Friday, April 9, 2010

Chopper (127-196)


"DUSTOFF Mission in a Hot Zone (II):

Basically, a dustoff is a mission where a Helicopter lands on the ground and evacuates a wounded solider and heads back to base so that the doctors can get to him and save him in time. The main hero in this mission was Mike Novosel. He logged thousands of flight hours, and did many other great feats. Such feats included rescuing Hundreds of wounded soldiers in the frontlines of battle.

One time, he had to go get a friendly soldier. He got separated from the main force, probably because he was not paying attention to where he was going. Novosel had to go get him, all while being shot at from all directions. He was trying to maneuver his helicopter so that some of the bullets would miss. He went and rescued that soldier. He could hear rounds hitting the Huey Chopper. Dustoff's, generally meant a medical evacuation, but it could also mean a troop evacuation just to get them out of hostile territory. Basically, the Huey chopper would come in as quick as possible, and try to get out as fast as they can. It was very dangerous to preform dustoff's, but it was well worth it, saving a soldier's life.


"Was I the only pilot in Vietnam who knew that sometimes you could use maturity and knowledge to break rules?" (Dorr 205).


I never really understood why people could not do this in the armed forces. I mean, sure, you see a lot of this happening in military movies. Main characters would be breaking rules to be badass. Such as in the movie Top Gun. Tom Cruise, or the main character, "Maverick" broke so many flight regulations that you could not count how many he broke... One time he flew right over the carrier on purpose. he could have gotten kicked out of that. but then again, it's a movie.

but yes, if you have knowledge and know what you are doing, in regulation you could break rules if they are necessary.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Chopper (64-127)


"The Battle of la Drang Valley":

In 1961, there was a helicopter pilot named Leland C. Komich. He made a lot of landings under heavy fire from oppositional forces. These flights were very dangerous. His army helicopter, the UH-1 Huey could be shot down. But, he risked his life to save over 33 wounded and 7 normal infantrymen. This comes at a high price though-- your life. You're endangering your own life to save another's. That is honorable and everyone should give the most respect to these type of people. He was constantly interested in the Army. He was born and raised in Massachusetts, and enlisted in 1960 to the Army. After 4 years he had pinned a lot of pins and ribbons to his suit.

Anyways, what happened in the battle of la Drang Vally, was ....well alot of things happened. That's why it was called a Battle. While pilots such as Komich were in the Bell UH-1 Huey helicopter, they got shot at, a lot. Komich stated that "when you can hear the popping, and see the muzzle flashes, then that's when it's really, really bad". One time, he recalls that he was transporting troops some ammo, and all of a sudden a bullet from an AK-47 entered the back of his helmet. "All you could see is blood spilling all over the place". Komich then decided that he had to go back to base to get he copilot treated for this injury. it wasn't a big injury, because it said in the book it only grazed his head, but still blood splattered all over the place. Another thing that happened during this Battle was many ambushes. The helicopter sometimes goes over the hills in Vietnam, and there, waiting for it is a convoy of Vietnamese soldiers. This was bad, and you had to know how to get out of one of these situations. Quickly and swiftly, you must have known how to pilot this chopper.

The main reason why it was called a battle was because there were a lot of casualties, and frequent ambushes, and many other things such as bullets being shot at the helicopters.

"When Dallas Harper's Helicopter went down right in the middle of the la Drang Battle, we had a lot of complicated things to think about." (Dorr 95)

I could imagine that they have a lot of things to worry about. Such as bullets flying everywhere, when you're trying to save one of you're buddies. things were tough in that battle, and I could not even comprehend the way it must feel to have bullets being shot in your direction. Must have a lot of adrenaline...

Chopper (1-64)


For this term's ROAR book, I chose "Chopper" by Robert F. Dorr. This is a book about this history of American Military Helicopter Operations. This book has a wide variety of mission, it has them ranging from World War 2 to the War on Terror.

"A Night Mission That Couldn't Happen":
Captain Richard Kirkland was a pilot of a H-5 Chopper. While he was partying, the phone rang. It was a lieutenant, and he said that he had a soldier, shot in the darkness. He was oing to die if he didn't get help before dawn. But this soon became a problem, a big problem. The H-5 Chopper could not be flown at night. it had to light, or navigation equipment to support it. Another reason why it couldn't fly at night was because it was against regulations.

But, to save a life, you must risk something. Going into enemy territory was dangerous-- especially at night without any lights. How did they get to the wounded solider, you ask? The wounded soldier was lucky, he had US Army troops around him and they flashed truck lights so the H-5 chopper knew where to land. As soon as it landed, Roger(the medic), bounced out and went to retrieve the wounded soldier. As soon as he was on board they took off. When they were just in the air, they heard, and saw "little red golf balls" coming towards them/ The Vietnamese were shooting at them. The H-5 was being shot, and the helicopter was struggling to leave the hostile situation. But for some reason, the enemy fire stopped. As soon as it stopped, they were back on there way home.

The wounded soldier lived.

"Abruptly, they stopped shooting. I don't know why." (Dorr 46)

That had me wondering too. WHY, did they stop shooting. They has a perfect visual of where the helicopter was. The helicopter was making some lgiht from the exhaust. This way, it could move. But then again it wasn't made for night flying. It was especially dangerous when you're flying at night, not to mention if you have fire coming from the exhaust. But...why did they stop shooting. The world will never know..