Outlaws in Vietnam:
1966-67 in the Delta
by David L. Eastman
Ride a Huey with the Outlaws of the 175th Aviation Company (AML) in the Mekong Delta and experience a first-hand first Lieutenant’s account of a tour in Vietnam from 1966-1967. David Eastman’s lively prose reveals an exciting untold story of camaraderie, competence and fellowship.
“The aviation units were the sole combat element of the U.S. Army that did not come apart under the stress of the war in Viet Nam. Nearly 6,000 helicopter pilots and crewmembers perished, but the Army airmen never cracked. Whether it was the oneness of man and acrobatic flying machine, whether it was the equally shared risk of officer pilot and enlisted crew member, whatever the reason, the men of the helicopters kept their discipline and their spirit. As the French parachutists became the paladins of that earlier war, so the U.S. Army aviators became the dark knights of this one.”
From: A Bright Shining Lie by Neil Sheehan
Excerpt from Outlaws in Vietnam:
“The Delta night rang out with sounds and muzzle flashes from the firefight being waged far below our circling Huey. The Viet Cong were in a treeline next to a cleared area immediately under the ship. At 2,500 feet, we were safely watching the forces engaged below. As usual, the cool air at altitude relieved us from the tepid, 80-to-90-degree temperature on the ground, where troops traded fire with the VC element they were in contact with.
I smoked another cigarette, a menthol-laced Salem, as Andy, my copilot, turned the ship in another racetrack turn, using up time at our assigned place in the sky until the brass told us to go in for the medevac for which we’d been called out. For a new guy, my peter pilot was handling the bird well, and I could tell, even across the cockpit, that he felt my acknowledgment of his growing skills with this D-model.”
About the Author
David L. Eastman lives in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, where he writes a nature column for local newpapers, publishes articles on natural history in various periodicals and hosts a radio column. He has a Master’s degree in Forestry from the University of Washington. He is a member of the Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association, although he no longer flies, leaving that for the birds.