The History of A Company, 101st Aviation, 101st Airborne Division

"Winged Warriors"



Photos Provided by Dave Lorimer

George Nonestied, Crew Chief, Warrior 21, 04/65 - 05/66, remembers his tour:

Here is a little information about Company A when I was stationed at Ft. Campbell and some of the warrior's early history in Vietnam.

I was stationed at Ft. Campbell for only 4 months, From December 1964 - April 1965. There were 2 new brick barracks located next to the airfield. Our company was housed on the 2nd floor in the barracks next to the mess hall. Air force personnel were also living in these barracks. The mess hall was open 24 hours a day. I can remember hearing the song, The Boy From New York City constantly being played on the jukebox in the mess hall. The helicopters were used for many reasons, but the one I remember mostly was to drop the paratroopers from.

Before we were scheduled to leave for Vietnam we all received a two-week leave. After two weeks we returned back to Fort Campbell. Around 10:00 or 11:00 PM we boarded the trucks that took us to the airfield. When we arrived at the airfield I can remember the army band playing. Around midnight we boarded the commercial jet that took us to San Diego. From the airport at San Diego we boarded the trucks that took us to the aircraft carrier Iwo Jima. Our new helicopters, trucks and supplies were already on board. Two other companies 82nd Airborne Aviation Company and the Big Red One Aviation Company were also on the Iwo Jima going to Vietnam. After 3 days in port we left for Vietnam. On the 4th or 5th day we arrived in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. We stayed in Hawaii for 5 hours. 25 days later we arrived in Vung Tau Harbor. 2 days before arriving in Vung Tau we started to prepare the helicopters for flight. Once in Vung Tau the men boarded landing crafts, which took them ashore. Helicopters were flown off the deck.


82nd stayed at Vung Tau and the Big Red One went north to their new base and the 101st went south to Soc. Trang. The commanders of the 4thCorp gave us one month to prepare for operations. With in that month we flew into many different areas getting familiar with the 4th Corp. Two Months later in July the 101st paratroopers arrived in Vietnam and they were stationed up north. The commanding officer of the 101st airborne division wanted the Aviation Company to come north and marry up with the ground troops. Warrior 21 with the 4th corp. commanders and company A commanding officer flew to Nha Trang for a meeting. The results of the meeting were that Co. A was to stay at Soc Trang. One of our missions among many was once a month, we would airlift the 173rd airborne brigade into the iron triangle.


A group picture of some of the Pilots, Crew Chiefs and Door Gunners of Co. A 101st AVN, While deployed at Soc Trang , 1965.  Photo Provided by George Nonestiedã
Front row, left side, first person squatting is Jack Milavic, second unknown, third Ron Kincaid, fourth from is Lynn Wood, person is George Nonestied, sixth McCune, seventh Greene or Hillary Bergman, eighth Chuck Slezak, ninth is Gary Johnson.
Second Row, forth left, Chester Groce, sixth left, Rick Harness
Officers Standing, from left, first, CAPT. Lowe, second CAPT. Ruffner, sixth, Mr. Milavic, seventh, LT Stewart, ninth, Mr. Craig, twelfth, Mr. Delaney, thirteenth, Plt SGT Hicks, The person just above Gary Johnson is Mike Wells.


These are the first nine pilots to log 1000 combat hours for Co A, 101st. Note: Joe Thibodeaux also logged over a 1000, some in the Tigers and Warriors, however he had already left when this photo was taken. Photo Provided by Dave Lorimer
Standing left to right; Wo Gerald Ireland, WO Frank Ovnic, CWO Albert Smiley, "Lonesome Polecat" (the indian out of LiL Abner was used as inspiration of the 'Warrior') and CWO Dan Regan
Squatting L to R; WO Bill Hitch, 1/Lt Ken Harmon, WO Jim Cogan, WO Skip Baker, WO Barry Billman.

The original artwork that the Winged Warrior was designed from the Little Abner cartoons. Special permission was received from Al Capp for its use.

The original Warrior artwork

Provided by John D. Kennedy




This one of the first type plaques given to the 'Winged Warriors', I included two pictures because of glare, one on the black background and the other on a light one.

Photo by Kenneth L. Harmon

This one of the first type plaques given to the 'Winged Warriors'

Photo by Kenneth L. Harmon

This is a picture of the first type of plaque presented to the 'Thunderbirds'

Photo by Kenneth L. Harmon


Winged Warrior Helicopters on the Flight Line

Provided by George Nonestied



UH 1D 64-13521 with mounted .50 Cal.

Provided By Norman Vandal

Swatter Proves it's worth

Citation Ceremony for action on June 10-13, 1965, near Dong Xoai, Vietnam

 Provided by George Nonestied



Historical Documents from this era

A short movie of A/101 AVIATION Helicopters unloading from the Iwo Jima

Newspaper article The Observer, July 31 1965, 101st ‘Screaming Eagles’ Land At Cam Ranh Bay

 Scan by Ed Schmelzer


Redesignation as 336th AHC

There's been email traffic regarding when A101Avn became 336th AHC several times in the past.  I have found my "official" record from letters I wrote at the time which I publish here for the record.  On Sunday night, 11 September 1966, I wrote "We are not the 101st anymore.  We've been redesignated as the 71st Aviation Company (AML), same APO."  On Monday night, 12 September 1966, I wrote "Forget the redesignation to 71st Avn Co.  The 101st has been reconstituted at Fort Campbell, so I guess we're not them anymore, but the 71st thing is off.  Call us Brand X for the time waiting for someone to make up their mind about who/what we are going to be."  On 19 September 1966, "Found out today that we are going to be redesignated the 336th Aviation Company (AML).  I never heard of it either."  I've not found an entry as to when the actual official redesignation occurred, but I started using the 336th return address on 19 September. 

LTC (ret) John D. Kennedy

I was the Commanding Officer of A 101 on 1 Sep 66 when it was redesignated 336th.  At a company formation the old guidon was retired and a 336th guidon was accepted from LTC William J Maddox, the 13th Avn Bn Commander.

Jim Kennedy

Note: It's not a really big thing, and not sure it's worthy of concern but for the record, the part where Jim Kennedy (Warrior 6 at the time) tells about receiving the new guideon from LTC Maddox, battalion commander, is not true.  COL Dempsey replaced Maddox as battalion CO in July 1966.  Dempsey was Delta 6 when I arrived in August '66 and Maddox was senior aviation advisor to IV Corps CG, a title, and a make do job while he was awaiting assignment to become senior advisor to 21st ARVN Division CG.  I believe Jim K's memory had slipped a cog and he did receive a guideon from LTC Maddox when he became Warrior 6, probably in June '66, but not when A101 was resesignated 336th.  I do not recall there being a redesignaion ceremony at all, but if there had been one, COL Dempsey would have officiated.  He and I have previously emailed back and forth regarding Maddox being (he said) and not being (I said) battalion CO during other events.  LTC (ret) John D. Kennedy


The 336th Assault Helicopter Company was assigned to the 13th Combat Aviation Battalion, headquartered at Can Tho before the redesignation and remained part of that higher HQ after redesignation. The 13th originated as the Delta Battalion (Provisional), later got the dignity of becoming a numbered battalion as a 1st Aviation Brigade asset.

More Pictures from this and all eras of A/101 Avn


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