Category: quote

“The minigun ships, on the other hand, carried fourteen rockets, and two, 7.62mm, six-barrel minigun,…”

“The minigun ships, on the other hand, carried fourteen rockets, and two, 7.62mm, six-barrel minigun, machine guns. These are truly awesome weapons. The machine guns were electrically operated from a sighting system in the copilot seat. The aircraft commander (AC) could, however, take control of these guns if he deemed fit. An electronic, piper or bullseye was in the sights and the copilot moved this piper to line up on his target. The sights came down on a mechanical arm from their stowed position when the copilot released them. As he moved the piper, the guns followed. We generally set these guns to fire at a rate of 2,400 rounds per minute. That meant the ship could put out 80 rounds per second. These guns had a maximum capability of firing 6,000 rounds per minute but that rate was reserved for the faster fixed wing fighter jets. At our fire rate of 2,400 rounds per minute at the speed of 120 knots, a good operator could put a bullet in every square foot on the ground. You don’t need any more coverage than that. More would waste ammunition and decrease your available time at a combat station. Try to imagine what it would sound like if you were to make the single blast of a 308 high powered rifle a continuous sound. Let me tell you, it is a deafening roar when the miniguns kick in. They get hot quickly, so they are set up to fire no more than three second bursts, and then automatically kick off for three seconds, to keep the barrels from melting down.”

Guts ‘N Gunships: What it was Really Like to Fly Combat Helicopters in Vietnam by Mark Garrison, page 114

“Sniffer missions were comprised of having a machine in the cargo compartment behind the pilots that…”

“Sniffer missions were comprised of having a machine in the cargo compartment behind the pilots that would measure ammonia levels in the air. There were generally two guys on board, who operated the ammonia sensing equipment, besides the four man crew. Since congregations of humans gave off a lot of ammonia as a result of their metabolism, the army figured this would be a good way to find groups of enemy troops. The only drawback was that congregations of monkeys also gave off a lot of ammonia. It was Standard Operating Procedure for a Sniffer flight to be flown at fifty feet, just above the tops of the trees, at fifty knots airspeed. In other words, it was dangerous as hell. During the flight, the ammonia machine operators would say “mark!” into the intercom radio and the crew chief or door gunner would throw out a smoke grenade, marking the area. Immediately a gunship fire team would roll in on the smoke-marked area and blow the absolute crap out of it. I always suspected a lot of monkeys were needlessly massacred.”

Guts ‘N Gunships: What it was Really Like to Fly Combat Helicopters in Vietnam by Mark Garrison, page 104

“The slick aircraft in our company was the UH1H model that was powered by a Lycoming, turbofan jet…”

“The slick aircraft in our company was the UH1H model that was powered by a Lycoming, turbofan jet engine that generated 1,500 horsepower called a T-13. Its rotor blades had a chord (width) of 21 inches and were rather long. They were attached to a hub that fit over the main mast as part of a semi-rigid rotor head system. This meant that they were adequately capable of handling positive G loads, but not negative G loads. This is a way of saying that you didn’t dare get the aircraft on its back, or you would probably blade chop the tail boom off, lose your center of gravity(CG) and fall out of the sky like a homesick brickbat. That’s generally something you didn’t want to do. The payload of the aircraft (how much weight it could carry) was about 4,000 pounds, which translates into ten to twelve troops including the crew, and a full load of JP 4 jet fuel that weighed 1,600 lbs. The aircraft had a loaded cruise speed of eighty knots, but unloaded it would usually cruise at over 100 knots and still maintain its altitude. The gunship pilots however flew a UH1C model, commonly known as a Charlie model that was equipped with a Lycoming turbofan jet engine that produced 1100 horsepower called a T-11. It had what is known as a 540 rotor system with a 27-inch chord of the blades, built more for speed and maneuverability. These aircraft took a lot of precision flying just to safely get them off the ground when they were loaded with rockets, ammunition, and a full 1,600 lbs of JP 4 jet fuel, because they were often underpowered. The gun pilots often complained about their lack of power. I might add, I would find out in a couple of months just why they were complaining. The slick pilots had their hands full also. Getting in and out of tight landing zones with a full load, and a bunch of people shooting at you, took incredible concentration, nerves of steel, and awesome flying ability.”

Guts ‘N Gunships: What it was Really Like to Fly Combat Helicopters in Vietnam by Mark Garrison, page 71

“Vinnie, Larry and I, were then separated from the enlisted troops, and boarded a bus, which…”

“Vinnie, Larry and I, were then separated from the enlisted troops, and boarded a bus, which delivered us to a barracks to await our orders for assignment. The first thing I noticed was that the bus had thick, metal, cross hatch wire screens over all of the windows. It was obvious these were there to prevent people from throwing grenades or other homemade bombs called satchel charges into the vehicle. We were now in a war zone.”

Guts ‘N Gunships: What it was Really Like to Fly Combat Helicopters in Vietnam by Mark Garrison, page 65

“When the captain announced that we were now over South Vietnam, I looked intently from my window…”

“When the captain announced that we were now over South Vietnam, I looked intently from my window seat at the landscape below us. I half expected to see RPGs (rocket propelled grenades) coming toward the aircraft. The landing proved uneventful. On our long final approach the captain said that the hydraulics had apparently at last, been properly repaired. He then wished us all luck and told us to keep our heads down and cover each other’s back. Great advice from someone going right back to American soil. Thanks for the kind words. The aircraft landed and rolled to a stop. We had arrived at the place where history was being written, debated, cursed and praised. We were now going to war.”

Guts ‘N Gunships: What it was Really Like to Fly Combat Helicopters in Vietnam by Mark Garrison, page 64

“Back in the States, an air force and industry-accelerated modification program turned out the first…”

“Back in the States, an air force and industry-accelerated modification program turned out the first of a series of two-seater F-100s configured to seek and destroy Sam sites. They were the first editions of the Wild Weasels, and at least we got some specialized hardware into the act. The early electronic sensing gear installed in the 100s was just nibbling on the edge of missile-hunting technology, but it was a big step in the right direction.
            The 100s were older and slower than the Thuds, which led to the early Weasles’ macho slogan ‘first in and last out.’ It’s true that from the first time the Weasels went up North, they probed in front of the strike force on the way in and they swept to clear our tails on the way out. However, in the case of the F-100s, ‘first in and last out’ also meant that they were so much slower than we were that they had to head for the target well beffore we did, and once we hit the target, we flew right on by them while they had to struggle out behind us as best they could. That speed differential ceased to be a problem when the Weasels got their F-105s.”

Going Downtown: The War Against Hanoi and Washington by Jack Broughton, page 176.

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Air War – Vietnam by Drew Middleton, pages 209-210. This…

Air War – Vietnam by Drew Middleton, pages 209-210.

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“Our mission was to put our bombs on the target, regardless of Migs or anything else. That was our…”

“Our mission was to put our bombs on the target, regardless of Migs or anything else. That was our prime challenge. If the Migs came out on the way to the target, we picked up another challenge: Put those bombs on the target despite the Migs. Regardless of what else happened, you won if you bombed successfully in spite of the Migs and  you lost if the Migs, or anything else, forced you to get rid of the bombs anyplace other than on target. It took guts and a lot of discipline to keep thundering along with fast, maneuverable adversaries nipping at your tail. But among other things, if you didn’t get the target, you could expect to have to try the same one again tomorrow. Every Thud driver over there would have loved to pickle his bombs and tanks at the first sight of Migs and have at them, but if you did, you lost the game. If you outdiced them all the way down the ridge, creamed your target, and than had at them, you won all the way.”

Going Downtown: The War Against Hanoi and Washington by Jack Broughton, page 153.

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“African American military personnel after 1968 represented a new mentality. Only a few steps removed…”

“African American military personnel after 1968 represented a new
mentality. Only a few steps removed from the movements on the
home front, black servicemembers around the world (including some
career military personnel) became less willing to tolerate systemic
discrimination, cultural intolerance, or overt bigotry such as racial
epithets, expressions of white supremacy, and Confederate flags. African American and white military personnel grew increasingly distrustful of one another. Racism, misunderstanding, and a Department of Defense largely unprepared to address institutional inequalities left an environment primed for racial conflict.”

“African Americans in the Vietnam War” published by the US Vietnam War Commemoration

“Negro members of “C” Company of the 554th Engineer Battalion (construction) in Vietnam complain of…”

“Negro members of “C” Company of the 554th Engineer Battalion (construction) in Vietnam complain of unchecked racial incidents, including the burning of a Ku Klux Klan cross in front of a barracks. In letters, the men charge that superior officers fail to take constructive steps and morale among the Negro troops is deteriorating. Pentagon brass should investigate this case immediately and meanwhile, Vietnam GIs keep advising us of conditions we can improve …”

Jet magazine, 24 August 1967 (via auskultu)