The History of F Troop, 2/17th Cav, A Co 101st Aviation

First and Finest

Company A, 101st Avn. Bn. was redesignated from an Assault Company to a Provisional Air Cavalry Troop on December 1, 1969,as F Troop, 2nd Squadron, 17th Cavalry. Of the 20 UH-1H aircraft of the Assault Helicopter Company, 8 were retained to accomplish the cavalry missions and the remaining 12 were transferred to other units.In return 8 OH6A aircraftwere transferred to the unit as aero scout aircraft and 9 UH1C aircraft were transferred to the unit as gun ships.

On March 10, 1970 the unit retuned back to a Assault Company of the 101st AVN BN.

 

A Co is 'F Trp'  is an article scanned from the JAN 19 1970 edition of The Screaming Eagle newspaper

 

© Photographs provided by John Collier

101st Association Life Member LTC, USA, Rtd Keith Reed provided a nice article that appeared in The Screaming Eagle magazine, Nov-Dec 1995 that documents some of the history of A-101 and "F Troop" during the time frame 1969-1970. I will quote in part from the article in the paragraph that follows and note for the record having spoken with Keith several years in Pomona California.

"In late September-early October 1969, I (sic Keith Reed) was a CPT assigned to Headquarters Troop, 2nd Squadron (Air) 17th Cavalry serving as the squadron liaison officer to Division Headquarters. During this period in late 1969, the reconnaissance area assigned to the Air Cavalry Squadron was too large to be covered adequately by the organic air troops. In mid-October, I briefed the Squadron Commander on the Division Reconnaissance Plan for the upcoming months. It was apparent the Squadron did not have the assets in aircraft or manpower to meet the mission requirements. Without going into all the background, a "command" decision was made to change the Comancheros from an assault company to a provisional air cavalry troop to fill the holes in the reconnaissance effort. Of course, the unofficial designation became "F Troop". During October and November (1969), slick pilots were transitioned into scout OH-6s and armed UH-1Cs, the guns. A platoon from D Troop, 2/17th was put "on a string" as the ground recon platoon for the troop to be transported by the lift platoon of UH-1s. On 2 December, (after approximately 6 weeks of TDY) I was assigned as the troop executive officer and CPT Dave Kallenborn from B troop was assigned as the operations officer. I must apologize for I cannot state with certainty the name of the CW2 from C Troop who was assigned to the gun platoon as the gunnery instructor; I think his name was Charlie Wassom or Weaver (The last time I crossed paths with Mr. ? in March 1976, he was in the Air Cavalry Troop of the 116th Armored Cavalry Regiment, Idaho National Guard.) The three of us were to provide the air cavalry experience to the fledgling organization. The end of November saw the troop begin air cavalry operations conducting area reconnaissance in the area from Camp Eagle to the eastern edge of the Ashau. The organic air troops had Kiowas and Cobras and were flying the missions further out. I won't say there were not difficulties, but I will say the aviators took to the mission as professionals. By the time I completed my tour at the end of February (CPT Kallenborn departed a couple of weeks ahead of me and Mr. ? was still with the troop ), the troop could hold its own with no problems. We had casualties and lost aircraft but the spirit of the air cavalry was embodied in F Troop. The skill and valor was appropriately recognized in the awards and decorations earned. I was told the Comancheros continued to operate as an air cavalry troop until May 1970 when the unit was returned to an assault helicopter company prior to Lam Son 719 (Note---Lam Son 719 took place in Feb-Mar 1971). This is but a very small paragraph in the history of the Comancheros, but a part that I think should not be forgotten. I am proud to have been a very small part of this history and still have the plaque engraved with Comanchero 5. I hope that the complete history of the Comancheros and the Sabers will not overlook this fleeting moment of common bond."

N.K. Keith Reed, Association LM 2739, LTC, USA, Rtd

As quoted in The Screaming Eagle, November-December 1995, transcribed by myself to e-mail this 11 day of July 1999. RLCII^6Oct'70-May'71 for RA Bittle et al.

Comanchero Crew Chief Gary Lee Stamey tells us about the  F Troop aircraft in 'The Hideout Hogs'

  

 

These are from the 2nd 17th CAV operation reports.Provided by Randy White, L Co Ranger

 

F Troop (left to right)  Steve Urfer, Jim Wisecup, George Mitchell, Ray Woods?, John Anderson (seated), Rich Neyman  (kneeling), Phil Hornbeck, Pete Federovich?, McPhail, Captain Tim "Kill" (don't know last name).

Photo provided by John Anderson

 

 F Troop in Formation. Notice us in tight formation with Aircraft #264 and one or our Charlie model gun ships in the distance.

 

Provided by Stephen R. Stover

F Troop returning from a mission with a ladder pickup completed and heading back to Quang Tri. 

 Provided by Stephen R. Stover

More information on F Troop, 2/17th Cav

I know of our Cav duty because it happened while I was with A. Co. It was someone at battalion or higher who made the decision. The reasoning, which comes to mind, was that since the rainy season was coming we would not need all the lift companies so why not make another Cav troop, which they did. We were issued C model gun ships from somewhere, which our maintenance folks did a good job keeping them in the air. We were also given the OH-6 as our scout bird. The commander would not let married guys apply to fly them so the single guys got to fly them. Our folks got a quickie course in the OH-6, which consequently cost us to crashes. Both crashes were attributed to the Hughes tail stall (right quartering tail wind and little or no forward speed causing the tail rotor to stall: the recovery technique was to lower the nose of the aircraft, altitude permitting, and fly out of the stall where in lies the problem because most of the time the guys were low to the ground and could not use the procedure).

The first crash occurred on a recon around FSB Bastogne. I recall there was one fatality. One fellow who was along for the ride was thrown out and the aircraft came to rest on top of him. He was not found until the removed the aircraft. The two front seaters were hurt and evacuated to the hospital. I don't remember any names though.

The second crash happened to one of my hooch mates WO1 Richard "Dick" Little. He was doing a last light mission around Eagle when he had the same problem. Dick and his observer made it out with only bruises and scratches. Both aircraft were destroyed.

F. Troop was supposed to be used in the flat lands to free up existing Cav troops for work in the mountains. That did not happen though. We worked the entire area of the 101st from the DMZ to Danang. I hope this little insight will help.

Jerry L. Simpson, Comanchero 18, then Comanchero 42 when we were F Troop 2/17 Cav. Feb 69 to Feb 70

Christmas Brings Bob Hope and Girls to Camp Eagle scanned from the JAN 19 1970 edition of The Screaming Eagle newspaper

 

The following photographs provided by Jimmie Wright OCT 1969 - JULY 1970

Photographs by Jimmie Wright OCT 1969-JULY 1970

Two rocket hits from a gunship

Photographs by Jimmie Wright OCT 1969-JULY 1970

Rick Campbell relaxing before a CCN mission

Photographs by Jimmie Wright OCT 1969-JULY 1970

Rick Campbell sitting on AC#741 rigged with ladders for CCN

Photographs by Jimmie Wright OCT 1969-JULY 1970

Comanchero F Troop Charlie model Gunship

Photographs by Jimmie Wright OCT 1969-JULY 1970

Comanchero F Troop Charlie model Gunship

Photographs by Jimmie Wright OCT 1969-JULY 1970

Comanchero F Troop Charlie model Gunship

Photographs by Jimmie Wright OCT 1969-JULY 1970

Comanchero F Troop Charlie model Gunship

Photographs by Jimmie Wright OCT 1969-JULY 1970

Cav Cobra

Photographs by Jimmie Wright OCT 1969-JULY 1970

Comanchero patch

Photographs by Jimmie Wright OCT 1969-JULY 1970

Comanchero patch

Photographs by Jimmie Wright OCT 1969-JULY 1970

Comanchero aircraft returning from a CCN mission with a man on the ladder

Photographs by Jimmie Wright OCT 1969-JULY 1970

Anyone know what Firebase this was?

Photographs by Jimmie Wright OCT 1969-JULY 1970

Rockets hitting on target

Photographs by Jimmie Wright OCT 1969-JULY 1970

Flight Control Tower

Photographs by Jimmie Wright OCT 1969-JULY 1970

Gunner firing his gun on a gunship

Photographs by Jimmie Wright OCT 1969-JULY 1970

Helmet with Anheuser-Busch logo

Photographs by Jimmie Wright OCT 1969-JULY 1970

Comanchero Company Area

Photographs by Jimmie Wright OCT 1969-JULY 1970

UH-1 cockpit

Photographs by Jimmie Wright OCT 1969-JULY 1970

Jimmie Wright

Photographs by Jimmie Wright OCT 1969-JULY 1970

Jimmie Wright and M60

Photographs by Jimmie Wright OCT 1969-JULY 1970

Jimmie Wright and UH-1

Photographs by Jimmie Wright OCT 1969-JULY 1970

Leo and Jim

Photographs by Jimmie Wright OCT 1969-JULY 1970

Leo and Jim

Photographs by Jimmie Wright OCT 1969-JULY 1970

Loch

Photographs by Jimmie Wright OCT 1969-JULY 1970

Minigun

Photographs by Jimmie Wright OCT 1969-JULY 1970

Minigun and Rocket pods on UH-1C

Photographs by Jimmie Wright OCT 1969-JULY 1970

Minigun barrels over an unknown area

Photographs by Jimmie Wright OCT 1969-JULY 1970

One of Jimmie Wright's old F Troop ships

Photographs by Jimmie Wright OCT 1969-JULY 1970

Palmer

Photographs by Jimmie Wright OCT 1969-JULY 1970

Palmer and Friend

Photographs by Jimmie Wright OCT 1969-JULY 1970

Palmer and ship

Photographs by Jimmie Wright OCT 1969-JULY 1970

Target Area

Photographs by Jimmie Wright OCT 1969-JULY 1970

Target area hit

Photographs by Jimmie Wright OCT 1969-JULY 1970

Target exploding

Photographs by Jimmie Wright OCT 1969-JULY 1970

Wolf

 

 

101st Airborne and Co. A, 101st Avn. Bn awarded Outstanding Aviation Unit of the Year for 1969 & 1970

 

CAMP EAGLE, Oct 1970 - The 101st Airborne Division (Airmobile) has been named the Outstanding Aviation Unit of the Year for 1969 and 1970.
The trophy was presented at the Army Aviation Association of America convention in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 16 1970.
The division was selected as the top aviation unit for its achievements from April 1, 1969, to March 31, 1970. The award, sponsored by the Aircraft Division of Hughes Tool Co., Culver City, Calif., is presented annually to a selected aviation unit for outstanding contribution to, or innovation in, the employment of Army aviation over and above the normal mission assigned to the unit. The five criteria established as a basis for selection of the outstanding unit are tactics, training, doctrine, technology and safety. Several examples of the division's "over and above" normal mission requirements and innovations in aircraft employment highlight the period for which the award was made. During that year, Screaming Eagles provided tactical, operational and logistical support to the Americal Division; 1st Brigade, 5th Infantry Division (ARVN); and numerous local Regional and Popular Force units. In September 1969, the division initiated Operation Lifesaver. The basic plan was to create suitable emergency landing zones throughout the division's area of operation. In seven months, 140 Lifesaver landing zones were constructed, which provided readily accessible area for medical evacuation and emergency landings.
In November 1969, Co. A, 101st Avn. Bn., was redesignated F Troop, 2nd Squadron, 17th Cav. It was necessary to retrain all pilots in different aircraft and in air cavalry tactical concepts. Within one month, new aircraft were received, the training was completed and the troop operational. A high state of flexibility was again demonstrated in March 1970 when the same troop was reconverted to Co. A, 101st Avn Bn. The reconversion was completed in just two weeks.
An airmobility school, including instruction in aerial rocket artillery, tactical air support and aeromedical evacuation, was established to familiarize commanders and staff officers with the policies, procedures and techniques of airmobility. From April 1969 to March 1970, 320 officers and NCOs from the division and attached units attended the course. In addition more than 200 ARVN soldiers attended a similar course. Two other schools were also established during the year by ..missing line.. the 101st flight standardization board: an OH6A pilot transition course and a UH1 instructor pilot course. The courses lifted the burden of pilot training from unit commanders and gave the division a standardized course of instruction for pilots. Further testimony of the outstanding air year of the Screaming Eagles was the fact that the division's air traffic control platoon, which controls all air traffic in the 101st area of operations, and which handled more than 760,000 takeoffs and landings at one location (the division headquarters base, Camp Eagle), was credited with the safe return of 11 aircraft during poor weather conditions. The Outstanding Aviation Unit of the Year award was initiated in 1960. In its 10-year history, this is the third time a division-size unit has won the award.

 

 

This is a F Troop erapicture of an operation by which we did a sling load of a water tank up to the tower behind the Officer shower so we had water pressure for our shower.
 Provided by Stephen R. Stover

 A/101 AVN formation rounding the hill between Hue and Camp Eagle, RVN

Provided by Stephen R. Stover

The picture was taken during our F Troop days (see orange stripe on the Charlie model tail boom) and was probably taken at Quang Tri in Jan or Feb 70.  This looks like members of the Gun Platoon.

Smoky Stover ID's the photo as; left to right WO Waltz (forgot first name, he was mostly operations, call sign "3 Xray), Rich Neyman, Phil Hornbeck, Jim Wisecup, and Ron Myers.

Photo Providedby Rick Campbell

Jimmy Wright in his UH-1C F Troop Gun Ship, 1970

Photo Providedby Rick Campbell

One of the F TroopHogs. UH-1C model: †† Charley models held either 7 pair (i.e. 7 per pod, one each side)  or 19 pair of 2.75" rockets which came in a number of different flavors- 10 lb warheads, 17 lb warheads, Fleshettes (nails) and White phosphorus to name a few.  Additionally, with the smaller pods you could have a "Thumper" - 40 MM grenade launcher or a pair of 7.62 miniguns.

Provided by Stephen R. Stover

Knobdicker:  picture of the maintenance area in the Dec 69-Jan 70 (F Troop days) time frame showing all of the birds (mostly C-models) being put back in order.  I don't think any of the Charlies were flyable when we got them and the LOHs weren't much better,

Provided by Stephen R. Stover

 More pictures of this and other eras of A/101 Avn

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