18th 54th 18th CAC Aviation Association

On 26 October 1966, Major Billy J. Bartle, CO, traveled to Vung Tau to receive on behalf of the 18th Aviation Company, the Meritorious Unit Citation, for exceptionally meritorious service during the period 15 October 1964 through 31 December 1965.

The Da Nang platoon had additional excitement on 27 October as a result of an engine seizure on 5-81707.

The aircraft with CWO MacPhee and CWO Dumas at the controls was making a simulated instrument approach to Da Nang Main when the propeller surged and failed and subsequent engine seizure occurred. Fortunately an adjusted altimeter setting was used for the approach and the aircraft was at 2500 feet when the dangerous situation developed. Through superb pilot techniques and extraordinary judgment, a successful forced landing was accomplished at Da Nang East without further damage to the aircraft. Upon inspection of the aircraft on the ground, it was discovered that the Otter had come extremely close to actual loss of the engine by separation from the air frame. Morale is still high with some more extensions in country.

November 1966

Flying hours increased slightly during November to 808 hours. Weather increasingly became a factor as the monsoon season continued to deluge the area with high winds and wide-spread rainstorms. Utilization of the aircraft continued to be good as 4201 passengers and 95 cargo tons were carried in 869 sorties. The service platoon and 256th Maintenance Detachment continued to give outstanding maintenance support as the availability rate averaged 75%.

The 1st Platoon at Da Nang continued to support "Operation Delta" while flying normal missions. The highly successful rate of completed missions speaks for the competent and highly professional ability of the Da Nang Platoon.

November saw an extension of a 7 month tour for one lucky soul.

December 1966  

Rainstorms and high winds continued during the month of December resulting in several missions being cancelled due to weather. Aircraft utilization was average as 1957 passengers and 54 cargo tons were carried on 621 sorties. Our assigned aircraft rose from 15, to our authorized strength of 16. The availability rate was still respectable at 71%.

On 7 December 1966 Captain Lawrence Grave of the Da Nang Platoon was shot in the foot while on a combat support mission. The round entered the sole of his boot, traveled along the metal plate to stop about  1inch from the toe of the boot. Four hours later another aircraft from Da Nang received fire but no one was hit.

Ho Ho Ho

In keeping with past traditions of Christmas the 18th Aviation Company (as in preceding years) promoted a Christmas drive to furnish clothes and toys to the needy children of Qui Nhon. There were two projects under taken by members of the company.  One headed by Major Bartle and Major Yunker was to provide gifts for the Qui Hoa Leporasarium.  The second project was headed by Capt Hayes and Capt Higdon and its purpose was to provide gifts for the families and children that lived around the Officers Quarters.  Needless to say both projects went very well and all were happy for the gifts.

I PCS to States

On the 12 December 1966, I go back to the United States as a PCS move with the rank of Specialist 5th Class. (I didn't know that in a few months I will resurface again to the 18th Aviation Company.) 

The 1st Platoon at Da Nang continued supporting "Project Delta" along the DMZ in I Corps. Fifty missions were flown which resulted in a total of 289 sorties.

The 3rd Platoon at Nha Trang supported Special Forces and JUSPAO throughout the month and our Bangkok detachment continued their support of MAGTHAI in a praise worthy manner.

In 1966 a total of 766 individual awards were received by unit personnel (except those pending).
223rd Organizational Chart – 1966
The self-help construction program continued in operation throughout the month of September 1966, with numerous improvements in the company area.

October 1966

During the first week of the month, in an effort to obtain a more favorable DEROS spread in both of the other companies in Vietnam, the 18th and 54th Aviation Companies were directed to exchange 5 aviators. The exchange was to be in two increments.

Flying hours decreased considerably during October 1966 to a new low for the year of 727 hours. Utilization was good with 4135 passengers and 91 tons of supplies and equipment carried in a total of 1186 sorties. The efforts of the Service Platoon and 256th Trans Detachment paid handsome dividends, as aircraft availability increased from 65% in September to 80% during October 1966. Khe San Support From 17 October 1966 the Da Nang platoon utilized one aircraft for the sole purpose of supporting an Operation Delta mission in the mountainous terrain of I Corps. The Otter was used for radio relay and re-supply. The weather was such that the Otter was required to take off IFR, with radar vectors to the area of operation. Radar was then required to hold the radio relay aircraft over the area of operation on a course paralleling the DMZ and Laotian border. Re-supply missions during the period were even more hazardous, but the beleaguered Special Forces camp at Khe San was served in its time of great need. Flying again on radar vectors, the crews were required to let down over the VC-infested terrain, often with less than fifty foot ceilings and quarter mile visibility. For over a week during the period these brave and fearless aviators were the only supply link which Khe San had with the outside world. For the rest of the year, the 1st Platoon at Da Nang continued to support Operation Delta while also flying normal missions. As the unit history puts it: The 2nd Platoon (Pleiku) and 3rd Platoon (Nha Trang) continued to support their supported units in their traditional professional and successful manner.  2nd Platoon was supporting II Corps headquarters and 3rd Platoon supported Special Forces and JUSPAO. 
On 4 September 1966, the Company was re-assigned from the 14th Aviation Battalion to the 223rd Aviation Battalion, commanded by Major Charles H. Drummond, Jr.

Change of Commands

On 10 September 1966, Major Billy J. Bartle assumed command of the 18th from Major Russell W. Edwards, who was awarded an Oak Leaf Cluster to his Bronze Star for outstanding services in Vietnam.

On 22 September 1966, Lt Col William R. Gearan assumed command of the 223rd from Lt Col Drummand.

Unit Patch               Unit Crest

223rd Aviation Battalion

(4 September 1966 - 16 April 1971

Unit Patch              Unit Crest

1st Aviation Brigade

Unit Patch               Unit Crest

17th Aviation Group

LST's in Nha Trang

The vehicles and equipment were transported by LST. Personnel, personal items, weapons, items of immediate administrative necessity were transported by Caribou aircraft, one each furnished by the 92nd and 135th Aviation Companies. The last elements of the Company closed into Qui Nhon at 1800 hours on 7 August 1966. Unloading of the LST occurred the following day and the move had been completed by evening time on 9 August 1966. The last element of the unit arrived in Qui Nhon at 1800 hours on the 7 August 1966. Although the headquarters had moved, the Company retained a platoon (Third Platoon) at Nha Trang. Unloading the LST Began on the 8th and with unloading operations finished at 2000 hours on the 9th, the move was officially completed.  The movement was made with such smoothness and efficiency that the unit's normal assigned support mission were not hampered in the least.  This was made possible by the hard work and unselfish effort of all unit personnel involved.

Although the move was officially terminated on the 9th, the company's work was just beginning.  Buildings were in a sad state of repair and renovation operations were required immediately.  Commo and wire teams, working day and night around the clock rewiring many of the buildings and installed telephones, so vitally required for communication with the outlying platoons and higher headquarters.  Personnel of the unit with little or no experience rolled up their sleeves, and picked up hammers , saws and nails, and began carpentry projects after normal duty hours were completed within a week after the arrival in Qui Nhon, the self sacrifice, long hours  and hard work by members of the unit was paying off high dividends.  The 18th was becoming one of the first on Qui Nhon Army Airfield.

With the 92nd Aviation Company's rolls begin to swell up with Air Force personnel, the concurrent arrival of the 18th Aviation resulted in a critical water shortage and severe taxing of the plumbing facilities. With water supplies and plumbing facilities serving about 3 times as many personnel as before, prompt action was required to alleviate the situation.  Urgent requests to Rand U and the engineers were fruitful, the 18th decided to attack the situation themselves. Tankers were dispatched by the 18th to the Phu Tai Valley to load water and to transport it to the local pumping station. Throughout the month the 18th averaged 10,000 gallons every day. Concurrently with the water hauling operation the 18th dug a well and a 1200 gallon storage tank was erected in the company area. The grossly overtaxed plumbing system, resulting in raw sewage overflowing from septic tanks, caused a health hazard which had to be eliminated.  Self-help action by the 18th was immediately instigated.  Utilizing a salvaged tank and water pump, the unit began its own waste disposal operation.  By18 August 1966, unit personnel had pumped and disposed of over 4000 gallons of waste.  With the septic tanks cleaned out it was possible to repair the lines that were damaged.  Repair of the lines and septic tank greatly alleviated the critical situation, but a daily drainage schedule is required and is accomplished by the unit personnel.

CWO Fletcher Parrish utilized great ingenuity in setting up the unit motor pool during the third week of the month.  The area designated as the motor pool was on low ground, subject to mud during the rainy season.  To eliminated this problem. CWO Fletcher Parrish built up the area with 400 yards of dirt.

Another crash project of the 18th during the month of August was the establishment of a physical security in the company area. A large scale program was initiated to build bunkers at different locations and to sand bag the company area living quarters.  The project was well under way by the end of the month.

The crew got a new name in Qui Nhon .  They the officers became known as the "Dalton Gang".  The name lasted with the unit till the end. It is still heard and used today as this is written.  Capitalizing on the name, jeeps were labeled "The Daltons" with appropriate members names, such as "Cole", "Billy the Kid', "Quantrill", and "Jesse" painted below the windshield. In no month had so much been done, but in no month was morale ever higher.

Despite the movement, turnover in personnel, and reshuffling of key positions, the company was able to complete all assigned missions and a mass of favorable flying records for the month. Hours totaled 870 as the unit flew 1325 sorties, transporting a total of 4232 passengers and 101 cargo tons during the month.

September 1966

During the month of September, a combination of factors resulted in the unit's daily aircraft availability rate dropping to an average of 65%. Some of the factors affecting the maintenance effort include:

Shortage of 2 assigned aircraft, precluding optimum scheduling.
Loss of experienced maintenance personnel during the month of August.
Loss of maintenance time in August due to movement and relocation of shop facilities.
Lack of parts for EDF aircraft.

This was the lowest availability rate experienced by the 18th during the entire year and presented a difficult problem in as much as 10 flyable aircraft are required for assigned support missions on a daily basis. Through diligent flight scheduling and great effort by maintenance personnel, each of the assigned missions was successfully completed.

Another problem affecting the 18th support mission was the lack of aviators within the unit. The month started out with only 31 aviators present in Vietnam and Thailand. This represents a shortage of 25 aviators almost 45% under strength. The situation persisted throughout most of the month and when the month ended the company was still short 21 aviator personnel.

Despite the problems, the unit flew 881 hours in 1349 sorties carrying 4199 passengers and 95 tons of cargo. Before the month ended, the unit would belong to a different Aviation Battalion and would see numerous changes in key positions within the internal organization, to include a change in commanding officers.

On the 1st of the month the 18th participated in the organization day of the 14th Aviation Battalion event held at its headquarters at Phu Tai in the An Somh Valley. Lt Col Samuel Kalagian praised all the units of the battalion for successful completion of their missions. During the ceremony awards and decorations were presented to deserving members of the battalion, to including 4 awards to unit personnel. In 3 short days the 18th would no longer be part of the 14th. 

223rd Aviation Battalion, 17th Aviation Group, 1st Aviation Brigade
If the most memorable and eventful month of the year were to be singled out, August would have to be that month. August saw the 18th move from Nha Trang to Qui Nhon, completely renovate the company area at Qui Nhon, gain a Medical Detachment and accomplish feats of engineering and plumbing which made the engineers of the local R & U facility look on with awe and admiration.

18th Aviation Company Headquarters moved to Qui Nhon

The Company HQ moved from Nha Trang to Qui Nhon, where buildings formerly used by the 92nd Aviation Company. Early August 1966 saw the unit deeply involved in the final planning for the move, crating and packing.

Move Begins

Actual loading began on 5 August 1966 at 0730 hours and was completed on 6 August 2130 hours.
Awards Ceremony at Qui Nhon in 1966
(Lloyd Works photo credit)
August 1966

163rd Medical Detachment Assigned
(Lloyd Works photo credit)
55-2273 damaged in hanger by flying generator
Meanwhile 140 miles away north of Pleiku, CWO Ira Stein was involved in a test flight accident. "Supersonic Stein" or "The Flash" in a burst of speed accelerated #5-53310 to 200 knots. At this speed certain vibrations were experienced which are foreign to the Otter. Upon landing, the inspection revealed that the over-speed had left all wire antennas dragging on the ground, popping numerous rivets, severely wrinkling the wings and stabilizers and had completely torn off the elevator serve tab, resulting in extensive inspection and rebuild. This aircraft had not yet been released from the 604th General Support Company at the time of the test flight.

Neither incident was chargeable to the 18th.

June 1966

Saw more extensions in the unit as 2 men extended their time in Vietnam.

July 1966

Change of Command for 256th

The 256th Trans Detachment performed outstanding services during the month of July and resulted in the unit's 14 assigned aircraft having a monthly availability rat of 81%, a new high for the year. This was accomplished despite the change in the command structure of the 256th, which occurred on 9 July. Captain Robert O. Hayes assumed command of the detachment from Captain Jim Barnes.

This month saw a total of 1759 sorties in a total of 1031 hours flown. Passenger totals took a severe drop to 1026 as compared with 6451 carried the preceding month. Cargo tonnage was at an all time high for the year, with 187 tons, an increase of almost 80% over the 107 tons carried in June.

An exciting 4th of July was experienced by Captain Sokowoski and CWO Thomas Messeder when they experienced engine failure in 55-3272 at 2500 feet in the vicinity of Chu Lai. Immediately, restart procedures were initiated successfully, with the engine running intermittently enabling the pilot and co-pilot to make a successful precautionary landing at Chu Lai Marine airfield. Carburetor failure was the suspected cause of the trouble.

Weather throughout the month was clear in coastal areas but overcast in the highlands due to the monsoon affecting that area. Flights by members of the 2nd Platoon often require IFR departures and approaches. It is uncommon for flight to the Pleiku area NOT to encounter IFR conditions at some time during their flights.

Annual weapons familiarization was accomplished by all members of the unit in the Nha Trang area on 9 July 1966 at the ARVN NCO Academy range, while performing their normal mission. Firing for members of outlying platoons is accomplished on an individual basis at available Special Forces ranges throughout their respective areas.

Preparing for the move

The waiting was over on 18 July 1966 when the 18th received orders from the 17th Aviation Group directing the unit to move to Qui Nhon to be initiated no later than 31 July and be completed on or before 15 August 1966.  Capt Boland and WO David Beasley were designated as the project officers of the move.

The advance party was dispatched to Qui Nhon on 22 July to perform liaison with the 92nd Aviation Company and to prepare the area for occupation by the Company Headquarters, Operations Section, Service Platoon, and 256th Trans Detachment. The target date for actual movement was set for 7 August 1966.

  On the 28th of February an official change of command ceremony was held for the 18th Aviation Company. With the company assembled, Major Russell W. Edwards accepted the colors from Major Paul S. Walker who will soon depart for CONUS. Major Ronald P. Rogers, 14th Aviation Battalion Commander addressed the troops, praising the outstanding achievements of Major Walker and the unit. He expressed confidence that with Major Edwards at the helm, the 18th would continue to perform in the same outstanding manner.

Following the change of command ceremony, awards and decorations were presented to deserving individuals. As a result of the change of command, Captain Richard Quigley two-time member of the 18th became Executive Officer of the unit, filling the slot vacated by Major Edwards.

Otter excitement for the 1st Platoon Commander

Captain Joel Hardy had his share of excitement for the month when a precautionary landing was required at Quang Ngai. The aircraft developed full power during run-up but shortly after takeoff a severe loss of power occurred. Fortunately Captain Hardy was able to keep the engine running by continuous advancement and retardation of the throttle; and the landing was made without incident or damage. The cause of the engine power failure was thought to be a faulty carburetor.

March 1966

Special Operations Support

A month of change and hard work for the 18th, with the annual IG Inspection on the 10th which found the unit, true to its traditions, to be outstanding in each of the areas inspected. Concurrent with the preparation for the annual inspection, the unit was required to vacate the building it occupied to make room for the new 17th Aviation Group. This is also when Major James K. Knerr arrived in the unit to become the Executive Officer. Working day and night, the 18th completed its move by the 13th.

Colonel Gerald H. Shea (Group Commander) commended the unit for the efficient handling of the move and the fine spirit and cooperative attitude of all members of the unit.

Despite the move, IG Inspection, personnel changes, the 18th racked up a fine record in flying during the month of March. Sorties were up to 1444 in 1126 hours of flying. 163.2 cargo tons and 5469 passengers were transported, an increase of 102% and 48% respectively over the previous month. 

During March 1966, two special operations were supported by the Company.

One U-1A with a crew of four pilots and two chiefs was required on a 24 hour basis to support a large scale "search and destroy" operation in the Central Highlands near Ban-Me-Thuot, from where the Otter operated for four days out of the Ban-Me-Thout City Strip before returning to Nha Trang on 11 March 1966.

An unusual incident occurred during the operation resulting in one of the two pilots of the unit, WO Wilcox, being submitted for the Distinguished Flying Cross.

As their aircraft was approaching takeoff speed at the strip, now heavily congested by combat and support units, a squad of ARVN soldiers attempted to cross the runway directly in front of the accelerating aircraft. Unable to stop, the aircraft was swerved to avoid hitting the squad. The squad escaped certain death due to this evasive action, but the wingtip unfortunately did strike one soldier causing critical injury and incidental damage to the wing. Had it not been for the alertness and fast action of the two pilots it is certain that the entire squad would have been killed or maimed and the aircraft extensively damaged.

In the other special operation, the 1st Platoon at Da Nang provided radio relay capability to Special Forces in a "Project Delta" operation in the vicinity of Hue Phu Bai. In this vital role, they operated for 14 days, often at night, over the densest of jungled mountainous terrain. Despite the hazards inherent to the mission, outstanding support was rendered throughout the period.

JUSPAO Missions

The 18th was levied for an additional support requirement during March 1966:

Providing one Otter for support of the Joint US Public Affairs Office (JUSPAO) Missions including transporting leaflets, medical teams and supplies and equipment to isolated strips throughout the I and II Corps areas, in an effort to gain the confidence of the local population. The support rendered during the last two weeks of March was so successful that this additional support mission will be continued on a regular basis.

A rash of wing damage resulted in the 256th Trans Detachment changing one wing and repairing two others during the month. The aircraft involved in the incident at Ban Me Thout required a wing change. Two other aircraft required wing repair when caribous at Tuy Hoa and Pleiku overlapped wings with the parked Otters. The 256th, despite these incidents, maintained its availability rate at 80%.

During March 1966 I was transferred from the company arms room to the company tech supply and promoted to SP5, prior to the Company moving to Qui Nhon and as a result of the Outstanding Arms Room inspection.

There was another happy time for the 18th when 3 soldiers extended their time in the company.

April 1966

Throughout the month of April, Buddhist dissidence had an adverse effect on the counterinsurgency effort, particularly in I Corps.  The missions of the 1st Platoon at Da Nang were seriously affected as demonstrations and rioting were common place in Da Nang and Hue. Personnel of the platoon faced great difficulty moving from the BEQ to the airfield. They had to be quartered in the airfield temporarily and as the situation continued to deteriorate "Condition Red" was proclaimed. To facilitate the support effort, the second platoon moved its four aircraft to Da Nang East (Marble Mountain).   Flying hours for April were down from that of the previous month. Only 1067 sorties in 788 hours of flying time were flown. 4136 passengers and 85 tons of cargo were transported during the month. A critical problem existed in that the 18th was short two Otters during April due to aircraft turned in for IROAN and replacement aircraft not being issued at turn in. This left the 18th with 14 U-1A's to provide 10 flyable on a daily basis.

A disaster came to Phu Tuc in the form of a fire

Two Otters from the Pleiku platoon shuttled eleven tons of desperately needed medical supplies, food, clothing and building materials to a short, unimproved strip serving the village of Phu Tuc. In addition to supplies, a total of 105 passengers were transported during the operation. Tirelessly the crews had completed the mission with 6 hours of flight time per aircraft. This accomplishment is truly amazing when one considers that it represents 1833 pounds of cargo and 9 passengers per aircraft hours flown.

May 1966

During the first three weeks of May the political situation in the I Corps area increased in severity and for a time it appeared that open revolution might result. This seriously affected the 1st platoon's missions in the Da Nang area. Demonstrations occurred in other cities in the I Corps and II Corps areas, but none in the scale of those at Da Nang and Hue.

Despite the political instability, the 18th flew more hours and transported more cargo that it had the preceding month. A total of 1335 sorties were flown during May in 975 hours of flying time. Passengers totaling 4538, an increase of 9.7% over April and cargo tons transported totaled 102, an increase of 20% over the previous month. The shortage of two authorized aircraft continued to present a real problem. Aircraft availability decreased during the month by one percentage point to 75%.

June 1966

Another Fatality

June started off with a sad note as another fatality occurred on the 1st.  At approximately 1915 hours, PFC Kenneth B. Sykes [256th], while on leave status, was shot and fatally wounded while entering the main gate to Long Van Compound at Nha Trang, he was rushed to the hospital where he died at 2020 hours. Motives for the shooting are not know and the matter is currently under investigation.

The 18th flew 6 less hours than it had the previous month but utilization rose tremendously. This was particularly true as passengers carried totals were up 42%, with 941 hours flown. A total of 6451 passengers and 107 tons of cargo were carried by 15 aircraft in 1958 sorties. Aircraft availability remained an adequate 75%, the same as May this year.

There occurred two non chargeable incidents resulting in the loss of two Otters for an indefinite period, one in Nha Trang and the other in Pleiku.

The first occurred when an U-1A assigned to the 339th Transportation Company (DS) was involved in an accident on the ramp in front of the maintenance hangar at Long Van.  The UH-1D overlapped blades with another Huey belonging to the 498th Med Evac Company causing extensive damage to both helicopters. During the freak accident, a generator was thrown from the 339th aircraft into the 256th Trans Detachment hangar, striking #5-53273, penetrating the skin and coming to rest INSIDE the fuselage.

(Photo from AOCA - Logbook July 2009)
L to R: Maj. Paul Walker, Maj. Ron Rogers & Maj. Russ Edwards
January 1966

At the beginning of the month the unit was down to 29 assigned aviators. This posed a critical problem, but the aviators assigned tightened their belts and accepted the situation. By the end of the month gains had brought the unit aviators strength up to 38, a shortage of only 3 and a fairly comfortable position.

Statistically speaking, with 15 Otter aircraft assigned that month, the 18th flew a total of 1,056 hours, transporting 4,522 passengers and 177 tons of cargo in 1,318 sorties.

The service platoon and the 256th Trans Detachment continued to perform in their usual outstanding manner with an average availability rate of 74%. Translated into an average flyable rate, this gave the unit 11.4 aircraft on a daily basis - an adequate number to fulfill all mission requirements.

Morale was high and 6 soldiers extended their time in Vietnam.

The last week in January 1966 saw large scale military operations supported by the 2nd platoon at Pleiku.

Bong Son Support

The operations at Bong Son required daily support by the platoon. One night mission into the tactical strip on 29 January 1966 resulted in "recommendations" for DFCs (may have been later downgraded) for three members of the 1st platoon (LT Keithly, WO Stein and CE SP4 Bielski).

The Otter departed Pleiku on this dangerous night mission with a cargo of vitally needed radio equipment and two advisory personnel. Flying IFR almost the entire distance, a mobile GCA was used to guide the crew on their approach. Breaking out at 450 feet, two go-arounds were required because of the sub-standard field lighting. During each of these go-arounds the aircraft received intensive ground fire. Due to the perseverance, skill, and great devotion to duty displayed by the crew, the mission was terminated successfully.

Missions into Bong Son continued during February 1966. On many occasions the Otters landed under low overcasts to find they were the only aircraft in the Bong Son area.

Battle of Bong Son

The Battle of Bong Son was the second major battle for the 1st Cavalry Division, an airmobile unit of divisional strength, during the Vietnam War. It also was called Operation Irving, and involved the start of frequent combat in an area called the Iron Triangle. A month earlier in 1965, in the Battle of the Ia Drang, the 1st Cavalry used all the division infantry, but one brigade at a time. One of the realizations that affected Bong Son was that with adequate helicopter lift, the traditional need to keep a strong reserve was less required-the least involved unit usually could break away and go where it was needed.

At the operational level, it was began as a pursuit of the Vietnam People's Army (PAVN) 2nd, 18th, and 22nd Regiments (forming the NVA 3rd Division) by the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) 22nd Division, commanded by Brigadier General Nguyen Thanh Sang and assisted by the Republic of Korea Capital Division. The NVA fought back strongly, and Sang asked for reinforcements by two ARVN airborne battalions, which still were not enough.

During the Battle of the Ia Drang, 1st Cavalry commander Major General Harry Kinnard had considered operations on the Binh Dinh plain, part of the area involved in Bong Son. He now had time to implement those ideas. Even through the ARVN needed help, the Cavalry prepared systematically. [End of Article]

February 1966

Statistically things slowed down for the 18th during February 1966, a result of several factors including less missions assigned, predominately bad weather, lack of 2 authorized aircraft and the fact that February was a short month.

During the majority of February 1966 the 18th continued to support the Bong So area.  Daily flights into Bong So were made by the 2nd Platoon at Pleiku.  Many times the units Otters landed under low overcasts sky to find that they were the only aircraft in the area.

Total hours flown decreased to 785 with corresponding decreases in passengers and cargo hauled. Sorties totaled 900 during which a total of 3672 passengers and 80.6 tons of cargo were transported. Availability rose from 74% to 80%.

Change of Command

Two changes of command ceremonies were held during the month and as a result the unit had a new Commanding Officer and a new Battalion Commander.

On 15 February 1966 before assembled elements of all units of the 14th Aviation Battalion, Lt Col Joseph P. Smith relinquished the Battalion colors to Major Ronald J. Rogers.

18th Aviation Company - Vietnam (5th year)