Pacific Stars and Stripes
An authorized publication of the U.S. Armed forces in the far east.
Price 10 cents.
AND NEWS BUREAUS
TOKYO: ALL Offices: 402-4104
Japan news Bureau
402-4101 Ext. 51, 53, 41
South Vietnam: Saigon
MACV 3604, ARVN 31952
Thailand: BKK 70070 ext. 902
Washington: Room 2E756,
Pentagon, Washington, D.C. 20301
Swindon Book Co.
13-15, Lock Rd., Kowloon 6-2040
Bangkok....... BKK 70070 Ext. 901
Korat .... 4420
Saigon MACV ........ 2202
Nha Trang .......... 2708
Cam Ranh Bay ....... 4255
Long Binh .......... LB 3894
Da Nang ............ Motley 226
All free distribution handled
though USARV Command In-
formation Division - Long Binh 4819. APO 9637
Due to copyright restrictions
subscriptions cannot be accepted
for delivery to addresses in the
GIs Put a Halt To Freewheeling
CHU LAI, Vietnam (Special)
-Most enemy caches contain weapons, ammunition or rice, but not the one found by
an element of Americal Div.'s 196th Infantry Brigade.
While on a search and clear mission, D Co., 4th Bn., 31st Inf., found and improved dirt road in the Que Son Valley- with signs of recent heavy enemy traffic.
"Heavy overhead cover from jungle vines and trees had concealed the road form our reconnaissance," said Capt. Henry Robinson, company commander.
D Co. followed the trail about 6,00 meters into the hills.
"We crossed two bridges of heavy bamboo with rock foundations," said Robinson. "Soon my point man spotted a well-concealed hutch with three NVA guards."
A group of GIs crawled up to the hutch and took the guards by surprise.
"I couldn't believe my eyes when we entered the hutch," the CO said. "The place was packed full of bicycles of all makes-Chinese, British and a few Schwinns."
The rear of the bicycles had been adapted with woven baskets to carry ammunition.
All told, 36 enemy bicycles, along with three rifles and a quantity of ammunition, were found.
Rangers Locked in Battle
S&S Vietnam Bureau
SAIGON - Vietnamese Rangers and armor Thursday fought a heavy battle with Communist forces in the hills some 30 miles southwest of Da Nang and more fighting continued Friday at Duc Lap.
Military spokesmen reported light and scattered action throughout the rest of the country.
Four miles west of Quang Ngai City Communist raiders struck the unarmed hamlets of An Lap and An Lao Thursday, and murdered 18 civilians, wounded five, kidnaped 65 and burned 18 homes. The hamlets were not defended by government forces.
The South Vietnamese Rangers engaged an unknown size enemy force two miles northeast of Dai Loc District, 350 miles northeast of Saigon, Thursday. Reports said 87 enemy had been killed.
The Rangers were supported by armored vehicles, artillery and tactical air strikes throughout the heavy fighting.
Near Duc Lap, South Vietnamese infantrymen killed 66 enemy soldiers in three separate battles Thursday and Friday.
Two of the clashes came Thursday one mile north of the outpost. Eleven enemy were killed.
In the same area Friday afternoon ARVN soldiers killed 55 Communists in a fierce one-hour battle. Twenty light machineguns, 11 individual weapons and one B40 rocket launcher were captured. South Vietnamese suffered two killed and 10 wounded in the three actions. ARVN military sources said the operation was continuing Friday.
The battle which had been raging between the 3rd Brig., 101st Air Cav. Div. and a Communist company four miles north of Trang Bang ended at noon Thursday with 103 enemy killed on the battlefield.
Fighting stopped when the enemy evaded a cordon surrounding his position, military sources said. The Americans had 16 killed and 25 wounded in the three-day battle.
Early Thursday afternoon, nine miles southwest of Da Nang, elements of the U.S. 7th Regt. 1st Marine Div., killed 22 Communists in a five-hour firefight. U.S. losses were two killed and 41 wounded.
At 4:50 a.m. Friday an outpost near the Ha Thanh special forces camp 14 miles west of Quang Ngai was overrun and communist forces were still holding the area at last report.
2 Drained Of Blood By NVA
CHU LAI, Vietnam (Special)
-"Vengeance for me, kill my captors!" These were the only intelligible sounds the young woman could make when 198th Inf. Brigade soldiers found her.
She, and another girl the same age, were victims of the grisly medical practice of a constant draining of their blood for patients in a North Vietnamese Army hospital northwest of Tam Ky.
"They were on the verge of being bled to death," said Lt. Douglas Rasmussen, 5th Bn., 46th Inf. intelligence officer.
"They lost so much blood they couldn't hear, they couldn't eat and they couldn't talk," said Lt. Christopher Taylor, a 198th intelligence officer who took the two women, weighing less than 50 pounds, to the newly opened 27th Surgical Hospital in the Americal Div. area.
Rasmussen explained that when an NVA soldier who needed blood was brought into the hospital, the doctors would hook him up with one of the women and give him a transfusion. "It's hard to imagine the inhumanity of taking people and using their blood like this," he said.
Among the documents found at the hospital site was a North Vietnamese letter of commendation to the director of the hospital commending him for his efficiency.
Other documents found at the site indicated the hospital was run by the medical battalion of a large NVA force.
"The presence of our troops in the area forced them to abandon the hospital," Rasmussen said. "They managed to evacuate all their wounded but they left a good deal of valuable supplies behind."
05Sep68- 'Good Humor Man' Rings Bell in Jungle
CHU LAI, Vietnam (Special)
-A battalion of Americal Div.'s 196th Inf. Brigade was amazed and overjoyed recently when a division helicopter brought a cool cargo to Landing Zone Mellon.
When the chopper landed at the Charlie Co., 4th Bn., 31st Inf., Command Post the mercury sizzled at 110. Most of the men thought it was a mirage when the Huey off-loaded 30 gallons of vanilla and chocolate ice cream - hard as a brick.
The day before, Lt. Gen. Frank T. Mildren, deputy commander, U.S. Army Vietnam had come to visit the isolated landing zone, and talked with the men about chow.
All agreed the hot chow flown to Mellon from Battalion headquarters was good. "But we're so far out in the jungle, by the time the food gets here the ice cream is usually melted!" said Sp4 Mark Malone of Detroit. "If you're last in line for chow your get 'hot chocolate soup' instead of cold ice cream."
When Col. William Levin, director of food services, 1st Log Command, heard of the ice cream plight at the isolated LZ he went into action.
Teaming up with Maj. James Henrionnet, Americal Div. G-4, he decided that bringing ice cream to Mellon would be a good test of their new Army Thermal Unit.
The self contained, refrigerated "Good Humor Man" was packed with 30 gallons of ice cream for its maiden flight.
Some two hours later the "Good Humor Man" landed at LZ Mellon and the unit was quickly uploaded. The cache of ice cream was still hard.
"I was amazed," said Levin. "The Thermal Unit worked even better than we had hoped."
It took Charlie Co., three trips through the line to finish off the last of the solid ice cream.
Landing Zone Bronco
Softball Big at Chu Lai
CHU LAI, Vietnam (Special)
-Wherever Americans go, the national game is bound to follow. And Vietnam is no exception.
Lately, Landing Zone Bronco has been ringing with similar sounds of the national pastime. It's not exactly baseball but a full-fledged softball league is under way at the 11th Brigade base camp.
The league is the brainchild of two Americal Div. NCOs who realized the need for some exercise, found a place to play and decided to take the horse by the hide.
"A group of us started some pickup games in a vacant field." said SFC William Cline of Glen Cove, N.Y., C Co., 6th Support Bn. "Others started coming around asking for games and pretty soon we had several teams playing just for the heck of it."
"The idea for a league," according to 1st Sgt. Charles Webb of Tacoma, Wash., also of C. Co., "came when we realized how many people wanted to organize a softball program. Right now, we have about a dozen teams throughout the base camp with several more being organized."
What the teams lack in facilities or finesse, they more than make up for in spirit and enthusiasm.
"It's really a great thing," said SP5 Bob Stickler of South Bend, Ind., of the Primo Aviation Ltd. Tigers, undaunted even though they lost all their softball equipment when the Primo supply room went up in smoke during a mortar attack a couple of months ago.
"It gives us a chance to get out, get some exercise and meet some of the other people around here."
"It gives us a look at something besides nuts and bolts," added SP6 Lee Reeves of Forrest City, Ark., Primo Technical inspector and manager of the Tigers.
League officials plan a play-off within the league and a championship series to determine an overall winner.
"It's a unique league," said Webb, "Here, games can be called not only because of rain and darkness, but also on account of incoming 60mm mortar rounds."
15Sep68 The Gun That Never Roared
S&S Vietnam Bureau
SAIGON - A 105mm howitzer hauled off more than three years ago by the Viet Cong is back in American hands.
And the Communists who took it on July 4, 1965, apparently never got a chance to use it.
The big gun was found Thursday by the troops from the Americal's Div.'s 11th Light Inf. Brigade, disassembled and buried eight miles west of Quang Ngai City, about 325 miles north of Saigon.
It was found after a former Viet Cong prisoner, freed after three years of slave labor for the Communists, told questioners of "a big American gun" the VC had buried during the Tet offensive last February in hopes of eventually using it against the Quang Ngai Province capital.
Ironically, an American officer who was on hand when the Reds overran the Ba Gia outpost, 11 miles northwest of the city, in the summer of 1965, was the same man who announced the gun's recovery at the daily press briefing in Saigon.
Maj. James Strachan, now an information officer for the U.S. Military Assistance Command, was at Ba Gia just after the 1965 raid. He said the gun was one of two howitzers hauled of with captured American jeeps. He said the Reds also lugged off 200 rounds of 105mm ammunition.
Men From Mars Bring Home Closer
CHU LAI, Vietnam (Special)
-Calling home from Vietnam via the Mars Station network is always a great thrill, and now the signal platoon from Americal Div.'s 196th Inf. Brigade is carrying the pleasure a little farther - on their backs.
"Of course, the calls are available to the guys in the rear area and on the LZ's, said 1st Lt. Jay Reese of La Grange, Ill., 156th Signal Platoon leader. "But there wasn't much opportunity for the grunt to call home until he got out of the field."
So the four-man Mars Station crew decided to correct the problem as soon as possible.
"If they couldn't come in to use the station, we would just have to find a way to take the station to them," said Spec. 4 Frederick Pernert of Lansing, Mich.
The problem of transmitting from the field was solved by attaching a PRC-74 radio to a rucksack. This powerful transmitter allowed the "men-from-Mars" to relay through their station from up to 50 miles away.
As a company sets up its night defensive position, or late in the day, the "man-from-Mars" joins the unit via resupply ship, and spends the night originating calls for that company.
Berets Teach and Learn in a School of Danger
By Spec. 5 Randy Woods
S&S Vietnam Bureau
Photo - U.S. and Vietnamese Special Forces Battle Reds Near Ha Thanh.
MANG BUC, Vietnam - Versatility is the key word for the select men who wear the coveted Green Beret, symbol of the U.S. Army's Special Forces. Requirements are high, and only the most determined and qualified men are accepted for the difficult, dangerous job of training guerrillas to defend their villages against the Viet Cong.
Despite its glamorous reputation, most people, even in the Army, are unaware of the vital role that Special Forces plays in countries threatened by Communist aggression, especially in Vietnam.
The textbook mission of the Special Forces is to infiltrate enemy territory to train guerilla forces. In Vietnam, the Green Berets have adapted to the special requirements of fighting the Viet Cong in the Central Highlands and Mekong Delta.
The basic responsibility of the elite force in Vietnam, is to train groups of natives known as Civilian Irregular Defense Groups (CIDG), para military self defense groups of Montagnards and Vietnamese, to defend themselves and their villages and families from the Viet Cong.
Over 60 Special Forces camps are scattered through the remote, lonely Central Highlands and Mekong Delta near the Cambodian and Laotian borders, astride Communist infiltration routes. Each is headquarters for a regiment of CIDG troops and a U.S. Special Forces "A" team.
A typical "A" team consists of 12 Special Forces men extensively trained in jungle warfare and guerilla tactics. In addition, each man is trained in a specialty-intelligence, weapons, communications, engineering or medicine. Two officers head each team.
The Montagnards, with whom they work, form a unique section of the population of Vietnam. They live in the high rain forests of the Central Highlands- a simple people who survive the hardships of life in the jungle only by knowing how to live off of the inhospitable land. Their language and primitive culture completely separate them from the rest of the Vietnamese people.
It was to these Montagnards, isolated by geography and culture, that the Special Forces teams were sent. Their goal is to win the Montagnards' allegiance to the South Vietnamese government and to prevent the Viet Cong from taking advantage of them.
Small, isolated settlements of Montagnards perch along the Cambodian border-the site of much Communist infiltration. The enemy activity in this area requires a strong military force to protect the Montagnard villages and to halt the flow of Communist men and supplies southward.
The Green Berets admire the bravery and aggressiveness of the jungle-wise Montagnard troops. "They are the best fighters in Vietnam," said 1st Lt. Roderick Jones, Mobile, Ala. "Their speed and secrecy of movement and their aggressiveness are their greatest assets." The Montagnards set the pace on patrols in the mountainous terrain of the Central Highlands.
Jones commands Mang Buc Special Forces camp in Kontum Province. The camp, built on the summit of a mountain, overlooks the surrounding hills, with five Montagnard villages under its protection.
"When we first came, they thought we were from Da Nang," he explained, "They couldn't conceive of a land across an ocean. But now they are immensely loyal fighters."
The compound, surrounded by bunkers and log bulwarks, houses an American "A" team, a regiment of CIDG troops and their dependents, refugees from VC terrorism and a Vietnamese Special Forces team, designated as the LLDB. It is the goal of the Americans eventually to turn over the operation of the site to their Vietnamese REd Beret counterparts. Already, four camps are run entirely by the LLDB without American help.
One of the biggest problems at a Special Forces camp is the construction and maintenance of the buildings and defenses. They must be strong enough to provide shelter from the monsoon winds and typhoons, and well-protected enough to withstand a VC rocket or ground attack.
As the builders take advantage of the natural terrain, each site is different. But the difficulties of the upkeep are universal, "We have to keep working," Jones explained. "Wood rots and steel rusts, so we use concrete whenever we can. If we ever stopped working, the place would fall down around our ears."
The variety of sites is limited only by the team's imagination, the workers, supplies, and the terrain.
At Mang Buc, most of the living area and operations center are underground in concrete bunkers. The defenses include 81 mm mortars, 4.2-inch mortars, 105mm howitzers, 106 recoilless rifle and machineguns. CIDG troops are trained in the use of the weapons by the weapons sergeant.
In addition, the camp can request air strikes and artillery fire from nearby installations for an operation nor to repel an enemy attack on the base.
One of the most important functions of a Green Beret camp is the gathering of intelligence about enemy movement and operations in the area. At Mang Buc, this is the responsibility of Sgt. 1.C. David Bunch, of Tulelake, Calif.
"We have many sources of information, including the Montagnards , our own patrols and other camps," he explained. Keeping up with the current enemy situation is especially important for the isolated Special Forces camp.
The huge job of keeping in touch with the rest of the world is the responsibility of the communications specialist, Sgt. 1.C. William Burkett, of Norfolk, VA. "I have to work hard to keep communications open, especially in bad weather. Because we are so isolated, good communications are important."
A great deal of responsibility is placed on the team medic, Sgt. 1.C. Michael Williams of Queens, N.Y. "Besides caring for the team and the CIDG, we make frequent trips to the villages in our area to treat the Montagnards," Williams often accompanies the long-range patrols in the field and advises the Vietnamese and Montagnard medics.
The rainy, cloudy weather adds to the miseries of field operations and upkeep of the camp, as well as increasing the isolation. Each camp depends on Caribou CH47 airplanes for supplies, and often the weather delays flights for several days.
Besides providing leadership for CIDG reconnaissance patrols and security for the civilian population, Special Forces engage in psychological operations to win the villagers to the South Vietnamese government. Medical help, food, housing and language lessons for the children are the weapons in this phase of the war.
The "A" teams are supported by "B" and "C" teams in corps headquarters and the Special Forces operations base at Nha Trang, headquarters for the Green Beret force in Vietnam.
Requirements for the Green Beret are high. Applicants must be airborne qualified and undergo training in jungle warfare, guerilla tactics and individual specialties at F.t Bragg, N.C.
Reds Raid POW Camp, Kill 10 'Comrades'
By SPEC. 5 JOHN HUBBLE
S&S Staff Correspondent
SAIGON- At least a company of Communist soldiers overran a prisoner of war camp on the edge of Binh Son City early Sunday, killing 31 persons - including at least 10 of the Communists' comrades who refused to leave the compound.
Another 100 persons, 62 prisoners and the rest civilians, were wounded in a 100-round mortar and rocket barrage that preceded the attack.
The Reds took three PW's with them and melted away in the pre-dawn darkness before allied reaction forces could get to the scene.
The camp is on the southeastern edge of the Quang Ngai Province city, straddling Route 1 about 320 miles north of Saigon. According to unofficial reports, the Reds opened up with rifles and automatic weapons on a group of PW's who refused to be "liberated."
U.S. sources said reports on the raid were fragmentary. There were no reports of enemy casualties. The town and camp were reportedly defended by only a small force of militia, three of whom were slain in the mortar barrage and firefight as the enemy charged.
The attack was one of two ground assaults launched by the Reds in the early morning hours Sunday in Quang Ngai Province. The other, a raid on a Vietnamese militia outpost 15 miles west of Quang Ngai City, was beaten back with the help of a Regional/Popular Forces reaction team hurried to the scene.
Fifty Communist soldiers were killed before the attackers fled. Two were captured and 21 enemy weapons were seized.
The ground assaults came simultaneously with rocket and mortar attacks launched against at least 16 allied installations and villages in the I Corps tactical zone. There was also a 25-round mortar attack on Nha Trang AB, on the central Vietnam coast, and a Communist ground attack on a 25th Inf. Div. unit night camp near Cu Chi, about 20 miles from Saigon.
The 25th Inf. Div.'s cavalry squadron, supported by Army helicopter gunships, artillery and Air Force AC47 gunships, beat back the enemy attack. The Reds left 19 dead behind. U.S. casualties were two killed, five wounded.
In other ground fighting:
- Vietnamese troops killed 62 Communists in a battle about eight miles southeast of Sa Dec, about 60 miles southwest of Saigon.
- A Vietnamese Regional Force platoons killed 28 Reds six miles east of Tay Ninh. RF casualties were three wounded.
- Troops of the 198th Light Infantry Brigade killed 10 Communists in a fight in a tunnel complex 16 miles west of Quang Ngai City.
- Elements of the 1st Brigade, U.S. 5th Inf. Div., killed 13 Communists three miles northwest of Cam Lo in Quang Tri Province.
GIs Gun Down Fleeing NVA Near Tam Ky; Red Toll 300
By S. SGT. DAVE PRESTON
S&S Vietnam Bureau
SAIGON- Fierce fighting between U.S. and North Vietnamese units flared again Wednesday afternoon in the coastal plains near Tam Ky. The toll of Communist soldiers killed in two days of hard battle soared to 300.
American military spokesmen Thursday said 208 Reds died Wednesday fleeing U.S. armor and air strikes. Originally, 77 Communists were reported killed during the morning's fighting, and 92 were reported killed Tuesday.
U.S. losses Wednesday were only three killed and 18 wounded, bringing the total to four Americans dead and 51 wounded during the fighting.
Meanwhile, Allied troops sweeping separate sectors of South Vietnam Wednesday found four more caches holding tons of Communist arms and ammunition. Two Red stockpiles of more than 500 rockets and mortar shells were discovered only 20 miles from Saigon.
Americal Div. tanks, armored personnel carriers and infantrymen reestablished contact with the elusive NVA regulars, believed to be from Hanoi's 2nd Div., at mid-afternoon Wednesday. The fighting four miles south of the Quang Tin province capital lasted until 6 p.m.
Almost continuous air strikes bombed and strafed the Reds until they escaped again in the gathering dusk.
One Red cache two miles southwest of Saigon was found Wednesday afternoon by elements of the U.S. Army's 199th Inf. Brigade and a Vietnamese regional force company. It held 14 big 122-mm rockets, 21 smaller 107-mm rockets and 25 rocket warheads and 174 mortar shells - all probably targeted for the capital.
ARVN troops discovered close to 300 mortar shells and rocket warheads in the other cache 20 miles west of Saigon, but had to kill 28 Viet Cong to get to it. Two ARVN soldiers were killed and four were wounded in the fighting. Five enemy sampans were also destroyed.
U.S. Marines found the day's biggest arms stockpile on the southern fringes of the central demilitarized zone. The cache, hidden in an area where the Leathernecks have discovered several other huge stocks of enemy supplies recently, contained 446 rocket grenades, 116 recoilless rifle shells, rockets, anti-tank mines and well over 220,000 rounds of smaller ammunition.
While destroying the cache, the Marines were fired on from nearby bunkers and one American was killed. Artillery and the Marines returned the fire, killing seven North Vietnamese. The U.S. troops had killed 12 Reds earlier in the day a mile from the cache site. One Marine was killed and 10 wounded in that firefight.
A U.S.-ARVN sweep through a partially destroyed bunker complex 13 miles east of Ben Cat in Ben Duong province found the fourth enemy supply dump, containing gas masks, grenades, mines, grenades boosters, blasting caps and rifle sniperscopes.
212 Reds Slain in 3 Battles
S&S Vietnam Bureau
SAIGON - South Vietnamese government troops killed at least 212 Communists during three bitter battles Sunday in the northern half of the country. First reports said ARVN losses had been light.
Monday morning ARVN troops killed another 40 Viet Cong in a 2-1/2 hour clash in the southern delta.
The only major fight involving American forces came Sunday afternoon when an Army 11th Light Inf. Brigade company from the Americal Div. killed 15 enemy soldiers 16 miles west of Quang Ngai City. Military spokesmen said there were no U.S. casualties.
The biggest Vietnamese battle broke out just before noon Sunday when a government infantry regiment, beginning a new sweep near the Demilitarized Zone, clashed with a large Red force about four miles southeast of Gio Linh.
Before the Communists withdrew the South Vietnamese had killed 98 and captured three prisoners.
At the same time an ARVN battalion searching the coastal flatlands of Phu My district in Binh Dinh Province clashed with another enemy unit and killed 48. One Red soldier was captured.
The Communists launched a three-pronged attack before dawn Sunday at Tam Ky City and two neighboring installations in Quang Tin Province to start the third battle, but were beaten off with heavy losses by defending regional and popular force soldiers.
Reds Shell An Duc Camp, Launch Ground Attacks
By SPEC. 5 JOHN HUBBLE
S&S Staff Correspondent
SAIGON - Fighting eased throughout most of South Vietnam Friday but Vietnamese military sources reported Communist shellings followed by ground attacks in Quang Nam Province during the night.
Red gunners hit the An Duc Special Forces camp with 82mm mortar and 57mm recoilless rifle rounds early Saturday morning and followed the shelling with an assault on a nearby outpost.
Early reports said the attack was made by a force of unknown size. Vietnamese sources indicated light allied casualties, while enemy casualties were not known.
Two outposts near the Thuong Duc subsector of Quang Nam Province also were attacked during the night, but again the size of the force and enemy casualties were unknown. ARVN sources reported light casualties.
While the outposts were under siege, Communist gunners threw 82mm mortar rounds into the Thuong Duc subsector headquarters. Friendly casualties in this action also were termed light.
U.S. military sources reported 32 enemy killed when elements of the 3rd Brigade, 4th Inf. Div., made contact wit h a number of Communists one mile southeast of Duc Lap in Quang Duc Province early Friday morning.
During the three-hour battle supported by U.S. Army artillery and Air Force tactical strikes, seven U.S. soldiers were killed, nine wounded.
Six miles northwest of the rockpile, elements of the 9th Regt., 3rd marine Div., killed 12 Reds Friday afternoon. The Marine force was on a sweep when they encountered enemy fire. Six marines were wounded in the action.
At 11:30 A.M. Friday, a company from the U.S. Army 11th Armored Cav. Sqd. discovered an ammunition cache while searching a well 20 miles north of Saigon. A tunnel leading from the well contained 351 82mm mortar rounds, 50 60mm mortar rounds, 125 blasting caps, two U.S. .45 caliber pistols, two RPG rocket-grenade launchers, 200 pressure detonators, 16 cans of mortar charges and 16 pounds of plastic explosives.
New $1 Mil. Chopper Is the Army's Baby
WASHINGTON (UPI) - The U.S. Army is preparing to introduce its first million dollar helicopter next year amid some controversy over whether the new gunship is worth the price.
The Army's view is that the AH59A Cheyenne - carrying three times the payload twice as fast and firing with such greater accuracy - will be eight times more effective than the AH1G Cobra now in use in Vietnam.
It bases this on the expectation that the Cheyenne while it will cost five or six times as much as the Cobra should have a better chance for survival because of its speed and sophistication.
On the other hand, a projected fleet of 375 Cheyennes may cost in excess of $500 million, or more than $1.3 million each. That is more than half the price of the 1,400 mile an hour Phantom fighter jet which costs from $2 million to $2,4 million depending on the model.
Rep. Otis Pike. D-N.Y. claiming that the cost of the Cheyenne program has skyrocketed and the end is not in sight, sought to delete from military appropriations the first $138 million in a four-year plan for its production. His amendment was defeated.
The first production models are scheduled for delivery in September, 1969, and the fleet is to be completed by 1973. Gen. William C. Westmoreland, Army chief of staff, is known to feel that the full program is vital.
The two-man Cheyenne is the first helicopter to be designed from the ground up as a gunship. A swiveling belly "Turret" contains a 30mm automatic gun, while the nose turret can accommodate either a grenade launcher or a 7.62mm minigun capable of firing 6,000 rounds a minute.
To improve its stability and also provide a rack for weapons the Cheyenne has been given stubby wings with six pylons from which 2.75 rockets and tube launched wire-guided missiles can be hung.
Its speed comes partly from a 10-foot pusher propeller in the tail behind its four-blade, 50-foot rotor. It is designed to fly at 250 m.p.h. and an experimental model has already been clocked in a record run of 302 m.p.h.
All this is coupled with an ability to reach safe altitude in a matter of seconds, to stop and maneuver suddenly, to hover and land and refuel anywhere. It has a laser range-finder to get a fix on targets.
The Army believes choppers have compiled a good record in Vietnam.
the record for Vietnam shows the Army has lost 430 helicopters to ground fire in more than 12 million flights averaging 20 minutes each since the beginning of 1962. That is about one helicopter for each 28,000 flights.
The Cheyenne's great speed, the Army says, will make it anything but a sitting duck.