Print by Joe Kline
498th Air Ambulance Platoon

Vietnam medevac missions
by Williams S. Phillips

In April of 1962, the 57th Medical Detachment (Helicopter Ambulance) arrived in Vietnam with five UH-1 “Huey” helicopters. They took the call sign Dustoff. Over time the number of medevac detachments grew in Vietnam until the entire country had coverage and Dustoff became the universal call sign for all medevac missions.

A Dustoff crew consisted of four people: two pilots, a medic and a crew chief. Usually, one pilot would fly the helicopter while the other acted as the aircraft commander. The commander would navigate, monitor all of the radio transmissions, talk to the unit requesting the medevac and would take over flying if the pilot were injured. The medic kept the helicopter stocked with the necessary medical supplies and the crew chief would maintain the helicopter in top working condition. They would both load the patients onto the helicopter and the medic would administer any necessary medical treatment on the way to the hospital, often with the help of the crew chief. The medic and crew chief would stay with a particular helicopter while the pilots were interchangeable between helicopters. These crews saved many lives and were universally respected by all of the soldiers in the war.


Evac Hospital 93rd, Long Bình, 1966

List of Medical Units in Vietnam


Filed under Vietnam War

2 responses to “Dustoff

  1. Jim belcher

    My name is Jim Belcher Columbus Ohio served 1968 November through November 1969 1st air cav 13th signal bin.freinds there were Paul quimby ,Paul deal and mike Baugh and many others that some days I remember and some not…I’m 68 ! Whatever! I wouldn’t trade the experience…it definitely shaped my life in mostly good ways! I or we have 2 children and 4 grands! Like to hear from any of you who remember me!

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