Dustoff in Vietnam

Discussion in 'Vietnam Memories Forum' started by Guest, Mar 6, 2003.

  1. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Senior Chief Moderator II
    Posts: 556
    (5/19/01 7:59:31 am)
    | Del All Dustoff in Vietnam
    As some of you know, I spent my tour in Vietnam as a helicopter pilot with the 45th Medical Company Air Ambulance, headquartered in Long Binh, supporting all of the III corps area, much of the IV corps area, and a small part of II corps area. The company had 24 UH-1H model hueys and a full compliment of trained crews, support, and admin personnel.

    As the article below points out, Dustoff changed the way we did battle in Vietnam. We saw to a limited degree the value of helicopter evacuation in Korea, but fully put to use the helicopter in Vietnam in multiple roles such as transport, scout, attack, and of course Dustoff.

    Beyond the comfort of knowing Dustoff was a radio call away, the following article points out that tactically, we fought differently because of it.

    As an interesting sidenote, in the article someone brings attention to the fact that Dustoff wouldn't go into a particular area because of intense fire. A couple slicks (transport UH-1's) went in and made the rescue. Chickens? I don't think so. Everywhere we went and every mission we did was generally to where the action was. Can't remember a day during my tour that I didn't take some sort of fire during some mission (even during "truces"). If you ever watch The History Channel, you'll see Dustoff as one of their "Suicide Missions". During Tet '68, we had 110% of our aircraft shot down.........go figure.

    For those unfamiliar, I think you'll enjoy what is said about the role of Dustoff in Vietnam.

    Dustoff 22 {67-68}
    45 Med Co (AA)

    Reconsidering the Role of Dustoff

    (EXCERPT) Within the general evolution of the art of war, the conflict
    in Vietnam was notable for several novel and important features that
    were destined to become irreversible. Among these were such things as
    the helicopter gunship, the electronic battlefield and even the
    hush-hush array of satellite-based surveillance assets. All of these
    are powerful tactical factors that we today seem to take pretty much
    for granted, to the extent that from our present perspective, a
    generation later, we may overlook the significance of their original
    development. We tend to forget that a large number of the key elements
    of modern warfare were totally new in 1965, and that it was the
    Vietnam War that first allowed them to be explored and deployed under
    the stresses of real and mortal combat.

    From the viewpoint of troops on the ground in Vietnam, the innovation
    that made by far the greatest impact was not directly tactical at all,
    but actually medical in nature. This was the casualty evacuation
    helicopter, or "dustoff," which could whisk a wounded man to a
    well-equipped aid station within minutes, and from there to a base
    hospital within a few hours.


    Edited by: dap22 at: 5/19/01 9:15:44 am

    Senior Chief Moderator III
    Posts: 194
    (5/19/01 5:48:53 pm)
    | Del Re: Dustoff in Vietnam
    Dave...were it not for you guys and the life-saving techniques you developed, there would be a lot of lives lost today from accidents and such. You all paved the road to success that is enjoyed today!!!

    Posts: 731
    (5/19/01 10:37:19 pm)
    | Del
    Re: Dustoff in Vietnam
    Thumbs up Dave!

    The Firearms Forum Vietnam Memories Bulletin Board Contact Administrator

    Posts: 925
    (5/20/01 12:13:06 am)
    | Del Re: Dustoff in Vietnam
    YOU DA..................PILOT!

    Great post! I am one of the unfamiliar ones and it's
    nice to read more about "Dustoff."

    Welcome Home Dave and Thank You.


    Posts: 120
    (5/21/01 12:17:00 pm)
    | Del Re: Dustoff in Vietnam
    Excellent post Dave. The Golden Hour was conquered thanks to Dustoff and many lives have been saved. Our hats are off to all who made it happen. I know for a fact that most of the AC that dropped casualites off at my plac in Phu Bai had more than one bullet hole in them. Don't think there were many "chicken" crews there. At least I never met one.

    Take care, Gene

    V.I.P. Member
    Posts: 31
    (5/21/01 9:54:45 pm)
    | Del Re: Dustoff in Vietnam

    I spoke into my prc-25 more then I care to remember,
    “I need a DUSTOFF”! You always came, always…

    Thanks Brother, Welcome Home.

    P. Gary

    Senior Chief Moderator II
    Posts: 576
    (5/23/01 6:38:14 pm)
    | Del Re: Dustoff in Vietnam
    Many thanks to you all for the kind words. It was the luck of the draw (being assigned to a dustoff unit) and I'm glad I got picked to fly that particular mission. I am proud to have served this country despite the idiots that ran the shooting match (mainly our politicians at the time I'm speaking of).

    Posts: 627
    (5/24/01 6:48:58 pm)
    | Del Re: Dustoff in Vietnam
    Without a doubt some of the bravest and most commendable men in the Nam were the Dust Off crews. Can't imagine the number of lives and limbs were saved due directly to their willingness to brave fire.

    Never enough Thank You's to ya's Dave.

    All Medical personnel to boot.
    ...and two hard boiled eggs.

    Posts: 312
    (5/24/01 9:40:58 pm)
    | Del
    Re: Dustoff in Vietnam
    Dave-from anything I've ever heard or read chopper pilots in general and Dustoff pilots in particular had some of the biggest brass ones in SE Asia. I know that you'll probably try to tell us you were just doing your job, but I think anyone you guys saved would call it much more than that. My hat's off to all of you!

    Edited by: Indybear57 at: 5/24/01 10:42:14 pm

    Senior Chief Moderator II
    Posts: 587
    (5/25/01 8:44:43 am)
    | Del Re: Dustoff in Vietnam
    Homer & Mike: Many thanks. But like most everyone else who was there, we were young and foolish and just plain didn't really know any better. Those of us who made it are much wiser for the experience but also are much more wary..
    of many things.