Latest entry 23 June 2011

13 Jul 10

A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE
117TH ASSAULT HELICOPTER CO
Awards, Citations Etc. and a list of CO's, XO's and 1st SGT's

The following 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 Mobile) 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 (CORRECTION) should be the 57th not 157th) located at Pleiku and the (CORRECTION ) should be 81st and; not 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.

Thank you Leon Mruczkowski for the correction information.

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 and 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 the H-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 CAs 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. Adviser 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 ARVNs 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 and 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 LZs. 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, CAs 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 Kontum 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 COs 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 117ths 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 CAs throughout southern III Corp with an occasional DCS mission for the SEALs. 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 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 MedEvac'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 about the 117th First To Last.

-4-

 

4JUN 06  Some of us spent time at Lane Field outside of Qui Nhon. I thought the field was named after one of the guys from the 8th Trans who was killed 15 Jul 62 SP5 James E. Lane.  Thanks  to Irvin Lee we found that it was named after CWO Robert C. Lane died 5 Jan 66 in a crash of a C-54(sky crane).

 

Awards , Citations, Commendations and Decorations
If you have any further information please let me know.
DAGO = Dept. of Army General Order

 

117th Aviation Company

. President Unit Citation:
10-13 Jun 65 , DAGO 43, 66

Valorous Unit Award :
18Sep - 28 Oct 65 , DAGO 20, 67
1Jan-24Mar 66, DAGO 17, 68
1-20 Jun 66, DAGO 21,78 amended DAGO 73,68

Meritorious Unit Commendation:
Dec65-Sep66, DAGO 17,68
5Sep66-31May67, DAGO 17,68

RVN Gallantry Cross w/Palm :
1Mar66-26Mar67 , DAGO 38,70 amended DAGO 22,68;
22Feb 67-17May 68 DAGO 21,69
26Sep-Oct71 DAGO 54,74

RVN Civil Action Honor Medal FC :
1May 69-15 May70, DAGO 55,71

 

 

140th Transportation Detachment

Valorous Unit Award :
18 Sep - 28 Oct 65, DAGO 20,67
1 Jan - 24 Mar 66, DAGO 17. 68
1-20 Jun 66, DAGO 73,68

Meritorious Unit Commendation:
Apr 63 - Feb 64, DAGO 14,65
Dec 65 - Sep66, DAGO 17,68
5 Sep 66 - 31 Mar 67, DAGO 17,68

RVN Gallantry Cross w/Palm :
1 Mar 66 - 26 Mar 67, DAGO 22,68
27 Mar 67 - 18 May 68, DAGO 46,69 amended DAGO 21,69

 

 

130th Medical Detachment

Valorous Unit Award : 1 Jan - 24 Mar 66 DAGO 17, 68
1-20 Jun 66 DAGO 73, 68

Meritorious Unit Commendation:
Dec 65- Sep 66, DAGO 17,68
5 Sep 66 - 31 Mar 67, DAGO 17,68

RVN Gallantry Cross w/Palm :
1 Mar66 - 26 Mar 67, DAGO 22, 68
27 Mar 67 - 18 May 68, DAGO 46, 69 amended DAGO 21, 69
1 Jan 69 - 30 Sep 70, DAGO 6,74
1 Oct 70 - 31 AUG 72, DAGO 6, 74

Others:
(F) RVNGCwGS - Jan- Dec 70, DAGO 5,73

 

256th Signal Detachment

Valorous Unit Award :
18 Sep - 28 Oct 65, DAGO 20, 67
1 Jan - 24 Mar 66, DAGO 17, 68
1-20-Jun 66, DAGO 73, 68

Meritorious Unit Commendation:
Dec 65 - Sep 66, DAGO 17, 68
5 Sep 66 - 31 Mar 67, DAGO 17, 68

RVN Gallantry Cross w/Palm :
1 Mar 66 - 26 Mar 67, DAGO 22, 68
27 Mar 67 - 17 May 68, DAGO 46, 69, amended DAGO 21, 69

 

125th Air Traffic Company

Meritorious Unit Commendation:
1 Jun - 31 Dec 67, DAGO 67,68
RVN Gallantry Cross w/Palm :
1 Mar 66 - 26 Mar 67, DAGO 22,68
27Mar 67 - 28 May 68, DAGO 46, 69, amended 21,69

 

22nd Quartermaster Detachment

Meritorious Unit Commendation:
Dec 65 - Jun 66, DAGO 5, 69 amended DAGO 17, 68;
1 Jul 66 - 1Jan 67, DAGO 54, 68

The above information was provided by Bill Sulowski

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214th Combat Aviation Battalion
July 1967- June 1968

117th Received these awards from 15Jan 68- 30Jun 68

Soldier's Medal = 8
Distinguished Flying Cross = 16
Bronze Star = 8
Air Medal with "V" Device = 33
Air Medal = 737
Army Commendation Medal with "V" Devise = 2
Army Commendation Medal = 62
Purple Heart = 22

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10th Combat Aviation Battalion Year Book
23Aug 65 - 31 Dec 66


Silver Star = 2
Distinguished Flying Cross = 37 ( 3 of these were recommended, do not know if they were ever awarded

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10th Combat Aviation Battalion Year Book
1 Jan 67 - 31 Dec 67

Silver Star = 3
Distinguished Flying Cross = 16

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117th 1966 Awards and Decorations Report
Prepared by: CPT Robert J. Baker taken from the 1966 117th History dated 1 Jan 66- 31 Dec 66

Award---------------------------Number recommended -----Number Awarded
Silver Star-------------------------------- 3 ----------------------------- 1
Legion of Merit--------------------------1-------------------------------1
Distinguished Flying Cross ------- 36-----------------------------28
Bronze Star for Valor ----------------3-------------------------------2
Bronze Star-------------------------------31-----------------------------14
Air Medal for Valor--------------------- 50------------------------------39
Air Medal --------------------------------1588--------------------------1147
Army Commendation for Valor ----16------------------------------7
Army Commendation Medal---------25-----------------------------41
Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry-----20------------------------------1

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117th 1968 Awards and Decorations Report
Prepared by: 1LT David A. Coon taken from the 1968 117th History dated 1 Jan 68- 31 Dec 68

Award Number Awarded
Silver Star 5
Distinguish Flying Cross 31
Bronze Star 19
Air medal with V Device 47

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FROM THE 214TH CAB COUGAR YEAR BOOK JULY 1967~JUNE 1968

117TH AHC UNIT HISTORY

The 8th Transportation Company arrived in Vietnam on 11 December 1961, became operational on 23 December 1961 and flew the first heli-bourne operation of the war. On 23 June 1963, the 8th Transportation Company was inactivated and reactivated as the 117th Aviation Company,  by USARPAC General Ordre326. The 117th Aviation Company was assigned to the 52nd Aviation Battalion with whom it won a Presidential Unit Citation and a Valorous Unit Award. On 25 September 1965, the 117th Aviation Company became part of the 10th Aviation Battalion and with it won its second Valorous Unit Award. The 117th was re-designated the 117th Assault Helicopter Company on 1 July 1966. The unit served with the 10th Combat Aviation Battalion until 31 December 1967 when it became a part of the 145th Combat Aviation Battalion, followed by the 308th Combat Aviation Battalion and finally on 21 March 1968 became a member of the 214th Combat Aviation Battalion.

 

Past Unit Commanders

Please help us fill the missing Company Commanders

2 Nov 1961 - 6 Jun 1962: Major Charles M.Hardesty
6 Jun 1962 - 26 Jul 1962; Major Robert F. Corneil JR. Died 27 Feb 05
26 Jul 1962 - 9 Oct 1962: Major William j.Tedesco
9 Oct 1962 - 22 Apr 1963: Major Kisling
22 Apr 1963 - 14 Feb 1964: Major William S. Aiton Died 26 Oct 05
14 Apr 1964 - 10 Oct 1964:Major Virgil P.McGuire
10 Oct 1964 - 23 Dec 1964; Major Wyllie
23 Dec 1964 - 18 Aug 1965: Major James O.Rogers
18 Aug 1965 - 8 Oct 1965: Major Roman J. Stobbs
8 Oct 1965 - 28 Feb 1966: Major Harbin Constance Died Jun 1973

28 Feb 1966 - 26 Oct 1966: Major Harry J. Zellmer Died 7 Nov 1993
26 Oct 1966 - 2 Aug 1967: Major Kenneth Ketzler
2 Aug 1967 - 30 Sep 1967: Major Travis L.Walker
30 Sep 1967 - 15 Feb 1968: Major David Jayne
15 Feb 1968 - 15 Mar 1968: Major Jay O.Weight
15 Mar 1968 - 5 Apr 1968: Major Fuchs
5 Apr 1968 :Major John K. Gower
1968 : Major Nix
Sep '1968 to about Jan 1969; Major Lynn B.Knisely
1969: Major Huston
1970: Major Bob Freeman
1970-1971:Major Walter E. Fernandez
1972: Major Charles J. Mix
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COMPANY XO'S

1961: ??? 1962 - 1963: Maj.Lee M.Hand
1963 - 1964: ???
1965 - 1966: ???
1967 - 1968: ???
1968 - 1969: Cpt.Fred Adlard
1970 - 1970: Cpt.Ronald R.Taylor.
1970 - 1971: Cpt. William Allanach
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COMPANY FIRST SARGEANT'S

1961-1962: ???
1963-1964: ???
1964-1965: Earl D. Wood
1965-1966: William A. Maloney
1966: Maurice Pelletier
1966-1967: Julian M Carter
1968: ???
1969-1970: Fee
1971: Joe Gassett
1971: Davis (added 13Jul 2010)
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Jan 1968 the 117th was reassigned from the 10th CAB to the 145th CAB 5Feb 1968 the 117th was again reassigned to the new 308th CAB till April. The company was again reassigned to the 214th CAB till mar.1969

From March of 1969 thru December of 1971 the 117th was with the 222nd CAB
December 1971 to March 1972, the 117th was again attached to the 145th CAB.

In March of 1972, the 117th deactivated and departed the Republic of Vietnam
It was sent to Korea and was reactivated as the 117th Aviation Company, 8th Army and their name changed to the "Toros".

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The 117th AHC flew under
the call signs of *"War Lords"
"Beach Bums", "Spirit Torso
and "Tailor Made" .

The platoons flew
under **"Pink Panthers", "Annie Fannie",
and the "Sidewinders". The "Sidewinders"
were our gun ships.

Our Maintenance
platoon was known as the "Roadrunners".

 

(click photos to enlarge)

 

This info provided from the  214th CAB 7/67-6/68 yearbook.

  Awards, Decorations & Stats from 214th CAB 67-68 yearbook  

 

*This is merely a point of interest and not actually 117th history. According to Gary Wineteer who was with the B Company, 123rd Aviation Btn, 23rd Inf Div (AMERICAL) in 69-70 while he was there, his company call sign was War Lords. He flew as War Lord 19 while stationed at Chu Lai.

** In 68-69 the 361st Aviation Company used the call sign of Pink Panther. Apparently name lapping was not uncommon.

namvet42@hotmail.com


(PLEASE PUT 117TH AHC IN THE SUBJECT LINE)