3/17 ARC Crest.Gif





Silver Spurs

A Troop, 3/17th Air Cav
Troop History July 1970
Redhorse Review Excerpts

The Redhorse Review was a monthly 3/17th Squadron newsletter published in-country. The following excerpts from our squadron newsletter were saved all these years by Bob Bennett, Blue Tiger 20 -- 7/69-7/70.

Bill Nevius, Delta Troop 3/17th webmaster graciously provided us copies for transcription.

Photos shown were not part of the original newsletter.

Roger Young -- Silver Spur webmaster


The Redhorse Inn
Courtesy of Spur Scout Tom White




From the July 1970 Edition:


Volume 1 Number 9
Di An, Vietnam
July 1970

pg 2


Commanding Officer......LTC Gordon T. Carey
Information Officer.........1LT Charles S. McCulloch
Editor...............................SP4 Frankie J. Witcher

The REDHORSE REVIEW is an authorized monthly publication of the US Army, published by the Information Office, 3d Squadron, 17th Air Cavalry, APO 96289 (telephone: Di An 2281). Newspaper circulation: 400 copies.

Opinions expressed in the REDHORSE REVIEW are not necessarily those of the Department of the Army. The services of the Armed Forces Press Service are used, and others sources as noted.

Contributions to the REDHORSE REVIEW should be sent to the Squadron Information Office NLT the 27th of each month.


page 1


"Our third choice is to go [to] the heart of the trouble. That means cleaning out major North Vietnamese and Viet Cong occupied sanctuaries which serve as bases for attacks on both Cambodia and American and South Vietnam forces in South Vietnam. Some of these are as close to Saigon as Baltimore is to Washington..."

With these words by President Richard M. Nixon on April 30, 1070, American forces crossed into Cambodia to "clean out major enemy sanctuaries on the Cambodia-Vietnamese border."

The 3d Squadron, 17th Air Cavalry made its entry into Cambodia on May 6, 1970. The Cav unit, with its AH-1G "Cobra" gunships, OH-58A Scout Helicopters, OH-6A Light Observation Helicopters [LOH], and aero rifle platoons, dealt the enemy units devastating blows at every encounter. [Note: The 3/17th was OPCON to the 1st Cav while in Cambodia. Webmaster's comments]

On the first day of the mission, Alpha Troops (Silver Spurs) gunship attacks in the Dog's Face area resulted in thirteen enemy KBA. The Spur aero-riflemen were inserted and claimed two enemy killed. A reconnaissance of the area found ten huts and ten sampans destroyed and twelve huts and twelve destroyed. Bravo Troop's (Burning Stogies) gunships in an area northwest of the Angel's Wing killed fourteen enemy soldiers when they opened fire on an OH-6A Light Observation Helicopter conducting a visual reconnaissance [VR] of the area. A probe by the ground forces found three enemy bunkers and six huts destroyed.

The Stogies uncovered a large enemy force in the area west of Straight Edge Woods on May 7, 1970. The unit was first spotted when a LOH, piloted by Captain Douglas M. Pohrisch with SP4 Ernest C. McKissic as observer, was flying a VR for friendly forces. Upon detection, Specialist McKissic immediately began engaging the enemy force with the ship's M-60 machine gun and making the area with smoke grenades for the Stogie gunships. The Cobras engaged the enemy force with mini-gun and rocket fire, killing several of them. The hunter-killer teams of B Troop, continued to stir up contact for several hours. In the afternoon, the Stogie aero-riflemen (ARPs) were inserted to conduct a reconnaissance of the area. With Staff Sergeant Edgar Lawson as platoon sergeant, the ARPs began receiving sporadic enemy fire as they stared their reconnaissance mission. The riflemen quickly laid down effective suppressive fire, killing one enemy soldier and sending the others scurrying out of the area. The ARPs uncovered two enemy bodies, two personal weapons, documents and an array of enemy equipment. The day's action resulted in twenty-one enemy KBA for the Stogies.

The next day, C Troop (Charliehorse) came in contact with an unknown size force south of Dog's Face. Cobra gunships were called in and made several gun runs in the area. A reconnaissance of the area found twenty-four enemy dead, uncovered two AK-47s, and two huts destroyed.

May 9, found the Silver Spurs working in the Parrot's Beak area.

page 4

The Spur's gunship strikes resulted in seven KBA and the destruction of ten huts. The same day, Charliehorse gunships recorded seven KBA in the area of the Elephant's Ear. The gunships also destroyed three huts, three sampans, and damaged one motorcycle.

During the period from May 11 to 13, Charliehorse flexed its muscles in the Dog's Face area. In the three day affair, Chalie Troop's gunners amassed an astounding 67 KBA, 24 huts, two sampans and one vehicle destroyed. On the last day of the mission, a Charliehorse scout ship, piloted by WO1 Matthew Ginalick, Jr. and WO1 Joseph Duffy with SP4 William J. Forish as the observer, came under enemy fire. SP4 Forish engaged two VC, killing both, and marked the area with a smoke for the "Cobra" gunships. While doing this, the ship was under intensive fire. In the barrage, the ship took several hits and the two pilots were wounded. An AH-1G [Cobra] helicopter, piloted by 1LT Thomas Jackson and 1LT Phillip Nelson engaged the enemy with accurate rocket and mini-gun fire, completely nullifying the enemy positions. This enabled the OH-58A to exit the area. The Cobra gunship escorted the lame scout ship back into Vietnam and the safety of a fire support base and the medical facilities there.

The Silver Spurs showed their power on May 13 when their hunger-killer teams killed 36 enemy soldiers south of the Angel's Wing. Two Spur aircraft received hits, wounding two of the crew of one aircraft. Four days later, Spur gunships and scout ships accounted for 34 KBA, this time northwest of the Parrot's Beak.

May 21, 1970, Stogie gunships raked an area south of the Elephant's Ear, resulting in three KBA and seven huts destroyed. Working in the same vicinity, Charliehorse gunships killed fifteen enemy soldiers and destroyed five vehicles and one hut.

Two day later, Spur and Stogie gunships accounted for ten KBA and five huts destroyed north of the Elephant's Ear. The Spur hunter-killer teams accounted for two KBA when a scout helicopter was fired upon while conducting a VR. The crew quickly engaged the enemy force, killing two. The Stogies accounted for the other eight northwest of The Elephant's Ear. Stogie gunships also destroyed five huts in the area.

Rounding out the month for the Squadron, Charliehorse gunships killed thirty-two enemy soldiers southwest of the Angel's Wing. The action began when a scout helicopter was fired upon by an unknown enemy size force. The scout ship marked the area with smoke grenades for the Cobra gunships. Several gun runs were made, killing several enemy soldiers. Other gun runs were made in the area as the scout ship uncovered more enemy personnel.

The Squadron continued to be impressive during June. On June 11, the Silver Spurs destroyed three bunkers and damaged two others south of the Elephant's Ear. Just north of the Elephant's Ear, Charliehorse gunships killed nine enemy soldiers.

On June 19, Stogie gunships working in the Fish Hook region of Cambodia, destroyed three huts. The Silver Spurs killed three enemy troops in the jungle terrain of Straight Edge Woods.

Headquarters and Delta Troops, although they did not cross the border, contributed to the success of the mission. Men of Headquarters Troop were sent to Tay Ninh to install communications systems, arm Cobra gunships and handle intelligence.

Delta Troop (Blue Tigers) was sent to Fire Support Base Rob, 12 miles south of Song Be. There, they were working with Charlie and Bravo Batteries, 5/2 Arty. Delta's mission in the area was to provide road reconnaissance and convoy security between Song Be and Dong Xoi. The Tigers would sweep the road each morning and afternoon. In the nearly two months, Delta Troop pulled the road missions, they found a total of thirty-five mines. These mines were destroyed without loss of life or equipment to American and Vietnamese forces.

The 55 day operation into Cambodia was very successful one for Redhorse. During this time, the Redhorse hunter-killer teams killed 334 enemy soldiers, destroyed 326 structures and bunkers, 55 sampans, captured one 57 mm rifle, two AK-47s, destroyed or damaged fourteen vehicles and one motorcycle. The men of Redhorse showed their courage and their great fighting ability in defeating the enemy force. [End]


"Super" Snake!

Super Snake1.Gif

One of the first of its kind, if not the first of its kind, the Silver Spur Snake above was outfitted with a Vulcan cannon mounted under its left wing. The Vulcan was installed for the '70 Cambodian incursion because the rockets failed to penetrate the reinforced enemy bunkers. On its initial testing the ferocious muzzle blasts put holes in the side of the fuselage next to the gunner and the latches on the canopy failed. Plating was installed to protect the fuselage, the vital flight controls and wiring harness on the left side of the fuselage. Canopy locks were also altered.


Super Snake 2.Gif

This is the business end of the T171 Vulcan cannon which fires a mixed load of 20mm rounds (incendiary, high explosive, armor piercing, tracer) at rates up to 6,000 rounds-per-minute! The Vulcan was also used on F-4's, F-104's, F-105's & B-58's. This particular Cobra was named, Pistol Pete and the last three digits of its tail number are 075.

Super Snake photos Courtesy of Larry "Chance" Hughes -- FAC Pilot, 19 TASS, Rash Fac -- Quan Loi 1970




page 6


Due to the varied type of missions we perform, many times we run into the problem of detainees, Hoi Chanhs and prisoners of war. At all times we must remember that as member of the U.S. Military Forces, we must comply with certain rules and regulations. Our conduct with POW's Hoi Chanh's and detainees is governed by the Geneva Prisoner of War Convention of 1949. We have all had instructions in handling of POW's in our Basic Training and our refresher course we received at in-country training. But too many times this instruction went right by us because we were tired, hungry or just plain miserable. Let's take another look at what this instruction was -- in plain English.

When we handle POW's they must be handled firmly, promptly, and humanely. The prisoner must be disarmed, searched, secured, and watched. But he must also be treated at all times as a human being. He must not be tortured, killed, mutilated, or degraded, even if he refuses to talk. If the captive is a woman, treat her with all respect due her sex. As soon as possible we must evacuate the prisoner to a place of safety for interrogation. When the prisoner is searched and evacuated, do not take any of the prisoner's personal effects which do not have significant military value. Mistreatment of any prisoners is a criminal offense. It is both dishonorable and foolish to mistreat a prisoner. Not even a beaten enemy will surrender if he knows his captors will torture or kill him. He will resist and make his capture more costly. Fair treatment of prisoners encourage the enemy to surrender. Treat the sick and wounded prisoners the best you can. The prisoner saved can be an intelligence source. In any case, he is a human being and must be treated like one. The solider who ignores the sick and wounded degrades his uniform.

All detained persons, whether prisoner of war or civilians, must be protected against violence, insults, curiosity and reprisals of any kind. Leave punishment to the courts and judges. The soldier shows his strength by his fairness, firmness, and humanity to the persons in his hands. Experience has demonstrated the wisdom of treating individuals in a humane manner. In Vietnam, some of the most hardened political cadre have provided valuable information upon learning that the allies are not cruel war criminals, as communist propaganda depicts. Kindness has often succeeded when force would not have produced results.

A returnee (Hoi Chanh) is a North Vietnamese soldier who has ceased to fight for the communist cause and has voluntarily submitted to the control of the Government of the Republic of Vietnam. These individuals often bring with them valuable documents, weapons, and knowledge of the location of enemy personnel and material. This Squadron has sixteen former Hoi Chanhs working as Kit Carson Scouts showing the effectiveness of this program. Returnees should always be segregated from prisoners. The same basic principles apply to the handling of returnees as to prisoners. However, a returnee is no longer an enemy, but rather an ally. Therefore, he should be given more consideration than the prisoner. Every kindness shown to a returnee will pay dividends in the form of valuable intelligence information [End]




page 11




During the month of June, the Silver Spurs had a change of command. The new Commander, Major James Rafferty of Columbus, Georgia, comes to Alpha Troop from Fort Knox, Kentucky.

In ceremonies held at Di An on June 17, 1970, Major Rafferty assumed command of the Silver Spurs from Major Arthur S. Dervaes. While at Fort Knox, Major Rafferty was Branch Chief in the Officer's Advanced Career Course of the Armor School. In his previous tour of Vietnam, Major Rafferty was with the 101st Airborne Division. While with the 101st, he was very instrumental in the formation of many of the aviation units now serving in Vietnam.

Major Dervaes' subsequent assignment will be to the United States Military Academy, West Point, New York. [End]





As American forces leave Cambodia, most of them will go back to their assignment before the Cambodian Campaign. Alpha Troop, 3d Squadron, 17th Air Cavalry is one of them. The Silver Spurs go back to the old hunting grounds around Quan Loi.

During the six weeks of employment by the 25th Infantry Division, the Silver Spurs rolled up an impressive record. The Spurs had a total of 122 enemy KBA and numerous huts, bunkers, sampans and other enemy structures destroyed or damaged. The aviators amassed over 3500 accident free hours of Combat flight while serving with the 25th.

Now, the Silver Spurs have a new aircraft to its flock. During the Cambodian Campaign, the Spurs incorporated the new OH-58A 'Kiowa' scout helicopter to its aircraft inventory. [End]








page 12


The U.S. Public Health Service recently reported the case of a soldier, home on emergency leave from Vietnam, who died of falciparum malaria. All personnel are reminded of the necessity to continue the Chloroquine-Primaquine (orange) tablet weekly for eight weeks upon returning to CONUS whether on leave or rotation. Personnel who have been in an area of Vietnam where the Dapsone (white) tablet was taken daily, should continue taking the tablet each day for 28 days after leaving the area whether in-country or out of the country. [End]


Back to 1970 Troop History




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