128th Assualt Helicopter Company
Phu Loi, RVN 3/69 - 3/70
Once you are in the fight, it is way too late to
wonder if this is a good idea.
Helicopters are cool!
It is a fact that helicopter tail rotors are
instinctively drawn toward trees, stumps, rocks,
etc. While it may be possible to ward off this
natural event some of the time, it cannot, despite
the best efforts of the crew, always be prevented.
It's just what they do.
NEVER get into a fight without more ammunition than
the other guy.
The engine RPM, and the rotor RPM, must BOTH be kept
in the GREEN. Failure to heed this commandment can
affect the morale of the crew.
A billfold in your hip pocket can numb your leg and
be a real pain in the ass.
Cover your Buddy, so he can be around to cover for
Letters from home are not always great.
The madness of war can extract a heavy toll. Please
have exact change.
Share everything. Yes, even the Pound Cake.
Decisions made by someone over your head will seldom
be in your best interest.
The terms "Protective Armor" and "Helicopter" are
The further away you are from your friends, the less
likely it is that they can help you when you really
need them the most.
Sometimes, being good and lucky still was not
There is always payback.
"Chicken Plates" are not something you order in a
If everything is as clear as a bell, and everything
is going exactly as planned, you're about to be surprised.
The BSR (Bang Stare Red) Theory states that the
louder the sudden bang in the helicopter, the
quicker your eyes will be drawn to the gauges. The
longer you stare at the gauges, the less time it
takes them to move from green to red.
It does too get cold in Vietnam.
No matter what you do, the bullet with your name on
it will get you. So too can the ones addressed "To
Whom It May Concern".
Gravity: It may not be fair, but it is the law.
If the rear echelon troops are really happy, the
front line troops probably do not have what they need.
If you are wearing body armor, they will probably
miss that part.
It hurts less to die with a uniform on, than to die
in a hospital bed.
Happiness is a belt fed weapon.
If something hasn't broken on your helicopter, it's
Eat when you can. Sleep when you can. Shit when you
can. The next opportunity may not come around for a
long time. If ever.
Combat pay is a flawed concept.
Having all your body parts intact and functioning at
the end of the day, beats the alternative..
Air superiority is NOT a luxury.
If you are allergic to lead, it is best to avoid a
It is a bad thing to run out of airspeed, altitude,
and ideas all at the same time.
While the rest of the crew may be in the same
predicament, it's usually the pilot's job to arrive
at the crash site first.
When you shoot your gun, clean it the first chance
Loud sudden noises in a helicopter WILL get your
Hot garrison chow is better than hot C-rations
which, in turn are better than cold C-rations, which are better than no food at all. All of these,
however, are preferable to cold rice balls even if
they do have the little pieces of fish in them.
WHAT is often more important than WHY.
Boxes of cookies from home must be shared.
Girlfriends are fair game. Wives are not.
Everybody's a hero ... on the ground ... in the club
... after the fourth drink.
There is no such thing as a small firefight.
A free fire zone has nothing to do with economics.
The further you fly into the mountains, the louder
the strange engine noises become.
Medals are OK, but having your body and all your
friends in one piece at the end of the day is better.
Being shot hurts.
"Pucker Factor" is the formal name of the equation
that states the more hairy the situation is, the
more of the seat cushion will be sucked up your
asshole. It can be expressed in its mathematical formula of S(suction) + H(height above ground) +
I(interest in staying alive) + T(# of tracers coming
your way). Thus the term 'SHIT!' can also be used to
denote a situation where a high Pucker Factor is being encountered.
Thousands of Vietnam Veterans earned medals for
bravery every day. A few were even awarded.
Running out of pedal, fore or aft cyclic, or
collective are all bad ideas. Any combination of
these can be deadly.
Nomex is NOT fire proof.
There is only one rule in war: When you win, you get
to make up the rules.
Living and dying can both hurt a lot.
Do not wear underwear. It can cause crotch rot or be
used as evidence against you.
While a Super Bomb could be considered one of the
four essential building blocks of life, powdered eggs cannot.
C-4 can make a dull day fun.
Of course you can drink out of a human skull! Duct
tape over the eye sockets will keep it from leaking.
Cocoa Powder is neither.
There is no such thing as a fair fight -- only ones
where you win or lose.
If you win the battle you are entitled to the
spoils. If you lose you don't care.
Nobody cares what you did yesterday or what you are
going to do tomorrow. What is important is what you
are doing -- NOW -- to solve our problem.
If you have extra -- share quickly.
It's OK to take stuff off the body of a buddy,
'cause you know he would have wanted you to have it anyway.
Always make sure someone has a P-38.
A sucking chest wound may be God's way of telling
you it's time to go home.
Prayer may not help . . . but it can't hurt.
Flying is better than walking. Walking is better
than running. Running is better than crawling. All
of these however, are better than extraction by a
Med-Evac, even if it is technically, a form of flying.
If everyone does not come home, none of the rest of
us can ever fully come home either.
Do not fear the enemy, for your enemy can only take
your life. It is far better that you fear the media,
for they will steal your HONOR.
A grunt is the true reason for the existence of the
helicopter. Every helicopter flying in Vietnam had
one real purpose: To help the grunt. It is
unfortunate that many helicopters never had the
opportunity to fulfill their one true mission in
life, simply because someone forgot this fact.
"You have the right to remain silent." is always
If you have not been there and done that . . . you
probably will not understand most of these.