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Hueys in Vietnam

The first Hueys to operate in Vietnam were medevac HU-1As that arrived in April 1962, before the United States became officially involved in the conflict. These Hueys supported the South Vietnamese Army, but American crews flew them. In October, the first armed Hueys, equipped with 2.75-inch rockets and .30 caliber machine guns, began flying in Vietnam. The main role of these Huey 'gunships' was to escort Army and Marine transport helicopters. By the end of 1964, the Army was flying more than 300 'A and 'B model Hueys. During the next decade, the Huey was upgraded and modified based on lessons learned in combat: Bell introduced the UH-1D and UH-1H variants. It was in Vietnam that Army and Marine soldiers first tested the new tactics of airmobile warfare. In a typical air assault mission, Huey helicopters inserted infantry deep in enemy territory while Huey gunships, equipped with machine guns, rockets, and grenade launchers, often escorted the transports. Within minutes, helicopters could insert entire battalions into the heart of enemy territory - this was airmobility.

The Huey became a symbol of U.S. combat forces in Vietnam and millions of people worldwide watched it fly in TV news reports. At its peak in March 1970, the U.S. military operated more than 3,900 helicopters in the war in Vietnam and two thirds of them were Hueys.
Their impact was profound, not only in the new tactics and strategies of airmobile operations, but on the survival rate of battlefield casualties. U.S. Army patients made up 390,000 of the total number of people transported by medevac helicopters in Southeast Asia. Almost a third of this total (120,000) were combat casualties. The Huey airlifted ninety percent of these casualties directly to medical facilities.
From the very beginnings and over the next decade Camp Holloway became the center of operations and headquarters to numerous Army aviation, maintenance, security, and support units which were involved in some of the Central Highlands' and Vietnam's fiercest battles.

Photo taken Dec 22/23, 1962 at 81st Helicopter Maintenance Area at Pleiku Airfield in the Central Highlands later to become Holloway Army Airfield. Chief Warrant Officer (CWO) Charles E. Holloway, after whom the Camp was named, died while was flying on a CH-21.

Camp Holloway claimed to be the highest permanent helicopter base in Vietnam and it became focus of repeated military efforts by friends and foes.

Camp Holloway first helicopters were the Piasecki CH-21 Shawnee

The following photos are from 1965, Camp Holloway runway is starting to get a lot of work with new parking areas to accommodate large fixed wing cargo aircraft.

Contribution: Chuck Holloway, Tom Cooper and the Smithsonian Institution.

See Also:

Ving Long Army Airfield
Sikorsky S-58 in Vietnam
Database HAL-3 Seawolves
Database US Army Hueys
UH-1 Huey
Bell AH-1 Cobra
History of Gunships

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