DUSTOFF VIETNAM
82nd Medical Detachment (Hel Amb)1967, 68, 69
Dedicated Unhesitating Service To Our Fighting Forces.

The images I used in these pages are from my private collection unless otherwise noted. Please contact the
webmaster, Charles T. Colley, personally, If you are considering "For Profit" utilization of any pictures or text.
Thank You. Chuck

Copyright © 2003 Charles T. Colley
Last modified: May 9, 2007

 

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This page is dedicated to all of the Viet Nam veterans that served with the 82nd Medical Detachment. I would like to thank all the dedicated and brave crew members with whom I served . Without their dedication , hard work and bravery, no medevacs would have been possible. I think we had the best Medics and Crew Chiefs in the Army. As to their bravery, let me give you some examples. First and foremost, you are riding in the back of an unarmed UH-1 and you are landing in a hot LZ trying to take the wounded out from under the enemy's withering fire and you have no control of the aircraft but must trust the two obviously crazy kids flying the bird and trying to ignore the tracer rounds coming through your aircraft. Or, you are in the middle of a Monsoon and you get a mission to pick up wounded at a set of coordinates in the middle of nowhere. Now you are trusting those same kids (with only a tactical instrument rating) flying without nav aids, to find the LZ and make an approach using the seat of the pants flying (tactical instrument approach). You can't even see the ground until the skids touch down.

I would also like to thank our civilian maintenance workers for a fine job of keeping us in the air. During the Tet Offensive the unit took so much battle damage that our civilian maintenance workers ran out of paid time. But they all volunteered to keep working if we could give them some comp time after the battle calmed down.

This page has been but together by Charles T. Colley (Dustoff 84) Viet Nam 1967,68,69 from a collection of slides taken during my tours with the unit.

Contact Chuck Colley

Now this is the Law of the Jungle -- as old and as true as the sky;
And the Wolf that shall keep it may prosper, but the Wolf that shall break it must die.
As the creeper that girdles the tree-trunk the Law runneth forward and back --
For the strength of the Pack is the Wolf, and the strength of the Wolf is the Pack.

From Law of the Jungle
By Rudyard Kipling

For the strength of the crew is the pilot and the strength of the pilot is the crew. Dust Off

Chuck

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Just wanted you to know my book is out in re-print, and any of the 82 who want to go back to 67 and 67 can purchase it at www.authorhouse.com, or E;Mail me at guthre@earthlink.net. The novel just received The Military Writers Society Of America's Highest award of 5 stars. The book is called TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN, for those who are not familiar with it.

H.D. Guthre, a former Dustoff medic, writes a heartfelt and soul wrenching memoir of a Dustoff Medic's experiences in this captivating book. Written much like a novel, the flow of the dialog and his action helps to visually implant the scenes in the consciousness of the reader. His words make the story vivid and alive, because the author uses a unique writing technique and style that uses the third person to tell his personal story. He even changes his own character's name in the book to help him cope emotionally and spiritually with the rememberances and having to deal with the past. It works well. It is only at the end of the book when you read what happens to each person in his book , that one actually puts it altogether and realizes that the author is SSG David Scanlon, from the story. He does not try to hide it as he goes on to write about the author where you see that what happened to scanlon, is what happened to Guthre.

Not many professional writers could have pulled this one off, but Guthre's use of this writing method only makes for a much better telling of the story. Guthre is more able to expose and express his emotions and relate to the events as an observer. This affords the reader a closer and uncensored emotional look at what happened in "The Disneyland of Death" as he calls it.

Visit Guthre's Page



Chuck Colley 2006
I am currently living in Fort Lauderdale Florida
.


 
 

 
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Viet Nam

 

This was written by Larry Brown another one of our medics from Vietnam in
tribute to Kevin Donoghue. Just thought I would share with you.

Hi JT:
Well here goes I hope its ok.

Dust-Off

We fly by day we fly at night, in all kinds of weather.
Dust-Off Hueys into the fight. Urgent Medi-Vac is the call.
We won't leave until we have them all.

1st up, 2nd up, stand by, it's a race against time so they won't die.

Hot L.Z. the ground troops say.
We take a vote and go in any way.

Single ship missions unarmed we go.
Our missions of mercy only us and them know.

When I have your wounded is our battle cry.
Side by side we stare death in the eye..
So others may live thats why we fly.
A band of Brothers and Sisters till the day we die.
Larry.

Lessons of a Vietnam Helicopter Crewman

1. Once you are in the fight, it is way too late to wonder if it was a good idea.

2. Helicopters are cool!

3. It is a fact that helicopter tail rotors are instinctively drawn toward trees, stumps, rocks, etc. While it may be possible to ward off this natural event some of the time, it cannot, despite the best efforts of the crew, always be prevented. It's just what they do.

4. NEVER get into a fight without more ammunition than the other guy.

5. The engine RPM, and the rotor RPM, must BOTH be kept in the GREEN. Failure to heed this commandment can affect the morale of the crew.

6. A billfold in your hip pocket can numb your leg and be a real pain in the ass.

7. Cover your Buddy, so he can be around to cover you.

8. Letters from home are not always great.

9. The madness of war can extract a heavy toll. Please have exact change.

10. Share everything. Even the Pound Cake.

11. Decisions made by someone over your head will seldom be in your best interest.

12. The terms "Protective Armor" and "Helicopter" are mutually exclusive.

13. The further away you are from your friends, the less likely it is that they can help you when you really need them the most.

14. If being good and lucky is not enough, there is always payback.

15. "Chicken Plates" are not something you order in a restaurant.

16. If everything is as clear as a bell, and everything is going exactly as planned, you're about to be surprised.

17. The B.S.R. (Bang, Stare, Read) Theory states that the louder the sudden bang in the helicopter, the quicker your eyes will be drawn to the gauges.

18. The longer you stare at the gauges, the less time it takes them to move from green to red.

19. It does too get cold in Vietnam.

20. No matter what you do, the bullet with your name on it will get you. So too can the ones addressed "To Whom It May Concern".

21. Gravity may not be fair, but it is the law.

22. If the rear echelon troops are really happy, the front line troops probably do not have what they need.

23. If you are wearing body armor, the incoming will probably miss that part.

24. It hurts less to die with a uniform on than to die in a hospital bed.

25. Happiness is a belt-fed weapon.

26. If something hasn't broken on your helicopter, it's about to.

27. Eat when you can. Sleep when you can. Visit the head when you can. The next opportunity may not come around for a long time. If ever.

28. Combat pay is a flawed concept.

29. Having all your body parts intact and functioning at the end of the day beats the alternative.

30. Air superiority is NOT a luxury.

31. If you are allergic to lead it is best to avoid a war zone.

32. It is always a bad thing to run out of airspeed, altitude, and ideas all at the same time.

33. While the rest of the crew may be in the same predicament, it's almost always the pilot's job to arrive at the crash site first.

34. When you shoot your gun, clean it the first chance you get.

35. Loud sudden noises in a helicopter WILL get your undivided attention.

36. Hot garrison chow is better than hot C-rations, which, in turn is better than cold C-rations, which is better than no food at all. All of these, however, are preferable to cold rice balls (given to you by guards) even if they do have the little pieces of fish in them.

37. WHAT is often more important than WHY.

38. Boxes of cookies from home must be shared.

39. Girlfriends are fair game. Wives are not.

40. Everybody's a hero on the ground in the club after the fourth drink.

41. There is no such thing as a small firefight.

42. A free-fire zone has nothing to do with economics.

43. The farther you fly into the mountains, the louder the strange engine noises become.

44. Medals are OK, but having your body and all your friends in one piece at the end of the day is better.

44a. The only medal you really want to be awarded is the Longevity Medal.

45. Being shot hurts.

46. Thousands of Vietnam Veterans earned medals for bravery every day. A few were even awarded.

48. Running out of pedal, fore or aft cyclic, or collective are all bad ideas. Any combination of these can be deadly.

49. Nomex is NOT fire proof.

50. There is only one rule in war: When you win, you get to make up the Rules.

51. Living and dying can both hurt a lot.

53. While a Super Bomb could be considered one of the four essential building blocks of life, powdered eggs cannot.

54. C-4 can make a dull day fun.

55. Cocoa Powder is neither.

56. There is no such thing as a fair fight, only ones where you win or lose.

57. If you win the battle you are entitled to the spoils. If you lose you don't care.

58. Nobody cares what you did yesterday or what you are going to do tomorrow. What is important is what you are doing NOW to solve our problem.

59. If you have extra, share it quickly.

60. Always make sure someone has a P-38.

61. A sucking chest wound may be God's way of telling you it's time to go home.

62. Prayer may not help . . . but it can't hurt.

63. Flying is better than walking. Walking is better than running. Running is better than crawling. All of these however, are better than extraction by a Med-Evac, even if this is technically a form of flying.

64. If everyone does not come home none of the rest of us can ever fully come home either.

65. Do not fear the enemy, for your enemy can only take your life. It is far better that you fear the media, for they will steal your HONOR.

66. A grunt is the true reason for the existence of the helicopter. Every helicopter flying in Vietnam had one real purpose: To help the grunt. It is unfortunate that many helicopters never had the opportunity to fulfill their one true mission in life simply because someone forgot this fact.

67. "You have the right to remain silent" is always EXCELLENT advice.

 

GOOD PILOT PHILOSOPHIES

The difference between a duck and a co-pilot?
The duck can fly.

A check ride ought to be like a skirt--short enough to be interesting, but long enough to cover everything.

Speed is life. Altitude is life insurance.

It only takes two things to fly: airspeed, and money.

The two most dangerous things in aviation:
A Doctor or Dentist in a Cessna.
Two captains in a DC-9.

Aircraft Identification:
If it's ugly, it's British.
If it's weird, it's French.
If it's ugly and weird, it's Russian.

Without ammunition, the USAF would be just another very expensive flying club.

The three best things in life are a good landing, a good orgasm, and a good bowel movement. A night carrier landing is one of the few opportunities to experience all three at the same time.

The similarity between air traffic controllers and pilots?
If a pilot screws up, the pilot dies.
If ATC screws up, the pilot dies.

It's better to break ground and head into the wind than to break wind and head into the ground.

The difference between flight attendants and jet engines is that the engines usually quit whining when they get to the gate.

New FAA motto: "We're not happy, till you're not happy."

A copilot is a knot head until he spots opposite direction traffic at 12 o'clock, after which he's a goof-off for not seeing it sooner.

If something hasn't broken on your helicopter--it's about to.

I give that landing a 9 . . . on the Richter scale.

Basic Flying Rules:
1. Try to stay in the middle of the air.
2. Do not go near the edges of it.
3. The edges of the air can be recognized by the appearance of ground, buildings, sea, trees and interstellar space. It is much more difficult to fly in the edges.

Unknown landing signal officer to carrier pilot after his 6th unsuccessful landing attempt: "You've got to land here son. This is where the food is.




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