Home for the Bandits

A low-level photo, looking North, showing the Bandit area
of the "Birdcage". (67)
(Photo courtesy Richard Little)


Life as a Bandit


Bandit 2(Frog), aka "Big Duce" and
"El Devastator", reloading
at Dong Tam , 45 miles S. Saigon
W01 Mike Erwin walking. (67)
(Photo courtesy Tom Payne)


 Bandit 2, aka, "Big Deuce" and "El Devastator"
being loaded by SP4 Boehm & WO1 Erwin
with 250 rds 40MM Grenades and 36 rockets!
Quite a load. Most "Frogs" had only 24. (67)
(Photo courtesy Tom Payne)


SP5 Robert E. Karvonen, who spent from 65-69
( 3 1/2 years) in the 118th! Bob was school
trained for the Motor Pool, but thru OJT in the
maintenance hanger, became a Crew chief! He
finished with 60 Air Medals and retired from
US Army in 1978 as E-7. Note the special built
aluminum feed guide on M-60 he used instead
C-ration can. A hell of a gunner who seldom
missed or failed to fire his '60!
(Photo courtesy Bob Karvonen)


PSG George E. Haskins and SP4 Milton Ellzey
standing-by in the Bandit hooch.(67).
(Photo courtesy Richard Little)


Interesting shot of Bandit 4 landing on a
"pinnacle" in the Rung Sat at low tide! (67)
(Photo courtesy Richard Little)


Bandit Fire Team after landing on pads of rock
and PSP at a Special Forces outpost
in the Rung Sat!(67)
(Photo courtesy Richard Little)


Photo of door Plate for Bandit #5
aircraft "Birth Control"
showing Crew Chief and
Gunner assigned(67)
(Photo courtesy Richard Little)


Door plate for Bandit #2, the "Frog" showing
LT Tom Payne as AC and Crew chief to be
SP4 Little and Gunner to be SP4 Boehm(67)
(Photo courtesy Richard Little)


PFC Barr and McDowell at Tay Ninh. (67)
(Photo courtesy Richard Little)


L to R: SP4 Payton Crawford,
CWO Jim Campbell and
CWO Mike Erwin standing beside
Bandit 2 "El Devestator" . Note SOI/SSI
hanging around necks in pouch.(67)

In the night, a 122mm rocket had landed
about 50 feet behind Bandit 2 as it sat in
front of Maintenance hanger following
inspections. It was to be test flown and placed
back on line the next day! The rocket hit the
PSP and showered shrapnel over the
whole aircraft.....over 100 + holes !!
(Aug 67)
(Photo courtesy Charles Milan)


Another view of Bandit 2 following the
night-time rocket attack.(67)
(Photo courtesy Charles Milan)


Bandit 2 being stipped of all usable parts prior to
being trailered to General Support maintenance
for turn in and replacement.(Aug 67)
(Photo courtesy Charles Milan)


Bandit 2, with all armament and usable parts removed,
being loaded onto a flat-bed trailer for hauling to
General Support for turn in.(Aug 67)
(Photo courtesy Willis Long)
CWO James "Heavy" Campbell, Bandit pilot.(67)
(Photo courtesy Charles Milan)
CWO James "Heavy" Campbell with Crew Chief after
retreiving his cap which was apparently blown into
canal beside the road.(67)
(Photo courtesy Charles Milan)


The aluminum bin in side cargo compartment is
storage for belted 40MM granades for
the "pooper".(68)
(Photo courtesy Lewis Lorton, DDS)


Checking 2.75" folding fin rockets.(68)
(Photo courtesy Lewis Lorton, DDS)


Looking inside the 40 MM grenade launcher,
often called the "pooper". It took some handy
adjustments to insure proper firing.(68)
(Photo courtesy Lewis Lorton, DDS)


Bandits on "stand-by" in the field(67)
L to R: CWO Jack Armstrong, CWO Charlie Prather, WO1 Bob Bell,
WO1 Rodney Hill, CWO Mike Erwin, WO1 "Pappy" Spencer,
1LT Tom Payne, ? , ? . Guy with back to camera, unknown.
(Photo courtesy Richard Little)


(Photo courtesy Richard Little)



Unidentified Vietnamese laborer placing
mated 2.75" folding fin rockets in storage
area at a Bandit revetment.(67)
(Photo courtesy Richard Little)


Bandit PSG Edward Haskins(with pipe
in mouth) helping to unload crated 2.75"
folding fin rocket motors from semi-truck
in Bandit area.(67)
(Photo courtesy Richard Little)


PSG Edward Haskins(pipe in mouth)
and ? unloading crates of 2.75" folding
fin rockets in Bandit area.(67)
(Photo courtesy Richard Little)


Nothing especially unusual with this
photo....except, see what is taped on the
back of the Pilot's seat!! Yea!!!(68)
(Photo courtesy Richard Little)


Bandit 8 on stand-by on road during
rainy season.(67)
(Photo courtesy Richard Little)


Bandit Armorer /Gunner
PFC Boehm in Bandit 6. (67)
(Photo courtesy Richard Little)


SP4 Richard Little at his "battle station"(67)
(Photo courtesy Richard Little)


SP4 Schmidt, CE in Bandits and
SP4 ? Crawford(67)
(Photo courtesy Richard Little)


Bandits hit a tree line with white
phosphorus (Wooley Pete)
rocket pair.(1968)
(Photo courtesy Joe Michalkiewicz)


Bandits on Stand-by. L to R: WO Charlie
Prather, CWO Jim "Heavy" Campbell
and SP5 Bob Karvonen, Crew Chief. (67)
(Photo courtesy Bob Karvonen) 


Unidentified fuel truck driver refueling
Bandit 5 in the Bandit area. (67)
(Photo courtesy Richard Little)


Good looking group of Bandits at Tay Ninh.
Squatting L to R: ? , Barr, Mike Battie .
Standing L to R: Payton Crawford,
McDowell, John Baccigalopi and Don Ittner. (67)
(Photo courtesy Richard Little)


All Bandit pilots will remember the 7.62mm
brass, from the CE on left side of the aircraft,
sailing forward into the cockpit, hitting
them on the helmet, going down their shirts,
bouncing on the instrument panel and filling
up the floor and chin bubble.(67)
(Photo courtesy Tom Payne)


Bandit 5
L to R: Payton Crawford, Richard Little
and CWO Rick Donaldson.(67)
(Photo courtesy Richard Little)
Bandit 2(near)and Bandit 4(breaking right)
on patrol around Bien Hoa. Note Bandit 2
has 19 shot pods. Bandit 2, of 65-67 time
period, was "Frog" with 40 mm and 3
banks of 36 rockets. That earlier Bandit 2
was seriously damaged in VC rocket
attack in Aug 67. (68, late)
(Photo courtesy Lee Beavers)


C- Model "Hog" returns to the Bird Cage with battle damage.(1968)
(Photo courtesy Jerry Bratcher)


The pocket of the Bandit shirt worn in the
1967-68 period for parties.(68)
(Photo of patch courtesy Jim Thorne)


Three Bandit Crew members ready for
"Charlie" as they leave the Bandit
flight line area (Bandit flag is flying)
L to R: CPL Lawson, Gene Mathias,
PFC MacDonald. Driver of 3/4T
with arm out window is
Armorer SP5 Elder.(67)
(Photo courtesy Donald Quinn)


SP5 Boehm, Bandit armorer and gunner
during 67-68. He was one of the best armorers
ever and seldom spoke or said much.(68)
(Photo courtesy Jim Thorne)


Bandit 8, C-Model with rockets only and no
(Photo courtesy Jim Thorne)


Standing below the "Lucky Horseshoe"
at Bandit HQ hootch.
L to R: ? , Ronald Booth, ?. (67)
(Photo courtesy Richard Little)


SP4 Richard Little ready to go on R & R.(67)
(Photo courtesy Richard Little)


SSG George Haskins, Bandit PSGT,
with unidentified men in
Bandit HQ hootch.(67)
(Photo courtesy Richard Little)


Bandit 5 Crew.
L to R: SP4 Ronald Booth, CPT Ron Cowden,
? , and CWO Rick Donaldson.(67)
(Photo courtesy Richard Little)


3rd Platoon Enlisted in front of Operations hooch
(Squatting center with RPG, John "Craze" Acosta)
New "Birdcage" at Bien Hoa
(Photo from "145th CAB, A Pictorial History, Vol II.")

3rd Platoon Officers in front of Operations hooch
New "Birdcage" at Bien Hoa
Standing L to R: WO Warren "Pappy" Spencer, WO Tom Walker, WO Ed Bireley, WO Hank Eller,
WO Pat Conway.
Squatting L to R: WO Joe Michalkiewicz, Platoon Cmdr. CPT Jim Thorne, WO Jack Mulligan, WO Tom Kaigan.
(Photo from "145th CAB, A Pictorial History, Vol II.")

A great photo of the Bandit Fireteam that landed and captured a Viet Cong flag
from a mud bunker in the Duc Hoa area
L to R: ? , CWO Dan Hart, SP4 Harvey Morton, SP5 John J. Baccigalopi, SP5 Bob Karvonen (squatting and grinning),
CWO Charles Prather, CWO Warren"Pappy" Spencer , CWO George"Dusty" Rhodes.
(Photo courtesy Harvey Morton)
Personal remembrance by Bob Karvonen
 Bob Karvonen remembers, "What happened is that we were flying around that day and we saw a VC cloth banner between two sticks that had a VC slogan on it. So we went down to get that banner and tried to hook it with the skid but broke out the chin bubble. Then we noticed a Viet Cong flag nearby and Mr. Prather told my door gunner, Baccagalopi, to put on the big asbestos glove we used to change out the hot machine gun barrels and as the helicopter flew by the flag to grab the flag. However, he didn't go slow and low enough and the gunner couldn't grab the flag. So I said just land and I will go get the flag, but just don't leave me on the ground cause I might get shot. We landed and I ran and jumped over a strand of barbed wire and grabbed the Viet Cong flag. After I grabbed the flag I didn't go the same way back to the aircraft, but went under the barbed wire and brought the flag back and jumped on the helicopter and we took off. We flew back to Bien Hoa where we took the picture. I don't know what Mr. Prather told maintenance about how he broke out the chin bubble because it took some time to replace it."

More Life as a Bandit


Bandit Enlisted waiting on road
following a Big Combat Assault.(67)
(Photo courtesy Carl Garrett)


Bandits L to R: Stan Cotton,
Mike Erwin, ?, "Dusty Rhodes", ? ,
"Pappy" Spencer and ?. (67)
(Photo courtesy Carl Garrett)


Flying formation en route to Bien Hoa.(67)
(Photo courtesy Carl Garrett)


Stand-by, Stand-by, Stand-by! Carl Garrett
relaxing and reading after the troop
(Photo courtesy Carl Garrett)


Gunner carries M-60 door guns to
New Bandit buildings for cleaning.(67)
(Photo courtesy Carl Garrett)


Familiar sight of Vietnamese women
going to work or home walking by
Bandit aircraft sitting on dike/road
on Stand-by. (67)
(Photo courtesy Carl Garrett)


Dennis Surop on rare day off at EM barracks.(68)
(Photo courtesy Dennis Surop)


Dennis Surop with unidentified crewman possibly discussing, "Now what do I have to do to start this thing?"(68)
(Photo courtesy Dennis Surrop)


Bandit 8 showing splattered mud from,
what looks like, low-level rocket runs! (68)
(Photo courtesy Willis Long)


View from rear of Bandit 8 with not only splattered
mud, but many bullet holes circled with chalk!(68)
(Photo courtesy Willis Long)


Bandit 7 sitting on the pad of "New Birdcage"
or Spartan heliport.(68)
(Photo courtesy Willis Long)


Bandit 5, aka "Pacification" sitting on
pad or "New Birdcage"(68)
(Photo courtesy Willis Long)


Bandit 2 door with Short-Timer sign of
"13 More Shooting Days" and
"Merry Christmas to you V.C."(Dec 66)
(Photo courtesy Willis Long)


Bandit 3 sitting on the pad of "New Bird Cage"
or Spartan Heliport.(68)
(Photo courtesy Willis Long)


A good shot of the nose of Bandit 4,
(Photo courtesy Willis Long)
 Unidentified Bandit pilots have a beer.
Please help ID them.(68)
(Photo courtesy Richard "Teeny Bopper" Rissman)


Pilot WO Wayne T. Bates.(69)
(Photo courtesy Dick "Teeny Bopper"


Bandit CP sign in the Bandit Bar just
off the helipad opposite the hangars
and Operations (New Bird Cage) .
" VC For Lunch Bunch"
The "V" is missing?(69)
(Photo courtesy Dick "Teeny Bopper" Rissman)


Walk way bridge from flight line to 145th
CAB area. Sign reads, "The Best Darn
Professionals in the World Walk on this Bridge" (69)
(Photo courtesy Dick "Teeny Bopper" Rissman)


A Mini Gun at work with muzzle flame.(69)
(Photo courtesy Dick "Teeny Bopper" Rissman)


Dennis Surop and other crewmen
doing daily lubrication and inspection
of tail rotor system.(69)
(Photo courtesy Dennis Surop)


Bandit Gunner asleep while returning home
to Bien Hoa at altitude.
Probably up most of night before on guard
duty or helping Crew Chief work on his aircraft.
Gunners were unsung heros who often
worked tirelessly, day and night because they
loved to fly.(69)
(Photo courtesy Dennis Surop)
"Party Time"
A happy and obviously drunk bunch of Bandits.
Apparently a platoon party at the flight line.(68)
(Photo courtesy Dick "Teeny Bopper" Rissman)