Jump to content

Vietnam: In-Country Army copter "names" + art work


sighgone
 Share

Recommended Posts

Great subject to explore but little documented. Always was curious to see just how creative the copter crews were in choosing "names" and art work in Nam when compared to previous wars. How much did military censorship and PC policy restrict the output and "free" expression in VN? How different and similar were the Nam copter "names" to the WWII & Korea aircraft "names"? How much did the social turmoil at home (stateside) play upon the "names" displayed on Army copters in-country?

Myself, I served with the 114 AHC in the Mekong Delta, 1970-71.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

snake36bravo

I believe there is a photographic book being put together on this very subject that features all known nose art and names. From my own photographic archives it looks like there was a definite shift after '68. Also, as Commanders rotated out and in yes, some forbid all nose art, others took a liberal approach. There was some cleverness on the part of the artists like 'Chuck Farlie' for example. The really trippy artwork starting appearing after 68 all the way into the first part of the 70s then you really see things tighten up. This was the peak of the drug problem in 'Nam and I think they, brass, wanted total control. You see less nose art, less trippy slogans.

 

I could post a few to illustrate the change.

 

WW2 aircraft featured a lot of pinups and catchy slogans too, some perverse even. I dont think WW2 differed in that. Just the drug references arent there. There were some Hueys, like 'Strawberry B**ch' that you might call a pinup, except it is probably one of the best pieces of artwork I've ever seen on a Huey. That artwork didnt last long.

 

Out.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I believe there is a photographic book being put together on this very subject that features all known nose art and names. From my own photographic archives it looks like there was a definite shift after '68. Also, as Commanders rotated out and in yes, some forbid all nose art, others took a liberal approach. There was some cleverness on the part of the artists like 'Chuck Farlie' for example. The really trippy artwork starting appearing after 68 all the way into the first part of the 70s then you really see things tighten up. This was the peak of the drug problem in 'Nam and I think they, brass, wanted total control. You see less nose art, less trippy slogans.

 

I could post a few to illustrate the change.

 

WW2 aircraft featured a lot of pinups and catchy slogans too, some perverse even. I dont think WW2 differed in that. Just the drug references arent there. There were some Hueys, like 'Strawberry B**ch' that you might call a pinup, except it is probably one of the best pieces of artwork I've ever seen on a Huey. That artwork didnt last long.

 

Out.

Those are some of the best web images out there for Nam copter art. Wouldn't it be nice if they took it a little further and described the meaning of the words painted and who the artist were who painted them. And why some units had ZERO artwork while other copter units had a flourishing cottage industry of "names" and artwork galore.

Most Americans know something about ENOLA GAY and THE MEMPHIS BELLE, I'm wondering if within the vet community there were certain Nam copter "names" that are more memorable than others.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

snake36bravo

My best friends father flew with the 174th AVN, they were the only unit in Vietnam authorized by the Flying Tigers themselves to wear the sharks teeth. They also had some great names for their gunships. They were a highly visible unit in Vietnam and also took part in Lam Son 719, the largest airmobile operation of the Vietnam War.

 

Ace of spades.

Satan

Mexican Express

Witch Doctor

Easy Rider

Surfer

Grim Reaper

post-2582-1250442551.jpg

post-2582-1250442580.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

snake36bravo

Most was done by unit artists, here is one working on Battlin B**ch that flew with the 174th. It wasn't just nose art in Nam though, they painted rocket pods access panels, tails.

 

All units had distinctive markings in themselves, either white, orange, red lines over the cockpits, some painted the skid tubes one color the steps another, tail booms were marked with triangles, different colored stripes, etc to distinguish units just like the Air Corps did in WW2.

 

Every one I've talked to stated that it depended on who one had as a CO. Division would sometimes put out directives that no nose art was tolerated, so they painted the tails instead. When they went to all OD noses you see less nose art which most believe happened more commonly in 1970-71, maybe with the directive coming at the tail of 69.

 

Grim Reaper, 174th AHC

Mother Goose, 191st AHC

post-2582-1250443437.jpg

post-2582-1250443562.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

snake36bravo

I would be a sorry something or the other if I didn't put a HAL-3 Seawolves ship up here. Without a doubt a very, very recognized unit during the war and after.

 

And a maintenance man painting a OV-10 Bronco.

post-2582-1250446867.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

snake36bravo

He is using Testors model paints to do this. I'm told it was common for helmet art as well which is another folder gold mine I have. I have an example in my collection.

post-2582-1250446945.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...