Tag Archives: Aero Rifle Platoon

Helicopters in the Vietnam War


The New Cavalry

During the Vietnam War, the United States relied on the helicopter as never before. The helicopter’s role in combat expanded enormously in this conflict as thousands of “choppers” rapidly transported personnel throughout the war zone. Heavily armed helicopters offered a fearsome component to ground operations as close air support.

From March 1970 to April 71, I had the honor of serving with Charlie Troop, 1st Squadron, 9th Cavalry, 1st Air Cavalry Division (Airmobile) in Vietnam. We were 100% mobile and made up of three platoons, aero scouts (White platoon) aero weapons (Red platoon) and aero rifle (Blue platoon).

My first duty was radio guy (Blue India) in the bush for the Blues…

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UH-1 ‘Huey’
Lift platoon

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OA-6A ‘Loach’
Scout platoon

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AH-1G Huey Cobra ‘Snake’
Aero Weapons platoon

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Maintenance hanger and flight line at Phuoc Vinh Airfield

The Maintenance platoon’s main job was to keep Charlie Troop’s aircraft running in tip-top condition, which was critical for the success of our missions.

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The Blue Annihilators


huey in the bush

Sgt. Gregory Lee Peffer (center on the ground) KIA January 22, 1971

The areo rifle platoon, the Blues, complements the aerial reconnaissance capabilities of the Pink team by providing ground reconnaissance. Transported by Huey slicks, the Blues can be quickly inserted to check the spottings of the aerial observer, assess the damage inflicted by Cobra or B-52 strikes and pursue enemy elements. Generally only a patrol-size element will be inserted initially, then the rest of the platoon.

We were in choppers almost every day looking for the enemy or going out after down birds (crashed choppers or airplanes). We were the ones first on the ground of a crash and responsible for putting the mostly burned bodies into body bags…

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