3/17th E-Troop was formed under the the 334th Aerial Weapons in November
1970 at Phu Loi, RVN, from units that were undergoing Vietnamization and others that started to reduce force and/or return stateside. We obtained OH-58 and UH1H type helicopters as well as about 20 Infantrymen, the "Blues", led by a 2nd Lt. out of West Point. I think we had @8 UH1's, 5 OH58A observation helicopters, @10 UH1 pilots and six or seven OH58 pilots. We also had @15 enlisted men supporting the crew chief, gunner, and maintenance roles. Various officer-pilot types filled leadership, admin, andmaintenance roles.
The first few months were spent focusing on Cav operations as trained in conjunction with 1/9th Cav out of Phuoc Vinh, III Corps, RVN, replete with insertions and extractions, some sidebar activity supporting the 75th
Rangers in III Corps Military Zone, and the popular "sniffer" mission.
Around January/February 1971 we undertook a role supporting night search
and destroy based out of Quan Loi, III Corps. The team involved a UH1M INFANT
from a separate unit (Iroquois Night Fighting and Night Tracking - ie the
thing had infrared systems to more easily find targets at night), a
command and control UH1 of our unit, two AH1G Cobras from the 334th, and only
occasionally a separate UH1 medevac helicopter tagged along. The primary
mission was to detect NVA insurgents in the Northern part of III Corps,
This was the bulk of what I experience until I left RVN after the
completion of my one year tour in May 1971. I do not know exactly what happened
after leaving but believe the Cav Mission disolved, the Blues sent to the Xuan
Loc area where they lost quite a few people in a night ambush, some of the
OH58 pilots were shot down, no idea if any were killed. A fellow named Paul
Clergy might be able to help beyond my time of leaving.
We all wore the 334th parent unit patch, as well as additional patches
which evolved for the OH58 Scout Pilots, and another for the UH1 Utility Pilots.
I believe the OH58 pilots had a callsign of Gremlins, and the UH1 pilots
were the Peacemakers. I was Peacemaker 42.