Vietnam War: Helicopters in Vietnam

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Early on in 1961 General Maxwell Taylor, who was so Military Advisor to John F. Kennedy, went out to Southeast Asia to happen out merely what was go oning at that place. During his visit to Vietnam, he noticed the deficiency of good roads inhibited the motion of authorities military personnels in contending the Viet Cong. His studies to the president motivated Kennedy to assist the South Vietnamese in their battle against communism. Although he rapidly decided to assist out, the president knew that new ground forces techniques and arms would hold to be administered to battle in the dense jungle terrain, still new to the United States Army.

Kennedy proceeded to direct in a freshly improved military invention to assist American military personnels fight the lifting Vietnamese War. This invention was the Helicopter. On December 11, 1961, the U.S. aircraft bearer? Card? carried the first Army H-21 choppers to South Vietnam. ( Gregory 12 ) During the Vietnam War, the chopper proved to be a necessity in being able to battle the power of the Viet Cong.

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The chopper is a member of a really various group of aeroplanes known as perpendicular takeoff and landing trade. The chief advantage in the jungles of Vietnam was the choppers ability to takeoff and set down in a little country without the usage of a track. In 1100 the Chinese were the first to contrive the construct of the revolving blades with a helicopterlike top. In 1843, Sir George Cayley built a steam driven chopper that rose a few pess, but was excessively heavy to be practical.

In Spain, Juan de la Cievera built the first Autogiro in 1923. The autogyro was the male parent of the chopper. Although the Autogiro is non at all fast, it requires no fuel and flies on the construct of autorotation. Autorotation was adapted to modern choppers in instance of power loss, where the chopper could set down safely without crashing. The first practical flight of a chopper in the United States took topographic point in 1939, when Igor Sikorsky flew his VS-300. ( Comptons 1 )

Helicopters played and overpoweringly of import portion in the war in Vietnam. The Vietnam War is referred to by many historiographers as the? chopper war? , because of its primary usage of choppers. The dense jungle terrain made most parts of Vietnam unaccessible to most of the conventional war machines such as armored combat vehicles and lading vehicles, and reasonably much anything that was large and rolled on paths or tyres. Although there were some roads, about all of them were country-type, two-track roads that flooded and turned muddy during the one-year monsoon season. This hapless manoeuvrability forced the engagement of a new type of motive power. ( Masaki 1)

The choppers proved necessary to travel military personnels to one topographic point to another, but had many advantages outside the primary map. They served as air foray aggressors, troop deployment, emptying, medical saviors, and supply ships. Some choppers even fought alongside military personnels in the battleground vibrating near to the land, which proved effectual because of its ability to travel about and attack from assorted angles, and so could easy wing off to another conflict and assist at that place. ( Gregory 19 )

Along with the extended utilizations of the many types of choppers, one series of chopper in peculiar bases out. The Heuy series of onslaught choppers was without a inquiry, one of the most various choppers. Between 1961-65 the thought of heliborne assault foot was clever new construct. The Heuy was the best suited for assault landings because of its manoeuvrability and adeptness. Hueys besides flew bodyguard for the Chinook choppers that would transport heavy weapon and other heavy equipment.

The extensively broad scope of utilizations extends to usage every bit medical conveyances, because the Hueys could wing in, load the injured soldier, and wing back out with much adeptness, before they were shot down. Many of the Hueys were besides airborne medical Stationss excessively. All together there were good over 5000 Hueys in service in the Vietnam War. ( Unknown 1 )

In add-on to the Hueys, which could make about anything, there were many other types of choppers that were more specialised but more limited to the undertakings they would execute. The Chinook dual-rotor choppers were of a primary usage as winging ambulances. Along with certain types of Huey s these Chinook choppers could evacuate casualties or the wounded from the conflict Fieldss. The Chinook choppers were more of an dirigible than chopper because of their size. It could transport up to 35 work forces or 24 stretchers. With its hook suspended from its fuselage it could transport a burden of 28,000 lbs at a steady gait. ( Gregory 24 )

The medical evacuation choppers were stationed at impermanent ground forces infirmaries known as MASH. The wireless call mark for the medical evacuation conveyances was? Dust-Off? . The pilots of these choppers had to be speedy because it was non improbable that these conveyances would be shot down or a decease of a crew member. Most Vietnam veterans still say, You were winging on the place of your bloomerss, and praying that they wouldn? t get shot while seeking to evacuate the hurt soldiers to MASH units, or hospital ships. ( Masaki 1 )

There were about 14,000 Army forces which served as medevac pilots. Of these, approximately 88 were killed and 380 wounded as the consequence of hostile fire or clangs. At the extremum of the war, there were 140 chopper ambulances runing in the state. In February 1973 after the cease-fire three of the four staying medical evacuation choppers departed. The staying one flew the last dust-off mission in Vietnam for a instance of appendicitis. ( Chinnery 7 )

Other types of choppers were used as workhorses. Most choppers could transport light tonss, but the large tonss had to be lifted with the aid of choppers like the Ch-54 Tarhe, another of the Chinook household. These choppers were besides called? Flying Cranes? , which were unarmed but with a turboshaft engine and a Crane hook fed out the level skinny underside, the? Flying Crane? could raise up to 20,000 lbs. It carried a farther distance than the Chinook dual-rotor choppers but did non travel as fast. It lifted anything from subdivisions of a span to another chopper. ( Gregory 28 )

The pilots of the choppers had to be really skilled. They must be able to remain out of enemy fire, and in medevac state of affairss, where they would usually hold to set down in the thick of a conflict, had to be able to acquire in and acquire out swimmingly and rapidly. ( Masaki 1 ) It is estimated that over 44,000 enlisted forces served as chopper sailors in Vietnam Helicopter crews did everything that was of all time asked of them, without respect to their personal safety. They were bold and aggressive to the point, at times, of being foolhardy. The crew of these choppers, even though reckless at some times, could be depended on, and ever, as the expression goes, geting merely in clip. During the war, a sum of 58,000 United States soldiers lost their lives. Of these, 2,465 were chopper enlisted sailors functioning as crewcheifs, artillerymans, trefoils, etc. , and another 1,069 were helicopter pilots. ( Unknown 1 )

The terminal consequence of the war in Vietnam was that a sum of 4642 United States choppers were lost. ( Gregory 60 ) Of these, over 450 of them were captured or abandoned and taken by North Vietnam. ( Chinnery 9 ) The war had ended and the US had failed to get the better of the Communist Viet Cong. In the capital of South Vietnam during the war, Saigon, there was much hastiness in seeking to evacuate military personnels and authorities functionaries.

The few choppers left played a large function in the emptying of the metropolis. With the emptying many Huey choppers that were left behind because of the overcrowded bearers, were really dumped into the sea at the last minute so the North Vietnamese could non do usage of them in the hereafter. ( Gregory 60 ) The choppers proved to be a valuable plus in even being able to assist the South Vietnamese. Even though the United States lost many, without seting up a good battle the communism may hold spread, and the US could non hold even thought about come ining the war without choppers.


  1. Comptons New Media Inc. , Helicopter, Comptons Interactive Encyclopedia, Copyright 1995: pg. 1
  2. Chinnery, Philip D. Vietnam-The Helicopter War, hypertext transfer protocol: // 1997: pgs. 8-9
  3. Gregory, Barry THE VIETNAM WAR: Helicopter War, Copyright 1988: pgs. 1-61
  4. Masaki, David A. Helicopters in Vietnam, hypertext transfer protocol: // April 1996: pg. 1
  5. Unknown Helicopter History, hypertext transfer protocol: // 1996: pg. 1

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