Official report by C Troop commander, provided by Leslie Hines (americal.org), Edited by Steve Davis
7TH SQUADRON, 17TH AIR CAVALRY
1ST AVIATION BRIGADE
5 October 1967 – 31 December 1968
Prepared by CPT EDWARD F JOHNSON
JERRY G. LEDFORD
CAMP ENARI, DRAGON MOUNTAIN, REPUBLIC OF VIETNAM
APO SAN FRANCISCO 96262
DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY
7TH ARMORED SQUADRON, 17TH AIR CAVALRY
APO SAN FRANCISCO 96262
HISTORY OF C TROOP
This document is a summary of the activities of “C” Troop, 7th Armored Squadron, 17th Air Cavalry. It covers the period from activation until 31 December 1966. Some facts have been omitted, not because they were unimportant, but due to the lank of data. However, the facts presented herein present certain aspects of the troop’s background which otherwise might be forgotten. For the relatively short time that our “Charlie” Troop has existed, we have moved fast and have accomplished much. However, this is only the beginning. With the spirit and the zeal which is inherent to the unit, C Troop continues to build what will ultimately be a long, proud, and admirable history.
JERRY G. LEDFORD
5th Unit Patch of
7TH ARMORED SQUADRON, 17TH AIR CAVALRY
The squadron patch is only available on OD cloth with black characters. The horse shoe centered in the patch represents the horse cavalry of our heritage which the superimposed lightning bolt represents the speed, power, and strength that air and ground vehicles have given the modern cavalry. The flasher with the words RUTHLESS RIDERS appears beneath the circular area. The avionics door on the nose of all 7th Squadron UH-1H and AH-1G helicopters bears a white horse shoe with yellow lightning bolt on a black background.
DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY
LINEAGE AND HONOR
7th SQUADRON, 17th CAVALRY
Constituted 1 July 1916 in the Regular Army as Troop G, 17th Cavalry and organized at Fort
Inactivated 26 September 1921 at the Presidio of Monterey, California
Redesignated 1 July 1940 as Troop G, 17th Cavalry (Corps Reconnaissance)
Disbanded 9 March 1951 Reconstituted May 1959 in the Regular Army as Troop G, 17th Cavalry
Activated 6 December 1962 at Fort Ord, California
Inactivated 31 August 1965 at Fort Ord, California
Redesignated 27 September 1966 as Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 7th Squadron, 17th
Cavalry (organic elements concurrently reconstituted)
Activated 25 November 1966 at Fort Knox, Kentucky
CAMPAIGN PARTICIPATION CREDIT
World War II
THE UNIT EMBLEM
OF TROOP C
The C Troop patch was designed by Warrant Officer Robert Allen James, a member of C Troop from October 1967 to December 1968. It contains a black horse with wings of fire before a yellow background with a red border. The numerical notation of 17 in blue above the horse represents the 17th Squadron, and the troop’s motto on the flag below the crest is blue on a white background with a red border.
The patch reflects the tradition and proud history of the horse cavalry of ages past and the air cavalry of today’s army as Troop C issues its challenge. The patch is available in cloth with the above mentioned colors and as a pressure sensitive decal that appears on both sides of all of Troop C aircraft.
On 5 October 1967 Troop C, 2nd Squadron, 17th Cavalry was formed at Fort Campbell, Kentucky as part of the reconnaissance element of the 101st Airborne Division. Troop C was placed in the unusual position of having a full complement of officers and enlisted men, but only 5 OH-23G ravens for its aviation assets.. Because of this C Troop did not deploy to the Republic of Vietnam with the 101st and the ground troops of the 2nd Squadron, 17th Cavalry.
This period of time between 5 October and the end of December 1968 was an important time in the history of C Troop. C Troop, commanded by Major Robert W. Frost, was given the mission of moving the 101st Divisions Support Command to the Republic of Vietnam. The movement of the 101st Division to the Republic of Viet Nam was a joint Army and Air Force operation called Operation Eagle Thrust which to date is the largest airlift, in the history of the Army, of a unit into a combat situation.
Major Frost was the movement officer for the 101st Divisions Support Command which included the men and equipment of the Divisions Headquarter and Headquarters Company, Military Intelligence Section, the Division’s Hospital and Medical Battalion, the 506 Signal Battalion, the 2nd Maintenance Battalion, the 101st Aviation Battalion, and the 2nd Squadron, 17th Cavalry.
To handle this task, Major Frost turned the officers and men of C Troop into deployment teams to facilitate the .movement of the Division Support Command.
Captain Michael Law, the gun platoon leader and his platoon were given the responsibility of running the Support Command Marshaling area. LTs Douglas P. Hammond and Edward F. Johnson and their Scout Section wore assigned to the Squadron as movement officers. The Lift Platoon under the command of Captain Robert Davis were responsible for running the weighing stations and computations of all equipment in the Division Support Command.
As Operation Eagle Thrust went from the planning phase into the execution phase, C Troop’s officers and enlisted men started to work in 12 hour shifts 24 hours a day. After the Squadron departed Fort Campbell, LT’s Hammond and Johnson became trouble shooters for the Support Command. They went to a unit prior to their movement and inspected personnel and equipment so that faults could be corrected before their arrival in the marshaling area.
In the marshaling area under the command of Captain Law, they broke the units down into aircraft loads, which was a constant battle as equipment was deleted and added while still trying to maintain unit integrity.
It is with great pride and a fooling of accomplishment that C Troop looks back at the part it played in Operation Eagle Thrust and the movement of the 101st Airborne Division to the Republic of Viet Nam.
Troop C received its aircraft on or around the first of January 1968, and the troop began its training cycle for deployment to the Republic of Vietnam scheduled for the first part of June 1968.
The last two weeks in March were spent in the field conducting the troop‘s FTX under the command of Major Frost. C Troop originally located itself at area 28 on the Fort Campbell reservation. As the troop developed its tactics and methods of employment, Major Frost moved the base of operations several times from area 28 to the various drop lanes on the reservation while still conducting its FTX. The troop learned many things during its two week FTX, among them arctic survival, as snow and freezing rain were the prevalent weather conditions. The troop underwent two ATT’s in the month of April. The first was conducted by the 6th Infantry Division Aviation Battalion at Fort Campbell. The second was conducted at Camp Atterbury Indiana by the First of the Ninth Air Cavalry from Fort Knox, Kentucky. During those two ATT’s C Troop finalized its tactics and benefited greatly from the assistance given to C Troop by the l/9 Air Cavalry through its training week.
On 1 May 1968, Troop C, 2nd Squadron, 17th Cavalry was redesignated Troop C, 7th squadron, 17th Air Cavalry by general orders 116 dated 27 April 1968, This change of unit designation involved a major upheaval in C Troop. C Troop changed from the Air Troop in a ground Cavalry Squadron to an Air Cavalry Troop in an Air Cavalry Squadron. This change involved a new TOE in which the major change was the elimination of our old maintenance platoon.
By the end of May 1968, C Troop had completed its training for deployment to the Republic of. Viet Nam and had prepared its aircraft and vehicles for shipment. The aircraft were flown to Sharp Army Depot in Stockton California from Fort Campbell by the members of Troop C. Those who took part in the operation planned by Captain Robert Davis will long remember the flight and the various RON locations. The vehicle and Conex containers left Mobile, Alabama on the 10th of June, 1968 as the American Corsair bound for Qui Nhon, Republic of Vietnam. On 4 July our advanced party commanded by Major William T Glover left Fort Campbell and arrived on 6 July at Camp Enari, Pleiku, Republic of Vietnam. On 15 July, the main body of Troop C departed Fort Campbell. on an Air Force C-141 and arrived at Now Pleiku Air Base? Republic of Vietnam on 16 July 1968. On 20 July, the rear detachment arrived in Pleiku on a C-141. On 10 August, our vehicles and Conexes arrived by convoy from Qui Nhon, Our troop’s aircraft arrived aboard the aircraft Carrier Kula Gulf from California and were flown to Camp Enari on 10 July 1968. As the troop prepared its men and equipment and improved its living quarters in an effort to become operational, a new TOE became effective and C. Troop turned in its Charlie model gunships and replaced thorn with the newer AH1-G Cobra. This introduced a new problem because C Troop did not have any aviators qualified in the AH-1G, By infusion of aviators and enlisted personnel, the troop became operational on 1 September 1968, and began to make its presence known in the .Central Highlands.
From September 1, 1968 until December 31, 1968, Troop C provided support for the Fourth Infantry Division. During this time, the troop activity consisted mainly of visual reconnaissance in the Division AO in support of the First and Third Brigades.
Activity during this time was extremely light and contacts were few and far between, consisting mainly of assisting Long Range Patrols in contact and a few LRP extractions and medical missions. Troop C had its first major contact and lost its first aircraft, an 0H-6A piloted by LT Edward F. Johnson and LT Patrick T. Murphy, on 27 October 1968, The Troop made contact with a platoon sized force and killed twelve enemy with their AH-1G’s and OH-6’s. A squad from the troop’s Aero-rifle platoon was inserted to search the bodies for intelligence purposes, but they immediately came under intense automatic weapons fire. After several hours of heavy contact, during which the LOH was shot down: the rest of the Aero-rifle Platoon was inserted along with an infantry company from the Third-Brigade. A mechanized Infantry platoon, also from the Third Brigade, later arrived on the scene and contact was broken by the enemy around 1800 hours. The Aero-rifle platoon and the downed aircraft crew were extracted leaving the ‘ mechanized infantry platoon and the infantry company to secure the area. Troop C was credited with thirty-six confirmed kills and later intelligence maintained that Troop C had made contact with a battalion sized force. During the week of 10 to 17 November, Troop C encountered heavy enemy contact on an almost daily basis along the Cambodian border near Due Co. During this week, Major Robert Frost had one Command and Control helicopter shot up causing him to crash land at LZ Vera and a second Command and Control Helicopter received several hits from two fifty caliber positions. Although Troop C aircraft were receiving intense anti-aircraft fire and aircraft hits, they were able to maintain mission ready status and halt the enemy advance, which turned into a retreat towards Cambodia.
On 24 November 1968, Major Robert Frost turned over his Command to Major Jerry Ledford. From this period until 11 December, Troop C continued its reconnaissance in support of the First and Third Brigades, but enemy activity in the area was extremely light.
COMMAND AND CONTROL
MAJ Jackie M. Howard 31 Jan 67 to 12 July 67
CPT Jams F. Willoughdy 14 Jul 67 to 20 Sept 67
CPT William T. Glover 20 Sep 67 to 7 Oct 67
MAJ Robert W. Frost 7 Oct to 24 Nov 68
MAJ Jerry G. Ledford 24 Nov 68 to Present
LT Michael L. Bogdua 6 May 67 to 23 Oct 67
Vacant 23 Oct 67 to 20 Dec 67
CPT William T. Clover 20 Dec 67 to 1 Apr 68
LT Michael G. Law 1 Apr 68 to 3 May 68
MAJ William T. Glover 3 May 68 to 10 Jun 68
LT Wayne E. Overturf 10 Jun 68 to 8 Nov 68
CPT James H. Ray 8 Nov 68 to Present
CW2 Frank L. Wendt 6 May67 to 23 Oct 67
LT Michael L. Bogdue 23 Oct 67 to 13 Feb 68
CPT Robert B. Davis 13 Feb 68 to 20 Jul 68
MAJ William T. Glover 20 Jul 68 to 14 Sep 68
CPT James H. Ray 4 Sep 68 to 8 Nov 68
CPT Edward F. Johnson 8 Nov 68 to Present
AERO WEAPONS PLATOON
Vacant 31 Jan 67 to 8 Oct 67
CPT Michael G. Law 8 Oct 67 to 10 Oct 68
CPT James L. Phifer 10 Oct 66 to 2 Nov 66
LT Douglas P. Hammond 2 Nov 68 to Present
CPT James H. Ray 4 Oct 67 to 4 Sep 68
LT Edward F. Johnson Sep 68 to 8 Nov 68
LT David D. Register 8 Nov 68 to Present
CPT Robert B. Davis 10 Oct 67 to 13 Feb 68
LT James L. Phifer 13 Feb 68 to 20 Jul 68
CPT Robert B. Davis 20 Jul 68 to 8 Oct 68
CW2 Joseph P. Sustarich 6 May 67 to 10 Oct 67
CPT Joseph Laehu 10 Oct 67 to 1 Sep 68
CW2 Robert L. Kinlaw 1 Sep 68 to Present
AERO RIFLE PLATOON LEADER
LT Forest E. Kay 2 Aug 68 to 10 Oct 68
LT Charles L Campbell 10 Oct 66 to Present
SFC Larry J. Baker 6 May 67 to 10 Sep 67
1SG Harry L. Turner 10 Sep 67 to Present
AERO WEAPONS PLATOON SERGEANT
SP5 Herman 6 May 67 to 15 Nov 67
SP6 Earl R. Dakin 15 Nov 67 to 20 Dec 67
SP5 Thomas Sweeney 20 Dec 67 15 Sep 68
SP6 Earl R. Dakin 5 Sep 68 to 20 Nov 68
SFC Robert R. Noggle 20 Nov 68 to Present
SCOUT PLATOON SERGEANT
SP5 Gary R. Plassman 1 Nov 67 to 6 May 68
SFC Ronald L. White 6 May to Present
LIFT PLATOON SERGEANT
SP5Russell P. Verdine 6 Hay 67 to 10 Sop 68
SFC Robert 0. Noggle 10 Sep 68 to Present
SGT Marcus Mclain 6 May 67 to 10 Aug 67
SFC Joseph A. Garcia 10 Aug 67 to 5 Dec 67
SFC Lester H. Turner 5 Dec 67 to Present
AERO RIFLE PLATOON SERGEANT
Vacant 6 May 67 to 18 May 67
SFG Clinton A. Eckley 18 May 67 to 18 Sep 68
SFC Aquayo J. Alicea 16 Sep 68 to Present
VIETNAMESE CROSS OF GALLANTRY WITH SILVER STAR
DISTINGUISHED FLYING CROSS
BRONZE STAR WITH V
AIR MEDAL WITH V
SP4 Edward J. Maslyn 27 Octoher 1968