2nd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment 1967-68

Company B, 2nd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) Bravo Company, 2nd Bn, 8th Cav Regt. 1st Cavalry Division Bravo, 2-8th Cav - Co B, 2-8th Cav Regt. - B Co, 2-8 Cav Co B, 2/8 Cav Regt. - Co B, 2-8 Cav, 1st Cav Div - B/2-8, 1st Cavalry Div - B 2/8, 1st Cav Div

Remember the one-man combat assault?

When on the first wave of a combat assault, it was standard procedure to move out on the skids of the Hueys as we made our approach to the landing zone (LZ) so that we could off load rapidly. We had been assigned a mission of destroying an enemy force close to a hill on the Bong Son Plains, and Blackfoot was in the first wave of the combat assault with six choppers flying in a diamond formation. There was an artillery preparation on the LZ and gunships were in the process of making their runs firing rockets and machine guns. The last round of an artillery preparation is a Willie Pete (white phosphorus), signaling that it was now clear to land.

As we were making our approach to land, we moved out on the skids and while we could hear the artillery rounds overhead and see them exploding on the LZ, there was no sign of a Willie Pete. We were about 30-50 feet above the ground when the Huey pilots received word to abort the landing because the artillery preparation was still ongoing.

As we all scrambled to get back inside the choppers, the poor pilots tried to maintain control, turn around, gain altitude and stay out of the flight path of artillery rounds.  I remember getting back into a shaking, quivering, groaning helicopter and see nothing but tall elephant grass covering the pilots' windshield. After shuddering into a hover, we were able to clear the hill and start back on another landing run. While making our second approach to the LZ, I noticed a body on the ground and assumed it was an enemy soldier. On landing, we took no notice of the person lying on the ground and hustled on by to set up a perimeter. Receiving no fire, we began to relax and I noticed our medic attending to a trooper from our platoon. I was curious so I went over to see what was going on. The poor fellow’s clothing was ripped to shreds and he was covered with abrasions, but nothing appeared to be broken. When I asked what had happened, he simply stated that on the first pass he had lost his balance and fell off the skids. Of course, since he had plenty of forward motion as he slid at impact on to hard packed gravel, his clothing was completely shredded. He was certainly glad that we had come back because he was beginning to think that the aborted landing meant that our unit had been given another mission somewhere else. (Prepared by Gene Hedberg)



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