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War Stories

Nighthawk - August 1971

This is an article from the Redhorse Review September 1971;
The Redhorse Review was an authorized, unofficial monthly publication of the Army produced by the Information Office,
3d Squadron, 17th Air Cavalry, APO 96289, Phu Loi, Vietnam. Copy provided by Joe Hoover.

On August 31, 1971 the famed "Night Hawk" from F Troop was given yet another opportunity to swing into action and justify the many accolades it has already received.

In addition to a powerful Xenon light, the UH-1H helicopter (Night Hawk) is equipped with a minigun and an M-60 machine gun - definitely a lethal system.

About 2100 hours, August 31, 1971, the TCC received a call from a District Provincial Force saying that they had contact with 40 VC in the vicinity of Chann Luu, approximately 5 kilometers southeast of their position. Within minutes the Night Hawk, piloted by CPT Dennis T. Yenser and CPT Douglas R. Jones was on station. Suddenly, a xenon light pierced the blackness of the night and the land below was illuminated revealing approximately ten VC. Concentrating on four figures the Night Hawk opened fire with its armaments and immediately chalked up the first four of many confirmed kills that night.

Swiftly, two Snakes, one piloted by CPT Donald E. Borey and CPT Gilbert Medina, the other with 1LT John L. Taylor and WO1 Robert C. Jones aboard, arrived on station and after being given clearance to fire began their runs on the area where the ten VC were spotted. Thoroughly peppering the area with their ordinance, the Snakes then moved on to the northern part of the village where several VC had been sighted near the railroad tracks. It appeared that these tracks were the only avenue of retreat open to the VC so incendiaries were dropped on the tracks for illumination and marking. Upon locating some VC around the tracks the Snakes rolled in on the enemy position and blanketed the area with their armaments. Meanwhile, the Night Hawk was back after having broken station for fuel and it continued the devastating mission around the tracks. Before the night was over their were eight confirmed kills by the Night Hawk and Snakes.

The following day a complete sweep of the area was made and the total of confirmed kills rose to seventeen.

Once again the VC felt the presence of the nocturnal bandit who first robbed them of their concealment and then their lives.

The Night Hawk has reportedly proven itself capable of mission accomplishment during the hours of darkness and must be considered a constant thorn in the enemy's side. And as testimony to that fact, there are at least seventeen enemy soldiers who will not lose any more sleep worrying about this nocturnal hunter