I shipped out to Vietnam in late August of 1970. I landed at Camh Rahn bay. After a few days of in processing I was assigned to troop B, 1/9 Cavalry, Airmobile. B troop was at a place called Bear Cat at that time. I was assigned to a Huey lift ship called "Triple Nickel" (the last three digits of the serial number were 5). My crew chief was Sgt. Robert Fields. I started flying right away. We flew combat missions for B troop for a couple of weeks then "Triple Nickel" and her crew were sent to Lai Khe. We met up with several choppers and crew from a variety of other Cav units there and troop E, 1/9 Cav was formed.
The Red (Gun) platoon was made up of Cobra gun ships with their Pilots and Co-pilots. The Blue (lift) platoon was made up of Huey "lift" ships, each with a pilot, co-pilot, crew chief and gunners. They were used to transport the troops infantry personnel who were called "Blues". The White platoon was made up of Loaches, (Light observation helicopters, each with a pilot + observer or gunner), small bubble top choppers that flew at tree top level, following trails and scouting for V.C. activity. They were called "Aero Scouts". To my understanding all Air Cav troops had a price on their head. If an N.V.A. private brought in a Cav patch he would get extra rations. We wroked in Hunter-Killer teams with the scouts flying tree top level drawing fire. Once they engaged the V.C. or N.V.A. the gun ships would prep the area with 17 pound rockets. Some of the rockets were loaded with small metal darts called fletchettes. While this was happening the mission commander would determine a good place for a landing zone (L.Z.). We would load up the blues assigned to our chopper and do an insertion. Usually we went in "hot", peppering the tree line with M60 machine gun fire as we dropped off the blues in the L.Z. We would then return to base and wait to be called back for a pick up. The Scouts would follow the blues on the ground giving cover fire with the M60s. The blues would follow the trail, fire fighting, looking for bunkers, tunnels, weapons caches (storage locations for rice, weapons and ammunition) and booby traps. When the trail turned cold, or very hot we would find an L.Z. and fly in to pick them up. The process would start all over again, day after day.
E troop had a policy that each crew member would draw a Non-combat mission every 7th day. One day it would be "Triple Nickel" and her crew, the next day it would be another ship and her crew. We would take day reports and other paperwork to headquarters on these missions. Once there we would pick up new recruits, mail and orders. One of my favorites was delivering mail to the MARS stations on Nui Ba Dinh or Nui Ba Rha. We would start circling the mountain slowly. With every circle we made we would get a little higher and a little higher. When you looked down all you could see trees. When you looked up all you could see was clouds. After a while we would break into the clouds and then all you could see clouds! After we broke through there was blue sky and we continued to circle our way to the top and land on a small helicopter pad. The air up there was very light and clear. The view was like no other I had ever seen. We dropped off the mail, picked up mail and sometimes personnel. Then we lifted off and reversed the process, circling around and around back down through the clouds and back to Headquarters to drop off what we had picked up and pick up anyone or anything that might need to head back to E troop with us. The next day we were back in the air over the battlefield.
Roger Snow B / E troop 1/9 Cav.