Unit Operations

The present mission assigned to the 191st Assault Helicopter Company, although unstated in a mission statement, is the direct support of the operations of the 9th Infantry Division. Approximately 95% of the operations at the present time are combat assault operations in support of 9th Division units.

The 191st Boomerangs have a proud history or past operations. Except for a brief period from 1 Dec 67 - 18 Dec 67 when the 191st was in support of the 18th ARVN Division, the company has participated in almost all 9th Division operations since the 191st became operational on 21 Jun 67. Although day by day operations are too numerous to mention, a few of the unitís major accomplishments are outlined below.

On 13 Dec 1967 the 191st gun ship pilots without regard for their own safety repeatedly made gun runs through enemy automatic weapons fire to stop a Viet Cong attack directed at elements of the 3rd Battalion, 52nd ARVN Infantry. On a second ARVN extraction the flight and troops received heavy automatic weapons fire. After the helicopters departed approximately 120 VC executed a human wave attack. The 191st gun ships made extremely low, slow firing passes exposing themselves in an effort to pull the VC attach away from the ARVN troops. The gunships received credit for 31 VC kills. There were no ARVN troops injured. Two 191st pilots were injured. Four gunships and two of the lift ships received moderate damage. The heroic action of the men of the 191st Assault Helicopter Company repulsed an organized enemy attack and saved the lives of many ARVN troops.

On 25 January 1968, the 191st Assault Helicopter Company continually suppressed a Viet Cong force allowing two RF companies to conduct a search and destroy operation. After the ground operation was completed, the 191st executed their first extraction under heavy automatic weapons fire. Several helicopters were hit and required inspection and on the spot maintenance which delayed the second extraction until after sunset. Even though the enemy were in a position to attack, the 191st returned to the PZ to complete their mission. Darkness and a solid wall of enemy bullets did not stop the men of the 191st from completing the second extraction. Four helicopters received major damage. Three of them being forced down in a secure area. The other helicopter was forced down in another VC infested area. An ARVN force was inserted at night, under fire at the site of the downed helicopter.

The 191st flew 182 hours and had twelve ships receive multiple hits during the operation. Four of the helicopters were evacuated the following morning. Even after such a heroic and costly day, the 191st met the normal requirements for an assault helicopter company the following day.

On 25 March 1968, the 191st inserted and later extracted elements of the 2nd Battalion 39th Infantry 9th Infantry Division.

Throughout the day the 191st received automatic weapons fire to include 50 caliber. The company remained on station past their normal release time in order to extract the security forces. The extractions were made under heavy fire. The 191st approached the PZ's from all angles in order to reduce their vulnerability. The last element to be extracted was lifted out at first dark. The 191st completed their night resupply, making their approach without aircraft lights to a single strobe light on the ground. The company returned home with nine UH-1D's and four UH-1C's. Two aircraft had to be evacuated the following day. Of the thirteen helicopters returning to Bearcat twelve of them had multiple bullet holes. The following morning the 191st met the normal commitment for an assault helicopter company. The gun ships and Air Force were given credit for 21 VC KBA (Killed By Air). 

During the period 1-9 June 1968, the 191st Assault Helicopter Company supported the 1st Brigade 9th Infantry Division on operation Truong Cong Dinh, conducted in the Plain of Reeds.

During this operation the 1st Brigade, 9th Infantry Division was credited with 600 VC casualties (195 actual body count) and 84 weapons captured or destroyed. Throughout the operation the 191st Assault Helicopter Company provided the majority of airmobile assets conducting assaults, resupply, and medical evacuation missions into numerous hot landing zones. The 191st made assaults through enemy anti-aircraft and rocket fire throughout the first day; the last assault being made at night into a small LZ that had been cut out of high brush by a recent air strike. Throughout the night assault the helicopters, in flights of five, continued to fly through the heavy automatic weapons fire until 15 sorties were inserted into the hot landing zone, after which night resupply and medical evacuation were required.

On the morning of June 2 the enemy force was overrun and the 191st Assault Helicopter Company extracted two Battalions from the operational area. From 3 June - 9 June the 191st Assault Helicopter Company continued their support of the First Brigade, making day and night insertions and extractions under heavy automatic weapons fire. Throughout the nine day operation the 191st braved enemy fire to complete day and night combat assault operations, provided the needed ammunition resupply and to execute numerous medical evacuation missions. The support provided by the men of the 191st was outstanding in all respects.

 

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