- Captain Tom Crull (Pilot)
- Mike Dobson (Doorgunner)
UH1-B “Seawolves” – Vietnam
“I would compare what we did in the “Seawolves,” to Chennault’s Flying Tigers in World War II. There was no difference. We were all volunteers. We all started out with JUNK and we got the job done,” Tom said proudly.
“In comes one of these Seals, he is filthy, dirty and had been running in the jungle, sweat, makeup, the whole thing. He asked, “Who the hell was shooting the 50-calibre last night?” “ I thought I was going to get my butt kicked,” laughed Mike.
“The Mekong Delta is a vast, swampy system of more than 2,500 miles of rivers, canals, and streams covering the southern quarter of what was, before 1975, the Republic of South Vietnam. During the Vietnam War, whoever controlled the waterways controlled the area, and in 1965 communist forces did; the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese army (NVA) funneled troops and supplies around with near impunity.
The enemy fought back fiercely with armed junks and ambushes sprung from concealed positions ashore. To survive, the boat crews and special forces teams would need close air support, and the aircraft best suited for the job were dedicated helicopter gunships. There was just one problem: The Navy didn’t fly gunships.
In early 1966, Army UH-1B Huey gunships were temporarily assigned to a dock-landing ship, the USS Belle Grove, to support Operation Game Warden. The Army aviator’s tenure on the ship was only about five months, but the men used the time to develop many of the tactics later used by the Navy, and gave their contingent a nickname: the Sea Wolves (later compressed to one word: Seawolves). When the Army left, the Navy kept eight of their helicopters—and the nickname.” SOURCE: Robert Bernier – Air & Space Magazine, April 2016
“The story of the HA(L)-3 Seawolves, the most decorated squadron in the Vietnam War and Naval Aviation History.” Source: “Scramble the Seawolves“ / PBS Documentary
This FULL Story coming to VZCM website Fall of 2021.