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basically performed the same missions as the VMOs.* It would not be
until 1969 with the introduction of the Bell AH1G Cobra helicopter gunship
into the Marine inventory and the arrival of additional Broncos that
the demands upon the overworked UH-1Es began to ease.12


While the Marines used the UH-1E both for observation and as a gunship, it had many disadvantages in comparison to the diverse light helicopter mix that the Army helicopter units had available to them. The 1st Air Cavalry already had the Cobra gunships in service. In addition, the Army division had available the bubble-topped Hughes OH-6A Cayuse or LOH (Light Observation Helicopter) for scouting missions and finally the UH-1H model of the Huey for command and control and trooplift purposes. The Army still used the UH-1B model in a gunship role.13

As early as March 1968, Brigadier General Henry W. Hise, one of the
two assistant commanders of the 1st MAW, outlined the handicaps of the
Marine UH-1E as a gunship. Equipped with the TAT-101 Turret, the UH-1E
armament, according to Hise, did "not have enough range or punch."**
Also in both the fight for Hue and in the environment around the DMZ
and Khe Sanh, the Marine general argued that "the armed chopper is a
point target to the man on the ground while in the great majority of
cases the chopper pilot is firing at an area target." The result was
that the helicopters were vulnerable to the enemy's 12.7mm machine guns
while pilots had difficulty "in pin-pointing the guns firing at them."
Hise believed "that chopper operations into 12.7[mm machine gun] defended
areas is not good sense unless the weather allows fixed-wing support."
The assistant wing commander observed that armed UH-1E pilots flying
into these regions now "holler for longer range area weapons; specifically
20mm guns or at a minimum .50-caliber guns."14

In June, the new FMFPac commander, Lieutenant General Henry W. Buse,
Jr., picked up on the refrain for more of a mix of light helicopters
for the Marine Corps. After a visit to III MAF and especially the 3d
Marine Division, he told the Commandant that the division's recent mobile
operations in the interior and the western mountains "underscore the
requirement for the relatively small, light, and powerful helicopter
vis a vis the CH-46." While remarking that the latter aircraft was "worth
its weight in gold," he stated it was "not the answer to the requirement
for a troop carrier" in the rugged terrain in the central and western
DMZ sector. According to Buse, the infantry and reconnaissance "insert
and extraction problem in undeveloped LZ's, often under fire, dictates
the employment of smaller, faster, more maneuverable helos." While recognizing
the yeoman service performed by the Marine UH-1Es and the old Sikorsky
UH-34s Sea Horses,*** he was especially impressed with the Army UH-1H
"with its slightly greater capacity and increased power" for these purposes.15

Major General Davis, the 3d Marine Division commander, also had doubts
about the Marine UH-1E as a command and control aircraft and compared
it unfavorably to the Army UH-1H. While assistant Provisional Corps
commander, prior to taking over the 3d Division, Davis recounted that
the Army had provided him with his own Huey, an H model, and that he
had been "spoiled." With the Army aircraft, with its increased power,
he was able to get into "all of these out of way places and these hilltops,
and through all this weather . . . ." When he assumed command of the
3d Division, the Marine wing provided him with a UH-1E "that couldn't
hack it." The Marine aircraft with its comparative lack of lift would
have difficulty in the mountains. Davis remembered that he "got


* Lieutenant Colonel Thomas F. Miller, who commanded HML-167 from
August through the end of 1968, recalled that out of the 14 UH-1E aircraft
that he had assigned to his squadron, he scheduled five of these aircraft
each day as VIP aircraft for the commanding generals of the two Marine
Divisions, the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III MAF, and the Korean Marine
Corps. While staring that the number of these especially designated
aircraft by themselves were not significant, they consisted of nearly
six percent of all UH-1E assets. Miller Comments.

** According to Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Miller, he did not recall
that when he assumed command of HML-167 in August 1968 that any of his
aircraft were equipped with the TAT 101. He stated that his UH-1E's
"were armed with forward-firing 7.62 machine guns and 2.75 rocket pods
attached to each landing skid. Two crew members operating 7.62 machine
guns fired out the aircraft's side doors." Miller Comments.

*** Both Lieutenant Colonels Jack E. Schlarp and Walter H. Shauer,
who both commanded HMM-362, a UH-34 squadron, in 1968, praised the reliability
and availability of the UH-34. Lieutenant Colonel Shauer observed that
when he arrived in Vietnam in the last half of 1967, the "[UH-]34's
were doing the bulk of the flying. . . . This was because the older
H-34 [in comparison to the CH-46] was much simpler to maintain and [had
a} reliable piston engine vs sophisticated jet turbine engines [of the
CH-46] subject to FOD (foreign object damage) and temperature limitations."
Shauer Comments. Lieutenant Colonel Schlarp wrote, "if the Corps had
hung on to the H-34's and not tried to rely on the H-46s, and/or H-53s
everyone might have been better served. The H-34 was a reliable helicopter
that did not suffer from rhe lack of availabiliry as did the newer helicopters."
Schlarp Comments.







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