Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Bikini Beach: 170th Assault Helicopter Company, Vietnam

I don't normally go after insignia from the Vietnam war, but I stumbled across a small lot of patches and insignia from a guy who was a pilot with the 170th Assault Helicopter Company that included this wonderful Vietnamese made patch.  After reading up about this unit I can really see why Vietnam era aviation is a popular area to collect.  These guys flew UH-1 helicopters in both the gunship and troop transport ("slicks") configurations.  During their time in Vietnam they performed a wide variety of missions, including much time spent in support of Special Forces, LRRP, and SOG missions.  They operated in the Pleiku Province, located in the Central Highlands of South Vietnam and adjacent to the Cambodian border.   Due to their close proximity to the border, they flew many "over the fence" missions into Laos and Cambodia in support of Special Forces teams.   The company was in the thick of it for a little over five years (1965 to 1971), winning numerous awards and commendations and participating in some pretty "high-speed" operations.  And if you watch the original "A-Team" TV series, stock footage of a UH-60 belonging to these guys was used for the intro (seen here)

Here his a flight crewman wearing the "bakinis" patch on his flight jacket, Vietnam 1969 (found at the 170th AHC website here)

2 comments:

  1. Lucky you for scoring some expensive patches. I had them all at one time too with a focus on 3rd Platoon, The Buccaneers who flew the gunships. The Bikinis flew slicks. For the record the UH-60 is the Blackhawk which didn't exist during the Vietnam War. The 170th flew the UH-1D/H Huey slicks and the UH-1B/C and Mike model gunships out of Bikini Beach.

    Nice patch.

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  2. Thanks for the comment. I must have had a brain fart when I wrote "UH-60", as of course they didn't exist back then.

    Glad you liked the post.
    -Vance

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