Possums & Bird Dogs: Australian Army Aviation's 161 Reconnaissance Flight in South Vietnam

By Peter Nolan | Go to book overview

2
Bien Hoa:
Fitting in

On arrival at Bien Hoa, 161’s personnel found temporary accommodation amongst 1RAR’s forward company positions. These were on the 173rd Brigade perimeter, responsible for security and positioned on the most likely line of attack on the Brigade. Three weeks of October were taken up with orientation briefings and flights for the pilots, administration, interacting with 1RAR and finding a permanent location for the Flight’s living and working areas. At this time, the Siouxs were parked at the back of the battalion, while the Cessnas operated from a secure compound on the airfield which housed the classified, special operations American aircraft: the high flying U-2 spy aircraft, the C-47 gunships and the C-130 Hercules transports which carried the Ryan drones.1 It was an incongruous setting for the little Cessnas, but it enabled 161’s maintenance fitters to make friends with the American specialist technicians and learn about their maintenance and supply systems. Transport was the real problem as it was several kilometres from the rest of the Flight and few vehicles were available. It was not a good place to be without adequate transport. However, the Cessnas operated from the secure area throughout the Flight’s stay at Bien Hoa because there was no other suitable place.

-10-

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