By Chuck Gross
I slowly diminished the collective (pitch regulate) as we started our descentinto touchdown area Delta. All hell was once breaking free. The Firebirdgunships have been laying down hide as they screamed at the side of us. Theirminiguns have been puffing smoke, making a song their loud, yet widespread sound.Their rockets have been yelling out loud, screaming sounds as they flewpast. I informed my workforce, ''Go hot.'' My team leader and gunner unlockedtheir guns and opened hearth. The noise was once deafening. Our heli-copter felt as though it used to be coming alive from the shuddering and shakingfrom her weapons. Tracers have been flying in all instructions. worry and terrorsaturated the air
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Extra info for Rattler one-seven. A Vietnam helicopter pilots war story.
Our false confidence in this wired perimeter was soon shattered. The scout began his penetration of the perimeter crawling on his belly. With one hand, and then the other, he would pick and lift the wire snaking his body back and forth, quickly working his way through that hell of a tangled mess. In and out, down and through the wire he maneuvered. It took him less than sixty seconds to crawl through the perimeter without making the slightest sound, destroying any security we felt this type of perimeter offered.
Due to this type of tactic, our area of operation (AO) had several fire-support bases (FSB) to give the necessary artillery support. Another concept that was introduced in Vietnam warfare was air mobility. The army would use the helicopter to transport the troops and their supplies while working in their AO. When the enemy was located, helicopters quickly transported the infantry soldiers into battle. These insertions were referred to as combat assaults. Air mobility was the job of the 71st AHC.
We would be celebrating the Fourth of July a few weeks early, and we would be the grand finale. As we set our damaged bird down in the field, our high ship hovered down beside us. Within seconds, the AC shut our bird down. We grabbed our equipment and guns, ran over, and climbed into the high ship. As soon as our entire crew was on board, the high ship took off, and we headed back to our company’s flight line to pick up another bird, so that we could continue our mission. Operations would have to send Snakedoctor out to repair our bird.