Just the word (name) conjures up many emotions, thoughts, politics, and memories for some, but I’d like to share a few Warrior Wednesdays of those who served there.
The only thing I remember about that war is that it was going on when I was born, and by the time it was over, I still didn’t know anything about it- except seeing news footage of ‘boat people’ coming out of the country and landing on North American soil.
Over the years I’ve met many Vietnam Vets, honored to have worked with some over the years, and made lasting friendships with many as well.
A couple of years ago, I wrote an article about “Door Gunners”, as I had learned a bit more about what some of those guys did over there to help fellow troops get in and out from hot spots and it amazed me (still does) to think about what they did. It explains a little of why the sound of a Huey still has such an effect on many who were over there.
To some it’s the sound of more dead brothers being hauled out, to others, they are the sounds of mercy as they came in under intense fire to get them and their wounded brothers out alive.
Those who “stood” in the door, were targets of the enemy, but saved many lives as they would pour out machine gun fire on the enemy so ground forces could advance, they shot while guys were unloaded from the helicopters and shot enemies as the US & allied ground troops needed to be medevac’d out during heavy fighting.
I still get the odd comment on that story, some from guys who were there, others who had Dads over there. It’s amazing to me how little there is about the realities that went on over there, unless one peruses through military sites. These guys deserve to be known, and their stories heard. Even if just for their families and fellow brothers who made it home.
Helicopter crews accounted for 10% of all combat deaths in Vietnam. Helicopter losses during Lam Son 719 (which only lasted two months) accounted for 10% of all helicopter losses from 1961-1975.
I can’t tell their stories- only those who were there can.
This video was sent to me a few years ago by a friend, and I’ve had it in my military files ever since. It’s called “The Man in the Door”, and it’s narrated by Marine Michael Rierson as a tribute to the door gunners of Vietnam.
This next one was posted by one of the guys who commented on the article, he told me he “never gave it any thought that my job was more dangerous than the grunts. My company lost 11 crew members and six helicopters during that short operation, Lam Son 719. I was a door gunner during that operation and later in my Tour I was part of an Air Asset for MACVSOG. A Gunner/Chief flying missions for SOG. Those guys ARE real WARRIORS!!! Blazing the trail for what we all know now as Special Operations Personnel.”
Door Gunner/Crew Chief UH-1H
173rd Assault Helicopter Company
“Robin Hoods n Crossbows”
’71-’72, Dong Ha, Da Nang
God’s Own Lunatics…
God bless our Troops, and our Veterans. Thank you all for your service.