PICTURES TAKEN BY A LIFE LONG FRIEND WHO WAS IN THE NAVYS ONLY COMBAT HELOCOPTER SQUADRON.
THIS SQUADRON WAS THE MOST HIGLY DECARATED HELOCOPTER OUT FIT IN VIETNAM.
YOU WILL SEE NO COMBAT PICTURES HERE,
BECAUSE YOU CAN'T FIGHT A WAR FROM THE CHOPPER AND TAKE PICTURES AT THE SAME TIME.
CLICK ON THE PICTURE FOR LARGE PICTURE.



01-11-72

IN MY MEMORY
The morning comes too soon, as I inhale my first awakened breath of the day.
The smell of gunpowder fills my nostrils, a reminder of where I laid myself to sleep just a few hours ago.
Before I open my eyes I remember last night.
We had had good time playing cards and drinking away the reality of where we live.
I think of how bittersweet it all is.
I live in a place where I volunteered to go, actually nearly begging to be here.
Now here, I can't help but wonder,
"Why did I want to be here?"
"Is this what I thought it would be?"
In my eighteen years of life, I've never been more excited about the morning's arrival.
As I open my eyes, the light from our little make shift galley barely illuminates the room.
Today will be an uneventful day. One of our birds is down for repair.
There won't be a scramble today. We can't fly without each bird to protect the other.
As my body awakens to the smells, the sound of snoring surrounds me,
I see that some of the guys are still asleep.
My hand stretches out, to the cold steel of the 45 that always sleeps with me.
Quietly I make my way to the light that keeps things in perspective.
The galley light that's always on.
The shower house is a long walk after a night of drinking and sleeping.
Arriving back at our hut, everyone else is getting up and around, as well.
There are a lot of things to do today.
Guns need to be cleaned, as always, mommason will be here soon, to clean the place up and gather the laundry, the bird will need its routine maintaince.
Some of the guys are at the PX searching for something to throw down their throats.
I'm not usually hungry this early in the morning but I pour a bowl of Corn Flakes anyway.
A couple of guys join me for the same and the day is officially starting for us.
I guess a day off is good for us, but the anticipation of what each day will bring keeps our thoughts on where we are.
The rush we get when that red phone rings is what we are here for.
The morning turns into noon, and the afternoon comes quickly welcoming another night of hanging with the guys.
With all of our duties done, I am ready for a break.
I reach for my coffee as I take a drag on my cigarette and the red phone rings.
As I grab for the receiver I wonder, "We shouldn't be getting scrambled today, we only have one bird."
Clearing my throat as I raise the phone to my mouth,

"Donham here."

The voice echoes in my head,
"We've got a situation here, we know that we're down a bird, but some boats are taking heavy fire on the Big Blue and we need a couple of volunteers to take that bird up".
Without thought or hesitation I responded.

"I'll go,

let me ask the other guys.
We'll be right there."
"We've got a scramble and they need a volunteer to go." I holler across the hut.
As I pull my flight suit on another guy jumps to the call of duty and does the same.
Within seconds we are out the door and on a dead run towards the bird.
Over my shoulder I see the pilots coming at the same speed toward the bird.
They jump into their seats and the starting sequence begins.
The engine is lighting as I untie the rotor tie down.
The other gunner takes the right door and I jump into the seat at the left door.
The pilots have RPMs on the rotorblades.
We are off to work.

The Saigon River, that we call Big Blue, is about twenty minutes away.
An unease feeling starts to haunt me knowing that we have no cover from the other bird, but the adrenaline over powers it and I am ready for what ever we might be up for.
As we near the Big Blue we can see that heavy fire is coming from both sides of the river.
The right side is hitting the boats hard.
The pilots lower the chopper down inches above the water.

My heart is racing.

We are flying down the middle of the river
just a few feet from the shoreline.
We both aim our 60's targeting the enemy that threatens our boats.
Shots continue to fire at the boats and now at us, as well.
The fire is coming from an area that is the size of about three football fields.
The entire place is wooded on the right.
We don't seem to be making a difference as the fire continues to come at us.
I can't see where the fire is coming from.
There are trees covering the whole place.
Our 60's are not slowing the incoming fire.
I have the mini gun on my door, but the heavy fire is coming from the other side of the bird.
The pilot seems to read my mind as he begins to turn the chopper and brings us up hard and to the left.
I wrapped my fingers around the switches of the mini gun.
I aim the gun at the water front
and with a zig zag motion
fire the gun throughout the woods.
The mini gun can jam up quickly as the shells come through so fast.
Not today, it is working perfectly.
At 4000 rounds a minute, I am able to cover the entire field.
I haven't given much thought to the gun not jamming.
I just want to keep firing until it stops.
As the ammo runs out, I realize I have spent the entire cache of ammo on board.
I am waist deep in HOT Brass.
There are casings everywhere.
The field is quiet, the boats are quiet
and the inside of the chopper is silent.
The other guys just look at me.
No one says a word.
I begin to feel the heat of the brass against my flight suit
as I start brushing them out the door.
The boats are at peace for the moment.
Our job is complete.
We rotate toward the sky.
We are coming home.
This day is a good day,

we live to see another day.


IN MY MEMORY
(HAL-3) Seawolves
Det. 6 Phu-loi South Vietnam
by Michael Donham
08/26/01



"a rough map of south vietnam"

" They were not the 7th Cav.
but acted like they were, always to the rescue."
"A DOG I THOUGHT THEY HAD
ALL BECAME MEALS"
"CLICK THE PICTURE IT SAYS NAVY ON THE TAIL"
"OK MIKE WHAT DID YOU
DO WITH THE BUTT PLATE?"
"FLYING HIGH,
NICE AND COOL?."
"FULL METAL JACKET?"

"XMAS IN NAM
CHECK OUT THE NAMES ON THE CROSSES."

"GROUP PHOTO, MIKE
SECOND FROM LEFT."
"HOT STUFF"
"SIR DO U KNOW WHAT U'RE DOING?"
"AIR CONDITIONING IN VIETNAM?
SOME PEOPLE CAN STEAL ANYTHING."

"FLY HIGH ENOUGH AND THEY CAN'T SEE U!"

"MIKE BEFORE VIETNAM"

"MIKE RECEIVING AN AWARD"

"NOW I KNOW WHO
STOLE THE BEER FOR I CORPS."

"ALWAYS WORKING
ON THE "BIRD""

"WE LOST SOMETHING
SIR."

"WELCOME TO THE
RICH SIDE OF TOWN."

"OK WATCH THE
HANDS JOE ME
NOT U GIRL FRIEND
BOOM BOOM 10 DALLAR"

"OUR WAY OF SAYING
GOOD BYE BRO!"

"ALL HANDS TURN OUT!"
SUNDAY MORNING COMING DOWN
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