Sky Chief veterans return to Aviation roots
June 9, 2011
FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- A group of Vietnam-era pilots and crewmembers returned to Mother Rucker June 3 to reminisce about the old days and learn how far Aviation training has come since they attended flight school here as young men more than 40 years ago.
Veterans of the 195th Assault Helicopter Company also came back because they wanted a photo with the Sky Chief Street sign " the street named in honor of the unit’s call sign, according to 195th veteran Larry Little.
Following flight school, the young Aviators left for Fort Carson, Colo., where they were assigned to the 195th AHC, Little said.
According to unit archives, during what some refer to as the first helicopter war, Soldiers of the 195th AHC served in various support roles for the Military Assistance Command Vietnam and its Special Operations Group from Nov. 2, 1967, through Dec. 14, 1970.
“From its first mission on Dec. 1, 1967, to June 30, 1970, the unit’s primary missions were the special operations of MACV-SOG. These missions were ‘over the fence’ operations into the Parrot’s Beak and Fish Hook areas of Cambodia,” said 195th veteran Larry Little. “Due to these constant ‘over the fence’ missions, the 195th had the distinction of flying UH-1 Hueys that were officially authorized to be painted in a camouflage paint scheme. Also, during September 1968, the 195th flew for Special Project Delta.”
Records show that the 195th suffered 11 men killed in action on SOG missions.
“One of the most famous, or infamous, missions in which the 195th participated was the ill-fated late April 1969 raid on North Vietnamese Army headquarters in Cambodia. This is the mission on which the recon legend Jerry ‘Mad Dog’ Shriver was KIA,” recalled 195th veteran Hubert Fayard.
Fayard is one of the 20 195th veterans who made the trip back to where it all started, and to take a photo at Sky Chief Street.
“Our visit back to Mother Rucker proved to be the highlight of our three-day reunion. It was especially enlightening to see how much simulators have changed the way we train Aviators of this generation,” he said.
After enjoying lunch at a Soldiers’ dining facility, the 195th veterans walked across the street for a stop at Mother Rucker’s sports bar to pick up a souvenir or two.