Pink Team


Hunter-Killer Team

These were a group of two helicopters a Loach, White platoon and a Cobra gun ship, Red platoon. The concept was the Loach would fly low and in tight circles to draw enemy fire. Then when the enemy was spotted the Cobra would use their fire power (miniguns and rockets) to attack.

When the situation warranted, the Blues would be inserted to fix the enemy until a larger force could be committed to the area. The Blues would also search out bunker complexes, possible cache sites, and conduct ground reconnaissance.
The Pink team would provide air cover for the Blues at all times while on the ground.

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WO Randy R. Zahn (Cobra pilot) & WO Walker A. Jones (Loach and Cobra pilot)
Gunner SGT Ford (back)
Photo by Walker A. Jones

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I recently purchased Randy Zahn’s book “Snake Pilot”. As I read it, I felt right back in the thick of things because Randy flew ‘high bird’ on many missions while I was on the ground with the Blues. As Blue India I had direct radio contact with him on numerous occasions. He gives a very detailed account of events as they unfolded before and during his Vietnam tour. He arrived in Vietnam shortly before the 1970 U.S. Invasion of Cambodia and was a Cobra pilot in Charlie Troop, 1/9th.

Zahn writes with authority about the duties and responsibilities of the high bird in a Pink team, the armed helicopter from the troop’s Red (weapons) platoon that kept watch over the Loach (light observation helicopter) from the white (scout) platoon. As a 19-year-old, fresh out of flight school, he went through a five-month apprenticeship in the front seat to qualify as an aircraft commander (AC). As an AC, he had responsibility not only for his own aircraft and the life of his front seater, but also for the little bird and its crew, the Hueys from the Lift platoon that inserted the Blues of the aero-rifle platoon and the Blues themselves once they were on the ground…

3997102407_2f49736199_mOn March 12th, 2000 Walker A. Jones started the Charlie Troop 1/9th message board on Yahoo, which currently has 130 members. It is a way for current and former members, family and true friends of Charlie Troop, 1st Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile), Vietnam, 1965-71 to communicate with each other. Walker moderated the message board for many years from his distant home in France almost daily and recently moved back to the States.

This board has reconnected many men who served together while with Charlie Troop 1/9th during the Vietnam War. Many thanks to Walker for his dedication in keeping Charlie Troop spirit alive…

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24 Comments

Filed under Vietnam War

24 responses to “Pink Team

  1. Walker Jones

    I never get tired of visiting this site.

  2. usastruck

    Thanks Walker…

    I capped off the number of entries (85) to this blog. I will be adding pics and text to all the Charlie Troop platoons as it is available to me.

  3. I was with blue ghost f troop 8th cav nam..69-70 platoon sgt loach scout hunter killer team..and loved it..god bless all my nam brothers..robert carlson or bob…p.s harley man from chicago il.

    • usastruck

      Welcome home Robert…and might I ask, are you a Cub fan?

      • robert carlson

        YES I AM..AND THANK YOU…. I STILL LOVE THE WIND IN MY FACE..BUT NOW ITS ON MY HARLEY AND NOT ROCKING A M-60 IN A LITTLE BIRD OVER THE NAM…..CHI TOWN BOB.

    • Walker Jones

      You did the same as us. Welcome Home! Was just in Chicago a month ago. My Cobra crew chief is in the area, but we were unable to hook up.

      • Bob carlson

        All my nam brothers rock ,my scout brothers were nuts like me..but that is a good thing..when we got done kickin some ass…we would be lookin for more ass to kick ..smile….i will be 61 feb 13 ..and still love the woman,my harley and cold beer and the blues…PROUD BLUE GHOST SCOUT SGT ROBERT CARLSON -BOB..P.S . LIVE THIS LIFE WITH ALL YOU HAVE AND PEOPLE IN IT TIL THE DAY YOU DIE…AND WHEN I DO GO ..I WILL BE APROUD BLUE GHOST SCOUT…BOB CARLSON

      • William Holmquist

        My name is Bill Holmquist
        I two was a scout in vietnam with B trp 2/17 cav,101st abn div camp eagle Ill never forget my vietnam experience still keep in toch with all the guys ,gave me a bad case of ptsd but ill tell you I would do it all over again if i could.Man what a high! take care my brothers .

  4. usastruck

    Welcome Home Bill & Happy New Year…

  5. Walker Jones

    It’s always good to hear from those Brothers who were there and experienced the same things. It certainly was a rush to fly Scouts in Hunter-Killer teams. Nothing the rest of our lives will outdo those days. We all should exert the effort to get back together whenever we can, whether we knew each other or not. The institutional (and our Country’s) memory will be lost as all of us are finally lost.

    Walker

    • William Holmquist

      Walker glad to hear from someone who was out yanking and banking I wish I could go back fourty years and do it again.One thing I cant shake are the memories,Our AO was the a shau valley scared the shit out of us to, many bad guys. glad you made it home ,take care.

  6. usastruck

    Well said Walker…

  7. Walker Jones

    Charlie Troop had a couple of Scout pilots transfer to B/3/17th (I think I have this right), who flew OH-56s as Low Birds. This was after C Troop went home in 1971.

  8. John Merenda

    Could a Vietnam vet who experienced the dangers of being on Pink Team maneuvers please let me know if there was any controversy over these types of maneuvers by any members of the team. I know they were very dangerous for pilots and heard that some red and white teams felt they also were taking unnecessary risk. In A Shau Valley from 1 April to 5 Sep 70
    36 US killed, 117 wounded. 370 South Vietnamese killed. Operation Texas Star was a tactical victory for the North Vietnamese.
    Reason for inquiry: Doing research on war.

    • Walker Jones

      Good question. I was “lucky” enough to fly both ends of a Pink Team – about equal time during my tour. During my 12 months, there was never a question that the arrangement was the most effective way to find and engage the enemy. Exceptions were when the Troop was “forced” to use White Teams – 2 Loaches/LOHs/OH-6As – instead of a Cobra above. This really sucked big time! I won’t get into this here, but it was evidently due to low clouds that prevented the Cobrafrom covering us.

      The bigger (or smaller) question is at the personal level. Some guys turned out to be GREAT Scouts, but some just couldn’t take the feeling of vulnerability that hovering around at treetop level gave them. You could see the eyes of the guys aiming their AKs at you. But more than not, you only heard the sound, and often only felt the bullets hit.from the hidden enemy somewhere below.

      Looking back, those pilots, gunners and observers who stuck with it, loved it. For us young guys, it was a thrill. We had zero political views. I distinctly remember settling the LOH into its revetment at the end of a long day, and feeling very disappointed that all that work that day was a waste of time, as we had not been shot at even once.

      I’m 65 now and SO glad that I won’t be called on again to do what was expected of us when we were 18-25. Nevertheless, that one year in my long life is the singularly best that I will have spent. “Proud” is what I am talking about. It’s the most important thing that I have accomplished in my life. And I have accomplished a lot..

      Walker A. Jones, Ph.D.

  9. Roy Cullum

    Very well said Mr. Jones! We all had the same feelings after a day of work and nothing to show for it.
    Roy Cullum
    B Troop 2/17 Cav
    Scout Observer 1970-1971
    Scouts Out!

  10. Walker Jones

    You betcha! (‘kin Aye!)

  11. D co. 229th ahb 1st cav div and F troop 1/9th cav 1st cav div door gunned with lift and left seat loach’s on pink team runs. Any one out there remember us.

  12. Walker Jonnes

    Hi Jerry. Good to hear from a former D/229th-F Troop 1/9th Cav guy. I’m sure that you know that F Troop was activated on June 30, 1971 from assets from B-1/9th that “went home”, and assigned to the 3rd Brigade, 1st Cav Div. The 3rd Brigade went home the following June whereby 1-9 Cav operated as a separate air cav troop of the 1st Aviation Brigade (how humiliating). The unit was unofficially called H Troop (Air), 16th Cavalry until May 1972 when “F-9 Cavalry” was officially designated. The unit was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation. I was friends long after the war with MAJ Ron Timberlake who served his second tour (1st as a WO)
    with F-9/H-16th. May he rest in peace.

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