to S. Korea

Detachments
140th Trans Det (Hel Maint), 178th & 256 Sig Det, 130th Med Det

This information has been compiled from several sources. They include many letters from the men that were attached to the 8th Transportation Company,117th Aviation Company(Air Mobil)and( AHC) from 10th CAB year books 1965-66 and 67, the 214th CAB year book June 1967-June 68

61-62 Started as 8th Transportation Company, Camp Goldberg, Qui Nhon. Supported MAAG. Flew logistical support and ARVN troop lift missions. Assigned to the 45th Transportation Battalion Headquartered in Saigon. The other two companies were the 157th located at Pleiku and the 33rd located in the delta. The 8th Trans was one of the first Avn units to be sent to Vietnam in its entirety as a unit. Arrived 11 December 1961 and flew the first helibourne operation of the Vietnam War.

62-63 By USAR PAC, Gen Ord # 326, 23JUN63, the 8th TC changed to the 117th Aviation Company, Qui Nhon and assigned to 52nd Aviation Battalion, Pleiku. Assault missions, ash & trash, resupply, medevac. Supported II corp(ARVN), and had three crews at Quang Ngai to support MAAG. Did not fly much during the monsoon season because theH-21s had wooden blades.

63-64 52nd Avn Bn at Camp Holloway, Pleiku. Flying H-21's, then in late fall, came UH1B Iriquois. All 21's traded in by late 12/63. First CO Major Aiton. Most missions were Administrative and CA’s with ARVN troops. Support for MACV Detachments at Qui Nhon, Tuy Hoa, Pleiku and Quang Ngai. Also supported the UTT out of Saigon. Many assault missions during this time were run out of Cheo-Reo, Dak Tho and An Khe [later to become the home of 1st Cav]. Support for visiting USO personnel and visiting dignitaries. Advisor support by assignments to Dalat and Ban Me Thout for a week at a time. In early 64 provided gunship support for HMM-361, a Marine helo squadron, an H-34 unit, in Da Nang. Occasionally went on assaults along north border of II Corps with them. Dustoff chopper attached to unit from 57th Med Evac and a Mohawk from 3rd RRU. Also a Caribou going back and forth to Saigon. The unit known as the 119th Avn Co (Air Mobile) also fell under the 52nd Avn Bn. The 117th slicks were known as Greta Green.

64-65 Stationed at Qui Nhon, Camp Goldberg, still attached to the 52nd Avn Bn. Flew CS, OCS and CA missions. 2 slicks permanently TDY to Ban Me Thout, mostly flying resupply to SF camps. Another permanent TDY to Quang Ngai. Also had a TDY to Phan Thiet for awhile. Primary missions was hauling ARVN’s to and from villages, resupply SF, picked up and moved VC prisoners and did Med evacs. Began testing new weapons systems on the UH1B, such as rocket systems, quad 50's and M-60's.

Formed the first S & R Team in RVN and we were mentioned in the Pacific Stars and Stripes, late 64. Late 64 we did our own guard duty and had our own door gunners and was under MACV. Changed in 65 from MACV to 1st Avn Brigade. At that time the country was called South Vietnam instead of the Republic of Vietnam. In early 65 we had an Infantry unit(25th Inf out of Hawaii) assigned to the 117th Avn Co [AML] to do our guard duty, door gunning and other infantry oriented jobs. We also began receiving UH1D and started hauling less ARVN’s and had more active attack and fire suppression and ground support dropping soldiers into LZ’s. In 65 Slicks were known as Tailor Made. The gunships were called Sidewinders.

65-66 28SEP65 the 117th Avn Co [AML] was transferred to 10th Avn Bn while the 10th was still stateside but by October the 10th Bn was RVN at Dong Ba Thin( DBT). They were greeted by the 117th as they moved in. The 117th Avn Co [AML] still maintained a presence at Tuy Hoa. Late 65 or early 66 the 117th Avn Co [AML] was transferred to Tuy Hoa in support of 101st Airborne. In late 65 the 117th Avn Co [AML] supported the 1st Cav in the Au Shau Valley for a few days. Changed from Tailor Made to Beach Bums in late 65 due to the fact we were stationed on the beach at Tuy Hoa. Periodically sent to Mekong Delta for Air assault missions. January &February 1966 we were supporting 2/502 101st Airborne [their CO, Col. Emmerson, was nick-named ‘Gunfighter’]. Direct support for the ROK Marines as well as direct support for the 101st Airborne out of Tuy Hoa [January- April 1966], Phan Thiet [April 66], Cheo Reo [April 66] and Gia Nghia [April-May 1966], then to Tuy Hoa again, Cheo Reo [June 1966] Involved with Operation Hawthorn[2JUN66-20JUN66] in vicinity of Cheo Reo then on to Dak Tho[July 1966]. Went back to Tuy Hoa in August.

66-67 1JUL66 the unit name changed to 117th AHC. Supported the 101st, 4th Inf Div, 25th Div, SF, Koreans and the ARVN’s. Doing everything from direct combat support, CA’s re-supplies, medevac, psyops, VIP flights all over the II Corps area. Sidewinders flew gun cover for the Air Force Green Hornets. Flew support missions to Bong Son and Tuy Hoa north and had guns ships go to Dong Ha to support the Marines in that area. Had several missions to Phan Rang and Phan Thiet in support of the 101st. Were supporting SF out of Ban Me Thout, Bong Son and Pleiku, participated in Operation Attleboro [near Tay Ninh]. We participated in the largest CA ever conducted in the Kon Tum area late 66.

67-68 In 67, Lt. Col Harrison nicknamed ‘The Phantom’, was 10th CAB commander. In 1967 there was a mission to Lane AA located at An Son. Kept a Plt there for several months, rotating between 1st and 2nd Flt Plt. While at Lane, supported MACV out of Qui Nhon. Did a little support out of Dak Tho, Pleiku, Bong Son. Also went to Bao Loc in support of the 101st. Also supported 101st when they moved to Phan Thiet. We had some single ship missions that went to Dalat that were rotated among other 1st Plt ships. During this time, we also had a couple of ships assigned to LRRP detachments in Pleiku. There was a company wide mission in Phan Rang in 67. Jan 68 the company was reassigned to the 145th CAB and was moved to Bien Hoa. At Bien Hoa enlisted men stayed in tents on the NE corner of the airfield. The officers stayed in a 3 story villa in Bien Hoa at what was called the Honor Smith/Cong Li Compound and it faced Cong Li Street. The pilots were ferried back and forth to the flight line by helicopter or 3/4 ton truck. We were at Bien Hoa for TET of 68 which began Jan 30. The company lost 7 people between Jan 25-Feb 26, 68. We were only with the 145th for a short period and were reassigned to the 308th CAB, then 21MAR68, we were reassigned to 214th CAB HQ at Bearcat. During the first 6 mo of 68 we also supported 101st Airborne, 1st Inf Div, 25th Inf Div, Navy SEAL’s and of course the Vietnamese. Had 3 CO’s in one month, did not have many flyable aircraft and were not allowed to have personal weapons. When assigned to 214th, we were moved to Plantation Airfield at Long Binh. Sister company there was 195th AHC and the 240th AHC was there from Bearcat. The 117th’s mission at that time was to support the 9th Inf Div and the SF “Mike” Force mission.

68-69 Still at Plantation, Long Binh. Some of the A/C were sent to Duc Hoa [April?] to work for SF in Parrots Beak. May or June1968 flew for SF in Tay Ninh. Missions were CA. Also supported 9th Inf Div out of Dong Tam, conducting mostly multiple ship CA’s throughout southern III Corp with an occasional DCS mission for the SEAL’s. Oct 1968 Annie Fannies [1st Plt] assumed the 240th’s mission of supporting F Co 51st Inf [LRRP] mission. Then they supported D Co 151st Indiana Nat’l Guard LRRP’s and supported them for their entire tour. Pink Panthers [2nd Plt] took over support of SF B-36. Supported 175th LRRP’s. The company also picked up the Firefly mission from 334th Armed Helicopter Co. We had a single ship mission which supported the Navy at Nha Be. Did a lot of missions around Tay Ninh and Cambodian border.

69-70-71 Still at Plantation, reassigned to 222nd CAB Hq at Long Binh. Supported Navy SEAL’s, and the LRRP’s and were flying missions into Cambodia. 12 A/C assigned to each flight Plt. Also supplied 2 ships daily for II Field Forces and missions consisted of Logistics and miscellaneous. Tasked almost daily to provide 5 helicopters to support units operating in the III Corps area. Begun to support the 199th LRRP’s. Supported SF B-34 as well as B-36 and began supporting the 75th Inf LRRP’s. Were providing Nighthawk and Firefly missions in support of other units in the III Corp and upper IV Corp areas. Inserted Black Ops personnel and supported Thai Army, also did Med Evac’s

72 Company stood down in March 72 and was reactivated in Korea with the 8th Army. Name was changed to Toros. The 117th was one of the last Avn units to leave Vietnam as a unit. Dec. 27, 1971 issue of Newsweek had an article titled “First To Last”.

170 JACKSON ROAD, NEW CASTLE, KY, 40050-6731

502-845-2914

captbob757@aol.com

117th Unit History

TFrom : <CAPTBOB757@aol.com> Sent : Friday, January 23, 2004 4:41 PM

To : namvet42@hotmail.com Subject : Re: need some 117th info help

During my tenure we were under the 1st Aviation Bde., 222nd .,CAB, 12th Group. The records indicate that we were (at one time) also the 145th CAB.

We supported a number of varied missions with our 30 helicopters. One group we supported was the 5th Special Forces at Long Hai. They were training Cambodian soldiers in Vietnam and then shipping them back to Cambodia. WOW... were they young... in the range of 11 to 13 years old. Their M-16s were nearly as tall as they were.

We flew night hawk into Cambodia often in the later part of my tour in the winter to spring of 1971. That mission came down directly from 12th group.

We will need someone from the Sidewinders to give a narrative of the missions they were often involved.

We did a mail run that was often called down from the 12th group... that mission usually lasted a maximum of 3.5 hours a day.

We also supported the operation in the area of Na Bei (sp)...... that operation was in support of the Navy operation in that area.

We sometimes did a spray mission that sprayed a very, very deadly pesticide to control mosquitoes around FSB's. I found out what we were spraying and never went on that mission again.

There were routine missions that were in the Tay Ninh, An Loc, Loc Ninh areas. There were typically one-ship missions in that area with relatively frequent stops on the top of Bui Ba Din. This is the most difficult pinnacle approach I have ever made. The training in flight school did not prepare us (nor could it) for that approach. The top of the very steep 3,300 foot AGL mountain was in sharp contrast to the 100 foot AGL terrain in the entire surrounding area.

Bob Hamilton