Participating in every major battle and virtually every operation in
then III Corps area, the "Thunderbirds" had distinguished" themselves in
the battle of Dong Xoai, Operation Attleboro, Operation Cedar Falls, Operation
Junction City; and more recently the Battle of Loc Ninh and the defense
of Bien Hoa, Long Binh, and Saigon. The men who make up the heart of the
"Thunderbirds" have built its reputation to what it is today, and they
will be remembered throughout the history of Army Aviation for their contributions.
During the month of August, the 118th completed the final phase of their long anticipated move to the higher aircraft availability. The modern and larger aircraft hangers can handle up to six aircraft at one time, and the offices, parts section, and tool room are conveniently located inside. The modern and more complex revetments offer maximum protection against in-coming rocket and mortar rounds.
The "Thunderbirds" will have proud memories of past operations and missions that have won distinction for their unit. The battle of Loc Ninh, and Bu Dop, and the defense of Song Be and Bien Hoa will always be remembered as major operations in which the 118th Assault Helicopter Company demonstrated extraordinary valor. Individual acts of heroism were commonplace not only in these major battles but throughout the year. There was the helicopter door-gunner who jumped from his aircraft and ran after a retreating Viet Cong. He grabbed him with his left hand and carried him back to his ship, dodging heavy enemy fire all the way. As his helicopter climbed out of the area, the gunner managed to kill several Viet Cong with his suppressive fire. Just west of Chu Chi, another gunner jumped from his hovering aircraft into a river, where another helicopter had been shot down. He pulled the drowning aircraft commander to safety.
A company operation once pulled a group of CIDG personnel from a LZ
that was so overgrown with elephant grass the helicopters were completely
engulfed upon setdown.
Another operation at Minh Chon reeked havoc upon the enemy. Returning to Minh Chon from a refueling stop, the "Bandits" found that the compound had just come under heavy Viet Cong attack. Catching the guerrillas by complete surprise, they quickly repelled the attack.
To a "Thunderbird", a successful day is one in which the enemy has been
destroyed in number, as evidence by the day when they killed 79 Viet Cong.
Encountering a heavily entrenched enemy force north of Tan Uyen, the gunships
went to work on he base camp area. After eight heliborne assaults, the
Viet Cong were still firing back, but the "Thunderbirds" had already taken
When a ground commander puts out the call that his troops are in heavy contact and request immediate helicopter fire support to repel the enemy, "Thunderbird 6" replies, "IT SHALL BE DONE".