Inclosure 5 (Aviation Support) to After Action Report to OPORD 4-67, 4 March 1967 through
3 April 1967
a. The aviation support was provided by the 281st Assault Helicopter Company (-) to
Detachment B-52, 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne) during the period 2 March 1967
through 4 April 1967. The operation was supported by eighteen officers, thirty-three
enlisted men, five UH-1D and three UH-1C helicopters. The operation was supported in
the following manner.
(1) Total flying hours 722:05
(2) Total tasks flown 748
(3) Total sorties flown 1655
(4) Number of passengers flown 2356
(5) Weight of cargo flown 32,660 pounds
(6) Aircraft hit by enemy fire 1
(7) Aircraft lost by enemy fire 0
(8) Casualties 0
(9) Total RECON teams supported 15
(10) Total Roadrunner Teams supported 10
(11) Medical evacuations 25
(12) Ranger Operations:
(a) There were five company size operations. Average size of the companies were 80
to 90 people.
(b) There was one battalion size operation. Size of unit was 170-190 people.
(c) There was one platoon size operation. Size of unit was 35 personnel.
(d) In all cases the 281st AHC (-) was augmented with UH-1D helicopters by the 1st
Air Cav Division. This enabled the assaults and extractions to be completed in
one airlift. The battalion operation was completed in two lifts.
(13) Support of the
evacuations and resupply missions were performed for the MGF. This support was
not programmed but was on an "On Call" basis.
2. PROBLEM AREAS:
a. A high density of operating units at any given time can result in a lack of adequate aviation
support for the teams. We were very fortunate to be able to rely on the resources of the
1st Air Cav Division. However, in future operations, we may not have the additional help
available. With five on six UH-1 D helicopters, we can adequately cover four or five
elements on the ground.
b. For an infiltration at last light, the maximum number of teams to be infiltrated should not
exceed two teams considering normal availability of aircraft. Usually the infiltration
aircraft are released about the same time and there is not an adequate number of recovery
aircraft to cover the operation. However, if the teams are staggered to permit an
infiltration to be completed prior to the second infiltration, there is no problem.
c. Communications by FM radio presented a problem. The large amount of administrative
traffic interfered with the infiltration and extraction procedures. Also, other stations using
the frequencies caused problems. If at all possible, a frequency should be selected that will
be free of other traffic. Just because a ground station cannot monitor other stations does
not mean it is a clear frequency for aerial command and control.
d. Extraction procedures should be carefully reviewed. Normal extraction can be best
accomplished by utilizing touchdown landing zones or by using ladders. The extraction by
hoist or McGuire Rigs should be used only for emergency conditions. The time required
for a hoist or McGuire Rig extraction can be excessively dangerous especially when a
team is in contact. Listed below are the average times for each type of extraction:
(1) Touchdown in a LZ: 6 to 8 seconds.
(2) Ladders: 3 to 6 minutes.
(3) Hoist: 8 to 15 minutes.
(4) McGuire Rig: 10 to 20 minutes.
(The McGuire Rig requires two aircraft for a team extraction.)
a. Considering the number of operations conducted, the damage to aircraft was very small.
Four sets of Main Motor blades were ruined during infiltrations and extractions due to
tree strikes, but considering the conditions existing in the landing zones, this isn't
considered to be excessively high.
b. More emphasis must be placed on selection of suitable landing zones for extractions. This
is mainly a matter of training and good judgment by team to be extracted. This is
mentioned only in relation to normal extractions. Under emergency conditions, anything is
c. A concerted effort should be made to have at least six UH-1D and four UH-1C
helicopters assigned to all Detachment B-52 projects. With normal maintenance
difficulties and distant maintenance support facilities more than justifies the aircraft. Also,
with the increased emphasis on Ranger operations, the lift capability must be immediately