The 8th Transportation Company (Light Helicopter) arrived in Vietnam on 11 December 1961. On 23 December 1961 the 8th Trans. flew the first combat heli-borne assault operation of the Vietnam War -- code named "Operation Chopper". On 23 June 1963, the 8th Trans. Co. was inactivated and reactivated as the 117th Aviation Company by USARPAC General Order 326.
While assigned to the 52nd Aviation Battalion, the 117th Aviation Company was awarded a Presidential Unit Citation and a Valorous Unit Award. On 25 September 1965, the 117th Aviation Company became part of the 10th Aviation Battalion with whom it won its second Valorous Unit Award. The 117th Aviation Company was re-designated the 117th Assault Helicopter Company (Air Mobile Light) on 1 July 1966.
On 31 December 1967, the 117th AHC became part of the 145th Combat Aviation Battalion, followed by the 308th Combat Aviation Battalion and on 21 March 1968 became a member of the 214th Combat Aviation Battalion. In March of 1969 the 117th was assigned to the 222nd Combat Aviation Battalion. The 117th AHC was finally re-assigned to the 145th Combat Aviation Battalion in December 1971 and remained under its command until departing the Republic of Viet Nam (RVN) in March 1972.
The 117th comprised itself of two lift platoons and one supporting armed platoon. Unit call-signs included Greta Green ('63-'64), Tailor Made ('65), Beach Bums (late '65-early '68) and finally Warlords ('68-'72). By the height of the Vietnam War, lift platoon call signs included: 1st Plt. - "Little Annie Fanny" and 2nd Plt. - "Pink Panthers". Night fighters became known as the "Lightship" platoon. The 117th armed platoon, or "guns" were known as the "Side Winders" for most of '64-'72.
In the early days, the 117th flew the CH-21 Shawnee. By March of '64, the last Shawnee was shipped out, replaced by the familiar UH-1 Iroquois. Affectionately known as the "Huey" -- UH-1B, C, D and H models from the 117th filled the sky's over Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos for the remainder of the War.
Throughout the Vietnam War, the 117th AHC provided support in II, III and IV Corps. Proving their mettle, the 117th completed more Special Operations missions than any other helicopter unit in Vietnam. The men of the 117th, flew with honor and pride into places like Tay Ninh, Dau Tieng, Bien Hoa, Bearcat, Dalat, Tuy Hoa, Qui Non, Pleiku, Kontum, Dong Ba Thin, Phan Rang, Long Binh, Phan Thiet, Tay Ninh, Ninh Hoa, Can To, Song Be, Dong Tam, Tan An, Rach Kien, Bao Loc and many, many more.
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This web site is intended to provide some historical recollection of those individuals whom proudly served with the 117th Assault Helicopter Company, RVN 1963-1972. It is not meant as a statement of any kind. Hopefully, it acknowledges all individuals who choose to answer their country's call to duty.