Patch courtesy John Jones
Manchester, UK 


1st Platoon

The 1st Flight Platoon, called the "Scorpions" initially had 10 CH-21B &C "Shawnee" helicopters. When the 33rd had the "Shawnee" replaced with UH-1Bs, there were only 10 helicopters. Then with the change from the 33rd Trans. Co to 118th Aviation Co. (AML), the TO & E changed the number to 12. This continued even after the UH-1Bs were replaced with UH-1Ds in late 1964, early 1965. The UH-1Hs came into the inventory about 1968-69.

The exact date the name "Scorpions" was first used and why it was chosen is not known. Nor is the date the patch was designed and first worn. Initially, the "Scorpions" patch was in color with a white back ground and a bright red scorpion. About 1969, the patch became "subdued"

(Thanks to John Jones of Manchester England for the scanned picture of the "Scorpion" patch, above)

"Scorpion" HQ

True to the old US Army saying--"If it moves, salute it...if it doesn't move, paint it!!
This photo shows the 1st Platoon "Scorpion" HQ at the Birdcage. It would have
been right beside the 118th Thunderbird Operations.(65)
(Photo courtesy Jack Waters)

Scorpion Leaders


 Platoon Commander

 Platoon Sergeant


CPT Jack M. McKnight

 PSG James E. Bailey


CPT Jack Islin

 PSG Kenneth Pettis


CPT Jack Islin

CPT John "Jack" Waters

(27 May 65-Mar 66)
 PSG Fletcher

 CPT Ted Jambon
(Mar 66-Jul 66)
CPT Ron Cowden
(Jul 66-Dec 66)

 MAJ Bill Benton
(Jan 67-Jun 67)
 PSG Henry S. Westcott

CPT Richard "Dick" Dyer
CPT Vince Galenius
CPT Raul W. "Pete" Smith (Sep68-June69)
 PSG Henry S. Westcott

CPT Raul W. "Pete" Smith
CPT Paul Pressley
CPT Jim Olafson
CPT Francisco (Frank) Basaldua
 PSG Robert "Bob" Karvonen

CPT Francisco (Frank) Basaldua


CPT James H. Williamson
 PSG Lismore
PSG Audel Anderson

 CPT James H. Williamson

"Instant" UH-1B Crew Chiefs

Red Bird 3 (62-02042) in Sept 1963.
(Photo courtesy "Red" Sparling)

When the newly designated 118th Aviation Company (AML)received their brand-new UH-1B's in Sept 1963, the serial numbers were were in sequence beginning 62-02038 and continuing up through 62-02063. This was a total of about 25 aircraft in all.

The new UH-1B Hueys, which replaced the CH-21's in late 1963, did not come with school trained Crew Chiefs! Instead, about 20 individuals, which were school trained Crew Chiefs in other types of helicopters, were sent to Saigon for "transition" training on the new UH-1B-model.

Harold "Red" Sparling, who came into the 33rd/118th in June 1963 and flew as a gunner on the CH-21's, was one and remembers:

 "I knew nothing about the CH-21's and just assisted the Crew Chief and flew as a door(window) gunner, initially. Then about 21-22 of us were selected to be UH-1B Crew Chiefs, because they were soon to arrive. We went to Saigon each day for 3-4 weeks and received training from Bell and Lycoming Tech reps. I drove the US Air Force bus with the 22-23 of us each day to Saigon and back to Bien Hoa for the training. When the training was over, we were considered "Certified Huey Crew Chiefs"!


Certificate from U.S. Army for T-53 Gas Turbine Engine

Certificate from Bell Helicopter

(Certificates courtesy of Harold "Red" Sparling)

Ole "Red Bird 4"


("The Observer" article courtesy Joe D. Newsome, PIO)

Moments in the Life of a "Scorpion"

Harold "Red" Sparling(R) with his brand new
UH-1B, "Red 3", in late 1963. On (L) was
a gunner from 25th Inf. Div.
(Photo courtesy "Red" Sparling)


Jack Miller, one of the new Saigon trained
Crew Chiefs standing beside "Red 3". (63)
Note: wonder how tall Jack was?
(Photo courtesy "Red Sparling")


Harold "Red" Sparling (L), with unidentified
1st Plt. pilot waiting for Wx to clear. The
UH-1B could carry up to 9 ARVN troopers
per ship! (63)
(Photo courtesy "Red" Sparling)


Jack Miller, Crew Chief on Red 4, shows the ARVN's how to assault the "enemy." 118th
was on stand-by awaiting the order to launch.
Note the C-123 in the background.(63)
(Photo courtesy "Red" Sparling)


Ron Madsen, was in the Navy from 1950 to 54
as a enlisted mechanic then got his civilian
ratings in fixed wing and flew professionally.
He then volunteered for the U.S.Army was
transitioned in ORWAC 65-2 and served
1964 to 67 with one year mostly in the
Scorpions of the 118th.(65)
(Photo courtesy Ron Madsen)



1LT Ken Chien, of Chinese heritage, went
through ORWAC 65-2 and served in the
118th, during 65-66
(Photo courtesy Ron Madsen)


PFC Woodberry and SP4 Beaver the happy
crew of fairly new "D" Model.(65)
(Photo courtesy Ron Madsen)


Michael Citrano with all the "comforts of home", except......! Note LIFE Magazine with LBJ
and Lady Bird Dancing.(1965)
(Photo courtesy Ron Madsen)


CWO James C. Meyers of the 1st Flight
"Scorpion" Platoon(65)
(Photo courtesy Harold "Chip" Austin)

As can be seen, this "B" model was a Scorpion aircraft. Bet it took a little Right peddle when
flying. After "D" models came this mission
was accomplished by fixed wing aircraft.(65)
(Photo courtesy Ralph Orlando)


Another view of the 1st Platoon
"Scorpion" sound ship. (65)
(Photo courtesy Bruce Tassin)

 This space waiting for your photo!!


CPT Jack Waters, Platoon Commander 65-66
(Photo courtesy Jack Waters)


PSG Fletcher at the "Birdcage". Note the
large maintenance hanger in background(65)
(Photo courtesy Jack Waters)


1LTs Elliott and Whimbley the Section
Leadersof the "Scorpions" (65)
(Photo courtesy Jack Waters)


Several of the 1st Platoon Enlisted members
on the flight line.(65)
(Photo courtesy Jack Waters)


CPT Ron Cowden, 1st Plt Commander(66)
(Photo courtesy Tommy Thornton)

L to R: CPT Bobby Thomas, CPT Ron Cowden
and CWO Gerald Genaw (66)
(Photo courtesy Tommy Thornton)  


1st Plt Officers, L to R: CPT George
Cunningham , ? , CPT Ted Jambon (66).
(Photo courtesy Tommy Thornton) 


1LT James Mills putting on flack vest.
Note prisoner in back on floor.(66)
(Photo courtesy Ted Jambon)


Crankin' her up! CWO Jack Swickard with his
1st Flt Platoon red scarf getting ready to go.
Jack was also the Awards & Decorations
Officer for the 118th(1967)
(Photo courtesy of Jack Swickard)


" Identify YELLOW smoke!!" Trail formation
with door guns-at-the-ready going into hot
LZ for extraction in War Zone C.(1967)
(Photo courtesy of Jack Swickard)


A great photo of "Red bird 3" off-loading
ARVN troops in fully grown rice. (67)
(Photo courtesy Don Goodwin)


Radio and relay stations among the clouds
and in the cool air atop the "Black Virgin Mountain" or Nui Ba Dinh.(1967)
(Photo courtesy of Jack Swickard)
James Morgan (right) with two other
crewmembers of 1st Platoon on
stand-by in front of Redbird 5.(67)
(Photo courtesy James Morgan)


The 118th AHC Motor Pool shop and office.(67)
(Photo courtesy James Morgan)


Buddies, James Richard Adams and ? Taylor. (66)
(Photo courtesy David Adams)


James Richard Adams at the flightline.(67)
(Photo courtesy David Adams)


James Richard Adams at his post in Red 9.(67)
(Photo courtesy David Adams)


James Richard Adams and Red bird 9.(67)
(Photo courtesy David Adams)


Red Bird 10(67)
(Photo courtesy Charles Milan)


Enroute and in formation at 2,500'.(67)
(Photo courtesy Charles Milan)


WO1 Charlie Milan on board Navy ship.(66)
(Photo courtesy Charles Milan)


Red Bird 6 with Crew Chief(unidentified)waiting
to pull the armor and close the door for the AC.(66)
(Photo courtesy Charles Milan)


Crewmembers from 1st Platoon, Scorpions,
Morgan and Powell.(66)
(Photo courtesy Charles Milan)


WO1 Charlie Milan(66).
(Photo courtesy Charles Milan)


1LT Paul Stimpson who was KIA 22 Apr 1967.
(Photo courtesy Charles Milan


1st Platoon conference. Help ID these people.(66)
(Photo courtesy Charles Milan)


CE James A. Harden checking the rotor system.
He was killed in the aircraft incident on
Jan 17, 1967 near Cu Chi. (66)
(Photo courtesy Johnny Billingsley)


Hamming it up are L to R: WO1 Jost, 1LT Kimzey,
WO1 Rhodes and unidentified MAJ. It was
reported that Kimzey got a tiny scratch!! (66)
(Photo courtesy Johnny Billingsley)


1LT Reed Kimzey standing in a
rubber plantation at Song Be.(66)
(Photo courtesy Johnny Billingsley)


Going to Thunderbird Ops after a hard day.
L to R: WO1 "Dusty" Rhodes and
WO1 James "Heavy" Campbell.(66)
(Photo courtesy Johnny Billingsley)


WO1 Johnny Murry Billingsley(67)
(Photo courtesy Johnny Billingsley)


1LT Steve Etzel doesn't look happy!
Unidentifed PFC in
foreground. (67)
(Photo courtesy Johnny Billingsley)




1st Platoon "Scorpions" in front of Operations hooch
Old"Birdcage" at Bien Hoa
Enlisted front row and Officers back row 1967
(Photo from "145th CAB, A Pictorial History, Vol 1.")


1st Platoon "Scorpions" Enlisted crew members in front of Operations
hooch at the new "Birdcage" at Bien Hoa 1968
(Photo from "145th CAB, A Pictorial History, Vol II.")


1st Platoon Officers in front of Operations hooch
New "Birdcage" at Bien Hoa 1968
(Photo from "145th CAB, A Pictorial History, Vol II")
1st Platoon in Echelon Right formation.(66)
(Photo courtesy Charles Milan)

Improvising with clear tape over a
bullet hole in windshield! (67)
(Photo courtesy Charles Milan)


L to R: Kevin Maloney and Gunner "Killer" Evans
on "Rainbow 6".(67)
(Photo courtesy Lanny Hansen)


Loc Ninh VC POW with seatbelt on board C & C
"Rainbow 6. "Note guy in jump-seat with
crossed leg is a Brig.General.(67)
(Photo courtesy Lanny Hansen).


Red 8 with tiny name "Sharon", Lanny Hansen's
girl friend back home, written in right hand "V"
of red paint. Serial # 61004 is a
mysterious serial number because no
record found for it. (67)
(Photo courtesy Lanny Hansen)


Waiting for "Pipe Smoke" to come pick-up Red 8
following being shot down. Need help
IDing crew. (67)
(Photo courtesy Lanny Hansen)


Lee Staples, a 1st Platoon Crew Chief.(68)
(Photo courtesy Lanny Hansen)


Flying formation enroute to somewhere.(67)
(Photo courtesy Lanny Hansen)


1LT Reed Kimzey in the AC position seat
and "hamming it up"(66)
(Photo courtesy Charles Milan)


Red Bird 4 in formation and passing
Nui Ba Dinh mountain. Probably
on Operation Attleboro, Nov 66.
(Photo courtesy Charles Milan)


David Evans, Gunner on Red 5 (65-09736),
a D model, at Tay Ninh City airstrip.(Oct 68)
(Photo courtesy David Evans)



Gunner Cleveland Williams atop
Red Bird 2 following tailrotor failure after
hitting water. Note 90 degree gear box hanging
from pylon. No injuries, other than "pride."
(Photo courtesy Don Goodwin, who was CE)
Pilot inside with flack jacket on is
CWO Lance B. Ward.(68)


Gunner named Rocha.(69)
(Photo courtesy Mike Matthew)


Typical "Slick" with no doors, cargo or pilot's.
A directive from higher up, supposedly to
improve visibility following a mid-air
(Photo courtesy Mike Matthew)


1st Plt Ldr, CPT Paul Pressley, on left
with eyes closed, and 2nd Plt Ldr, ? Weaver,
partially hidden, drinking cool Miller in
Thunderbird bar.(69)
(Photo courtesy Ronny Ross)
Gary Vasco, crewchief in 1st Platoon.(70)
(Photo courtesy Mike Matthew)


Redbird 5 while in formation at dry time.(69)
(Photo courtesy of Mike Matthew)


Mike Matthew as gunner for 1st Platoon
(Photo courtesey Mike Matthew)


Front of Frank Basaldua's helmet while
in the 118th.(70)
(Photo courtesy Frank Basaldua)


The back of Frank Basaldua's helmet.(70)
(Photo courtesy Frank Basaldua)

The "famed" Tactical Ticket issued to all
US Army helicopter pilots at Ft. Rucker. (69)
(Photo courtesy Frank Basaldua)
CE Steve Wilson on Red Bird 2 (70)
(Photo courtesy Steve Wilson)


The "Hoverbug" card issued at Ft. Wolters to
those who successfully hovered for the first time.
(Photo courtesy Frank Basaldua)


The back of the "Hoverbug" card.
(Photo courtesy Frank Basaldua)


"Infamous" photo of Moon over Vietnam.(70)
(Photo courtesy Tom Morely)


Thomas "Tail-Spin" Morely and Raymond Wilson, pilots of 1st Platoon, "Scorpions" 70
(Photo courtesy Tom Morley)


Tom Morley showing a 51 cal anti-aircraft gun. (70)
(Photo courtesy Tom Morley


Nice nose Art. CE Herman Mummert, CE in middle.(70)
(Photo courtesy Tom Morley)


Brand-New Red Bird 8. Steed of Tom "Tail-Spin" Morley.(70)
(Photo courtesy Tom Morley)

Red Bird 2, no doors at all. (70)
(Photo courtesy Steve Wilson, CE)


Unidentified A/C in aircraft (70)
(Photo courtesy Steve Wilson)


Dale Moore's bird 66-16523 being trucked in from Nha Be where it had sunk in 25-30 feet of water of the Saigon River, following an apparent governor failure immediately after take-off . All survived except the passanger, CPT James McCrone a MACV Advisor.
(Photo courtesy Steve Wilson)


1st Platoon Crew Chiefs and Gunners
having a smoke?!(70)
(Photo courtesy Steve Wilson)


Gunner Steve Wilson getting ready to do his job
and close the door.(70)
(Photo courtesy Steve Wilson)


H-3 heliport at Saigon Airport.(70)
(Photo courtesy Steve Wilson)