THIS SUPPLEMENT TO THE HISTORY OF THE 119TH ASSAULT HELICOPTER COMPANY HAS BEEN WRITTEN IN ORDER THAT THE OFFICERS AND MEN OF THE 119TH COULD BE RECOGNIZED FOR THEIR OUTSTANDING WORK,ESPRIT DE'CORPS, AND LOYALITY TO THEIR COUNTRY DURING THEIR TOUR IN THE REPUBLIC OF VIETNAM.
The 119th Aviation Company was organized under TO&E1-77G,dated 10 November 1965. The company consists of a Company Headquarters, two Airlift (Slicks)Platoons, one Armed Escort (Gun) Platoon, a Service Platoon, and the following detachments:
545th Transportation Detachment (CHFM)
70th Signal Detachment (Avionics)
94th Medical Detachment
The Company opperates and maintains a total of 21 UH-1D(Slick) helicopters and 8 UH-1C (gunship) helicopters.
119TH ASSUALT HELICOPTER COMPANY HISTORY
The 119th Aviation Company of the 52nd Aviation Battalion was located at Camp Holloway near the town of Pleiku, Vietnem. Pleiku is near the center of the rugged central Highlands of Vietnam and is the site of the ARVINS Second Corps headquarters. Camp Holloway is one of the oldest helicopter basses in Vietnam Nam. It was opened in august of 1962 by the 81st Transit Company(C-21) which later became the 119th Aviation Company. Camp Holloway also had the distinction of being the highest permanent helicopter base in the country with a field elevtor of 2640 feet MSL..
The year 1965 brought many changes to the 119th Aviation Company. During the year the scope of the war in Vietnam grew tremendously. In January only 21,000 U.S. troops were involved in the war, but by December the number had grown to 180.000, including some of the Armys front line combat divisions. At the start of 1965 the war was confined to south Vietnam .But the night of Febuary 7 1965 ended that confinement. It was on that night at 0200 hrs, that a Viet Cong mortar attack hit Camp Holloway and the 119th Aviation Company.The causalities at Camp Holloway included eight dead and nore that one hundred wounded, including Major Seyward N Hall the Comanding Officer of the 119th Aviation Company. He died two mounths later. The next day President Johnson ordered retaliatory air strikes on North Vietnam and the " Escalation " began.
Thought the year the 119th Aviation Company has proven itself to be one of the hardest working aviation units in Vietnam. Its has been involved in operations all over the ARVIN Second Corps area, equal in size to the state of Florida. It has performed every conceivable mission from combat assualt to VIP haul, and from tactical medical evaution to road reconnaissance.
The 119th Aviation Company has been deeply involved in two of the biggest battles of the war. The siege of Ducco and Plei Me. Both of these special Forces Camps are within 30 minutes flying time of Camp Holloway, and both were the scene of heavy fighting when the Viet Cong attempted to overrun the camps. The viet Cong were defeated in both battles and perhaps history will show these two victories for the RVN to be the turning point the the battle for freedom in South Vietnam.
The year 1966 continued the escalation begun in 1965 of the Vietnam war. By year's end, an estimated 380,000 American troops were in south vietnam. Nearly triple those present at the close of 1965. Nowhere was the groth more in evidence then in the Pleiku area, where the 3rd birgade of the 25th Infantry Division and the 4th Infantry Division became located. With the Introduction of these American units, the mission of 119th Aviation Company was modified to their general support .With a secondary mission being the support of the CIDG and ARVN forces in the area. The arrival of elements of the 25th Infantry Division in March reunited the 119th with its former parent unit .
In October of 1961, when the present 119th was the 81st Transportation Company, it was assinged to the 25th at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. In August of the following year the 81st moved to its present location at Camp Holloway.
On 14 June 1963, by General Order 236, the 81st Transportation Company was deactivated and the 119th Aviation Company (Air Mobil Light) activated under nearly its present structure. By this order the CH-21C were exchanged for the UH-1B Slicks. Future equipment changes were accomplished in May of 1966. When all the UH-1B sllicks were exchanged for UH-1D type aircraft. And again in December, with the arrival of the new UH-1C Aircraft, equipped with the new M-21 weapons systems to replace the older UH-1B gunships.
During 1966 the 119th has supported several of the major campaigns within the II Corps area, including Operations Masher, White Wing, Garfield, and Paul Revere. The past eight months, the forces in the Pleiku area were involved in Operation Paul Revere, the longest continuous campaign in Army history. The assigned mission of the 119th has been surveillance, ambush, and block penetration into the assigned area of operations, involved in a effort to close the major infiltration points located in the vicinity of the Chu Pong Mountains and north of the Se San River. In 1965, the battles of Plei Me and Duc Co, along with the Ia Drang Valley campaings, were the forerunners of the present operation, in that they demonstrated the number of troops which had infiltrated through the mentioned areas.
The initial troop strenght did not permit the occupation of positions which would provide complete surveillance of the Cambodian border,let alone the conduct of search and destroy opperations. Consequently, a system of "checker-boarding" was adopted, with units being moved from one area of operation to another without a set pattern. This type of operation demands a high degree of movility to move troops throughout an area of operations the size of Paul Revere. This concept also demands a highly mobil, quick-reacting, reserve force, since these task forces are generally small units. The presence of the helicopter makes these operations feasible. In effect, a new concept of warfare has been developed in Vietnam and the 119th Aviation Company, in its daily operations, is proving the validity of the concept of warfare.
The 119th Aviation Company has been one of hardest working units in Vietnam, with nearly 20,000 hours logged during 1966. Operations have ranged over the entire II Corps area, with occasional forages into neighboring combat zones. Every conceivable mission, from combat assualts to VIP flights, has been performed.
On the 30th of October 1970 the 119th flew its last mission. On 31 october 1970 the 119th Assualt Helicopter Company was Deactivated.
The mission of the 119th Aviation Company is to provide tactical air movement of combat troops and combat supplies and equipment within the combat zone. The company is attached to the 52d Aviation Battalion 17th Aviation Group, which provides aviation support to the 3d Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, and 4th Infantry Division tropps in the II Corps area.