Tag Archives: Light Observation Helicopters (LOH)

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…


UH-1 ‘Huey’
Lift platoon


OA-6A ‘Loach’
Scout platoon


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


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.



Filed under Vietnam War

The Scout Platoon

Light Observation Helicopters (LOH)

The Scout platoon was known as the White platoon. They used Light Observation Helicopters (LOH) to skim low over terrain, searching for any sign of enemy movement or activity.

Until 1968 these platoons used OH-13 observation helicopters. By mid-1968 these ships were being replaced by the faster, move maneuverable OA-6A.

The guys flying Scouts had nerves of steel, as their birds were easy targets for the enemy and many got shot down…

Blue-Gray (De Mailo and Jones)

Paddle Ball

Nathan “Nate” Shaffer
Scout gunner 1969-70

Nate Shaffer & Bruce Campbell in 1970

Barry Sipple (right

LOH going home


Photo courtesy of Dave Roger

Somewhere in the “Fish Hook

Photo courtesy of Richard Lamb
Crew chief C Troop early August until late October 1968.
Transferred then to HQ Troop as crew chief on the Squadron check-out LOH.
That aircraft was destroyed Christmas Day in a landing mishap and he was
transferred to B Troop Scouts. Shot down Feb 9, 1969 in LOH 16069.


Filed under Vietnam War