of Common Terms
AC- aircraft, usually helicopters, primarily UH-I “Iroquois” B, C, D, H or M model “Huey” (Bell) helicopters. “Slicks” were originally B models that in about 1966 were replaced by D and later H models configured as troop lift ships with two M-60, 7.62mm, machine guns mounted one on each side. “Guns” were B, C or M models (but mostly C) armed with 2.75 inch rocket pods (normally 7 rockets per pod) and 7.62mm rapid fire mini-guns (3,000 rounds per minute) on each side.
There were three basic gunship configurations in the 134th AHC:
In its original gun platoon, the 134th had 6 Slaughter Ships and 2 Frogs or Chunkers (150 & 151). In later years the Frogs were converted to Hogs due to airframe stress problems.
AC- aircraft commander, the “command” authority in an aircraft, generally over any other authority regardless of rank, and generally the pilot with the most time in-county, and the most experience, combat flight hours and missions. AC can mean either aircraft commander or aircraft depending on how it is used.
Assault Helicopter Company. This
was the most common helicopter unit.
It included 31 UH-1’s and the equipment and personnel to
maintain and repair the aircraft. Each AHC had 2 lift platoons of 11
aircraft each, a gun platoon of 8 aircraft and a service or maintenance
platoon with 1 aircraft. There were approximately 300 men in an AHC, including 50-60
pilots. Other types of
helicopter units were:
Area of operations, terrain.
Army of the Republic of Vietnam soldiers.
any type of non-combat aviation mission.
Also called “milk runs”.
a 12 man Special Forces (Green Beret) unit that along with local troops
manned many small isolated camps, associated with villages, throughout
a semi-permanent field headquarters and center for a given unit.
Base camps usually contain all or part of a unit’s support
any aircraft, usually a helicopter.
Army O-1 two seat, fixed wing aircraft used for aerial observation and
spotting for artillery or fighter bombers.
Bird dog units were called Recon Airplane Companies (RAC).
heavy duty, rubberized collapsible petroleum drum ranging from
2,000-5,000 gallons in size. Used
for aircraft field refueling stations.
the plastic bags used for retrieving bodies on the battlefield.
a protective shelter, often underground and made of concrete, or timber
and sand bags.
combat assault (troop insertion or extraction).
A fully coordinated airmobile operation often involving artillery
preparation of the landing zone.
combat aviation battalion, next higher command over a company.
nickname for Air Calvary, a recon and scout unit that has aerial scout
ships, slicks and gunships as well as its own infantry troops.
Also used to refer to armored cavalry which uses M113 APCs and
other light armored vehicles.
command and control ship, usually a slick carrying the commander of the
unit on the ground.
crew engineer, or “crewchief”-
the helicopter mechanic that kept it in the air and also manned one of
the M-60 machine guns on the ship (usually on the left side).
a high plateau area covering most of I Corps and II Corps (the northern
half of South Vietnam, inhabited mostly by Montagnard tribesmen (a local
and relatively backward indigenous people who did not mix with
nickname for chest protector (body armor) worn by helicopter crewmen. Sometimes sat on by gunners and CE’s to protect other vital
the CH-47, twin rotor, cargo helicopter.
Also called “Shithook” or “Hook”.
commanding officer, often called “the old man”.
a large metal military container roughly 6’x6’x7’ tall, used for
shipping and storing supplies and equipment, and often for bunkers,
canned, single meal rations issued for field operations (not very
density altitude, the higher the DA, the less lift a helicopter could
temperatures or higher elevation (such as in the central highlands)
caused the air to be less dense, resulting in less lift for the rotor
Date of Expected Return from Overseas, the date you were allowed to go
a nickname for a medical evacuation helicopter or mission, also “Medivac”.
sharp-edged grass found in the highlands of Vietnam, often reaching 6’
tall or more and making judgement of where the ground actually was very
difficult for pilots or troops jumping out of the helicopter.
usually US Air Force Forward Air Controller but sometimes Army fixed
remote artillery position, usually quite isolated with airlift support
being the primary means of resupply.
two gunships that flew together and coordinated their attack so that one
ship covered the other as it finished a gun run and turned outbound (its
most vulnerable period) from the target.
A light fire team was 2 ships and a heavy fire team consisted of
heavy, flexible, fiberglass-filled vest worn for protection from light
shrapnel. Different from
the Chicken Plate which was much heavier and made of rigid ceramics and
f---ing new guy.
an area where one could shoot at any target without securing prior
permission, often used for “clearing weapons” on the AC to make sure
they were working properly.
affectionate name for infantry soldiers or “ground pounders”—stands
for “ground replacement not usually trained”.
helicopter crewman acting as machine gunner.
Could be almost anyone but often an aircraft mechanic still
learning the job.
house, native hut or GI living quarters.
any headquarters unit, also where ever the CO is located.
the Bell UH-1 “Iroquois”, generally configured with a 1,400 shaft
horsepower Avco Lycoming engine, with a cruising speed of about 100
knots and range of 300 miles, the workhorse of the Vietnam War.
northernmost military region of South Vietnam, beginning south of Danang.
region encompassing area from south of Danang to south of Cam Ranh Bay.
military region from south of Cam Ranh Bay to north of Saigon.
military region from southern tip of Vietnam to north of Saigon.
instrument flight rules. When
flying IFR you can’t see the ground or the horizon and must depend on
pilot, authorized to certify other pilots as flight ready. An SIP is a Standards Instructor Pilot who ensures army flight
standards and training are being adhered to.
nautical miles per hour used for stating aircraft airspeed.
killed in action
landing zone. “Hot
LZ” is one active with enemy fire or expected fire.
“LZ Prep” is to
prepare an LZ for landing troops by suppressing enemy fire with gunships,
artillery or Air Force jets. “Cut
an LZ” refers to using bombs, especially a special “daisy
cutter” that explodes horizontally and clears vegetation.
long range reconnaissance patrols, normally consisting of 4-6 men who
were dropped by helicopter in remote areas to observe enemy movements or
locate targets. Normally
each infantry division or brigade had its own LRRP platoon.
in jargon “lrrps” also referred to the freeze dried rations that
LRRP patrols were issued. They
were light-weight and when mixed with hot water were very tasty.
standard US Army infantry rifle, firing a 5.56mm bullet.
most common US Army machine gun, firing a 7.62mm bullet.
Military Assistance Command Vietnam
an older Vietnamese woman who was usually employed to do laundry and
Forces Mobile Strike Force composed of US leaders and indigenous troops,
and used as a reaction or reinforcing unit.
Generally battalion size or larger.
of the indigenous mountain tribe people of the central highlands of
Vietnam. Usually pronounced
“mountainyards” or just “yards”.
2.75” rocket warheads loaded with hundreds of small steel darts called
highly flammable explosive (gelled gasoline) used by the Air Force to
burn up an area and incinerate enemy troops.
North Vietnamese Army soldiers/units.
small GI issue can opener canned C-rations.
an older Vietnamese man who usually was employed to do general labor
around the compound, including filling sand bags and cleaning latrines.
pilot in command, different from AC in that PIC was whoever was senior
between two pilots who had not yet received official unit designations
affectionate name for co-pilot who was generally considered too
inexperienced to be of much use other than to change radios, watch AC
gauges and maybe follow the map.
to mark a location, LZ or target with a colored smoke grenade.
Then a pilot would call out the color to ensure the right
gauge of the level of fear or anxiety in the risk or difficulty in a
rest and recuperation, generally out of the country for most people.
Grunts could get a little R&R by just NOT being in the field.
FM radios were used primarily by the infantry, UHF by Army, Navy and Air
Force aircraft, and VHF for Army command & control activities,
ship-to-ship and local airfield towers.
Most helicopters had all three types of radios, sometimes several
protected parking place for helicopters on an airfield, often an L
shaped, two foot wide, dirt-filled wall about 5 foot high to shield the
AC from mortar shrapnel.
of Korea soldiers. There
were about 50,000 ROK troops in II Corps.
rifle propelled grenade, Russian-manufactured antitank grenade launcher.
the last minute or so of an aircraft’s flight path as it approaches an
airfield or LZ.
the AH-1 Cobra gunship built specifically for armored attack.
Some assault helicopter units had their UH-1 gunships replaced
with AH-1’s after 1968 or so while other retained the older gunships
which were better at providing very close support to ground troops.
slicks configured with ammonia detection sensors attached to the skids
would fly low-level just above the tree tops to detect ammonia given off
in urine and perspiration of humans.
The strength of the signal allowed one to roughly estimate the
number of unseen enemy troops below the jungle canopy.
one aircraft takeoff and landing to conduct a mission.
the back end of a Huey beginning just behind the engine compartment.
Tactical Operation Center, pronounced “tock”, also called “flight
ops”, the place in an aviation company where flight missions are
assigned and posted, a daily and nightly stopping place for crew
a bullet that leaves a visible trail as it travels from phosphorus
packed in a small cavity in its base.
US tracers were red and Russian/Chinese tracers were usually
thickest jungle with vegetation growing at 3 levels, often reaching up
more than 50 feet.
Viet Cong, or local guerilla fighters.
a white phosphorous artillery round or grenade that explodes phosphorus,
produces white smoke, and burns whatever it contacts.
Usually the last artillery round fired into an LZ when the troop
ships are short final is a WP round to signal the pilots that the
artillery barrage is over.