Vietnam War

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Huey helicopters in Vietnam. Camp Reasoner (DaNang) between 1967-1971. 282nd Assault Helicopter Company "Black Cats". - Colin Stevens' Collection. 
VIETNAM_WAR_SAFE_CONDUCT_PASS_front.jpg (36225 bytes)
VIETNAM_WAR_SAFE_CONDUCT_PASS_back.jpg (35450 bytes) Click on pictures to enlarge.
Safe Conduct pass (front and back views) brought back from Vietnam by a Canadian on the ICCS mission.

Canada was not officially involved in the Vietnam War, though thousands of Canadians did volunteer to serve there, and many of them died there. 

A friend of mine Rick Warke served in Vietnam with USMC Force Recon and I donated his uniform and kit to the Canadian War Museum. His uniform is on display representing the 10,000 or so Canadians who served in that war. 

During that time I served in the Canadian Forces - first in the naval reserve as an Ordinary Seaman, and then in the infantry as an officer. As such we had minor glimpses of the Vietnam war, other than the news broadcasts. In San Diego we tied up next to a ship that had rocket damage to the bridge - apparently sustained while on the Mekong River in South Vietnam\. On army exercises, we sometimes encountered Vietnam vets serving in the US reserve military forces. At least two veterans came and joined my regiment, the Seaforth Highlanders of Canada. 

They found it hard to fit in. We "gung-ho" junior officers loved the chance to talk with combat vets, but senior officers often had difficulty understanding the vets. One vet was shell shocked and did not work out. Rick Warke on the other hand was fine, just gung-ho and unconventional (which I loved). He later served in the regular army with 3PPCLI, then the US Navy and eventually as a USMC sniper instructor in Okinawa.

Here are some photographs that I acquired in the 1970s. They were left behind in a house by a Vietnam veteran. I do not know his name. I do not know the exact locations (other than the airstrip) and would welcome any information. One of the photos shows helicopters of the US 282nd Assault Helicopter Company "Black Cats" (their web site is at http://home.earthlink.net/~blackcat27/ ). Some photos show US soldiers of the 101st "Screaming Eagles" airborne division armed with M60 machinegun. Others show ARVN troops carrying M16 and M1 Garand rifles.  More photos will be added as time permits.  I have 12 colour and 7 B&W. 

Any information would be appreciated. Colin Stevens seaforth72 (at) telus.net 

My comments are below each picture. Here is a response from a Vietnam veteran of this unit.

From: "Jeff Nowell" <jeffn123 (at) sbcglobal.net> Reply-To: <jnowell (at) ix.netcom.com>

Subject: Definitely Black Cats 

Date: Mon, 4 Oct 2004 17:41:56 -0700  Hi, I served with the 282nd AHC "Black Cats" in Vietnam.  ... I imagine others might have mentioned this, but the helicopters were *definitely* from the Black Cats. That was our emblem. The four helicopters shown are all "slicks," used for carrying troupes and supplies. You can see the black M-60 machine gun in stowed position (barrel pointing down) on the left side of the right front helicopter behind the open cargo space. The "gun ships" went by the name "Alley Cats" and had a different emblem on the nose, a black cat with a machine gun, also on a yellow background. Here's a link: http://home.earthlink.net/~blackcat27/282hist.htm  The emblem was adopted in 1967, so the date of the pic was no earlier than that. The black cats served in Vietnam until 1971, so it is no later than that. I don't recognize the location. The 282nd served throughout I Corps, which meant generally N of Da Nang. Judging from the lack of fortifications, I would say it was someplace remote and possibly temporary. 

Thanks for posting the pic, Jeff

xxx---xxx

      The choppers sitting on the LZ in the photo on your website are at what was Camp Reasoner (DaNang), former home of 3rd Recon Bn., 1st. Recon Bn. & 1st Force Recon Co. USMC. I was in country when the LZ was paved by the Seabees. Part of it is sited over what was a cemetery and the graves had to be moved  with the attendant ceremonies to another location. Seems like that took a lot longer to do than the paving. Part of Hill 327 is in the back ground and 1st Marine Division HdQtrs would have been to the right, up the hillside and back. If you go to "wardogs.com"  click on Photo Gallery and then 1st Marine Division HQ you'll get a broader perspective of the LZ.
                                                                                               Semper Fi,
                                                                                                                Dale Stout USMC 1966-1970
                                                                                                                RVN 1967-68
                                                                                                                H&S Platoon, Motor Transport Section
                                                                                                                1st Force Reconnaissance Company

dstout47 (at) cox.net

 

Hueys_Black_Cat_282_Asslt_Helo_Co_CMS.jpg (60605 bytes) Huey_side_colour_CMS.jpg (46060 bytes)
" "Slick" troop carrying Huey helicopters on the base LZ Camp Reasoner (DaNang),. 282nd Assault Helicopter Company "Black Cats".
Huey lifting off. 
Huey_landing_hillside_compound_mor_pit.jpg (70370 bytes) Huey_81mm_Mortar_pit.jpg (84945 bytes)
Huey approaching to land at a hilltop LZ and firebase. Note the 81 mm mortar pit in the foreground. A detailed photo of that is shown to the right here. 
Close-up of the same 81 mm mortar pit. Note the fire extinguisher against the far wall and the ready supply of ammunition. It appears to be sector final defensive fire and the tube is almost vertical. 
ARVN_staff_&_flag.jpg (61216 bytes) ARVN_truck.jpg (54783 bytes)
Army of Vietnam (ARVN) soldier carrying flag staff and flag. Purple flag with "21" 
Truck just passing ARVN soldiers.
ARVN_civy.jpg (44146 bytes) ARVN_tower.jpg (81983 bytes)
Civilian passing ARVN soldiers. 
ARVNs passing a building and tower. 
ARVN_2_men_M16.jpg (58029 bytes) ARVN_sand_pit.jpg (56225 bytes)
ARVNs with M16 rifles on a road.
ARVN with M16s. Contact not expected as second man from right has his casually over his shoulder. 
US_troops_with_M60s.jpg (53567 bytes) US_soldiers_M60_hoochie_machete.jpg (90739 bytes)
US troops with M60 machineguns. Getting ready to move out? 
US soldiers in the bush with M60 machinegun. Not expecting trouble as M60 is not set up. Hoochie made from a poncho. A machete is lying on the ground. 
M60_close_country.jpg (111083 bytes) Huey_on_field_LZ.jpg (54592 bytes)
M60 machinegun with ammo belt draped over it, and ammo can. Note the close country. 
Huey on the ground. Note the M-60 machinegun mounted on the centre-post and pointing downwards.
Huey_rear_view.jpg (39926 bytes)
US_soldiers_cooking_meal_in_bush.jpg (92428 bytes)
Huey, rear view, probably as it is lifting off from a field LZ. 
Two US soldiers cooking meal in bush. Probably 101 Airborne Division.
Hoochie_in_bush_boots_face.jpg (93834 bytes)
Hoochiein_bush_M60.jpg (95137 bytes)
Hoochie made from a poncho in the bush. Boots in foreground. One soldier facing camera, another's bare shoulder is visible on right. 
Hoochie in bush, with M60 in centre. 
101_AB_map_reading.jpg (77470 bytes)
101_AB_soldier_in_bush_resting.jpg (69396 bytes)
101 Airborne Division soldier reading a map or newspaper?
101 Airborne Division soldier resting in the bush. 
101_AB_subdued_patch.jpg (36079 bytes)
US 101st "Screaming Eagles" Airborne Division subdued patch for wear in the field. The soldiers in the photos above are wearing full colour patches as those were the orders until 1975, though apparently a few subdued patches were made "in-country". (ref.  This patch was acquired surplus. 
 
Source of information: "I noticed your reference to a lack of 101st Abn subdued SSI on Vietnam era uniforms.  The reason full color patches are so prevalent in photos of this era is because the 101st Abn Division disallowed the use of subdued Screaming Eagle SSI until 1975. Some unauthorized versions were made in country and are prized collectables." JoelLashley@chw.org 2004-01-25

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