33 Years Under The Green Blanket.

Stories my father told me.

Vietnam war stories are replete with tales of the hot LZ. Enemy ambush entering or leaving the landing zone was an ongoing threat to helicopters and their crews inserting and extracting personnel and equiptment.

My father was a reconnaissance Marine during the early part of the war. He told me a story about the interesting relationship his Marines had with the crew chief of one particular bird.

Ready to disembark, Marines would sit in the doorway legs hanging over the side as the bird came hovering into the LZ. Seems the crew chief would get nervous and prematurely start kicking Marines out as they were still in the air. Being unceremoniously booted into space while still 10 to 20 feet above the deck didn’t sit well with my old man and his Marines. 

Being men of action vice words, the Recon ninjas decided to solve their little problem. On the next insertion one of the Marines drew his knife and cut the crew chief’s safety strap. The others grabbed him as they tumbled out of the helo into the LZ below. Hurrying on its way, the helo peeled away light one crew member.  The crew chief had no choice but to draw his side arm and accompany the Reconnaissance patrol on its mission.

Oddly, crew chiefs stopped kicking Marines out of their birds until they were firmly on the ground. 

Semper Fidelis!
America’s SgtMaj

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  1. 1. Good story.
    2. On the Army side, the inserts were by Huey.
    3. Crew was two pilots, crew chief and door gunner. They’d usually crowd six or seven grunts aboard.
    4. No seats, sit on the floor and hook a finger in a cargo ring.
    5. Inserting in a high grass LZ, the first step out could be a lulu.
    6. Got kicked out a couple times. The crew chief and door gunner might have been screaming “Hot LZ” -but it was too noisy to hear.
    7. Sometimes the LT got a set of headphones but the rest of us proceeded in blissful ignorance.
    8. At one point, the Helo people came recruiting door gunners.
    9. It was touted as a good deal: sleeping in a bed with sheets, hot meals, no patrolling. Had to have six months in country to be eligible.
    10. Someone went around the edge of the crowd whispering that flight crew casualties were so high they had SSGT’s and SFC’s on the guns.
    11. Having been the involuntary recipients of “One Good Deal After Another,” they had no takers from my unit.
    V/R JWest

  2. Perfect timing with this one, ASM – you may see a little more blog traffic too.

    The company i work for is currently “restructuring”, which, as usual, means that people are losing their jobs. HR have swept in from their secret central location to tell all the team leaders how to make some of their staff redundant, and then ran off into the hills on the days where TLs are meeting the staff.

    I had a mentoring meeting with one of the senior management team yesterday and showed him this post. I think the analogy struck home, as he sent it on to his boss, and mere moments ago, we’ve been advised that HR will now be onsite to provide on-the-spot assistance until the end of the restructuring process.

    Cheers, mate 😉

  3. Book, sometimes conflict resolution requires action vice mere words.

    JWest, I always thought door gunner would be a good gig, but I could see how skepticism could creep in when suddenly volunteers were asked for.

    benning, glad you enjoyed it.

    Mrs. Salad, I am glad to have made an impact on your side of the pond. Anything else I can do?

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