1966 - 1967 Unit History
This unit history only goes from when the unit was activated in Jan 1966 to the end of Dec 1966. We still had another 5-6 month in Nam as the original group. Also missing are pages 23 and up. Does anyone have pages 23 and up??????
183RD RECONNAISSANCE AIRPLANE COMPANY (0-1)
10 January 1966- 31 December 1966
Commanded by: Major William L. Buck and
Major Ralph L. Godwin
Prepared By: Cpt. Julius B.
D. Woods (8/25/02)
TABLE OF CONTENTS
I. MISSION AND ORGANIZATION
II. SUMMARY OF ACTIVITIES
III. GENERAL OPERATIONAL STATISTICS
1. UNIT PATCH AND LEGEND OF PEGAUSUS
2. BRIEFS OF TACTICAL OPERATIONS
3. OPERATIONAL REPORT “LESSONS LEARNED
Mission and Organization
A. To provide aerial visual reconnaissance (Day and Night) of enemy areas for the purpose of terrain study, locating, verifying and marking targets, and directing artillery, naval gunfire or air strikes throughout the II Corps tactical zone.
B. To provide General Support to US forces in Vietnam as directed by first Field Force in Vietnam.
The company was originally formed with 41 Officers, 1 Warrant Officer, and 104 enlisted personnel. There were four Flight Platoons and a headquarters Maintenance Platoon consisting of a Maintenance Section, an Airfield Service Section, a Wheel Vehicle Section, and a Production control Section. In addition, reporting to Company Headquarters were a Supply Section, Mess Section, and Operations Section.
Summary of Activities
On 17 January 1966, Headquarters, II Corps at Fort Hood, Texas, issued General Order 18, which activated and organized the 183rd Aviation Company (0-1F) (Light Surveillance Aircraft), to be attached to the 1st Armored Division. Organized under the tables of organization and equipment of 1-7D (60W/CH7), 1-59D (64W/CH1) and 55-500R (56W/CH10), the unit was authorized thirty two (32) officers, one (1) warrant officer, one hundred and five (105) enlisted personnel, twenty four (24) aircraft and associated equipment. On 24 January 1966, Headquarters, 1st armored division attached the 183rd Aviation company to the 501st aviation Battalion located at gray army Airfield six (6) miles west of the main post, Fort Hood, Texas. This attachment was effective as of 17 January and the 501st aviation battalion set about the sponsorship tasks of receiving the new unit. The first-morning report for the 183rd aviation company was signed on 27 January by the adjutant of the 501st aviation battalion and indicated an assigned gain of one (1) enlisted personnel, Private Perez Juan Juan Delgado.
General order 36, Headquarters, III Corps and Fort Hood, issued on 2 February 1966, changed the authorized aggregate strength to 128 personnel: thirty-two (32) officers, one (1) warrant officer, and ninety-five enlisted personnel. During the next two weeks, as the present for duty strength increased slowly, the unit boasted its first re-enlistment, Sergeant Robert J. Tyson. On 15 February, the unit prepared and signed its own morning report under Captain Linus G. K. Chock, acting executive Officer. Major William L. Buck assumed command the same day. Routine administrative and supply activities were handled more efficiently as the personnel strength increased.
On 23 February, Headquarters, III Corps and Fort Hood directed that the effective date of activation be changed to 10 January 1966, through general Order 47. By 1 March, the present for duty strength was 73% overall and 100% for officers. On 2 March another directive from III corps and Fort Hood, Letter Order 3-7, attached the 143rd Signal Detachment to the Company. III Corps followed this action with general orders 21, effective 21 January, which authorized the 143rd one (1) officer and eight (8) enlisted personnel.
The 183rd Aviation company was notified on 2 March that its aircraft, twenty-four (24) 01-E’s and not 01-F’s were ready for pick up at the Cessna Plant, Wichita, Kansas, where they had undergone extensive overhaul. Unit aviators were sent TDY and the first 0-1E arrived back at Gray Army Airfield on 7 March. The aircraft had been equipped with an armored seat of fiberglass and porcelain, two FM radios, and self-sealing fuel tanks. These additions were ideal for combat duty but they also created an excessive weight condition.
With personnel strength nearing the 100% mark in mid March, mandatory training began with classes in the morning and flying in the afternoon. Some classes were taught by the Battalion Officers, but the 183rd Officers were responsible for the majority of the instruction.
A Unit patch was proposed, so the administrative officer conducted a contest. PFC Robert J. Gilmour designed the winning entry (see cover)
The Company Headquarters was kept busy with planning and preparation for the movement to RVN. Readiness dates were received: 10 May for equipment and 14 May for personnel. Requisitions for equipment and publications flowed over desks as did plans for rail loading and movement. With all inoculations received, POR training nearing completion and tactical flying proficiency phases completed, the commanding officer authorized leaves for all personnel. Due to the mandatory present for duty strength requirement, leaves were staggered from 1 April to 1 May.
During this period the unit received letter order number 3-1, dated 1 March 1966, which transferred the unit from the 4th US Army to US Army Pacific and ordered its departure from CONUS on 14 May 1966. With the departure date firm, plans were formalized for movement to and arrival in the restricted area overseas.
On 7 May 1966 a farewell review was held. During the ceremony, Major Hurley, acting Commander of the Battalion awarded Major Buck, captain Solomon, and SFC E7 Lane with Army Commendation Medals and made a farewell address to the uit. After the parade, the company rendezvoused at a picnic area near the airstrip 31 for recreational activities. Refreshments and games carried the festivities through the afternoon.
The advance party of two officers, Captain Edward G. Kopeschka and Captain Larry Lucas, and four enlisted personnel, Sergeant Don R. Bailey, Sergeant Dolpis Benoit, Specialist Neil T. Lydon and Pvt. Tony G. Stearnes were to close out the unit at Fort Hood and then proceed by air on 24 May to prepare for the units arrival in Vietnam.
Equipment was rail loaded and shipped on 10 May. The main body departed Fort Hood by rail on 14 May after a farewell address by the Commanding General. The train arrived at dockside in San Francisco on 16 May and all personnel immediately boarded the USNS General Gordon. The departure from San Francisco was delayed due to crowded conditions in the troop and officer areas. Both problem areas were resolved. The Gordon sailed under the Golden state Bridge at 1800 hours on 16 May 1966. The troop quarters were air-conditioned. Although the food was adequate, the waiting in line for an extensive period and standing to eat were unsatisfactory conditions. To help pass the idle time, entertainment was arranged in the form of country and western bands, talent hours, bingo, card tournaments, and table games. The officers occupied non air-conditioned quarters. However, the good food more than compensated for this inconvenience.
The USNS General Gordon steamed across the Pacific in 18 days to arrive in Vung Tau, Vietnam on 3 June. Troops destined for the III and IV Corps area debarked the next day and the Gordon steamed to the North. On 7 June, the ship laid anchor in Cam Ranh Bay. That night members of the advance party boarded the Gordon to give initial briefings to the arriving personnel.
The following morning the main body debarked. The company had been assigned to the 1st Aviation Brigade and further assigned to the 17th Aviation Group.
After a dusty truck convoy in sweltering heat, the 183rd arrived at its proposed company headquarters area, Dong Ba Thin. Ten tents stood on a partially graded site. As dump trunks roared by, clouds of dust rose and combined with sweat from the intense heat to welcome the unit new home.
More perspiration was in store for the men as construction started. The building of security bunkers, a supply room, shower facilities, a mess hall, an orderly room, a dayroom, erecting more tents, building additional tent floors, additional latrine facilities and low sand bag tent revetments were some of the immediate projects. Some problems were encountered in the procurement of lumber, wire, screen, nails, pipe, and water tanks. Using salvaged lumber primarily the men of the 183rd built a most livable temporary area.
Major Mack L. Gibson Jr., Executive Officer and Citadel graduate, ordered a task force under the command of 1st Lt. David L. Woods to secure and return some palm trees from Viet Cong controlled jungle territory in the near by mountains. This is the first recorded mission into enemy controlled territory by members of the 183rd Aviation Company and the mission was successful with zero casualties.
Upon arrival at Dong Ba Thin, the aviators were checked out in 01-D models from the 219th Aviation Company and were subsequently deployed throughout Southern II Corps. They quickly familiarized themselves with their area of responsibility. The 183rd Aviation Company was scheduled to relieve the 219th Aviation Company of the seven provinces in Southern II Corps. The transition worked smoothly.
On 213 June the unit was notified that their aircraft were in Saigon and unit personnel were needed to assist in assembly. The next morning Captain Gerald Carson, the maintenance officer, and ten maintenance personnel departed for Saigon. On 30 June, the first 0-1E was flown to Dong Ba Thin with the remaining aircraft following within the next two weeks. The unit received five float aircraft, which brought the working strength to twenty-nine (29) aircraft. The unit immediately started deploying aircraft to cover their area of responsibility. On 14 July 17th Aviation Group assigned the company to the 10th Aviation Battalion by General Order 27. Immediately the 10th Aviation Battalion issued general order 25, dated 15 July assigning the 2nd Platoon of the 74th Aviation Company to the 183rd Aviation Company. This brought the authorized strength up to forty one (41) offices, one (1) warrant officer, and one hundred and four (104) enlisted personnel. Concurrently the 143rd Signal Detachment was transferred to the 34th General Support Group.
The unit now had a firm grasp on the visual reconnaissance program as the platoons were settled n their respective areas of responsibility. Captain Alvin Solomon with the first Platoon headquarters in Dong Ba Thin was assigned the general support of First field Force in Vietnam (IFFV) and was to be augmented by the second section of the third Platoon. The second, third, and fourth platoons were assigned direct support missions to the US advisory teams throughout southern II Corps. Headquarters for the second platoon, located in Phan Thiet commanded by Captain Linus G. K. Chock had the surveillance responsibility of Binh Thuan province. The platoon had two sections; one in Bao Loc covering Lam Dong province, and one in Phan Rang covering Ninh Thuan province. The third platoon commanded by Captain Larry Lucas wit headquarters in Nha Trang, covered the Khanh Hoa province with the first section. The 2nd section detached from the Platoon was assigned in general support of IFFV and further placed in direct support of the 1st Brigade of the 101st Airborne Division. This section moves with the Brigade throughout II Corps area. (see Annex 2). The fourth platoon with the largest geographical areas of responsibility was commanded by Captain Frank K. Williams. The headquarters element was located in Ban Me Tout with one section and covered Darlac Province. One section, stationed in Dalat, covered Tuyen Duc province, and another section in Gia Nghia covered Quang Duc Province. Since its provinces formed a part of the western boundary of Vietnam the fourth platoon also had a daily border surveillance requirement.
On 4 September, the 183rd was assigned to the 223rd Combat Support Aviation Battalion. The company was reclassified at the same time as a Reconnaissance Airplane Company.
By early October construction teams had begun to build billets and facilities in the permanent area which had been designated for the 183rd. In early November the unit moved into its cantonment area. Unit personnel constructed all facilities in the new area except the mess hall which was constructed by supporting engineers. By the end of the year almost all tents had been replaced by tin roofed buildings. Several projects were in the initial construction and planning stages at year’s end. Some of these were construction of a day room, hot showers, an aquarium in the mess hall, and continued improvements of billets.
Along with the many hours of operational flying came combat hazards. Major William L. Buck with an observer crash-landed his aircraft in dense foliage and rugged terrain on 13 August 1966. Both were rescued from the hostile area. Six days later, 19 August 1966 in an effort to support the ground troops, 1st Lt. Adolph A. Cutchin, after several low passes, crashed his aircraft in attempting to land on a paved highway about 30 miles east of Ban Me Thout. Lt. Cutchin was not injured.
On 24 October while on a low visual reconnaissance mission north of Tuy Hoa, 1st Lt. Latimer Maginess crash-landed his aircraft in tall trees and mountainous terrain. He suffered major leg injuries and his observer, Captain Samuel D. Freeman III, was fatally injured.
The only other loss in 1966 occurred on 29 November 1966, while Captain Linus G.K. Chock was providing convoy cover for an ARVN column. The convoy was ambushed by an estimated enemy battalion using automatic weapons and recoilless rifles. No artillery or tactical air were immediately available. Captain Chock’s aircraft was armed with 4 rockets. He elected to attack the enemy in an effort to silence a machine gun position and to relieve pressure on the convoy by drawing the enemy fire. His attack was successful but on his third pass at the enemy he was hit by enemy fire and killed. He was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for heroism.
On 11 November the commanding officer Major William L. Buck was reassigned to CON
US. Major Ralph L. Godwin assumed command on 13 November 1966.
GENERAL OPERATIONAL STATISTICS
The units operational statistics have been collected from unit supply, tech supply, maintenance and operations. Unit supply has submitted in excess of 750 requisitions for items ranging from acetate to welding rods. Maintenance reports that 137 periodic inspections have been performed and the aircraft availability rate since becoming operational in mid July has been 95%. More than 122,000 gallons of gasoline and 11,000 quarts of oil have been used by the aircraft. Twelve aircraft engines were changed. Our wheeled vehicles have driven over 80,000 miles throughout the Southern AII Corps area. The operations section has collected interesting information concerning the 13,647 hours flown by the unit. Of the4swe 1886 were flown in CONUS and 11,761 hours were flown in the Republic of Vietnam. A breakdown as to the numbers of tasks and hours devoted to each follows:
1. Visual Reconnaissance…………………………… 5134 7078
2. Photo Reconnaisance…………………………….. 12 16
3. Forward Air Controller…………………………. 149 130
4. Artillery Adjustment…………………………….. 352 532
5. Escort of Convoys………………………………... 299 455
6. Combat Observation…………………………….. 326 486
7. Search and Rescue……………………………….. 60 95
8. Flare Drop………………………………………... 2 2
9. Psychological Warfare…………………………... 35 32
10. Training…………………………………………. 56 39
11. Maintenance…………………………………….. 106 76
12. Administrative Liaisons………………………… 421 338
13. Tactical Aero medical Evacuation……………... 6 5
14. Airborne Resupply……………………………… 31 18
15. Air landing Resupply…………………………... 196 232
16. Combat Support Liaison………………………….. 1924 1519
17. Command and Control…………………………. 276 208
18. Radio Relay……………………………………… 403 500
The totals indicate that 9788 tasks have been flown by the Seahorses and of these 8332 have been of a surveillance nature. Of the total hours flown, 75% were visual reconnaissance. Company overhead accounted for approximately 6% of the total time. The visual reconnaissance flights have collected and forwarded 4324 intelligence spot reports. An operational report and lessons learned letter was submitted for the first quarter. (See Annex 3)
Our aircraft have been hit by ground fire 28 times. In addition five of our aircraft sustained mortar damage at Da Nang I support of the US Marines. One of these, 56-2592 had the last four feet of the wing completely destroyed.
The awards section has submitted recommendations for 146 awards. Of these 123 air medals, 3 purple hearts, 1 Bronze star, 1 Army Commendation Medal, and 1 Distinguished Service Cross have been approved.
THE LEGEND OF PEGASUS
“A winged steed unwearying of Flight, sweeping through air swift as a gale of wind”
From the blood of the dead Gargon, Medusa, sprang the marvelous horse Pegasus. Wonders attended him. He was poetic inspiration, in that, at the strike of his hoof, the spring, beloved of poets, Hippocrene, on Helicon, the mountain of the Muses, gave forth.
It was a great young adventurer, Bellerophon, more divine than mortal, endowed with the wisdom of Athena, the virgin goddess, and a golden riddle which she indicated would charm the steed, who sought out and tamed the glorious creature. Now, Bellerophon was lord of the air. On the back of Pegasus long journeys meant nothing to him. His abilities were now unlimited.
Bellerophon was asked to seek out and slay the Chimaera, the unconquerable. She was a most singular portrait; a lion in front, a serpent behind, a goat in between, swift of foot and strong, whose breath was flame unquenchable. But for Bellerophon riding Pegasus there was no need to come anywhere near the flaming monster. He soared up over her and shot her with his arrows at no risk to himself. He, indeed was successful. However, his many great successes led him to try to take his place with the immortals of Olympus. He mounted Pegasus for the vain journey, but the horse was wiser. He threw his rider, who wandered alone, devouring his soul and avoiding the paths of men until he died.
Pegasus found shelter in the heavenly stalls of Olympus where the steeds of Zeus were cared for. Of them all, he was the foremost, as was proven by the extraordinary fact the poets report, that when Zeus wishes to use his Thuderbolt, it was Pegasus who brought the thunder and lightning to him.
Extracted from several accounts of heroic deeds in Greek mythology.
BRIEF OF TACTICAL OPERATIONS
The following is a list of the major operations which this company has supported:
1. Hawthorne (101st Airborne Division)
a. Dak To—Kontum Province—from 19 June 1966 to 13 July 1966.
b. Major sweep up the Dak To Valley
c. Captain Carpenter’s famous battle
d. NVA dead body count in excess of 400
e. B52 strikes were effectively employed
f. 183rd support-2 aircraft
1) 45% Visual Reconnaissance
3) Combat Observation
4) 15% Artillery Adjustment
5) 10% Combat Support Liaison
2. Beauregard (101st Airborne Division)
a. Continuation of Operation Hawthorne in Dak To and Dak Poo Valleys, Kontum Province from 24 June to 15 July, 1966
b. A search and destroy effort against the remainder of a NVA Regiment.
c. Only light contact was encountered.
d. 183rd support-2 aircraft
1) 50% Visual Reconnaissance
2) 30% Daylight radio relay
3) 20% Night radio relay
3. John Paul Jones (101st Airborne Division)
a. Tuy Hoa-Phu Yen from 21 July to 1 Sept 1966
b. Two objectives:
1) Protect the rice harvest in Tuy Hoa and Pau Yen valley. B52 strikes were employed followed by ground troops to destroy VC 18B Regiment.
2) Secure the Vung Ro Bay area to enable the engineers to build a harbor-ground d troops employed meeting only light resistance.
c. 183rd Support –4 aircraft
1) 35% Visual Reconnaissance
2) 30% Radio Relay
3) 15% Combat Observation
4) 10% Combat Support Liaison
5) 5% Artillery Adjustment
6) 5% Convoy Escort
4. Hastings (US Marines)
a. Da Nang-Quannng Hagai and Hue Province-from 26 July to 2 Sept 1966.
b. Search and Destroy mission through sections of all of the provinces.
c. Heavy contact with favorable results
d. 183rd support-2 aircraft
1) 70% Visual Reconnaissance
2) 20% Artillery Adjustment
3) 10% Combat Observation
5. Seward I and II (101st Airborne Division)
a. Continuation of Operation John Paul Jones, Phu Yen Province-from 1 Sept-1Nov1966
b. Primarily to protect the rice harvest.
c. Hostile contact with the VC 18B Regiment and the NVA 95th Regiment
d. 183rd support-4 aircraft
1) 55% Visual Reconnaissance
2) 30% Artillery
3) 15% Radio Relay
6. Prairie (US Marines)
a. Hue Phu Bai-Hue province-from 28 Sept to 31 Dec 1966
b. Search and Destroy mission along the DMZ
c. Contact with North Vietnamese Regiment
d. 183rd support-2 aircraft
1) 60% Visual Reconnaissance
2) 15% Radio Relay
3) 15% Artillery Adjustment
4) 10% Forward Air Control
7. Omega (US Special Forces)
a. Buon Bleck-Darlac and Pleiku provinces-from 1Nov to 30 Nov 1966
b. Ground Reconnaissance for VC movement data
c. Very little contact with many significant spot reports
d. 183rd support-2 aircraft
1) 90% Radio Relay
2) 10% Visual Reconnaissance
8. Seward II
a. Tuy Hoa province –from 6 Nov to 6 Dec 1966
b. A continuation of Seward II to search and destroy a battalion of the NVA 95th Regiment
c. A successful operation capturing or killing 60% of the NVA Battalion
d. 183rd support-4 aircraft
1) 45% Visual Reconnaissance
2) 25% Convoy Escort
3) 20% Artillery Adjustment
4) 10 % Radio Relay
9. Paul Revere IV (101st Airborne Division)
a. Kontum-Kontum Province-from 8Dec to 24 Dec 1966
b. A major blocking effort in support of a sweep by the 4th Infantry Division near Pleiku.
c. Many large weapons caches were located with only limited contact
d. 183rd support-4 aircraft
1) 65$ Visual Reconnaissance
2) 20% Artillery Adjustment
3) 15% Convoy Escort
10. Omega (Special Forces)
a. Phu Nhon-Pleikuj Province—14 Dec to 18 Dec 1966
b. Ground reconnaissance throughout the Ia Drang Valley
c. Moderately successful mission with only light contact
d. 183rd support—2 aircraft
1) 90% Radio Relay
2) 10% Visual Reconnaissance
11. Pickett (101st Airborne Division)
a. Kontum-Kontum Province-Begasn 26 Dec1966 into 1967
b. Entry into VC stronghold and destroy
c. Poor Weather allowed only moderate success with moderate contact
d. 183rd support-4 aircraft
1) 70% visual Reconnaissance
2) 20% Artillery Adjustment
3) 10% Radio Relay
12. Operation Palm Trees
a. Dong Ba Thin Area June 1966
b. Entry into VC territory to remove and return Palm trees
c. Very successful but attitude and morale initially very bad
d. No casualties confirmed by short arm inspection
e. No commendations recommended
f. 183rd support-0 aircraft, 1 Officer + 5 Enlisted and 1 _ ton truck
1) 20% location and removal
2) 20% local area ground recon
3) 60% Beer and Boom Boom
4) 100% morale improvement at the completion of mission
Department of the Army
183rd Reconnaissance Airplane Company (0-1)
223rd Combat Aviation Battalion
4 November 1966
Subject: Operational Report for Quarterly Period Ending 31 October 1966
To: Commanding Officer
223rd Combat Aviation Battalion
General: The following is submitted as the Command Report for the quarter ending 31 October,
1. During this period the 183rd Aviation Company has performed the visual reconnaissance mission for the entire southern half of II Corps, the provinces of Khan Hoa, Darlac, Tuyen Duc, Lam Dong, Binh Thuan, Quang Duc, and Ninh Thuan. Additionally, this unit has provided general support aircraft in Da Nang I support of the US Marine Corps for Operation Hastings and also provided aircraft to Hue Phu Bai to support the US Marines in Operation Prairie. Other general support aircraft have been stationed at Tuy Hoa throughout the entire quarter in order to support the 101st Airborne Brigade. The 183rd Aviation Company has also provided support for the 3rd Brigade of the 25th Infantry Division in Pleiku for Operation Paul Revere III. General support aircraft have also flown in support of several Special Forces operations during the quarter, and a general support aircraft fly's coastal surveillance missions from Phan Thiet to Tuy Hoa on a regularly scheduled basis as specified by the Coastal Surveillance Center.
2. Elements of the 183rd Aviation Company y are stationed permanently at nine different locations plus wherever general support commitments dictate. As a result of this dispersion, this unit has been in constant support of operation somewhere every day of the quarter. Many of these operations have been in support of RVN units. It has been the unanimous opinion of all supported units and sectors that the job performed by the aviators of this company has been outstanding.
3. The following is a recapitulation of the flying activity of the 183rd Aviaiton Company during the quarter:
Tasks Sorties Hours
Visual Reconnaissance 3004 4165
Photo Reconnaissance 5 8
Forward Air Controller 118 97
Artillery Adjustment 211 321
Escort Convoys 154 220
Combat Observations 204 279
Search and Rescue 47 78
Flare Drops 1 1
Psychological Warfare 18 16
Air-Land Resupply 91 79
Airborne Resupply 12 6
Combat Support Liaison 1318 1024
Radio Relay 282 318
Aerial Medical Evacuation 3 3
Training 13 12
Maintenance 44 41
Administrative Liaison 166 122
Command and Control 185 135
Totals 5,876 6,925
While accomplishing the missions above, the 183rd Aviation Company aviators accounted for 276 confirmed VC KIA, and many more probable kills could be credited to this unit’s efforts. Additionally 7 Sampans were destroyed and 1 damaged by the pilots of this company.
4. Although the preceding paragraph is fairly impressive, this company has not been able to satisfy all requirements. Many general support missions have been accomplished at the expense of the II Corps Visual Reconnaissance program. The acute shortage of aviators and aircraft has necessitated the removal of aircraft from the VR program in order to accomplish our general support requirements. Presently there are two provinces which have only one aviator and one aircraft assigned for the VR program. This is a very undesirable situation as a great deal of terrain is harsh enough to warrant two ships flying in pairs. It is probable that prolonged single ship missions over such territory will lead to the loss of an aircraft and crew with little hope for recovery of either.
5. In mid September this company was required to furnish two aircraft and two aviators to support Operation Prairie at Hue Phu Bai for a period of two weeks. Six weeks later the aircraft were still there and an extension of an additional thirty days had been placed on them. This particular commitment is extremely difficult to support properly due to the great distance between company headquarters and Hue Phu Bai. Additionally the 220th Aviation Company is able to VR their sectors more often then the 183rd as a result of our reinforcing their company y area of operation. It appears as if I Corps intends to utilize these aircraft for an indefinite period. It is felt that if our aircraft were committed to supporting operations in the II Corps geographical area that this company can provide far better maintenance, logistical, and administrative assistance to our personnel performing these missions.
6. During this quarter 11 aircraft were hit by enemy fire. Three aircraft were lost. One aircraft was lost as a result of a landing accident. The two others crashed as a result of engine failure. In both cases the exact cause of the engine failure is undetermined. Fuel contamination is suspected in at least one of these crashes. Both occurred over very hostile territory but it is impossible to determine whether or not ground fire caused the actual engine failures. One of the pilots, 1st Lt. Latimer Maginess was medically evacuated to CONUS as a result of multiple injuries.
7. Aircraft availability for this quarter has been extremely good. The availability rate for August was 87%, September 96%, and October 97%. The August rate was somewhat lower because five aircraft were damaged in a mortar attack and one other aircraft was down for 358 hours EDP for an elevator bellcrank.
8. During this quarter the aviator strength decreased significantly from 39 on 31 July to 32 on 31 October 1966. This was due to normal attrition without replacements and also to the fact that the 10th Aviation Battalion transferred three officers to their own organization just prior to the 183rd’s unit transfer to the 223rd Aviation Battalion. Their loss has been sorely felt by this company. The enlisted personnel has been fairly stable although a slight overage in E6 grades has been experienced as new E6’s have been assigned to the company. A proposed infusion program has been submitted to 6-1, 223rd Aviation Battalion in order to alleviate the May DEROS hump. It is felt that the simplest solution to the May DEROS problem will be a bulk exchange of personnel with the 184th Aviation Company inasmuch as the 184th has a similar DEROS problem in July or August 1967.
9. Construction of our permanent cantonment area has progressed as rapidly as possible with the limited number of personnel which we have available to accomplish this self-help project. Presently, tents and buildings are ready to be occupied as soon as the R&U section at Dong Ba Thin installs as necessary electrical wiring and fixtures. A 100KW generator must be located and installed a s a power source for this unit before we can move. It is estimated that we will be able to occupy our new cantonment area prior to 15 November 1966. No hanger has been authorized for maintenance yet. This is a must if proper maintenance is to be performed on our aircraft during the heavy rains of the monsoon or else the intense heat of the summer prevalent here at Dong Ba Thin. A request that a maintenance hanger be authorized has been sent forward.
10. Local security requirements in our present area and in our future cantonment area tax the capability of this company. Normally this unit has only 70 EM including NCOs present in the Dong Ba Thin area. It is doubtful if members of this unit could contain any VC attack for any meaningful period of time as this company is on an exposed flank of the Dong Ba Thin complex with no Korean troops in front of us. The attachment of a security platoon would help alleviate this situation and it would free aircraft mechanics, who are pulling guard every three or four days, to concentrate on maintaining aircraft.
11. During the last week of September all personnel then assigned completed familiarization firing with individual weapons. Crews for the 3.5 rocket launcher and the M60machine gun also underwent familiarization training then.
1. Recommend that II Corps aircraft resources be redistributed and that all sectors be provided with a minimum of three aircraft per sector in order to accomplish the VR program.
2. Recommend that aircraft already within a sector be utilized to support any American or other operation within that particular geographical location.
3. Recommend that immediate emergency requisitions be filled to alleviate the critical shortage of aviators in this company.
4. Recommend that five more aircraft be assigned to this company in order to bring this unit to its authorized strength of 322. This will boost the VR and general support program considerably.
5. Recommend that this company’s general support missions be confined to the II Corps area.
6. Recommend that this unit be authorized a maintenance hanger.
7. Recommend a packet swap of personnel with the 184th Aviation Company in order to solve the May DEROS problem.
8. Recommend that a security platoon be attached to the 183rd to enhance local security and to facilitate better aircraft maintenance by freeing mechanics from guard duty.
ITEM: Night Flying
Discussion: Night Flying has been necessary on many occasions, especially when outposts are attacked at night. Radio relay, artillery adjustment,
(This ends the readable portion of an old hard copy of the 183rd Aviation Company’s unit history from January 1966 through 31 December, 1966.)