Gene's first 6 months in country were with the Army Engineers.
After having enough of "driving with one hand and shooting with the other", he requested a transfer to the 170th so that he could make a "real contribution".
"Some day I'll get a chance to meet old Charlie face to face and there won't be anymore hide and seek then I'll make him pay for all the rotten stuff I see everyday."
(From a letter dated 3 July 1967.)
"I clear the 805th tomorrow and report to my new job [170th AHC] the 2 of Dec."
(From a letter dated 29 Nov 1967.)
It took from 2 Dec. 1967 to about April 1968 for Gene to "graduate" from slicks to gunships.
"Well I have changed jobs again so now instead of flying a troop movement ship with only two machine guns I fly on the gun ships now. They have rockets, grenade launched and twin mini guns that fire 6,000 rounds per min., plus the two crew members have a regular machine gun. The first day I flew with them was Easter Sunday and we got into a big fire fight up by Dak To. It is a pretty sight to see a gun ship swoop down with the guns and rockets going and I fired my machine gun so hard it burned holes through my gloves. We put the hurt on ol Charlie and only took afew hits on our ship that didn't amount to much."
(from a letter dated 18 April 1968)
Gene prepares mini guns for action.
Gene loading rockets.
An unknown soldier in the "hot seat".
Gene had a similar arrangement of armament depending on the mission being flown.
Gene's tail rotor blade souvenir.
Gene's proudly worn "Buccaneer Gunner" cap.
chopper flyby (short)