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THE ARMY REPORTER October 1, 1966


10th Avn. Bn Giving Support Needed By Jungle Troops

DAK TO, (101st ABN-10)

"Rattlesnake, Rattlesnake," came the slightly excited call over the helicopter radio.

"This is Rattlesnake leader, go ahead," answered the pilot.

"This is Eight-Six. Can you give us some help? That village we’ve been watching has sprouted a platoon of Viet Cong and they’re after us."

"That’s a roge; what’s your location?"

"We’ re at about 7481 (grid coordinates). I think I hear you up there, but I can’t see out of this jungle."

"O.K. can you throw smoke?"

A slight pause - "Smoke’s on the way."

Another pause - "O.K. I see it, Confirm red smoke."

"That’s right. Hit fifty meters due north of smoke."

"On the way, out."

The gunship’s original mission was to hit a Viet Cong village the Eight-Six Recon Patrol had been watching, but that was changed when the Viet Cong found the recon element and went after them.

The two gunships, a hog (rocket ship) and a frog (grenade-launcher ship), began their run. One at a time the Heuys splattered the target with 2.7 aerial rockets, 40mm grenades, and a stream of 6.72 machinegun fire.

Eight-Six, how was that?" asked 1st Lt. Larry A. Jefferies, the element leader from the 117th Aviation Company."

"Great, Baby, Great - Just keep it up in the same place."

"Roger Roger," answered the pilot coming in for another pass.

Twenty minutes later the 1st Brigade, 101st Airborne Division recon patrol was picked up by the "Heuy" troop-carrying "slicks", completing the mission.

This is but one example of over 8000 gunship missions flown during Operation Hawthorne in the rugged highland jungles by the 10th Avaition Battalion while supporting the paratroopers.

The 10th, composed of the 117th, 48th, and the 129th Aviation Companies flew 25 combat assaults carrying over 11,000 troops and transported over one million pounds of cargo for the 101st during Hawthorne.

Captain Ron Brown, Company A, 2nd Battalion, 502nd Commander said of the helicopter units, These people are a big key to our success. They have given us troop-carrying support, close air support, and any other kind of support we need." The paratrooper commander added, "they’re real airborne troopers."

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